Applications are now being accepted for the first Ph.Digital Bootcamp in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University, supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Online modules begin February 2018/in-person workshop May 14-20.

audience analysis and emerging technologies... immersive storytelling... data analytics and visualization... digital strategy... fluency in HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript... media entrepreneurship... mobile applications... experience with social media

These are all phrases included in position descriptions for tenure-track faculty on the job advertisement section of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) website. They represent emerging topics relevant to mass communication curriculum and scholarship. Are you prepared to teach in and lead curriculum in a rapidly changing digital world?

The Ph.Digital Bootcamp prepares mass communication doctoral students and early career assistant professors to become digital scholar-educators and lead curriculum innovation. The program is an online/in-person hybrid, starting late-February 2018. Students will be instructed to complete ten, weekly, online modules leading up to the in-person workshop May 14-20 in the Media Innovation Lab (MILab) on the Texas State University campus in San Marcos. The program is limited to up to 20 participants who will be competitively selected.

The program is free to selected participants. Thanks to support from the Knight Foundation, participants will receive funding to cover training, transportation, lodging, materials and meals for the in-person workshop in May.

Led by Dr. Cindy Royal, director of the MILab and a digital innovator with experience in curriculum redesign, the workshop will help participants develop strategies for staying up-to-date and sharing knowledge with students and faculty.

"Whether you want to teach digital skills or apply digital concepts to theory and research, the Ph.Digital Bootcamp will introduce the skill sets and mindset to embark on a career of continuous learning about the digital world," said Royal. "We are thrilled to work with the Knight Foundation to help doctoral students and faculty develop these critical competencies that will ultimately influence mass communication curriculum and better prepare graduates."

"Journalism professors are charged with ensuring that the next generation of reporters are prepared to meet new community information demands. The Ph.Digital Bootcamp will help them in this goal, offering an avenue for professors and scholars to become digital news leaders, and advance journalism innovation into the future," said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism.



The program has recruited faculty and advisers from the SJMC and media community who are leaders in virtual reality and 360 video, data, social media, drones, coding, multimedia storytelling and media innovation.

The workshop will address the following topics:

  • digital platforms and product management
  • web and mobile development
  • data journalism and visualization
  • social media engagement
  • entrepreneurship and innovation
  • experiential learning in the digital environment
  • emerging media in drones, virtual reality and bots
  • pedagogy strategies and digital scholarship insights

Weekly online modules leading up to the in-person workshop will each require no more than 1-3 hours per week and will include video lessons, discussion posts and brief quizzes. We recognize that doctoral students are very busy. These online modules will be offered in a flexible, asynchronous format, so that participants may be able to easily work them into their schedules.


Apply Now

Students currently enrolled in a doctoral program or those who have recently completed their doctoral education (within the past two years) are encouraged to apply. Fill out the application here. While previous digital experience is not necessary, we are seeking participants who have a strong interest in teaching and research agendas that deal with emerging, digital topics. Be specific in crafting your answers on the application.

Applications are due by midnight (Central Time) January 15, 2018 and participants will be notified of their acceptance by February 7, 2018.


Frequently Asked Questions

The Ph.Digital Bootcamp is a hybrid online/in-person workshop to help prepare future faculty to teach and lead curriculum in a digital world. The program will cover emerging media topics and engage participants in discussions around curriculum redesign and digital scholarship.

Students currently enrolled in a doctoral program in journalism and mass communication (or related discipline) and early career faculty who have received their Ph.D within the last two years may apply. While previous digital experience is not necessary, we are seeking participants who have a strong interest in teaching and research agendas that deal with emerging, digital topics.

The online portion of the bootcamp will begin in late February 2018 with weekly modules leading up to the in-person workshop May 14-20. We picked these dates in May after the Spring semester closes and to avoid travel on Mother's Day (and some universities' commencement) and Memorial Day weekend.

The in-person workshop will be held May 14-20 in San Marcos, Texas on the campus of Texas State University in the Media Innovation Lab of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. San Marcos is 25 miles south of Austin in central Texas.

Yes, thanks to the support of the Knight Foundation, the program is free to the selected participants. The fellowships will cover travel and accommodations for the six-day workshop in San Marcos, Texas in May. This includes hotel and airfare, as well as meals and snacks during the workshop. Transportation to and from the airport and to workshop events will be provided. Rental cars or other transportation options (which should not be necessary), as well as food beyond meals and snacks provided during the workshop, will need to be covered by the participant.

The online portion of the workshop will begin in late February 2018 with weekly modules that are designed to prepare students for the in-person workshop and begin introductions and interaction. The online modules will take from 1-3 hours per week to complete. Assignments may include videos, readings, written assignments and brief quizzes.

Yes. In order to complete the full experience, participants must commit to attending the full workshop May 14-20. A graduation and closing reception will be held on the evening of May 19.

The schedule is tentatively planned as follows:

Mon., May 14 Arrival and Welcome Reception
Tues., May 15Introduction to Digital/ Product and Platform Concepts/ Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Wed., May 16Coding: HTML/CSS/JavaScript/Mobile Development
Thurs., May 17Data Journalism and Visualization/ Field Trip
Fri., May 18Emerging Topics: 360 Video, VR, Drones and Bots
Sat., May 19Pedagogy and Scholarship Implications/ Graduation and Closing Reception
Sun., May 20 Departure

Topics may be adjusted as we learn more about participant backgrounds and interests.

In addition to the experience of learning emerging topics, sharing techniques with other participants and broadening your qualifications for future employment, graduates of the program will receive a certificate of completion. An online community will be developed to continue the discussions after the workshop.

Other Questions? Contact Dr. Cindy Royal,



About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit

About the Media Innovation Lab

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication opened the Media Innovation Lab (MILab) in Fall 2016. The MILab provides Texas State University with a central point for a broad range of digital media activities - scholarship, curriculum, courses, faculty development, community networking and events. Users are able to experiment with 360 video, drones, sensors and other emerging technologies and receive training in a range of web development and social media techniques. MILab faculty are committed to continuous learning and staying on the cutting edge of the intersection of technology and communication.

About the School of Journalism and Mass Communication

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication, housed in historic Old Main, offers a nationally accredited curriculum that introduces graduate and undergraduate students to the broad framework of mass communication, emphasizing what is fundamental to advertising, journalism, public relations, electronic media and the newest degree in digital media innnovation. The mission of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication is to pursue excellence and innovation in media education. Our programs strive to cultivate strong professional, research, theoretical, critical and ethical skills in a diverse and engaging environment that prepares students to be socially responsible media professionals, scholars and citizens.