April 29, 2009

Walter Metz named Cinema and Photography chair

by Pete Rosenbery

Walter Metz
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Walter C. Metz is the new chair and associate professor in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Department of Cinema and Photography.

Metz is currently interim chair and associate professor at Montana State University’s School of Film and Photography, where he has been the last 11 years.

“Dr. Walter Metz will be a terrific addition to the administrative team in MCMA and to the faculty of the Department of Cinema and Photography, the college, and the University,” said Gary P. Kolb, dean of the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts. “He is an eminent scholar and an experienced administrator. He will bring strong and visionary leadership to the department and help the college maintain excellence on the national and international stages. I am very excited to have him join us here at SIUC.”

Metz will start at SIUC on July 1. He replaces Deborah Tudor, who became associate dean in the college on Jan. 1.

At Montana State University, Metz taught the history, theory and criticism of film, theater and television. He was an assistant professor there from 1998 to 2004 before becoming associate professor. He has served as interim department chair there since 2006.

Metz said he enjoys being a department chair because “it allows me to channel my love of academia into very positive directions, helping the university, and in particular, the junior faculty, accomplish their core missions -- the teaching of students and the generation of new research and creative activity.”

John Downing, director of the Global Media Research Center, was Metz’s department chair in Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas at Austin, where Metz earned his doctorate in 1996.

A native of Philadelphia and raised in Worcester, Mass., Metz earned two bachelor degrees from MIT, one in materials engineering and the other in humanities. He earned a master’s degree in communications studies from the University of Iowa in 1991.

Metz also worked for five years as a computer programmer and mechanical engineer.

He is the author of two books, “Engaging Film Criticism: Film History and Contemporary American Cinema,” and Bewitched,” an in-depth analysis of the hit television series and its cultural impact. He is also the author of 30 journal articles and book chapters, many of which center on the relationship between films and the novels they are based on.

Metz is also currently finishing a manuscript on the 1960s television series, “Gilligan’s Island.”

The leading scholar of 1960s American television sitcoms, Metz said his research work “focuses on the relationship between novels and film,” and that he tends to teach “in wildly divergent areas, from film to television to literature to American studies to women’s studies.”

In 2003-2004, Metz was a Fulbright Guest Professor of American Studies at the John F. Kennedy Institute at the Free University in Berlin, Germany.

Metz and his wife, Anneke, have three children. She is a biochemist and specialist in STEM pedagogy, particularly the biological sciences, Metz said.