Online Programs

Scott Talan

Scott Talan
Assistant Professor

Scott Talan, MPA, is a full-time professor of Public & Strategic Communication. Scott is an expert in social media and personal branding honed through communications experience in four distinct fields: TV News, Politics, Non-profits/NGO's and Higher Education. Scott has worked at the United Nations, Harvard University and the March of Dimes.

Scott wrote at ABC News Good Morning America. He's also reported on-air for local TV news stations in several states including California, New Mexico, and Florida while covering politics including the 2000 presidential recount story where he bested other reporters for stories and interviews.

Before news, Scott was as an elected city council member and Mayor of Lafayette, California.

Prior to joining American University Scott was an adjunct faculty member at George Washington and Johns Hopkins. In the summer of 2012 Scott also taught media courses in China at Xiamen University and lectured at Renmin University. He has also guest lectured at Japan's Ritsumeikan University.

Professor Scott Talan serves as a Faculty in Residence living on campus at American University, extending the teaching and learning outside the classroom. He also advised the student run Social Media Club. In 2013 Scott conducted research on the nature of student awareness of current employer recruiting practices and gave a TED-x talk based on this project. He has given the 'Last Lecture' as well on the topic of personal branding. Additionally he has spoken many times at academic conferences on social media best practices in a classroom setting as well as use of other technology and teaching tools.

Scott received his Master in Public Administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, studied broadcast journalism at Stanford, and completed his BA at the University of California at Davis in Political Science and Economics.

Professor Scott Talan teaches COMM 552, Social Media Strategies and Tactics. Get to know Scott and learn more about his experience and teaching style.

SCOTT TALAN: Steve Jobs was a hero of mine. I cried the day he died. And it wasn't just all the creative products like the iPhone that he made and invented that most of us or a lot of us like and use. It was the way he lived his life. He truly marched to the beat of his own drum. He did things his way.

And also, one thing I liked about him is the way he would think and talk and decide. He would take walks with people to go over small details even and to flesh things out. I going to walk with you a little bit now and tell you a little bit about me as a person and as a professor. And this all lead up into my path here at American University of Washington DC and our class together Social Media Strategies and Tactics.

I've had many different careers. While it may not seem like they're connected, they really are through the lens of communications through audiences, publics, messages, and the use of visuals. My first career was with nonprofits with the March of Dimes and then later, United Nations. At age 26, I was elected to office in politics, city council, Lafayette California. At age 30, I was mayor.

But a funny thing happened on the way to higher elected office, I fell in love with TV news. I worked as a television reporter on camera in California, New Mexico, and Florida. It was there that I covered the 2000 Recount. I was the first reporter to get a question the governor, Jeb Bush and the first reporter to get an interview with Katherine Harris, the controversial secretary of state.

From there, though, I felt it was time for graduate school. Like you, I thought education was important. My dad, Jack Talan, says, you can never have enough education. I went to Harvard, got in, studied there. After graduation, to New York City with Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson working Good Morning America and the United Nations, which was a big, big change.

There, I also began to do some travels. And when I travel abroad, I look for social media examples, believe it or not. So three ones come to mind India, Turkey and China. In India, the first thing I saw there was a movie poster that had Facebook and YouTube on it. That's how they were going to promote it. For Turkey, there a protest on the streets. I asked this about, oh, it's for social media and internet freedom. And in China when I taught there two summers ago, you had no access to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or anything.

All these examples show how important social media is. No matter what you say or what you think, you can't deny that. From there Washington DC where I began my teaching career, first at GW with undergrads and then Johns Hopkins with graduate students.

When I got the chance to come to AU in 2010, I jumped at it. It was full time and I've loved being here. And I think one of the things that AU liked about me was my use of social media. It wasn't just part of the class. It was a graded aspect in the course. It was integrated and integral.

And I'd been doing this since 2005 with Facebook, Twitter 2006, and YouTube in 2007. And I've used dozens of other things from Pinterest to Tumblr since then. And you'll see this in our class together in Social Media Strategies and Tactics.

I do want to say before I close, a little bit about my teaching philosophy. It's three-way learning. This means, yes, you're going to learn from me. But I'm also going to learn from you in the things you share, the questions you ask, and how we interact. And you will all each learn from each other, especially in an online class. I am really excited by what put together. I'm ready to begin and I hope you are too.

Learn more about our accomplished Master of Arts in Strategic Communication faculty members. Call 855-725-7614 to speak to one of our admissions representatives or request more information.