Visiting professor from Austria brings international experience to Athens

Wolfgang Sützl has happily settled in as a visiting professor in the School of Media Arts and Studies where he can mix his two loves — media and international studies.

Wolfgang Sützl, a visiting professor from Austria, teaches Evolution of Media in The Athena on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sützl holds degrees from universities in Austria, Spain and England. (Julia Moss | Picture Editor)

Sützl was chosen for the international perspective that he brings to his classes. (Julia Moss | Picture Editor)

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series about Ohio University professors who come from different countries.

Since moving to Athens in November, Wolfgang Sützl hasn’t left the city — not because he can’t, but because he’s just “tired of traveling.”

Sützl, visiting assistant professor in the School of Media Arts and Studies, grew up in Vienna and has done his fair share of traveling internationally.

He holds degrees from universities in Austria, Spain and England, speaks three different languages (Spanish, German and English) and has taught in Austria, Spain, Germany, Mexico and Costa Rica.

Though he has taught in multiple cities around the world, Sützl said Athens is a funny place and different from what he’d experienced before.

“I’ve never seen a town like this that consists mostly of students,” he said. “It’s a model we don’t have in Europe because the universities are in big cities. I didn’t know what to expect when I came here, but the first thing I noticed walking down the street was that I felt like the only grown-up.”

Lawrence Wood, director of the communication and development graduate program and associate professor in the School of Media Arts and Studies, chaired the search committee — with three other faculty members — that hired Sützl for a position that was split between the School of Media Arts and Studies and the Center for International Studies.

“All of the members of the search committee agreed that Dr. Sützl had various strengths that would make him an outstanding and exciting candidate for the position,” he said. “This has certainly turned out to be the case, including in relation to Sützl’s international experience (and) his research focus in areas that include media studies and social change.”

As he was applying for jobs in the states, Sützl said he particularly liked the position at OU because of the split position.

“I have a master’s degree in peace studies, so one of the things I’m interested in is the role of media in social change, in questions of conflict and questions of international politics,” he said.  

Sitting in an office right across the hall from Sützl’s, Karen Riggs, professor in the School of Media Arts and Studies, said he is a great neighbor and brings new perspectives to the department.

“It’s so important for the well-roundedness of the students because it provides a fresh perspective,” she said. “It also helps the faculty think about things and have a broader understanding than if everyone in the school was an American.” 

Even though it would be easy to teach the class with an American focus, having a professor from out of the U.S. gives the class an international feel, and it’s more philosophical than expected, said Grant Johnson, a sophomore studying voice and a student of Sützl’s.  

“I expected the discussion of media to be much more superficial, but Dr. Sützl is very good at identifying deeper questions and theoretical points,” he said.


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