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The Reed College of Media and College of Creative Arts will merge to form the new WVU College of Creative Arts and Media as of July 1, 2024. Get details.

Robert J. Thompson

Manager of Digital Strategy in the Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh

Robert J. Thompson, MFA, SMS, CDMP ("RJ") is an award-winning marketing, communications and graphic design professional based in Pittsburgh, Pa. Currently, Thompson is the Manager of Digital Strategy in the Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. He was most recently the Director of Digital Marketing at the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh.

Before joining Pitt, he was a tenured Assistant Professor of Graphic + Interactive Design in the Department of Art at Youngstown State University. Previous to Youngstown State, Thompson taught at Carnegie Mellon University, La Roche University, and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Continuing his career in education, Thompson has been an Adjunct Professor of Graphic & Interactive Design at Point Park University since 2019 where he was responsible for writing and teaching the interactive design curriculum. In 2020, he began teaching at the Community College of Allegheny County and the College of Business Administration and Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh.

Outside of marketing, design, and teaching, Thompson is also the Co-Principal and Creative Strategist for +Public, a Pennsylvania-based social enterprise that focuses on cultivating community and economic development impact through the creation of branded communication platforms, creative place-making and storytelling initiatives for communities-in-revival.

Throughout his career, Thompson has received many accolades for his creative works: In 2015, he was one of several recipients of the National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” grant, valued at $100,000, for the INPLACE (“Innovative Plan for Leveraging Arts & Community Engagement”) project. In 2017, he received a “Best of Marketing Award” from the Ohio Economic Development Association for his efforts in rebranding the City of Youngstown, Ohio. In 2018, Thompson was accepted into the prestigious Cohort 2 of the National Arts Marketing Project, a program supported by Americans for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. In 2019, he also received a scholarship to join the National Arts Strategies Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy through the School of Public Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2019, Thompson was honored with the Ohio Governors Award in the Arts in Community Development, the state of Ohio’s highest recognition in the arts sector.

Recently, he was the recipient of a certification scholarship from the National Institute for Social Media and Digital Marketing Institute. He has also received accolades for his work at Pitt from GDUSA and the University & College Designers Association for "Pitt Business Backstory" and " Business.Pitt.Edu" websites. Thompson is presently the Immediate Past President of the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Marketing Association.

Thompson received his Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design degree on scholarship from Savannah College of Art and Design, a nationally-ranked top design school. He has been a practicing designer for over 27 years, starting at 11 years of age.

Meet RJ

0:00 Introduction  
0:27 Why do you teach in the program?  
2:14 How do you bring the real world into your online classes?  
5:39 How do you engage with students?  
7:18 Fun (surprise) question