Ken Harper

Ken Harper

  • Graduate Program Director

    Visual Communications
  • Associate Professor

    Visual Communications
  • Director

    Center for Global Engagement

What he teaches ...

Ken Harper teaches graphic design, photography and development communications to undergraduate and graduate students. This includes user experience, user interface and immersive design as well issues at the intersection of media and atrocities. As the director of the Newhouse Center for Global Engagement he also works with students to create interactive experiences such as, and He integrates his extensive abroad experiences into the classroom to provide students with an international perspective on the power of visual communications and to better communicate complex socioeconomic issues.


Ken Harper is an award-winning designer, professor, photojournalist and communications educator. Harper joined the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in 2008 and founded the Newhouse Center for Global Engagement in 2014. 

The Center is dedicated to creating collaborative, ethical, globally-engaged students through experiential learning, cross-disciplinary storytelling, fellowships, industry partnerships, innovation and symposia. Harper’s role as director stems from his long history in collaborating internationally and he is now sharing that passion through long-term geographically-based collaborations and symposia. 

Over the past 14 years, Harper has led faculty and students to collaborate in Liberia, South Africa, Israel and Palestine through several initiatives. In Liberia, students engaged with organizations and measures such as JournalRage, Together Liberia, New Narratives, Free Rodney Accountability Lab, and, a partnership with the Liberian government on visualizing the Ebola outbreak in 2014. 

Harper led a group of Newhouse students to Israel and Palestine to interview Palestinian and Israeli farmers about their practices, producing One Land One Love. He also worked with the Near East Foundation in Lebanon and Palestine as a communications consultant. 

In 2017, Harper began collaborating with professors at the South African Rhodes University School of Journalism and Media Studies, and with South African non-government organizations Inkululeko, Awarenet, The Black Power Station and the Egazini Outreach Project. These initiatives led to the Syracuse-based symposia No Innocence This Side Of the Womb and Race Space and the Media that brought together academics, artists, and activists from Syracuse and South Africa to explore issues of equality, privilege and justice. During the height of the pandemic, he worked with partners in Makhanda, South Africa to create a video portal installation entitled Window to the World: Syracuse to South Africa

Previously, Harper worked as a multimedia designer and producer for, The Rocky Mountain News and various organizations including the United Nations, the Bahá’í Faith, Electronic Intifada and USAID. 

He lives in Central New York with his family and dogs, Pickles and Cali.