The search committee for the Dean of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, hosted a virtual campus interview and forum for candidate one out three. The webinars kicked off early Monday morning on Zoom, with an opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and alumni to engage in the selection process.
Dr. Craig Freeman, who is currently a professor at Oklahoma State University, was the first prospective dean to be evaluated by stakeholders. He believes the duty as a dean is to execute the shared vision of the faculty, students, staff and the administration.
“I think as a director, it would be a bad thing to come in and say this is what we’re going to do, and not have an understanding of what is going on at FAMU,” Freeman said. “I need to know what the students really need and what the faculty, staff and alumni want.”
The interviewee was optimistic as he spoke about the future of SJGC and his role in progressing the program. His main goals include a catalog of national recognitions and awards in print, broadcast, and graphic communication. Freeman also believes that the university’s program needs to be a national resource for race & media.
Because of the recent conversations about race and social injustice, administrators want to make sure students are being educated adequately. Marlin Walker of the SJGC Board of Visitors asked how Freeman plans to embed race and media into the students’ curriculum and expresses his thoughts on the matter.
“I think right now a lot of the problem is that students are straddling that line of being a writer, but finding themselves in an activist space and trying not to blend the two,” Walker said.
The proposals made by Freeman all push a narrative that should strengthen the influence SJGC has on its students. For some scholars who attended the afternoon webinar, hearing that was a breath of fresh air. Fourth-year public relations major, Heaven Jones says that the new SJGC dean candidate is “very hopeful.”
“A lot of people say many good things about him,” Jones said. “I feel he would bring a new perspective to SJGC and new opportunities for our students.”
Freeman addressed students, reassuring them that, the goals he has for the program should help promote a fulfilling learning environment. He wants to focus on creating outstanding writers and amazing storytellers. He also believes there is opportunity for a graduate program in SJGC.
The search committee will continue to interview candidates this week conducting the next virtual forum Jan. 29.