School of Journalism & Graphic Communication in search of a Dean

The search committee for the dean of the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication (SJGC) had their meeting on Apr. 12th in the Fred Humphries building. The meeting lasted roughly an hour and a half.

The committee was joined by consultants Marion Frenche and Alex Matthews via video chat. Frenche and Matthews are members of Greenwood Asher & Associates, a consultant firm for several dean searches on campus.

Victor Ibeanusi, Dean of School of the Environment opened, led the meeting with the agenda that included the discussion of applicants for Skype interviews, insights from the search consultants and candidate reviews.

The committee discussed how the applicants would be chosen for interviews depending on the application deadline

“The point is if they’re given a deadline, that last applicant might be the best or the first applicant might be the best, but we should be waiting until of the end of the application period,” said Cynthia Hughes-Harris, dean of Allied Health Sciences.

The deadline for those applying to become a dean for SJGC is Friday, April 20, although applications can be received until the position is filled.

Soon after, the search committee had the opportunity to share what kind of qualities and requirements they were looking for in their candidates. The committee was asked to explain one-by-one how they were able to choose their candidates.

The committee was given a rubric of certain criteria applicants needed to meet. Applicants were kept anonymous and although the committee was asked to individually choose six possible candidates, the majority were only able to choose four solid choices.

One of the strongest qualities the committee is seeking is experience in accreditation.

Accreditation is a process of validation in which the university and other institutions of higher learning are evaluated. Selecting a candidate who is strong in accreditation is crucial for SJGC during this time.

Professor and Advisor Douglas Blackburn said, “We went from feeling like we were miraculously going to be fully reaccredited, to learning late last month that the recommendation is now for provisional accreditation.”

SJGC is still accredited and will reach their final decision at the end of this month.

Heidi Otway, president of Salter Mitchell Public Relations, conducted a social scan an online scan for her selected candidates.

“It’s one thing to read about them [selected applicants] on paper, it’s another thing if they have a great social presence because that’s how we communicate these days.”

The members of the search committee agreed that the selected applicants should be consistent with the new strategies and the direction the media is going today.

Another major quality the committee is looking for is how much money applicants have fundraised. Fundraising is a key element to SJGC because it can further improve the number of sources the school has and the quality of work students and professors are able to produce.

“I’ve been here long enough to know our state budget is decreasing….We’ve got to get someone in here to raise some money,” said Kenneth Jones, long time professor for SJGC.

Fundraising amounts of applicants ranging from 300,000 to 80 million were mentioned in the meeting.

Many of the other qualities the committee were looking for was experience at a historically black university, relationships with the student media, experience in the journalism industry and research.

The committee then began to choose the candidates they would like to interview. To keep things simple, the committee had Ibeanusi say the names of applicants the majority of the committee had chosen for their individual pool of candidates.

The meeting came to a close as the committee decided that the next step would be to meet again Tuesday, Apr. 17, to plan for Skype interviews for the selected applicants.