After almost a year of searching, Florida A&M University has named Mira Lowe as the new permanent dean of the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication. She is scheduled to join SJGC on Oct. 22.
Lowe has served as the assistant dean for student experiences and the director of the Innovation News Center at University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, one of the largest student-led newsrooms in the country.
FAMU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Maurice Edington shared his excitement regarding SJGC’s new hire in a press release to the university.
“I’m ecstatic to welcome Mira as a member of our leadership team. She brings a wealth of professional experience from industry and academia, and I have no doubt she will provide bold, dynamic and transformative leadership for the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication,” Edington said.
Lowe succeeds Michelle Ferrier, the most recent permanent dean at SJGC. Ferrier was removed from the position in March 2020 after approximately 18 months. Bettye Grable, a member of the SJGC faculty, has served as interim dean.
Lowe, who has experience working in a large academic environment, comes with an abundance of industry experience. She has worked with some of the biggest media companies such as CNN, Ebony and Jet magazines 𑁋 and hopes to use her knowledge to enhance the student experience within SJGC.
Coming into the role, Lowe’s main priorities will be to assess the needs of the school and find ways to build and expand upon the SJGC “brand” that will help to attract talent and resources, expand research, and enhance opportunities for faculty, staff, and students.
“I am going to be looking at all platforms and all formats across the degree programs, because there’s journalism, public relations and graphic design and communications … looking at how we can invest in all of those to make sure that across the board 𑁋 whatever communication path they are on 𑁋 students feel confident walking out the door,” Lowe said during a Zoom interview earlier today.
Lowe also plans to focus on connecting students to digital media opportunities and create immersive experiences for students of all degree programs to better prepare them to work and compete on a professional level.
Leah Hunter, a professor in SJGC and a member of the university’s search committee for the new dean, shared her initial reaction to Lowe.
“She had so much experience and she had such passion for the direction that she could take the school in that it was pretty exciting,” Hunter said.
Hunter, who was impressed with the variety of media roles Lowe had worked in while in the field, is most excited by her experience as the director of the UF innovation program and the opportunity for Lowe to push the school forward and help students become better competitors against larger programs.
“I was excited because she headed UF’s innovation program. That means she could bring innovation to SJGC, which is something that we really need,” Hunter added.
Lowe, who did not attend a historically Black college or university, said she is excited at the opportunity to become a member of an HBCU family and credits her interest in the new position as a special “HBCU moment.”
HBCUs have garnered lots of attention this past year following police brutality riots, which fueled additional racial tension in the nation. Many celebrities, athletes, professionals, and alumni have donated millions of dollars and resources back to HBCUs, with some enrolling or applying to work as prominent staff members as a way to pull talent back to these institutions.
“I want to be a part of helping to keep that momentum going. I don’t want this to be just a moment in time. I think this is an opportunity to really move the ball forward with that engagement, that investment, with that excitement about what HBCUs are doing,” Lowe said.
Lowe said she is excited at the opportunity for growth and hinted at possibly creating a number of spaces, such as an SJGC student council, that may make SJGC a model for other HBCUs and smaller colleges operating in similar ways.
While she is scheduled to officially begin in October, Lowe hopes to be a “very engaged dean and designate” as soon as possible and plans to visit SJGC more than once prior to her start date to meet faculty, staff, and students.