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Dean, School of Journalism and Communication - Archive
Journalism and Communication

Posting: 12331
Location: Eugene
Closes: 2013-09-10

The University of Oregon, a distinguished public research university in Eugene, Oregon, seeks applications and nominations for the Dean of the School of Journalism and Communication.  The School enrolls 1,800 undergraduate students who study journalism, advertising, communication studies, and public relations, as well as approximately 125 graduate students in specialized master’s and doctoral programs.  The successful candidate will have an opportunity to engage and inspire the students and faculty and accelerate the School’s progress toward becoming one of the nation’s centers of excellence for leadership in journalism, media, and communications for the 21st century.

Based on a scenic 295-acre campus in Eugene, in the beautiful Willamette Valley – just over an hour from the Pacific Ocean, the Cascade Mountains and the city of Portland – the University of Oregon (UO) is the flagship institution of the Oregon University System, a network of seven public universities across the state.  UO is one of 63 institutions in the nation admitted to membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU).  UO currently enrolls approximately 24,447 students, including 20,631 undergraduate and 3,816 graduate students, and offers 300 comprehensive academic programs.  This is a pivotal moment for the new dean and the campus as the University’s new President, Dr. Michael Gottfredson, and Provost, Dr. James Bean, begin to develop and implement strategies that will ensure the continued growth, success, and prosperity of the campus’ schools, colleges, research centers and institutes.

Founded in 1916, the School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) is the only school of journalism and communication in Oregon and one of only a few in the Pacific Northwest.  As it approaches its centennial celebration, the SOJC is well positioned to meet the challenges of a transformative era in media, journalism, public relations and communications.  It has graduated 10 Pulitzer Prize winners and numerous other distinguished alumni.  Regarded as a pioneer in digital media, its students were among the first to develop an iPad magazine which has been featured nationally and internationally.  The School has developed a new core “Gateway” curriculum focused on multi-media storytelling and has achieved steady growth in enrollment. The SOJC also launched the George S. Turnbull Center at the university’s Portland location, and by January 2013, the SJOC will have moved back into its home in Allen Hall, which is nearing completion of a $15 million, 16,000 square-foot expansion and upgrade to a state of the art facility.

The Dean will play a critical role in driving the success of the School, and will work with faculty, staff and students to evolve, and in some cases revolutionize, academic programs that will prepare the next generation of professionals and leaders who will thrive in the dynamic fields of journalism and communications.  To that end, the Dean will be asked to address the following opportunities and challenges, which are detailed more fully in this document:

  • Coalesce and engage the School’s constituents around a shared and integrated vision.
  • Further develop a sustainable fiscal model for the School.
  • Inspire, lead, and mentor faculty and staff.
  • Ensure that the School delivers a transformative intellectual experience for its students.
  • Knit together external relationships that will expand the reach and influence of the School.

This document was prepared by the Search Advisory Committee and Isaacson, Miller, a retained national executive search firm, to provide background information and detail the key outcomes that are expected from the new Dean.  All applications, inquiries and nominations may be directed to the parties listed at the conclusion of this document.

The Role of the Dean of the School of Journalism and Communications

Reporting to the Provost, the Dean serves as the senior academic and administrative leader for the SOJC and provides leadership and oversees the scholarly activities and operations of the School, including administration of curricula, support for research, recruitment and development of faculty and staff, delivery of student services, management of budgets, external relations, and fundraising.  The Dean also plays an important external role by building strong connections in the extended journalism, PR, advertising, and media communities to support the School’s mission through activities such as public engagements, conferences, and other forums.  The Dean is expected to represent the SOJC as a leader in journalism and communications and serve as a thought leader in how the students can use emerging technologies to become highly influential and effective in their chosen fields.

Positions reporting to the Dean include the Director of the George S. Turnbull Center, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs, Associate Dean for Graduate Affairs and Research, Director of Operations/Human Resources, Director of Communication, Director of Development and the Events Manager.  The faculty also report directly to the Dean.  The School is hiring a new Director of the Turnbull Center, several new faculty members, a Chair in Journalism Innovation and the Papé Chair in Broadcast Journalism.

Key Opportunities and Challenges for the Dean

Under the leadership of Dean Tim Gleason, the School of Journalism and Communication has made excellent progress in recent years and is well-positioned to become a global leader in journalism and communication for the 21st century.  To take the next steps, the School requires a leader who can help develop and articulate a new clear and compelling vision that provides an integrated framework for the work of the School.  The School must continue to deliver an excellent student experience and build partnerships with external businesses and organizations.  The successful Dean will help the School become a leading center for insights and dialogue about journalism and communication in the rapidly moving digital age and produce graduates who are grounded in practice and theory and adept at leveraging digital tools to convey messages in clear, compelling ways that benefit society.  Upon joining the SJOC community, the Dean will address the following opportunities and challenges:

Coalesce and engage the School around a shared and integrated vision

The SOJC is home to a highly productive and entrepreneurial faculty working across a wide array of disciplines.  Yet, the School currently lacks a clear unifying concept or theme that generates a sense of collective purpose that invites and encourages collaboration.  Upon joining the UO community, the Dean will work with the faculty to forge an integrated vision that will help solidify the School’s identity, capitalize on the diversity of intellectual expertise of the faculty, and define the School’s trajectory for the coming years.  This vision will support the development of research initiatives, curricula and academic programming and partnerships that will ensure that the SOJC continues to pioneer new frontiers in journalism and communication.

To lead this strategic process, the Dean will leverage the strengths and accomplishments of the faculty, while facilitating challenging conversations and honing in on key priorities for the School.  The Dean will focus on integrating disciplines and fostering a culture of transparent communication, with a goal to engage and excite faculty and staff to work together to find new ways to bridge theory, research, and practice while weaving together different disciplinary perspectives.  This vision should position the SOJC to achieve a lasting impact in a rapidly changing media and communications landscape.

Further develop a sustainable fiscal model for the SOJC

As a result of the university’s recently adopted responsibility-centered budget model and undergraduate enrollment growth, the SOJC has a significant pool of seed capital and funding in place to invest in new programs and initiatives.  However, there is uncertainty about whether enrollment will continue to grow or will level off in the next few years and there are concerns that the School has reached capacity, even with the new building.  There are also ongoing discussions about proper student/faculty, student/adviser and graduate/undergraduate ratios.  Additionally, the UO faculty has recently formed a union.  The contract will be finalized over the next year and will likely have ramifications for the budgeting process in the near term.  The Dean will need to work with School and University leaders to determine appropriate enrollment levels and size for the School that will enable it to thrive in the coming years and then make the appropriate investments.  

As the University’s budget model relies on enrollment and tuition revenue, it will be important that the Dean establish a sustainable business model that leverages all sources of revenue.  The Dean must also be actively involved in university discussions surrounding budgets and ensure that the School creates and maintains diverse revenue streams to fund its aspirations.  The Dean will lead the School in fundraising and engagement with donors, including the university’s upcoming fundraising campaign. 

The Dean will oversee the management of facilities and will rent or develop space as necessary to house programs as they expand.  The Dean must also ensure that there are sufficient technology resources in place to support the school’s programs and research.  The Dean will also continue to direct the expanding operations at the George S. Turnbull location in Portland as this location represents an excellent opportunity for the School to extend its influence in Oregon’s center for media and communications.  The challenge for the Dean will be to bridge the geographic and cultural divide between the Eugene and Portland locations, and to integrate and grow the Turnbull Center in alignment with the School’s mission.

Inspire, lead, and mentor faculty and staff

The Dean plays an important role as a leader and mentor for the faculty and staff of the SOJC and must continually advocate for their needs and interests at the university level.  The Dean should ensure that all employees have access to professional development, faculty feel supported and empowered in advancing research and teaching approaches and staff have the resources, support and encouragement necessary to do be effective.

The Dean should serve as a mentor and role model for faculty, encouraging them to pursue their respective research interests in alignment with the SOJC vision.  In the mid to long-term, the Dean will have the opportunity to recruit the next generation of faculty talent.  The Dean will be expected to attract and retain a powerful combination of leading academics and practitioners from journalism, social media, digital video, and other fields who will enhance the quality of the undergraduate and graduate educational experience.

Ensure that the School delivers a transformative intellectual experience for its students

The Dean will focus on enhancing academic programs to provide students with a consistently excellent educational experience that puts them at the cutting edge of journalism, communications, public relations and advertising.  The SOJC has in recent years adopted Gateway, a new core curriculum that focuses on multi-platform storytelling.  Yet the Gateway program’s lab-based elements have proved challenging to manage, and because the program offers students a high level of flexibility, it is possible for students to graduate with limited experience in writing and media law or ethics.  The Dean will continue to enhance the Gateway and other undergraduate programs, while also growing and improving the School’s master’s and doctoral programs, which are important for advancing the SOJC’s position as a leader among journalism schools, in producing excellent professionals and thought leaders and for maintaining AAU membership.

To further enhance the student experience, the Dean will facilitate cross-disciplinary research and teaching initiatives with other parts of campus and leverage opportunities for students to learn through other programs, such as law and business, to better prepare for leadership in their respective fields.  The School also can use its expertise in communication to support university-wide initiatives, including the “Big Ideas” in the Academic Plan.  By shaping programs that combine research, teaching, and practice-based learning, and by focusing on university-wide areas of distinction, the SOJC can become a magnet for high-caliber students from around the world.  The Dean can also help the School keep its focus on undergraduate and master's professional programs in Eugene, grow in the professional master’s programs in Portland, strengthen and modestly expand the doctoral program in Eugene, and build additional partnerships across industry and academic lines.

Knit together external relationships that will expand the reach and influence of the School

The Dean plays an important external role as a visible representative for the SOJC and must continually represent the School in forums, both within the university and in the broader community, region and around the world.  Through this role, the Dean must serve as the eyes and ears for the School in the greater marketplace and lead the School’s staff in developing compelling messages and themes that will help attract top students and faculty while raising the profile of the School as a major center for thought leadership in journalism and communication.

Forging partnerships with the media and communications industry within Oregon will be a key part of this challenge.  The Dean should expect to meet with editorial boards, local news outlets, and leaders from the advertising and public relations industries to build awareness about the vision of the SOJC and to create mutually beneficial opportunities for students and faculty.  The Dean should also forge connections with other academic institutions and find ways to work together to have an even greater impact.  The SOJC should also become more effective in tapping into its alumni, many of whom are professionals and scholars in media centers across the country.  Through this process, the Dean can help the SOJC build its reputation and achieve national distinction as a leading center for practice-based learning about journalism and communication in the digital age.

Qualifications and Experience

The University of Oregon is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The successful candidate must be persistent, persuasive, and capable of creating a compelling vision that will inspire a wide variety of stakeholders.  The Dean should have most, if not all, of the following qualifications and characteristics:

  • A doctorate or terminal degree in a field appropriate to one of the School’s programs.
  • A distinguished record of scholarship, teaching and service consistent with the rank of Professor in the School for Journalism and Communication.
  • Successful senior leadership experience in the academy or comparable experience in journalism, advertising, or public relations.
  • A record of developing, implementing and sustaining innovative programs that foster and value excellence in teaching, research, service and entrepreneurship.
  • Substantial administrative experience with budgeting and financial planning.
  • Commitment to academic freedom and autonomy in academic programs and scholarly pursuits.
  • Proven experience in recruiting, developing, retaining and evaluating faculty and/or professional staff.
  • A strong commitment to public service.
  • An established record of working effectively with diverse populations and a demonstrated commitment to diversity in areas of hiring, promotion and retention.
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and leadership skills.
  • Personal ethics and professional integrity.
  • An understanding of and commitment to shared governance.
  • An ability to communicate with diverse audiences and to collaborate and communicate effectively with multiple constituencies in different locations.
  • Demonstrated knowledge in the fundamentals of fundraising and development and the capacity to raise substantial resources for the School.


The university is located in Eugene, Oregon’s second largest city.  The greater Eugene area has a population of about 250,000 that balances affordability with an exceptional quality of life. Nestled between the Pacific coast and the Cascade mountain range, Eugene is often described as one of the most livable communities in the country and is considered to be an excellent place to raise a family.  It is a two-hour drive to Portland, the major metropolitan area, and to Bend, the state’s fastest growing city and a popular mountain resort area.  Beyond its tradition of academic excellence and commitment to liberal arts education, the University of Oregon and its environs offer one of the finest work-life balances of any major university.  The 295-acre campus offers immediate access to nearly boundless cultural and outdoor recreation, and the climate is sunny with low humidity in the summer and mild in the winter.   Eugene is also home to a number of high-quality music, drama and arts organizations, including the world-renowned Oregon Bach Festival.  For more about Eugene, see www.theeugeneguide.com.

Applications, Nominations and Inquiries

All correspondence, including applications, nominations, and general inquiries, should be e-mailed to 4598@imsearch.com.  Applicants should send the following separate documents: a detailed letter of application; a curriculum vitae or resume; and a list of at least eight references including complete contact information and a description of the relationship to the applicant.  E-mail correspondence is strongly encouraged.  All correspondence will be held in strict confidence.      

David Bellshaw, Julie Filizetti, and Matt Tzuker
Isaacson, Miller
649 Mission Street, Suite 500
San Francisco CA 94105
Phone:   415.655.4900
Fax:        415.655.4905