How do you see yourself working with other deans and colleges?
I hope very well. Communication is the kind of discipline that really lends itself to a lot of collaboration with the other colleges. 50 percent of the jobs today have a significant communication component. People with communication background are working in Fortune 500 companies doing corporate communication or working in government. The potential is enormous for cross-collaboration initiatives.
What do you see as the balance between professional skill and academics in the College of Communication?
There should be a strong mixture of the two. I think that theory needs practice and practice needs theory. Applying it in some way whether that has to do with public speaking or interpersonal communication or journalism or television production, it’s important for any communication student to learn these skills and refine those skills. On the other hand, if that is all the student has, they tend to be limited in terms of what they can do. It’s not that what they were learning didn’t help them get to a place, but it isn’t a straight logical line necessarily. Having a broad base communication education prepares you for lots of different jobs.
How would you unify such a diverse college?
I don’t think any dean who is coming in can do it alone. It would be a mixture of working with the associate dean and directors of the six programs and with individual faculty members to create an idea of what this college should be, so people aren’t thinking in terms of their individual programs, but the benefit of the broader college. The success of that broader college will bring success on the local level with programs as well.
What is your vision for the College of Communication?
I think whenever one comes up with a vision, one should talk with and really work in collaboration with the faculty here. Part of it is that whoever comes in as dean will need to formulate a vision in his or her initial time here, in the same way President Danko took 100 days to that. What’s important too in this day and age is digital communication. The technologies that we’re dealing with now and we have in our pockets—the technologies we’re going to have five years from now are either going to be accelerated versions of those or brand new technologies that people are just inventing now. It’s important to recognize the importance of the digital dimension, and to try to find ways to make that grow and integrate it in all the programs.
What do you see as the role of adjuncts?
I’ve only been here 48 hours, so I don’t know what Butler’s position on that, so I don’t want to really comment on that.
How do you see your role with other deans?
I met most of them this morning. I was extremely impressed by all of them. I really appreciated the way they extended themselves. I even shared my ideas for collaboration. I think it would be a really great opportunity. As a group they seem collaborative and I think it would be a positive relationship.
How do you strike a balance between professionalism and academics?
They’ve got to be integrated and they both have to be important to the students. As a professor I try to integrate some sort of experiential learning in all of my classes. I think educated has to be integrated and there needs to be activities and design so they impact each other positively.
What do you see your role in integrating CCOM?
I don’t think the separation exists in a progressive newsroom. I think there are a whole range of competencies that people need to perform to be successful. I think at the college level we need to look critically at ways to engage students.
What are the roles of adjuncts in the College of Communication?
I think working professionals have a place in the classroom. If we can bring them into our program and have students learn from them, I think that’s a bonus for everybody.
What would you bring to the college as dean?
I think I bring an academic and professional background to the college. I think my interactive style is useful because I am a problem solver. I look for creative solutions, that is one of my strengths. And I’m not afraid to bring other people into the project. I am a collaborator. I think I have depth and breadth in the communication field.
*This is an excerpt of The Collegian’s conversation with the candidates.