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The Dean Standing in front of a glass house

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Reprinted from Spring 2012 InterCom

 

Dean's Annual Report

People who live in glass houses should ... celebrate.
We are.

This issue's cover (InterCom) features a bold new concept for the School of Journalism and Mass Communications' new home on the historic Horseshoe. You may remember the greenhouse tucked between Lieber College and the Health Sciences building. We've just gotten the go ahead to create a very green broadcast studio in its place. The cover of this issue of InterCom features an architect's concept for a greenhouse broadcast studio that will become part of our journalism school when it moves into the renovated and expanded Health Sciences building. We've taken first steps in the approval process for adding this exciting showcase to our plans for the nearing construction.

As Dr. Carol Pardun and I circled the Health Sciences building one day last year, contemplating its coming transformation for the journalism program, Carol mused on how well we might be able to use the neighboring spaces. We both could envision turning the mundane botanical greenhouse into a sparkling facility that would open a window on our students' efforts to broader audiences. Think NBC's Today show's New York studio. Hi, Matt. Hi, Ann.

We took the idea to President Pastides. He liked it and saw the potential of replacing the current greenhouse. But he had three stipulations. We would have to retain the greenhouse look familiar to this space. The new structure would have to be environmentally green. And we would have to raise the, uh, green ourselves. So we did.

News Set in Glass HouseThanks to a generous $1.5 million gift from a loyal and equally excited, but anonymous donor, we will be able to construct, outfit and operate the greenhouse studio in conjunction with the broadcast program we will install in the new building's converged multimedia newsroom. We anticipate construction moving in tandem with the larger renovation for the school, which moves inexorably forward. The concept was presented to the Building and Grounds Committee of the Board of Trustees earlier this spring.

The greenhouse studio can also serve as a communications hub for the broader university, creating a setting for news conferences, presentations and broadcasts beyond the campus. And then there's the "Wow!" factor. As President Pastides describes it, campus tours and strollers on the Horseshoe will turn the corner at the bottom of the Shoe, just beyond Lieber College, and, Wow! I share his vision. Picture it yourself.

Another gift has given Cocky's Reading Express™ even greater visibility. The six-year-old program has gained a national reputation for addressing literacy needs of children and families. But we'd never had our own wheels until this spring when a gift from BP put Cocky and his friends on the road in a 22-passenger bus with our favorite big red rooster emblazoned on the sides of the roadster. Videos and photos arrow

We took Cocky's bus to Washington over spring break when my Media and Politics class met the movers and shakers in journalism and government. Cocky moves and shakes with the best of them. No room here to tell you all the students learned behind the scenes, but you can check out their course blog at www.uscmediapolitics.com/wordpress arrow

Gifts such as these capture the spirit of Carolina's Promise, the university's capital campaign. They do so not just because they add to the cumulative $1 billion total that the university fully expects to top when the campaign concludes in 2015, but because they enhance our ability to make an impact in the lives and education of our students and our students' ability to make a difference in our communities. Journalism alumnus Sig Huitt is chairing the campaign for the college with a goal of $11.5 million that will help outfit the journalism building, bolster our multi-pronged literacy initiative in the School of Library and Information Science, and add support for students, faculty and programs in both schools. I hope you will be thinking about how you can have an impact, too, during this campaign. It could be through something meaningful to you in our facilities, even a naming opportunity in either building. We've never had more opportunities, but also never had greater need because of the number of students we serve and the expanding scope of our programs.

Let me take the next few paragraphs to tell you about the people, places and things that I find exciting for our college in 2012.

People

Drs. Christine Angel and Clayton Copeland are the first recipients of Ph.D. degrees from our School of Library and Information Science. You cannot imagine how much work goes into creating a doctoral program. Ok, I had no idea how much it entailed. Everyone in SLIS can be proud of this accomplishment, and Drs. Angel and Copeland deserve our applause for having faith that we could provide them a meaningful experience. Even better, there are more Ph.D. candidates who will be completing their doctorates this year. Videos and photos arrow

To enhance our young undergraduate program in information science, we've hired two new faculty members, Dr. JingJing Liu and Dr. Dick Kawooya, who will join us in August. Yes, we undertook creation of a doctoral and bachelor's program concurrently. Together, they make great sense, even if they made great work. But, as I like to describe it, we've built two fine wings on our splendid house of the SLIS master's program. This puts USC among the elite LIS programs offering the full range of academic degrees. Our first undergraduate degrees in the School of Library and Information Science were also awarded this academic year. We told you about them in our December issue.

Joining our School of Journalism and Mass Communications this fall are Dr. Shannon Bowen, an associate professor in public relations who earned her master's degree in our program, and Dr. Tara Buehner, an assistant professor in visual communications. It is very gratifying that in every year for the decade I have been here, we have added faculty in one school or both.

Places

Dr. Keith Kenney is completing a year at the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, while three of the Georgian program's faculty have begun work on their doctoral degrees in our School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Over the next two years, other journalism school faculty will spend a semester in Tbilisi. Dr. Andrea Tanner and instructor Scott Farrand are leading this year's iteration of the Munich Multimedia Maymester experience. It's the sixth year that we've sent students into the wilds of Bavaria.

Dr. Ran Wei is on more faculties and boards in China than I can recall. He's also a regular columnist in several Chinese publications. I will have spent part of May lecturing on journalism at MISR International University in Cairo. We believe our students and our faculty should have the broadest possible horizons. While the world may not be literally flat or shrinking — even if those do make nifty book titles — it is intensely interconnected in a media environment which our students and graduates will help shape.

Things

This summer, a new HVAC system will be installed in Davis College. The already too cool SLIS faculty and staff will be even cooler, and warmer, as needed. The $2 million renovation includes updating other parts of the building and its technology infrastructure. Davis College may be 100 years old, but it will have the heart and spirit of a teenager.

We're into the detailed work now in preparation for the renovation of the Health Sciences building for the journalism school. That includes assessing the A/V upgrades for smart classrooms and labs, looking at finishes and furnishings and fleshing out the design in anticipation of putting the project out for bids. The pre-construction preparation will continue this year. Actual construction is limited only by the pace at which the School of Public Health can move into its own new digs, a move anticipated in late 2013. Dean Tommy Chandler encourages me to "keep pushing." I push. Provost Michael Amiridis tells us to be prepared to start construction "the day public health moves out, not the day after." We'll be prepared.

And then there's the greenhouse communications hub to anticipate. People who live in glass houses have exceptional vistas. I hope you find these times to be as exciting for the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies as I do.

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