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    Professors visit from Cape Town

    In August, SLIS hosted visiting professors Jaya Raju and Reggie Raju from the University of Cape Town’s library school. They explored opportunities for faculty and student exchanges and collaboration.

September 2016

From the Dean . . .

YEAR 15

On August 10, I announced to the College of Information and Communications that this would be my last year as dean of the college.  In my 15th year, I am currently the longest-serving academic dean at the university.  It’s time.

Provost Joan Gabel will soon appoint a search committee.  Her goal would be to have the new dean in place on July 1, 2017.

I expect it will take a bit of time to decide what the college seeks in a new dean.  I became dean at the time the college was created, the university having decided to Velcro our two schools together in 2002.  Much has happened since then.

We’ve grown the schools, programmatically and qualitatively.  Our School of Library and Information Science has bookended its professional master’s degree with undergraduate and doctoral degrees in information science.  Our School of Journalism and Mass Communications has fully updated its curriculum, adding a popular major in visual communications — think web design and content — a new major in mass communications, a converged structure for multimedia and broadcast journalism.  The journalism school is ensconced in its nifty new building.  Davis College has been updated for SLIS.  New school directors — Andrea Tanner and David Lankes — are in place.

Where do we go from here?  That is up to Andrea, David, their faculty and staffs and a player to be named later. 

David describes what he calls the “K” school, as in Knowledge.  He comes to us from Syracuse and the I-school movement, as in Information.  Unlike some in the I-school movement, David does not cast aside the “L” — libraries — to get to the “I”.  In fact, David firmly believes in the I-L linkage and contends the I and L lead us to K.  Hard to argue to the contrary.  Add the “J” as in J-school and we’ve got the heart of the alphabet, I-J-K-L, blanketed. 

To our thinking, that’s about right: Knowledge based on information, assessed and evaluated by journalists and librarians and information experts, communicated across the spectrum of delivery systems available to us.  How we do that is a constantly evolving process — you may suggest obsession — to determine efficiencies and effectiveness with a little gee-whiz thrown in to ensure attractiveness.  How’s your social media strategy?

Andrea has initiated a search for a Baldwin chair in Business and Financial Journalism, a senior faculty position that will propel our initiative in business journalism launched several years ago with Ken Baldwin’s generous gift.  Andrea and David are both searching for other faculty hires to keep our programs moving forward.

The way forward for the college will become a new dean’s purview.  My own remains to be determined — TBD.  That’s fine.  The first step was setting the process in motion.  I’m a firm believer in the Yogi Berra school of career planning.  When you come to a fork in the road, take it.  The last came in 2002 when I’d left CNN and taken the fork toward an academic second career.  

It’s been rewarding, but it’s also exciting to think another fork lies somewhere down the road in the months ahead.

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Charles Bierbauer


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