Media School Deans’ Search Committee to Narrow Candidates for This Month’s Finalists

The School of Media’s founding dean, James Shanahan, announced in January 2021 that he would step down as dean and remain on the faculty as a professor. Since then, Walter Gantz has been appointed acting deanand a search committee met before summer 2021 to discuss the search for a new Dean.

Peg Faimon, founding dean of the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture and Design, chairs the research committee. She said that the committee is in the semi-final stage. They hope to narrow down the group of semi-finalists, usually around eight to 10 people, to four or five finalists.

Faimon said the committee plans to bring the finalists to campus in mid-February. She said she could not discuss the number of internal or external applicants.

According to Provost’s website, the research committee is made up of 15 members. Faimon said there was an undergraduate student representative and a graduate student representative. There is also someone from the media school dean’s advisory council and someone from the Shanahan alumni advisory council, she said.

Several staff members, including a development worker, hold positions on the committee, Faimon said. Faculty members include both non-tenured professors and tenured professors.

“Committees like this are formed to try to represent a broad constituency of school voters,” Faimon said.

Faimon said student representatives attend all meetings and are equal to other committee members.

The committee received feedback from several constituent groups, Faimon said. She said there were open forums for undergraduates, graduate students, alumni, faculty and staff.

“We’ve met and received great feedback from undergraduates and graduates,” Faimon said. “It’s been incorporated.”

The open forum meetings took place before the committee drafted the Job Description, said Faimon. The description includes a list of desired qualifications and characteristics for a new dean.

Some of the characteristics include “a demonstrated commitment to student achievement” and “a deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion”.

Faimon said an official start date for a dean will not be determined until the committee can negotiate one with the chosen candidate. It depends on the professional and personal obligations of the candidate, she said.

“We absolutely want someone in place by the fall,” she said. “But usually a dean will start in late spring, summer.”

Allison Wylie, an IU junior and sports media major at the Media School, said she took a class with Shanahan.

“I really, really liked it,” she said. “I thought he was a very caring person.”

She said she would like the new dean to be caring and motivated about the future of the media school like Shanahan was as dean.

Madlean Koehler, a junior and majoring in media, said she transferred to IU last semester. She said she wants a dean who keeps the facilities up to date and continues to provide more internship and overseas travel opportunities.

“It would be great to expand that, or at least publicize all of the existing programs,” Koehler said.

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