Dean's Update: September 2022

Thursday, September 15, 2022 - 4:00pm

Dear Alumni and Friends,

Today is Democracy Day! The College of Journalism and Mass Communications is joining more than 300 news organizations nationwide to examine threats to democracy and how to engage in our democracy. The UNL chapter of Society of Professional Journalists is hosting an informational event on the meaning of democracy at the Nebraska Union Memorial Plaza and Nebraska News Service and other CoJMC platforms will be publishing articles starting today and running through the end of the semester on the democratic process and the role of journalism in our democracy. Our mission is grounded in the ethical pursuit of truth to uphold democracy. Supporting Democracy Day is just another example of what we do to enact that mission. 

When I became dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications two years ago, I knew one of our biggest challenges was that we did not have the number of full-time faculty needed to meet the needs of our students. To start to address that challenge, I had four new faculty lines written into my hiring contract. Couple those new positions with the retirement of Professors Quinlan, Kebbel, Struthers, Starita, Creighton, Bender and Thorson and suddenly we are going on a hiring spree!

Five new full-time faculty and the Lynn and Dana Roper Visiting Professor of Sports Journalism joined us this fall, and we are hiring six new faculty for next year. We are hiring both tenure track professors and professors of practice in the areas investigative journalism, data journalism, advertising and public relations, sports media and communication, media law and media production. Please share the positions widely with your networks!

While our overall enrollment took a hit in the pandemic, along with the rest of the university, I’m excited to share that our official fall numbers include a 16.3% increase in the size of our freshmen class! We believe in transparency at this college, so you are welcome to review our entire Fall 2022 Census Report. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Next, we are working on an after action report on what went well and what we can do to improve enrollment moving forward.

We are also working on curriculum assessment this year, and we want your feedback. If you are willing to serve on an Alumni Curriculum Review Committee in late fall/early spring, please complete this form. You’ll receive an outline of our curriculum, syllabi for all required classes and a summary of electives and special programs. We’ll then convene a Zoom meeting to discuss the curriculum with Associate Dean for Academic Programs Adam Wagler and faculty from the major. Please get involved!

As we continue to build our program, we also need new spaces for student learning. New this fall, we opened the Perry Family Studio and Multimedia Classroom. Thanks to a generous gift from UNL alumnus Phil Perry, the new space will allow our Experience Lab students to expand agency services in photography, video and livestreaming. We’ll be cutting the ribbon on another new space, the Don and Lorena Meier Studio, on Nov. 17. Please join us

I’m delighted to share that 1984 graduate, Norberto (Rob) Ayala-Flores will be our Distinguished Alumni at this year’s Multicultural Homecoming. Flores is the president and owner of Puente Marketing in Kansas City where he builds connections between Hispanic consumers and general market brands based on cultural insights, relevant messaging and targeted analytics. I’m excited to welcome Flores home to Nebraska.

I hope to see all of you back in Andersen Hall for our Homecoming Celebration at Andersen Hall on Friday, Sept. 30, from 5 -7 pm. Come for the AMA Skillschool and stay for the party! Please RSVP today. Can’t make it to Lincoln? I may be coming to you instead. Check out the upcoming alumni events in Chicago, Omaha, New York and Dallas.

This newsletter is filled with stories about our incredible students and alumni making moves, like journalism major Evelyn Mejia from Norfolk who was one of 20 nationwide chosen for the New York Times Corps, recent broadcasting grad Alec Rome who covered the World Series of Poker and our new student leaders in the Experience Lab and Jacht. We also share the story of Emeritus Professor Michael Stricklin and the legacy he leaves behind. Professor Stricklin will be greatly missed by the CoJMC Family. 

If you have a story idea for the alumni newsletter, please complete this suggestion form. We’d love to hear your ideas!

Go Big Red!


Shari Veil in the Agency