President Lee C. Bollinger has decided to postpone the selection of a dean of the Graduate School of Journalism to clarify the vision for a modern school of journalism in today's rapidly evolving information age.
"There is a yawning gulf between the various visions of what a modern school of journalism ought to be and it is unwise for the University to expect a new dean to lead us out of this conflict and into a new direction," said President Bollinger in an email sent Tuesday to students, faculty and staff of the School. "We live in an age in which the system of communications is widely understood to be undergoing revolutionary changes and, at the same time, is the critical element in forging democracies, markets, culture and the phenomenon of globalization. To teach the craft of journalism is a worthy goal, but clearly insufficient in this new world and within the setting of a great university."
The University will convene a task force composed of faculty from the Journalism School and the University and administrators, to discuss the great traditions of the school that have helped to define the field of journalism, to examine where journalism school education is going in the current climate and how it might evolve in the future. The task force will report back its findings before the end of the fall semester.
Professor David Klatell, who has been the academic dean since 1999, has been named acting dean of the School. Klatell is a professor of broadcast journalism. The candidates identified by the search committee will remain under consideration.
"Everything we do will be in the service of journalism; to act otherwise would contravene the bedrock principles upon which the school was built," said Klatell. "I can assure you that writing, reporting, interviewing and editing will remain the pillars of our program."
Klatell added: "We are exploring new opportunities and challenges while building on our best practices and traditions. I look forward to working with the faculty and administration as we shape the school of the future."
Over the past few years, under the direction of former Dean Tom Goldstein, the School of Journalism has introduced a number of changes in the curriculum, including opening the school to more part-time master's students, many of whom are practicing journalists, lengthening the school year to 10 months and launching an interdisciplinary doctoral program in communications, which is currently in its fifth year.
Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, founded in 1912, is considered to be the nation's premier journalism school and offers programs leading to a master's of science and a Ph.D. in journalism. The School also runs the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship Program in Economics and Business Journalism and the National Arts Journalism Program for working journalists. The School of Journalism administers some of the most prestigious prizes in journalism, including the Pulitzer Prizes, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards in television and radio journalism, the National Magazine Awards, the Kurt Schork Awards in International Journalism, the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the Maria Moors Cabot Prizes for reporting on Latin America, and the Online Journalism Awards.