As many of you know, I was hired by President Elson Floyd and then-Provost Warwick Bayly to expand the college, modernize the curriculum and bring it to national prominence. Almost seven years later, I am pleased to say we have accomplished those goals.
In the wake of Dr. Floyd’s death, the impending presidential leadership transition and the shifting priorities at WSU, this is a logical time for a transition of leadership in the college. I will step down as dean at the end of the spring semester and begin a year of research and reporting.
As many of you are also aware, America’s relationship with the Muslim world is the focus of my research and reporting. This presidential election, coinciding with the Islamic State’s growing influence, is likely to shape American policy toward the Muslim world, and 30 million Muslims Americans, for decades to come.
It is an issue of foreign policy, national security and social justice.
One of my publishers, I.B. Tauris, agrees; they want me to write another book, a logical extension to my books on U.S.-Muslim world relations published after 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq. That will be at the heart of a broader research project involving scholars on several continents.
Since the election year has already begun, I need to rapidly ramp up my research, which will mean even more travel than usual (in fact, I leave for Pakistan tomorrow evening). However, the coming semester is going to busy one as the university’s interim leadership prepares the ground for the new president.
Many of the developments in the coming months will impact the college for years to come. They involve restructuring of budgets, the approach to future hiring, and shifting programmatic priorities. It is only appropriate that the future leadership of the college make these decisions.
Therefore, to facilitate a smooth transition in this unique period for WSU, we are going to take a unique approach at Murrow. In coordination with the interim president and interim provosts, I am going to immediately transfer to Bruce Pinkleton decision-making authority for academic programs and personnel. His title will shift from Associate Dean to Acting Dean, responsible for internal operations, while I focus on our engagement with alumni, donors and the industries we serve.
This way, Bruce, who the interim president has decided will become interim dean once I step down, can take charge of the day-to-day operations of the college and have a voice in the university discussions around future directions and funding while I am still available to provide advice, context and insight.
Pres. Floyd not only created Murrow College, he frequently referred to Murrow as a “crown jewel” of WSU and he remained an important supporter of our model of communication education that marries leading industry professionals and top researchers.
It has been an exciting seven years, and I look forward to continuing to work with all of you to help Murrow – and WSU – move into a new era.