Dean announces her resignation, but will continue until Fall 2011

By: Philippe Buteau/BBC Managing Editor

Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver, a part of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications since it was the Department of Communications over thirty years ago, has informed Douglas Wartzok to begin a search for her successor as dean of SJMC.

Wartzok, University provost and executive vice president, said in a press release he would form a search committee with the expectation of having a new dean in place for the start of the 2011-2012 academic year.

“Well the school is very stable and we’re moving ahead rapidly so I felt this was a good time,” Kopenhaver said on her decision to resign in an interview with Student Media.

She said she plans to teach and will not cut ties with the University and the school.

“Being a dean you don’t have that closeness with students you do when teaching,” Kopenhaver said.

She hasn’t yet decided what she’ll teach.

Kopenhaver was recently elected chair of the Council of Affiliates of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. In this capacity she has a seat on AEJMC’s board of directors.

“I look forward to providing more visibility for … SJMC in that major national venue,” Kopenhaver wrote in an e-mail sent to SJMC faculty.

Kopenhaver will stay on as dean until Fall 2011.

She said she made this decision because of projects and initiatives SJMC is working that she wants to see through. She cited a new partnership with Telemundo as an example.

“You don’t’ want to leave in the middle of a year,” Kopenhaver added.

Faculty from SJMC who’ve been there from less than a decade to nearly twenty years gave their opinions of Kopenhaver and her possible successor.

Mario Diament, associate professor in SJMC who’s been a part of the school for 17 years, said after the death of her husband the faculty expected it wouldn’t take long for Kopenhaver to resign.

“She’s been here a long time so it will be difficult to imagine the school without her,” Diament said to Student Media.

Juliet Pinto, assistant professor in SJMC and here since 2006, said a change in personnel always affects a school.

“We hope the search will come up with fantastic candidates that will move the school further ahead,” Pinto said to Student Media.

“Kopenhaver lives in a time of great changes in journalism, a time where they don’t know what to expect in five years,” Diament said. “We’re curious and hopeful to see who replaces her.”

Kopenhaver became interim dean in the summer of 2003 and dean in 2004 after former dean J. Arthur Heise retired.

AEJMC has reaccredited SJMC in all nine standards at both the undergraduate and graduate levels under Kopenhaver’s term as dean.

She has established relationships with leaders in the industry, which have resulted in enhancements to SJMC programs such as two “state-of-the-art” multimedia labs. The Scripps Howards Foundation funded both labs.

Kopenhaver is also chair of the Student Media Board, which elects the Editor-in-Chief of The Beacon, the editor of, and the general manager of Radiate FM.

She has been on the board for 11 years and became chair when she was appointed dean. She said during her time on the board she has elected more than a dozen editors.

“I am looking forward to a broad range of new opportunities,” Kopenhaver wrote in the e-mail.

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