STORY BY SARAH GROSSMAN
Kathleen Richardson, formally director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication was appointed dean of the SJMC last Friday. Richardson, who has taught journalism courses at Drake University since 1997, is a prominent member of the SJMC community.
Richardson, an SJMC alum, has a special place in her heart for the school. As dean, she plans to move the school forward through collaboration and innovation.
Energized by students, she is heartened by this opportunity. Richardson will continue carrying out many of the same responsibilities she had as a director, but she will also focus on the developmental areas of the school and raising money for new initiatives.
This is the first time the SMJC has had an independent dean.
The Times-Delphic sat down with Richardson to discuss her new postion, her goals and her favorite part of the SJMC.
Times-Delphic: What is the difference between Director of the SJMC and the Dean of the SJMC?
Kathleen Richardson: That’s a good question. As far as the day-to-day operations of the school, the direct impact on the students will be minimal, and frankly, I’ve been doing the day-to-day responsibilities of running this school already.It is a promotion for me, but it is a recognition that the importance of the SJMC to the University, and the recognition of all the good work that we are doing here.
TD: What are your plans to move the SJMC forward?
KR: We have been very active over the last year especially in laying the groundwork for some really transformational changes around here. Certainly all the faculty and students are constantly working on their classes and their projects to experiment and be very innovative.
Last year, the faculty worked on the core curriculum for the SJMC. They’re finalizing that, and starting next fall, new students coming into the program and current students in the program will have the opportunity to take new classes and study financial fundamentals for communication professionals. Students will be able to specialize in their particular areas of study.
TD: When you first received your new appointment, what were your thoughts?
KR: Well, when the provost told me she had recommended me to the president’s cabinet, and they had approved this change I was very happily surprised and just very heartened. I knew that the faculty and our alums would be very thrilled by this news.
TD: What is your favorite part about your involvement in the SJMC?
KR: I am energized by being around students. That is the most fun part of my job. The fun part is I like to teach, and so I do still teach one class. Just, any opportunities I have to interact with the students. I find working with young people a lot of fun. Their enthusiasm and optimism and creativity just always amaze me. It makes me very optimistic about the future of the communications industry.
I am an SJMC alum myself, I just have a lot of affection for this school, and I just want to work as hard as I can to make it successful for the future.
TD: Where do you see your path taking you?
KR: Some of the new responsibilities I will take on in this job are to get move involved in the developmental part of the job and raise money for the initiatives we would like to pursue.
I really do feel that the SJMC is really poised to take off and to be recognized as a national-leader in communications education and in innovation communications.
Des Moines is a wonderful place to have a SJMC. There are a lot of strong national leading businesses in the community that are really nationally recognized for innovation in communications.
There is a really strong publishing industry in Des Moines — communications, publications and advertising. I think that if we all can get together and collaborate, we could really put Des Moines and Drake on the map for being a center for communications and innovation.