Candidate For Dean of Media & Communication Visits Campus

Photo by Alicia Keene

With only a little more than 3 months until Dean Jerry Hudson retires, the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University does not yet have a successor.

Potential candidate Dave Perlmutter, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa, visited campus this week to interview.

Glenn Cummins, Ph. D., associate professor of electronic media, director for the college’s Center of Communication Research and a member of the dean search committee, said the committee is committed to finding a successor before Hudson, the founding dean of the college, retires in July.

The end of summer deadline is not an ultimatum, he said, and it is too early to know what will happen.

He said the search is a process that is not being taken lightly and considerable deliberation takes place at each step along the way.

“As I’ve told people before, I’ve never had the opportunity to hire my own boss before, and so I’ve put more time into reviewing these applicants than I’ve ever put into any type of hire before,” Cummins said.

Perlmutter’s visit this week is just the next step in the ongoing process, he said, and it may or may not be the last step.

Cummins said the process began at the first meeting in December, where the committee discussed qualities the next dean should have and offered potential candidate names.

Cummins said the desired qualities include a lot of character and intellectual attributes such as strong, effective leadership skills, experience in administration, a high opinion of the college, and someone who sees the college’s potential.

He said the search is a challenge because there is a relatively small pool of people who have the ability, talent and credentials for the position.

After an outside search firm compiled a list of potential candidates, Cummins said the committee met again in March to narrow down a short list of candidates.

He said the committee is now charged with bringing a select few candidates to Lubbock for a campus visit.

A campus visit means a candidate is a finalist the committee thinks is worth considering, he said, but it does not mean the candidate is about to be hired.

After the visit, Cummins said the committee solicits feedback from all vested parties, which the Provost uses to make the ultimate decision whether or not to hire a candidate.

He said potential candidate Perlmutter met with students, graduate students, staff, faculty, administrative support, and Lubbock-area partners.

Perlmutter ended his visit by meeting with current students, giving an open presentation, and Realtor Martha York.

As a real estate broker, York said she was asked to show Perlmutter the different neighborhoods, the community as a whole, and what is currently on the market.

During his meeting with a group of the college’s undergraduate students, Perlmutter said public higher education is currently suffering.

Due to lower budgets, he said most colleges now have a “bunker mentality” where they want to keep what they already have and cut new things each year.

Perlmutter said he has never been to a university that wants to win more than Texas Tech because other colleges just want to not lose too badly.

During his presentation, Perlmutter said he liked how Chancellor Kent Hance asked him if he wants to win because Texas Tech is a school that wants to win.

College’s are cutting out new ideas and innovations because state appropriations are declining, he said, but Chancellor Hance’s “dream big” motto matches the attitude he is looking for.

He said Texas Tech has met all of the qualities he is looking for in a potential school.

Since Dean Hudson has been the trusted steward of the college for a long time, he said the next dean should not see everything as a problem.

He said the next dean should be in a listening and learning mode the first semester in order to see what is great and identify areas to move forward.

Perlmutter said the next chapter involves the college’s desire to be seen as a leader in communications and as a global leader.

A key component for this to happen is the continued success of the faculty working together cohesively, he said.

Perlmutter said finances should be about finding new and innovative ways to pay for things instead of just finding ways to cut.

He said he thinks the college’s next step is to start engaging stakeholders.

Major donor engagement should be connecting the donors’ passion with the college’s needs and building a relationship, he said.

About Alicia Keene

Graduate Executive Director
Alicia Keene is a dual master's student from Austin, Texas studying mass communication and business. One day, she hopes to work for a prominent news publication in a major city as either a reporter or producer.

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