Susan King, J-School dean candidate, visits UNC for second time


Susan King speaks during a visit to UNC. King, the final candidate to be interviewed for the position of dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, visited the University for the second time on July 1.

A formal offer has not been made for the position of dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, but Bruce Carney, executive vice chancellor and provost, said he is in talks with a candidate, whose name he would not release, about the position.

Susan King, the final candidate to be interviewed and the candidate with the most professional experience, visited the University for the second time July 1.

King declined to say in an interview whether she had received an offer from Carney.

“I wanted to come down and understand the community a little better,” she said, adding that her first visit was tightly scheduled.

She declined to comment Tuesday on the specifics of her visit.

King is the vice president of external affairs and director of the Journalism Initiative for the Carnegie Corporation.

She has also held the position of assistant secretary for public affairs in the Department of Labor and has reported for CNN and ABC Radio News.

While King comes from a largely professional background, she lacks the academic background of the other candidates.

The other candidates — Carol Pardun, John Pavlik and David Perlmutter — are the heads of the journalism programs at the University of South Carolina, Rutgers University and the University of Iowa, respectively.

Some professors said whether the new dean has a professional or academic background would impact his or her ability to lead.

Chris Roush, a journalism professor, wrote in an email that a dean with a professional background might not fit into a University setting as quickly as someone with an academic background, but could bring a fresh perspective to academic issues.

“However, given our current situation at the School of Journalism, and the University as a whole, I think it would be better to have someone who has run the academic gauntlet before,” he said, citing pressing budgetary issues.

Ryan Thornburg, a journalism professor, said a candidate with a professional background would bring skills like grant writing, but a dean with an academic background would have a better understanding of the tenure process, teaching and managing a university’s faculty.

Dulcie Straughan, senior associate dean of the journalism school, became interim dean June 30 after Jean Folkerts stepped down from the position.

She will continue until a new dean is found or June 30, 2012.

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