King didn't know that she had been nominated until she found out from the other finalist, David Boardman, dean of Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communication.
“I found out from my co-finalist, and he found out on a tweet,” King said. “I wrote to my colleagues in communications and asked, ‘Do you know this? Is this real?’”
She said being nominated for administrator of the year feels like being nominated for an Oscar.
“It is deeply moving because this is not my field, I am a journalist,” she said. “To come into higher education and then be recognized by higher education as being good at it?”
King also said the award is fantastic for the journalism school because it proves to the AEJMC that the journalism school is at the top of its game.
“A lot of things are coming together at the right moment, and I don’t take that for granted,” she said.
King said positive changes in the journalism school have allowed the school to win awards like these.
“When I came, it was a pretty tough time,” King said. “There had been a lot of financial cuts. Raising money was a priority to me so we could reward the talent in the school, and that is starting to happen.”
King also said faculty retention and diversity programs, such as the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, have improved the Hussman school.
Daniel Riffe, Richard Cole Eminent Professor in the Hussman school, said King has been effective at bringing in resources at a time when access to those resources is competitive.
"It’s the perfect topper for her career," Riffe said.
Senior public relations major Molly Brice said she is optimistic about King receiving the award.
“I can’t say I’m surprised she won,” Brice said. “I think she’s a really good leader, and I feel like this award makes sense to me.”
Brice also said it is a refreshing sign that a faculty member would give their reward money to student programs.
“It is a sign that she really cares so much about what she does,” Brice said. “It indicates that she is a pretty selfless person.”
King said this award is a way to bring the spotlight to UNC and to the journalism school.
“I am always looking for ways to put the spotlight on the school,” she said. “When we get a reputational recognition like this, we want to make the most of it so we can keep the spotlight on what is great here.”