As an $8 million renovation of the Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism and Advanced Media Studies nears completion, the University of Nevada, Reno school also prepares to welcome an accomplished new dean. Alan G. Stavitsky, senior associate dean and founding director of the George S. Turnbull Portland Center, the downtown Portland base of the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, has been named dean of the Reynolds School and will begin in the role April 1, 2012.
Stavitsky worked in television and radio as a news director, news anchor, investigative reporter, talk-show host and producer. He joined the Oregon School of Journalism and Communication as assistant professor in 1990. He was named professor in 2004 and, two years later, was appointed senior associate dean and founding director of the Turnbull Center.
"Al brings a strong mix of both industry and academic experience," said Heather Hardy, University of Nevada, Reno provost. "His success in developing the Turnbull Center is particularly impressive, and demonstrates vision, creativity and entrepreneurialism, all qualities that will serve the Reynolds School and the University well."
"I'm thrilled to be joining the Reynolds School of Journalism as dean," said Stavitsky. "There's a wonderful sense of community and innovation here, with faculty and staff clearly and deeply committed to their students and to the profession. We are well positioned to play a leading role nationally in re-imagining journalism education and media practice at a time of profound change in communication."
Stavitsky's scholarship on media policy and the digital transition in journalism has been published in numerous academic journals, and Stavitsky is the author of Independence and Integrity: A Guidebook for Public Radio Journalism and co-author of A History of Public Broadcasting. Stavitsky has served as a consultant to local, national and international public broadcasting organizations on issues of media ethics and programming, and has advised the Corporation for Public Broadcasting on policies to preserve editorial independence in public media. He was invited to testify before the Federal Communications Commission on ownership concentration in broadcasting.
Stavitsky's honors include the Oregon School of Journalism and Communication's Marshall Award for Innovative Teaching, the University of Oregon's prestigious Ersted Award for Distinguished Teaching, and Adviser of the Year, awarded by Kappa Tau Alpha, the national honor society for journalism and mass communication. Stavitsky led the development of two successful master's degree programs offered through the Turnbull Center, multimedia journalism and strategic communication.
Stavitsky earned a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a master's in journalism and a doctorate in communication from The Ohio State University. A native of New Jersey, he got his start in journalism as a high school student working in the sports department of the Newark Star Ledger.
The Reynolds School's renovation, slated for completion in early 2012, will significantly upgrade the facility's digital infrastructure. Funded by a grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the renovation will create an enhanced learning environment to prepare students for current and emerging multimedia platforms. The Reynolds School is home to the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for the Courts and Media, a national center for research and scholarship on the interaction between the courts and the media.
"The Reynolds School is highly regarded and continues to build on its reputation," said Hardy. "With an outstanding faculty and a strong alumni and donor base, the school is well positioned to meet the challenges of a dynamic, rapidly evolving field of study. I look forward to Al's contributions and having him as a member of the University's leadership team. I am confident the school will continue to develop as a model of excellence under his leadership."
Stavitsky's appointment follows a national search and selection process that involved faculty, students and industry representatives. His appointment follows that of Dr. William L. Winter, a former president of the American Press Institute who was named interim dean in May 2011. Winter will return to the Florida-based organizational-development consulting firm he founded and through which he oversaw implementation of key grants through the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation's National Journalism Initiative.