PULLMAN – WSU will proceed with steps to elevate the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication to a stand-alone college
The decision was made by Provost and Executive Vice President
Robert Bates, in consultation with President Elson S. Floyd, College of Liberal Arts Dean Erich Lear, and Murrow School Interim Director Erica Weintraub Austin. Bates said the move will enable the school to fulfill its potential as a center of excellence for WSU.
The announcement concludes an intensive examination of the Murrow School that began in the summer of 2006 with a year-long internal review and culminated in site visit by four eminent deans of successful communication programs last October.
The visiting deans — E. Culpepper Clark of the University of Georgia, Jean Folkerts of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Tim Gleason of the University of Oregon, and Terry Hynes, dean emerita of the University of Florida – agreed with the internal review in recommending the move.
“The value of the Murrow name and the legacy it represents, the strengths of the faculty in both human and mass communication, the professional quality of the undergraduate program, the quality of facilities, and an engaged professional advisory board are indicators of a signature program,” the deans wrote in their recommendation to the administration.
“Because of the school’s accomplishments over many years and through its recent self study, the faculty and staff have demonstrated that the program has very strong potential to be a signature program for WSU.”
Bates said the new College of Communication will retain all current academic components and the college will operate as a single administrative unit, rather than being divided into departments.
Key recommendations of the dean’s panel include the hiring of a founding dean and adding faculty lines to improve the faculty/student ratio and support the school’s scholarship and new doctoral program, which is already rated among the top five nationally in specific research areas such as media effects, media and substance use issues, mediaand children and advertising.
The panel also recommended additional staffing and increased funding for teaching laboratories.
“Investing the above resources in the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication will enable this program to better serve WSU students and the state-wide community and to contribute more fully to the quality of the university,” the panel wrote.
“This faculty has demonstrated that it is devoted to the University, but it is so resource deprived that unless these resources are invested, the school will not be able to maintain the status quo, but rather, will lose status.Resources are imperative for the school to maintain its effectiveness and to enhance its national reputation.”
The proposal to establish the new college will follow the required Faculty Senate process for establishing new academic units. It will be evaluated by the appropriate senate committees for academic quality and rigor as well as adequacy of resources.
“The deans probed deeply while they were here and challenged faculty, staff and administrators withimportant questions,” said Austin. “It is gratifying to receive their endorsement of the conclusions we’ve drawn here at WSU and of the process we’ve used to arrive at them.”
Speaking on behalf of the Murrow family, Edward R. Murrow’s son, Casey, noted that the family has long cherished WSU’s recognition of his father through the naming of the Murrow School. He said, “The elevation of the school to college status is a tribute to all who have worked to make the school a success thus far. The Murrow family celebrates this new advance for the institution, its faculty and students.”
The Murrow School currently has 584 students with certified majors. The major options are advertising,applied intercultural communication, broadcast management, broadcast news, broadcast production, communication studies, journalism, organizational communication and public relations. The school also offers master and doctoral degrees in communication, with 50 graduate students in those programs.