Search for communication studies director continues

Alexis Wohler

The College of Communication and Information faculty came together in a committee comprised of the dean, head chairman, a graduate student and other faculty members to determine what qualities they would like the new director of communication studies to have.

The committee had to be approved by the dean of CCI, Amy Reynolds, before the search began this fall.  

“We established a search committee made up of faculty and that committee crafted an ad that we have distributed nationwide,” Reynolds said. “We are also asking people we know to recommend candidates for the job, so we can reach out to those people and encourage them to apply.”

The advertisement for the position is on sites such as It is also published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the college’s biggest newspaper and website.

The committee posted the job description to attract a diverse range of applicants. It can take a year to find a replacement director, Reynolds said.

The search committee recruits applicants and reviews all applications to determine finalists for the position. Once finalists are selected, they will visit the campus to give a presentation on their vision for the school, meet with the faculty, staff, students and the dean and other school directors.

The associate dean of CCI, LuEtt Hanson, is chairing the search for the new director, and has been involved with the committee since the beginning of September. 

“I enjoy working with the thoughtful faculty and student members of the search committee,” Hanson said. “They work hard and take their responsibility seriously.”

Hanson said faculty started meeting last summer to determine the position for a new director of communication studies.

“I hope we will be able to attract a person with the vision, experience and personality to help the students and faculty of the School of Communication Studies reach their highest potential,” Hanson said.

The interested applicants have to fill out the application online and wait for confirmation of an interview by phone. Once a phone interview is successful, the committee reviews the applicants again until they can get the applicants narrowed down to six or seven people. Then the committee brings those applicants in for a conference with Dean Reynolds, along with the rest of the faculty.

The committee is made up of faculty who either volunteered to serve or who were selected by their faculty colleagues to serve. Faculty also nominated the student who serves on the committee.

The graduate student on the committee is Shawn Starcher. He has been a part of the committee since he was asked by the previous director, Paul Haridakis, to join it right before fall semester started. 

“It’s an honor to be chosen to be on this committee,” Starcher said. “I hope to see someone with good leadership qualities that cares about the direction of the school and its students.”

In terms of interaction between the students and the new director of communication studies, Starcher said his hope is to see the new director be open and honest. He also hopes students will be allowed to discuss their opinions with the new director.

Starcher said his job as the graduate student of the committee includes, “making sure the student perspective is heard in both the undergraduate and graduate aspect of the school.”

Starcher said the best part about being chosen to be on the committee is to be able to gain the experience of interacting with the faculty members.

“We believe it’s important for students to have a voice in the process,” Reynolds said. “We value student input.”

Suzy D’Enbeau, another faculty member involved in the committee, shared her thoughts and hopes for the new director.

“It takes a lot of work to start and complete the search for a new director,” D’Enbeau said. “It’s an important position, so we’re happy to put in the time to find a new director. The School of Communication and Information prides itself with high expectations with the search.”

Reynolds said her hope for the new director is that he or she will work collaboratively with the faculty, staff and students in the school to continue to advance the national standing of the program.

“It’s a really terrific academic program now and I see this as an opportunity for a candidate to build on that,” Reynolds said. “I also hope that the faculty and the new director continue to explore ways to grow specific programs like global communication.”

The search committee will select three finalists for the position to visit campus. They will conduct interviews with each finalist and hope to have the position filled by July 1, 2016.

“Once the committee selects three finalists, I will be a part of the campus interview process,” Reynolds said. “The search committee will make a recommendation to me for hiring and I make the final decision of whom to hire.”

Alex Wohler is the CCI reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].