4 named journalism and mass communications dean finalists
Candidate interviews begin Nov. 25
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has announced four finalists for the College of Journalism and Mass Communications dean position. Selected through a national search, the candidates will visit campus between Nov. 25 and Dec. 13.
The candidates will participate in multiple-day interviews and a public presentation that begins at 3 p.m.
The finalists, listed by public presentation date, are:
Nov. 26 — Joseph Blaney, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of communication, Illinois State University;
Dec. 6 — Amy Struthers, interim dean and professor of advertising in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Nebraska–Lincoln;
Dec. 10 — Shari Veil, associate dean for undergraduate affairs in the College of Communication and Information and chair and professor in the Department of Communication, University of Kentucky; and
Dec. 13 — Raymond “Bernie” Ankney, chair and professor of journalism and mass communication and interim chair of communication studies, Samford University.
Additional candidate information, including curriculum vitae and links to online feedback, is available on the College of Journalism and Mass Communications dean search website.
The dean is the chief academic and administrative officer of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications and reports directly to the executive vice chancellor. The dean will work with fellow deans and campus leaders in collaboration, support and commitment to the university. The dean will also engage with the college leadership team and be responsible for the strategic, programmatic, financial, fundraising, and management operations that support the mission and vision of the college and its role within the university and state.
Additional details about each candidate, interview dates and public presentation information are below.
Interview dates: Nov. 25-26
Public presentation: 3 p.m., Nov. 26 | Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center, Ubuntu Room 202
Blaney is associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of communication at Illinois State University, his professional home for the last 20 years.
A noted expert on image repair across many contexts, he has written and edited seven scholarly volumes and published dozens of peer-review¬ed articles and chapters. His teaching interests include political communication, crisis communication, image restoration, campaigns, and media culture.
Blaney was editor-in-chief of the Broadcast Education Association’s Journal of Radio and Audio Media where he expanded the publication’s focus from traditional radio studies to emerging forms of audio scholarship. He has served on BEA’s Board of Directors and Publications Committee, the Illinois Broadcasters Association Board of Directors, and has chaired several divisions and interest groups within academic associations.
Blaney’s academic career has been marked by an uncommon mingling between the traditional teacher-scholar model and professional practice, achieving both traditional publications and earning peer-reviewed awards for reporting and creative media works all while a tenured faculty member. He has cultivated a strong reputation as a scholar who remains industry-relevant.
Prior to entering academia, Blaney worked as an on-air talent, production director, promotions director, and program director at radio stations in Chicago, suburban Chicago, New Bedford, Boston, and St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Loyola University Chicago and a Master of Arts from Saint Louis University in communication and media studies. His doctorate in communication and public image repair is from the University of Missouri.
Interview dates: Dec. 5-6
Public presentation: 3 p.m., Dec. 6 | Nebraska Union, Swanson Auditorium
Struthers is interim dean and professor of advertising in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She leads a team of 34 faculty and 12 staff in developing and launching a cohesive core curriculum that integrates four majors and more than 1,000 undergraduate students in a holistic approach to media and communications education. She oversees academic planning, the recruiting and retaining of a diverse and inclusive work force and student body, and is responsible for a budget of almost $6 million.
Previously, she served as graduate chair, significantly increasing enrollments in the professional online master’s program and adding graduate assistantships through industry partnerships and donor relations. She is also the faculty founder of the university's student-run ad agency Jacht Ad Lab.
Struthers' research agenda includes work in public health messaging, particularly to teen audiences. She partnered with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services on a collaborative project funded by the Centers for Disease Control to develop, implement and evaluate a program targeting issues of teen obesity and wellness, which resulted in multiple presentations at peer-reviewed conferences and co-authored, peer-reviewed journal articles.
She was also part of two interdisciplinary teams of researchers working on a $1.2 million National Institutes of Health Science Education Partnership Award and the Omaha Science Media Project worth $1.8 million.
Struthers has received many honors for her dedication to teaching and students, including the university’s College Award for Distinguished Teaching; nine Parents’ Recognition Awards; the college's Outstanding Faculty Service Award; and the American Advertising Federation's Most Promising Multicultural Student Nominator Award.
Prior to academia, Struthers was a marketing professional for 15 years. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in French, English, and comparative literature, her Master of Arts in French language and literature, and doctorate in educational studies from Nebraska.
Interview dates: Dec. 9-10
Public presentation: 3 p.m., Dec. 10 | Nebraska Union, Swanson Auditorium
Veil is associate dean for undergraduate affairs in the College of Communication and Information and chair and professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Kentucky. She oversees the recruitment, advisement, and retention of over 1,900 undergraduate students in five majors, four minors, and two undergraduate certificates and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in risk and crisis, organizational, and mass communication.
Veil formerly served as the director of the Risk and Disaster Communication Center coordinating research, funding, graduate education, and training programs specific to risk and crisis communication. Her academic program development and research on organizational learning in high-risk environments, community preparedness, and communication strategies for crisis management has been supported by over $1.9 million in grants and contracts and resulted in over 80 scholarly publications.
Veil is research chair of the National Communication Association Public Relations Division and a member of the Arthur W. Page Society. She serves locally on her Community Emergency Response Team and Emergency Planning Committee.
Before entering academia, she spent eight years in the profession. She earned her Bachelor of Science in communication with a concentration in public relations and a minor in business administration and a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing from the University of Mary in North Dakota. Her doctorate in communication with a research focus on risk and crisis communication is from North Dakota State University.
Raymond “Bernie” Ankney
Interview dates: Dec. 12-13
Public presentation: 3 p.m., Dec. 13 | Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center, Ubuntu Room 202
Ankney was chair and professor of journalism and mass communication and interim chair of communication studies at Samford University. He developed many collaborations and critical strategic initiatives for the campus, including a five-year JMC-MBA program, a six-year JMC-JD program, and interdisciplinary sports-media and film-production minors.
Ankney also chaired the president’s task force on enrollment that developed proposals to generate millions in new revenue by restructuring schools and overhauling academic programs.
In 2018, College Factual ranked Samford JMC the university’s highest rated major and the 35rd best journalism program in the country.
Previously, Ankney served as program director at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and as head of news-editorial at Temple University. At Temple, he developed ways to bring the department back into compliance with ACEJMC standards.
A former small business owner, Ankney focuses on bringing entrepreneurship and innovation to higher education through development, curriculum, student recruitment, student retention, diversity initiatives, and assessment. His scholarly work focuses on health-science journalism and public relations.
He has published and co-authored 20 papers in peer-reviewed journals and presented 39 conference papers. His dissertation, "The Influence of Communication Technologies on Political Participation and Social Interactions," was published as a refereed book.
Ankney received his Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in political science from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Arts in public communication studies from Syracuse University. His doctorate in mass communication is from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.