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UNC-CH School Of Journalism Dean Susan King To Step Down At End Of Year

Photo courtesy of Johnny Andrews
UNC-Chapel Hill

The dean of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC-Chapel Hill is stepping down at the end of the new school year.

Susan King, UNC's John Thomas Kerr distinguished professor, has served as dean since January of 2012. In a newsletter, she said she never planned on being a dean for more than a decade.

"I believe after 10 years a new dean will bring fresh eyes, additional perspective and new energy to our school," wrote King.

In the letter, King said the search for a new dean will begin this week and that she will stay in her position until her replacement is secured. She plans on returning to the school as a tenured faculty member after a leave of absence.

UNC-CH Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Robert Blouin outlined King's legacy in a message to the UNC community. They highlighted King's "emphasis on creating experiential learning opportunities for students, increasing faculty support and upgrading facilities to reflect media innovation."

During her time as dean, the journalism school established the campus's Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life, and the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media which aims to help existing and start-up news organizations through research and development of digital tools. She also supported the creation of UNC-CH's education technology-focused Curtis Media Center, which is still under construction.

King helped attract the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting from Harvard University to UNC-Chapel Hill in 2019. That group works to increase and retain reporters and editors of color in investigative reporting. She also actively recruited Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, one of the co-founders of the Ida B. Well Society, to join the faculty of the journalism school. UNC-CH trustees delayed a vote on Hannah-Jones' tenure application for months before ultimately voting in favor. The delays sparked protests and numerous statements of support from students, alumni and faculty. King said she was "disappointed" when Hannah-Jones decided not to accept the position.

In 2020, King was named the 2019 Scripps Howard Administrator of the Year by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. She helped co-found the International Women’s Media Foundation, and garnered the Lifetime Achievement Award from that group.

WUNC's Liz Schlemmer contributed to this report.

Editor's Note: Susan King is a member of WUNC’s Board of Directors, which is appointed by the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees. WUNC maintains editorial independence in all news coverage, including stories involving UNC.

Laura Pellicer is a digital reporter with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team.
Naomi Prioleau joined WUNC in January 2017.
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