Thursday, September 22, 2011

Northwestern Journalism Dean to Retire

Northwestern journalism dean John Lavine announced that he will retire at the end of the 2011-12 academic year, but it probably won't mark the end of a disastrous experiment in taking away faculty power and handing a journalism school over to a business manager. Lavine, who came from the School of Management in 2006, was immediately given near-total control over the school: “the university’s president and provost suspended formal faculty oversight and gave the new dean authority to overhaul the entire curriculum.” Lavine promised it was aimed to “create a guarantee for employers.” According to Robert Feder's account, “Faculty members who didn’t buy in to the new vision found themselves on their way out.” One of those faculty was David Protess, who retired last month under attack by Lavine, just a few years after Protess had publicly questioned whether Lavine invented a student quote praising the Northwestern program in a PR letter. Lavine's most lasting legacy might be providing Northwestern with the worst name change in the history of journalism schools: the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications.

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