Monday, October 8, 2007

Associate dean speaks on journalism at A&M

Many thanks to Associate Dean Pam Matthews, both for speaking to us at the FJSA reception and for kindly providing us with this summation of her address:

Remarks for FJSA Hall of Honor Induction Ceremony
Stark Galleries, Saturday, September 29, 2007
Pam Matthews

Thanks very much to all of you, and especially to Kelly Brown; it's an honor to be invited today. My name is Pam Matthews, and I am an associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts, a position I've held for over a year and a half now. As noted in today's program, my duties include interdisciplinary studies and also undergraduate and international programs. (I've been known to call myself "associate dean for things that just come up"!)

I'm also an English professor, and so I share your passion for words and for getting an expression just right. I've just been reading Barbara Ehrenreich's "Nickel and Dimed," too, and I'm reminded of journalism's power to affect social awareness. Thank you for what you do.

While Randy Sumpter enjoys a much-deserved faculty development leave, I have been keeping track of Journalism at Texas A&M University with the capable help of Natalie Holladay. Here are a few updates:

* The name has formally been changed to Journalism Studies, which reflects more accurately the shift toward media studies in journalism
* There are currently about 50 declared Journalism Studies minors, up from 35 at the end of the spring semester. Conversations about a major in Journalism Studies are on the horizon.
* There are approved by-laws for an interdisciplinary program and interdisciplinary faculty in place. This might seem like a rather uninteresting piece of news at first glance, but it makes possible a recognized Journalism Studies faculty whose formal responsibilities will include teaching JOUR courses.
* A new Liberal Arts Student Reporter project, just initiated this semester, provides paid journalism experience to selected students who develop everything from tip sheets to full stories about the College of Liberal Arts. The students' stories will have the potential for wider publication, we hope.
* Finally, a faculty search has begun for a joint appointment in Journalism Studies and Women's Studies. This will mean that we anticipate welcoming an assistant professor whose work bridges these two fields in fall 2009. The search is part of a new effort by the College of Liberal Arts to highlight interdisciplinary work, and Journalism Studies will contribute to the excitement already generated by these appointments.

I offer congratulations to those being honored today. Please feel free to contact me with questions, advice, or comments. Thank you very much.