Story by Andra Brichacek
Edwin L. Artzt Dean Juan-Carlos Molleda has been at the UO School of Journalism and Communication only since July, but he’s already set the wheels in motion on some big changes at the school, including starting a task force to build a new Experience Hub in Allen Hall, hiring Professor Pat Curtin as the new associate dean for undergraduate affairs, and launching a nationwide networking tour to meet SOJC alumni and expand the school’s donor base.
This type of accelerated trajectory is not unusual for Molleda. Before he came to the SOJC, the new dean spent 16 years advancing the Public Relations department at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. Now that school is recognizing his extensive contributions by granting him emeritus status.
“I never thought I would be a professor or a dean,” said Molleda, who worked for 10 years as a PR professional in his native Venezuela before moving to the United States to pursue a master’s degree and Ph.D. “But everything that happened to me at the University of Florida has completely changed my path in life and my profession. I will have this connection to the University of Florida forever. They were very good to me, and I was good to my institution. Because of that, I could take advantage of the opportunity to be dean here at the UO SOJC.”
Molleda joined the UF faculty as an assistant professor in 2000. In addition to teaching public relations courses, he served four years as chair of the PR department. During that time, he launched an online undergraduate program, an online master’s program in global strategic communication, and another online master’s that made university history as the first program offered in Spanish. He also introduced new courses to the curriculum, led the Public Relations Society of America certification process and raised the stature of his department’s Advisory Council.
“Dr. Molleda’s contributions during his 16-year tenure at UF were manifold,” said Diana McFarlin, dean of UF’s College of Journalism and Communications. “He was highly published and established an international record of distinction. He is the consummate scholar and leader, who was both respected and beloved by his UF colleagues.”
According to Molleda, the feeling is mutual.
“In academia, we are family,” he said. “This is a small world, and people know each other. And part of the unique experience we have in these institutions is the opportunity to make a difference in each other’s lives and in the lives of students. Now I feel I have even more responsibility to continue doing my job the best I can — to live up to my emeritus status, but also to help others continue developing themselves.”
Andra Brichacek is the SOJC Communication team’s writer and editor. She has nearly 20 years’ experience creating content for print and online media and has specialized in education since 2008. Follow her on Twitter @andramere.