SOJC welcomes Pat Curtin as its new associate dean for undergraduate affairs

Story by Andra Brichacek

Photo by Emma Oravecz

The UO School of Journalism and Communication’s search for a new associate dean for undergraduate affairs came to a successful conclusion last week. Pat Curtin, the SOJC’s Endowed Chair for Public Relations, has accepted the position and will take on her new role at the beginning of winter term.

“Pat’s expertise in SOJC undergraduate programs, assessment and accreditation gave her a strong edge in the search,” said Edwin L. Artzt Dean Juan-Carlos Molleda. “Assessment is becoming central in higher education, and as we head into our accreditation cycle, these strengths will be an asset to the SOJC. Her dedication to student success, both academically and professionally, will serve the SOJC community as the evolving marketplace requires a systematic review of our curriculum.”

Curtin has been the SOJC’s assessment director since 2014 and has served as a trained member of site teams for the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. She hopes to increase efficiencies across the school, in keeping with the UO’s overall strategic plan, by combining her current assessment director position with her new associate dean role to prepare the SOJC for its ACEJMC accreditation review in 2017-18.

“We’ve built a strong reputation around ethics, innovation and action,” Curtin said. “My challenge is to help ensure our curriculum is at the forefront of a rapidly changing industry and our students graduate prepared to be the next generation of creative and critical thought leaders in journalism and communication.”

Curtin takes over associate dean responsibilities from Professor Tom Bivins, who stepped in as interim associate dean for undergraduate affairs in 2015.

“I’d like to thank Professor Bivins for his service to the school as interim associate dean for the past year and a half,” said Molleda. “I’d also like to thank the search committee for their work coordinating this search and providing valuable feedback.”

According to Curtin, another top priority she’ll tackle as associate dean is aligning the SOJC to the UO’s strategic goals of increasing the access, retention and success of a highly qualified, diverse student body, faculty and staff.

“I’m delighted to be a part of the wonderfully diverse SOJC community,” Curtin said. “And I’m committed to continuing to provide an inclusive space that nurtures and respects multiple perspectives and provides the foundation for putting those perspectives into stories with far-reaching impact.”

Curtin came to the University of Oregon in 2006 from the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill School of Media and Journalism, where she taught undergraduate public relations and mass communication courses for 10 years while helping to administer one of the nation’s top graduate programs. During her time at the SOJC, she directed the public relations sequence for seven years and served on a university committee that established the cross-disciplinary Sustainable Cities Initiative, which gives SOJC students experiential-learning opportunities around the state. She has also held a number of leadership positions in the school and across the university, including acting as chair of several graduate committees.

Curtin plans to tap her university-wide connections to help the SOJC and its faculty build cross-campus collaborations that will maximize its impact as a center of excellence. “I’m excited to build additional networking opportunities to harness the power of storytelling across the university,” she said. “Take, for example, the new Knight Campus. Communication plays a crucial role in scientific endeavors. You can’t have an impact, you can’t have a solution, if you don’t communicate.”

Now that Curtin has joined the SOJC’s leadership team, the school is turning its full attention to its search for an associate dean for graduate affairs and research. Applications for that position close on Jan. 2, 2017.

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.

Emma Oravecz is an applied folklorist working as the SOJC’s events manager. She is also a documentary filmmaker and the owner of the photography company Hixie & Co.