4 Finalists for FAMU J-Dean

Four candidates seeking to become the next dean of the School ofJournalism and Graphic Communication at Florida A&M Universityare to be interviewed the week of April 5: James Hawkins, interimdean of the school; Laurence Alexander, journalism professor at theUniversity of Florida; Jabari Simama, executive director of theOffice of Community Technology in Atlanta; and Jim Jennings,editorial consultant.

The candidate selected succeeds RobertRuggles, the founding dean of the school who announced hisretirement on Sept. 19, expressing frustrations and concerns abouta possible $4.2 million deficit in funding the new building, aswell as lack of support from university officials.

On April 1, Chanta M. Haywood, dean of theSchool of Graduate Studies and the search committee chair, outlinedfor more than 100 students and faculty their roles in interviewingthe candidates.

Students and faculty will be able to submitquestions they want asked of the candidates, which will be asked bythe search committee. Follow-up questions are to be allowed duringeach candidate’s individual interview.

“We have been very committed to makingsure that we find the best candidate,” she said. “We wantstudents to be involved in the process, but responsibly,”Haywood said.

Bill Adams of the university’s Office of EqualOpportunity said inquiries about a candidate’s race or sex shouldnot be asked.

“We don’t want to give the appearancethat the reason why a person wasn’t selected was because of race orclass,” Adams said. “We want to make sure these questionsdo not infringe on their civil rights.”

Although the committee has yet to cap thenumber of questions, Haywood said they wouldn’t censor them,either.

“Your voice is important to us,” shesaid.

Originally, 14 candidates applied for thedean’s position. The list was narrowed to four based on theapplicant’s reference checks, ability to raise funds, teachingbackground and understanding of the different disciplines in theSchool of Journalism and Graphic Communication, Haywood said.

University Provost Larry Robinson also plansto interview each candidate.

After the search committee votes, it expectsto send three names to the provost. The position remains open untilRobinson names the new dean.

LaRae Donnellan, professor at the school andsearch committee member, said she wants whoever is selected to havea vision for the school.

“I hope we have someone who could help usas faculty in providing the best quality education to ourstudents,” she said.

Jacquelynn Hatter, 19, a freshman newspaperstudent from Atlanta, said, “I hope he will establishstability in the school. Hopefully, we can get our new buildingfinished so we can move into it.”

DeAnna Carpenter, a student at Florida A&MUniversity, writes for The Famuan. She can be reached atdeannalynette@hotmail.com.