The University announced Monday that Jay Bernhardt has been appointed the new dean of the Moody College of Communication.
Bernhardt has served as the interim dean to the college since Sept. 1 and was the founding director of the Moody College’s Center for Health Communication in 2014.
Previously, Bernhardt was the director of the National Center for Health Marketing at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has worked at the University of Florida, Emory University and the University of Georgia.
“We have one of the best communications schools in the country and one of the most comprehensive and innovate colleges,” Bernhardt said. “The opportunity to lead us into the future was an exciting chance I didn’t want to pass up.”
Bernhardt said he hopes to focus on students and increase their involvement in the college.
“I’m a big proponent of student leadership and student engagement,” Bernhardt said. “I served as a leader in Student Government as a student myself and found the experience to be really valuable. I want to create more opportunities for students to get themselves heard.”
Maya Garcia, political communication and government senior and Communication Council president, said Bernhardt’s willingness to work with students makes him a good fit for the college.
“I love that he wants to bring the college together,” Garcia said. “Every fall we put on ‘Cookies for Comments,’ and he has been the first person to actually want copies of students’ opinions. It shows that he is willing to go the extra mile to improve our experience here on the 40 Acres.”
Bernhardt stated that though Moody is strong in many areas, there is always room for improvement.
“The most important thing we must make sure to have is the best people as part of our college, the best teachers, mentors and scholars,” Bernhardt said. “When we have opportunities to hire, I will work very closely to bring in the best people and support and reward talented people.”
Elizabeth Glowacki, a communication studies graduate student who served on Moody College’s Search Committee, said Bernhardt’s prior experiences will aid him during his tenure as dean.
“He truly believes in the college’s mission and is dedicated to strengthening the already solid foundation that the college has,” Glowacki said. “His background in academia and professional experience provide him with a unique perspective, as well as an ability to appreciate all of the different departments within the college.”