Moody College

After a months-long search for a new dean of the Moody College of Communication yielded no results, UT Provost and President-elect Gregory Fenves named Jay Bernhardt as interim dean Thursday. 

Bernhardt is currently a professor in the Department of Communication Studies and the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations. He helped launch the Center for Health Communication and serves as its director. Bernhardt will begin his position as interim dean on Sept. 1. 

Bernhardt said although he has been at UT for about a year, he is impressed with the talent of the students and faculty at the Moody College.

 “As interim dean, I plan to use my academic, government, and industry experience to make sure that Moody College continues on the path of excellence and leadership in all aspects of our teaching, research, practice, and production,” Bernhardt said in an email. 

The dean search committee initially brought three finalists to campus to interview for the position and also planned on interviewing a fourth candidate. According to an email Fenves sent in March, the fourth candidate, whose name administrators declined to provide, dropped from the search process. Fenves announced last week that he would continue the search for a permanent Moody dean. 

Barry Brummett, co-chair of the dean search committee and communication studies professor, said the provost made the ultimate decision to continue the search.  

 “The considerations for the new dean continue to be what they were — that we want the best candidate in the country,” Brummett said. “We are actively recruiting applications.”    

Bernhardt will temporarily replace current Moody Dean Roderick Hart, who has spent more than 10 years in the position. Hart announced his resignation in August 2014 and will step down from his position in May.

Hart said he was influential in recruiting Bernhardt from his position of chair of the Department of Health Education and Behavior at the University of Florida.

“This is someone I have great, great regard for,” Hart said. “I’m glad we were able to get someone of his caliber.”

Bernhardt said he was honored the provost selected him to be interim dean and said he is going to work to that standard.

“My main goal is to be a great listener and spend time with people at every level and from every unit throughout the college and do what I can to help them to be successful in their work and their studies,” Bernhardt said.  

Fenves said the search committee will continue looking for a new dean of the Moody College during Bernhardt’s term.

Editor's Note: Jan Ross Piedad, the Moody College of Communication candidate, has written the following column on a topic of the her choosing relating to her campaign. She agreed to forgo print space.

In a recent job interview, I was asked to describe myself in three words. At the time, it felt like a moment of cosmic karma. I had asked the same confusing, oddly personal query to my fellow colleagues about a year ago while working at the University Interscholastic League, featuring students assistants across all departments and backgrounds. Thoughtful expressions and a brainstorming session tended to follow, but I didn’t have the same luxury when put on the spot this time. Here’s where I eventually arrived: hardworking, flexible and visionary.

This season of campus-wide elections, I am on the ballot to represent the Moody College of Communication on the Texas Student Media Board of Operation Trustees and it is my heartfelt belief that the same qualities will embolden success for the position. As a third-year journalism major, student life isn’t just about assessments and the next student organization meeting, there’s stories and group projects too. It’s a personal truth that I work much harder and better when the effort is for a group, when the product is a direct reflection of more than just me.

Whether it stands for three people, five TSM properties, all of the University and beyond, I will commit to benefit the many. My flexibility in what I am able to do as a multimedia journalist, as well what I am willing to do as a leader, are assets to the responsibility of representing the diverse departments of the Moody College. Visionary is less of a prophecy but more of a purpose. Last summer, I was the sole student representing the University at the Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change, a three week seminar with students, professors and media professionals belonging to all parts of the world. From the experience, I grew to appreciate the gift of education and an understanding for media literacy: the practice of analyzing, evaluating and creating messages through an assortment of mediums for a critical and culturally competent outcome. Media literacy is lifelong discipline and I believe the practice is where the future of these media entities can be.

My greatest connections to TSM are my two semesters on The Daily Texan editorial staff and three years volunteering for Texas Student Television. Now working primarily on social media for Good Morning Texas, I see the potential we have to connect as a community. There’s a need to recognize that yes, we do have a radio station, TV studio and satirical publication working right here on campus. And you can join as well. Promotional efforts are one a few things I will work to address during my term, along with greater interconnectedness between the five entities and appeals for updated equipment. Because yes, I work with those cameras, soundboards and computers too.

Service is at the center of my values and it is my deepest hope that I could be of help to a greater cause. In the past few years, I have been involved with a variety non-profit organizations for a range of purposes, from college scholarships to child advocacy to hosting globally-focused events. One similarity between all these efforts is effective communication, and everyone needs a little more of that in our lives. The special thing about TSM properties is the long-standing tradition of student expression across print, radio and television, documenting the UT Austin community daily. It is important to uphold this legacy to create a more inclusive, creative campus through TSM properties: The Texas Travesty, Cactus Yearbook, KVRX, Texas Student Television, and The Daily Texan.

International relations junior Sarah Wilson studies at the Flawn Academic Center on Monday afternoon. Student Government representatives have proposed extended hours for both the Flawn Academic Center and the Belo Center for New Media.

Photo Credit: Ethan Oblak | Daily Texan Staff

Students looking for late-night study spots when the Perry-Castañeda Library is packed may be in luck. Student Government representatives proposed two resolutions requesting more late-night study options on campus.

The first resolution calls for extended hours at the Belo Center for New Media. The Moody College of Communication building located on the corner of Dean Keeton and Guadalupe streets is currently open until 11 p.m. If the resolution is implemented in the building, it may be open until 2 a.m. all week.

The second proposed resolution is in support of opening the Flawn Academic Center on a 24/7 basis. This semester, the FAC is open until midnight on weekdays until finals week, when it becomes open for 24 hours.

The recent proposals do not mark the first time SG has worked to open a building on a 24-hour basis. In 2012, an SG resolution led to the PCL opening for 24 hours, five days a week. The PCL has continued to operate with a 24/5 schedule beginning around the midway point of each fall and spring semester.

“Gate counts definitely rose after the institution of 24/5; in 2011 (prior to 24/5) we had 1.67 million visits to the PCL, and that number was over 1.71 million last year,” UT Libraries spokesman Travis Willmann said in an email. 

Currently, other late-night study spaces on campus include: the Texas Union, open until 3 a.m.; the Student Activity Center, open until 3 a.m.; and the PCL, which is open until 2 a.m. On Oct. 12, the PCL will begin operating on its 24/5 schedule.

Ruben Cardenas, Moody College of Communication representative for SG, said the Belo Center for New Media would be an added convenience for students who live far from the PCL.

“We thought this is an area close to West Campus, close to the dorms, that students utilize,” Cardenas said.

The FAC would serve the same purpose, according to SG President Kori Rady.

“There’s always a need for more collaborative study space on campus,” Rady said. ”The PCL is often filled to the brim, and this gives students another place to go.”

Rady said the proposal for extended hours at Belo is still in the beginning stages, but Roderick Hart, dean of the Moody College of Communication, agreed to look over the plan and discuss it with college officials.

He said he hopes to implement the 24-hour FAC plan within the current school year.

“It’s simply just a funding issue,” Rady said. “They have every capability of doing it 24/7 FAC. We just need more money.”

The cost for extending the FAC hours is $81,790, according to Rady. Taral Patel, author of the resolution and University-wide representative, said SG representatives working on the proposal are seeking funding from the Student Services Budget Committee and the President Student Advisory Committee.  

According to Willmann, the 24/5 PCL schedule is funded by University Athletics. He said it costs more than $40,000 to keep the building operating with its current schedule.

Rady said security measures have not been fully explored at Belo since the plan is still in the works, but, at the FAC, there are options for student security guards, a hired security guard or UTPD patrol in the surrounding area — the current security method during the 24-hour schedule for finals week.

“We need consistent 24-hour places to work,” Patel said. “I understand the PCL does this during midterms and during finals, but people have plenty of tests scattered in between year round.”

Roderick Hart, dean of the Moody College of Communication, announced Monday that he will resign from his post in May 2015. Hart has served as dean for 10 years and will return to teach at the university after a year of writing and researching.

Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

After a decade of administrative service, Roderick Hart, Moody College of Communication dean, announced that he will resign from his post in May 2015, in an email sent to faculty Monday.

Hart said after he completes his tenure as dean, he would most likely spend a year researching and writing before returning to teach at the University.

“I think it’s time for me personally,” Hart said. “I have not been able to teach as much [as dean], and I love teaching.”

Stephen Reese, associate dean of academic affairs at Moody, said serving 10 years in an administrative position is a lot for any dean.

“We’re thankful to have gotten him for more than one [year],” Reese said. “It’s a lot of pressure. It’s a lot of difficult decisions to make. He’s probably been our most successful dean to date.”

Hart has worked at the University since 1979, after serving as a professor at Purdue University for nine years.

During Hart’s tenure as dean, The Moody Foundation donated $50 million to the college in 2013, placing its name on the college. In Hart’s email that announced his resignation, he listed the opening of the Belo Center for New Media in 2012 and the college launching UT3D, the nation’s first comprehensive 3-D production program, as other highlights during his deanship.

After Texas Student Media moved from the Division of Student Affairs to the communication college in the spring, Hart worked to keep The Daily Texan on its five-day-a-week print schedule by requesting transitional funding from President William Powers Jr. to prevent TSM bankruptcy.

Hart said when he took the position of dean of the College of Communication in 2005, the college was lacking in discretionary income to create new programs and construct a new building to provide enough space for the large amount of communication students.

“I set my mind on trying to raise money for a new building, which we were able to do, and to refurbish the Jesse Jones Complex,” Hart said. “It’s just really satisfying that we were able to get all that work done.”

In a joint statement, Powers and Gregory Fenves, executive vice president and provost, said Hart will go down in the college’s history as a pivotal leader and as a favorite with students, faculty, staff and alumni.

“[Hart] has been not only a steady hand in a time of rapidly changing media environments and economic challenge but an active leader who has transformed the college for the better,” Powers and Fenves said.

Hart said he plans to spend his last year as dean teaching a communication and government course, “Voices of Citizenship,” in the fall and continuing to raise money for new programs, such as the Texas Program in Sports and Media and the new Center for Health Communication.

“They’ve gotten started, but they still need more help in raising the sails,” Hart said.

Hart also said he intends to take up men’s basketball head coach Rick Barnes on an offer made 10 years ago, when Barnes personally invited Hart to play point guard in a Longhorns basketball game. Barnes issued the invitation after Hart announced that the only thing that would make him happier than being dean was playing for the University’s basketball team.

“In spite of your lack of speed and agility, we believe you still possess qualities that may be an asset to us,” Barnes wrote to Hart in 2005. “Our players have a lot of pride in what they do, and we are confident that your presence on the team will increase that spirit and energy.”

In an interview with the Texan, Fenves said the University will start looking for the Moody college’s new dean in the next month. According to Fenves, the University will establish a search committee of faculty, staff, alumni, students and members of the UT community to conduct the search.

“It’s an exciting time in communications and [for] so many successful programs,” Fenves said. “I know we’ll be able to identify a great leader for the school.”

This story has been updated since its original publication.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

New story: Texas Student Media and its entities, including The Daily Texan, are being moved under the domain of the Moody College of Communication, though many questions about the implications of the move remain unanswered.

TSM, the umbrella organization that manages a number of student-produced media properties, including Cactus Yearbook, Texas Travesty, Texas Student TV, KVRX 91.7 FM and The Daily Texan, is currently housed under the Division of Student Affairs and has been under severe financial constraints for the last several years.

Roderick Hart, dean of the Moody college, said he agreed to assume oversight of TSM after President William Powers Jr. asked him personally to do so. Hart said he does not have extensive background knowledge about current TSM operations.

“All I can say is the president called me over to his office. That was it,” Hart said. “I don’t know anything about the TSM Board, or what its procedures are.”

Powers, who is currently in Washington, D.C. for a White House conference on higher-education access for low-income students, was unavailable for comment. 

Although Hart and Gage Paine, vice president of student affairs, attended a TSM board meeting in September to solicit feedback about a potential move to the college, no decisions were made at the meeting, and multiple members of the TSM Board, including board President Dave Player, said they had not been made aware of any part of the negotiation process.

“No one ever contacted me about it from the administration, or from the [Moody college],” Player said. “This is how much they value student input: not at all.”

Player said he was concerned about the lack of detail provided to board members about the implications of the move.

“We want to make sure we preserve the autonomy of the paper,” Player said. “We put a high value on being a student-run publication with student managers — student content decided by students — and we want to make sure that’s preserved.”

Cliff Avery, president of Friends of the Texan, a recently formed alumni group, said his organization was also unaware a decision had been made.

Robert Quigley, journalism senior lecturer and member of the TSM Board, said he was optimistic about the move.

“I want to see [TSM] survive, and I think this is an important step in making that happen,” Quigley said. “I’m under the assumption that the trust will remain relatively intact, that we’ll still have a board and a director and all that. I don’t want to say for sure that one thing’s going to happen over another.”

University spokesman Gary Susswein said Powers is aware there are unanswered questions.

“In terms of finances, and some of the financial questions that have been raised, that still has to be worked out,” Susswein said. “We want UT to be able to maintain the Texan as a strong, independent student newspaper.”

Hart said it was important to recognize the ongoing nature of the situation and the uncertain state of TSM finances. Currently, TSM is without a director, as former director Jalah Goette announced her resignation in December. The University has yet to appoint someone in the interim.

“I really don’t have anybody in my thoughts [to oversee operations] . . . There are just a lot of unknowns,” Hart said. “The president and I both agreed that we have to have a functioning fundraising operation, and that’ll be really helpful. It’s not going to help in the short term, but, in the long term, philanthropy can hopefully become part of the solution for [TSM] . . . It’s something I haven’t really had a chance to get my teeth into. It’s in a very sort of still-working-it-out stage.”

Hart said that, although he had reservations about the move initially, he felt strongly about the work TSM entities do.

“This is not something I lusted for, but I’m a real fan of [TSM], in all its pieces and parts,” Hart said. “If I can be helpful in the process, I will do so. That’s what I told the president. I don’t have any great expertise to bring to it at this moment.” 

Additional reporting by Julia Brouillette, Nicole Cobler, Alyssa Mahoney and Madlin Mekelburg

Original story: Texas Student Media and its properties, including The Daily Texan, are being moved under the domain of the Moody College of Communication, multiple sources inside the college confirmed Wednesday.

TSM is the umbrella organization that manages a number of student-produced media properties, including Cactus Yearbook, The Daily Texan, Texas Travesty, Texas Student TV and KVRX 91.7 FM. It is currently housed under the Division of Student Affairs.

The University planned to announce the move on Friday, so sources including administrators and faculty members were unable to confirm the move on the record. Roderick Hart, dean of the Moody College, is travelling and did not return multiple requests for comment.

Though Hart and Gage Paine, vice president of student affairs, attended a TSM board meeting in September to solicit feedback about a potential move to the College, no decision was made about moving forward. Multiple members of the TSM board, including TSM board president Dave Player, said they were not informed that negotiations were ongoing, or that a decision was made.

Player said he was taken aback by the decision.

“No one ever contacted me about it from the administration, or from the communication school,” Player said. “This is how much they value student input: not at all.”

Player said he was concerned about the lack of detail provided to board members about the implications of the move.

“We want to make sure we preserve the autonomy of the paper,” Player said. “We put a high value on being a student-run publication with student managers, student content decided by students, and we want to make sure that’s preserved.”

Cliff Avery, president of Friends of the Texan, a recently formed alumni group, said his organization was also unaware a decision had been made.

“In fact, we had a board meeting, a conference call, scheduled for the 24th [of January] to see how we wanted to weigh in on this discussion,” Avery said.

Robert Quigley, journalism senior lecturer and member of the TSM Board, said he was optimistic about the move.

“I want to see [TSM] survive, and I think this is an important step in making that happen,” Quigley said. “I’m under the assumption that the trust will remain relatively intact, that we’ll still have a board and a director and all that. I don’t want to say for sure that one thing’s going to happen over another.”

While an interest in moving to the Moody College has arisen in recent years, TSM’s dire financial circumstances ramped up discussions starting in September. Additionally, TSM director Jalah Goette announced in December that she will be stepping down from her role.

“The communications school has more development officers than the vice president of student affairs had ... the [College] has a team, they’re good at what they do,” Quigley said. “They know how to bring in money.”

Clarification: Dave Player's quote referencing the administration's concern for the students has been clarified since the original publication of this story.