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.

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

More than a year after Texas Student Media moved under the domain of the Moody College of Communication, the organization is projected to profit in its first quarter.

TSM, which manages five student-produced media properties — Cactus Yearbook, Texas Travesty, Texas Student TV, KVRX 91.7 FM and The Daily Texan — has been under severe financial constraints for the last several years.

In a TSM board meeting Friday, director Gerald Johnson said TSM will receive an allocation of up to $250,000 annually from President William Powers, Jr.'s office to help cover anticipated budget deficits in the next three years.

Johnson also announced that utility costs for the William Randolph Hearst building, which houses TSM, are now covered by the Moody College. This will save Texas Student Media an estimated $70,000 annually.

“This is fantastic news,” board president Mary Dunn said. “This is exactly the kind of information we’ve been hoping and begging for.”

Additionally, TSM will eventually begin receiving 4.5 percent interest from $1 million endowment earmarked by Moody dean Roderick Hart. The endowment is part of a $50 million donation to the college from the Moody Foundation.

“Having that endowment creates a vehicle for which other people can contribute, and there’s an establishment down the road, that if we find other donors, we can ask them to enhance the endowment,” Johnson said. “And over time, it could potentially grow to the point where it’s providing a substantial portion of the support we need.”

Stan Richards talks to supporters Tuesday afternoon after an event celebrating the renaming of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations in his honor.

Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

A crowd filled the auditorium in the Belo Center for New Media on Tuesday in celebration of the new Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations.

“This is the greatest honor of my life,” said Stan Richards, founder of the advertising agency The Richards Group. “We have a new school just waiting to propel advertising to new heights.”  

The school, previously known as the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, changed its name in early September after a $10 million fundraising campaign. The school will continue to be housed under the Moody College of Communication.

“The department was already one of the top advertising schools in the country,” said Nick Hundley, Moody College director of communications. “This will only elevate it more.”

Student volunteers from the school wore shirts, printed with an imitation of Stan Richards’ notorious glasses, to commemorate the event. Richards received a commemorative picture of the naming of the school.

Moody College Dean Roderick Hart said the event came together almost effortlessly. 

“The fact that we’re able to name the department within the college is a big deal,” Hart said.

Noting that the department has always had the “most exalted” reputation, Hart said The Richards Group has long been a friend of the college. 

“Students from here go on to work in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and other places,” Hart said. “The funds we raised will help us remain on the cutting edge of faculty and students.” 

Public relations senior Hugo Rojo said he couldn’t wait to see what new opportunities would become available through the school as a result of the increased support.

“A lot of the best students who graduate from the department go on to work for The Richards Group,” Rojo said. “Richards has always supported the college.”

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.