Friday, April 18, 2014

Grady College Structure

Here's the lede: Grady College faculty voted 49-7 to move Digital and Broadcast Journalism, presently in the Department of Telecommunications, into the Department of Journalism.

In other words we'll still have three departments. They are:
  • Advertising and Public Relations
  • Journalism
  • Media Studies (Arts)
Lemme be clear, the names of those last two may change. We have a department focused thematically on persuasion (Ad/PR), one focused on news, and one focused on media studies and entertainment and critical cultural approaches. That latter department, Media Studies (or whatever it'll be named) will be where we expect growth in the coming years.

Also -- important. This will take a year or two to go into effect. Nothing happens fast in a university.

The meeting took 1 hour and 18 minutes from the initial motion to the final secret ballot vote. Why secret ballot? To protect junior faculty from some of our, ahem, less-than-sane senior faculty who might hold a grudge in how they vote. For those of you not in academe, just trust me that this is important. Some of our senior faculty are a taco short of a combination platter.

It was an interesting debate. For example, we had a what I can only describe as a poison pill amendment to stop the initial motion for the "three-department solution." We had a 10-minute lecture from behind a lectern (hint, it's never a good idea to lecture your peers, unless of course you don't see them as your peers). We had good, honest debate from both sides, some damn good points made for and against the proposal. Indeed, in a smaller department meeting earlier in the week the arguments against this change were far more persuasive, but somehow in a large room they were not persuasive in the least (hence the vote total). And we got lost in a maze of Roberts Rules of Order. In other words, this is what ya get when you pile a bunch of PhDs in a room.

I could write more. I could name names. Hell, I even have a legal pad full of quotes because, dammit, real journalism people never stop thinking like journalism people. But it's done. There's a lot of hard work that we face on curriculum, and my position is this is one of those rare opportunities when we can blow up the curriculum, the classes, and start from scratch to teach kids what they need to know for tomorrow's jobs, not last year's jobs.

And now, back to my bottle of celebratory bourbon.

No comments: