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Paul Parsons named national Administrator of the Year

Paul Parsons, dean of the School of Communications, has been named the 2010 national Journalism and Mass Communication Administrator of the Year. The honor was announced March 18 by the Scripps Howard Foundation in conjunction with the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).

Paul Parsons accepted AEJMC’s national Equity & Diversity Award on behalf of Elon's School of Communications in October 2010.

Parsons will receive the Charles E. Scripps Award and a $10,000 prize at the AEJMC convention in St. Louis in August. Parsons plans to donate the $10,000 prize for need-based student scholarships in the School of Communications.

"This is an honor to be shared,” Parsons said. “In so many ways, outstanding faculty, staff and students make the dean.”

Parsons was nominated by the school’s faculty and staff in a letter that said, “In a time of significant professional and disciplinary change, Dr. Parsons has articulated a clear vision, implemented a progressive agenda and demonstrated a collaborative leadership style.”

Parsons came to Elon as founding dean of the School of Communications in 2001 following 10 years as a journalist with The Associated Press and United Press International, 14 years at Kansas State University as a professor and associate director, and a year each as a Fulbright Professor in China and visiting professor in Singapore.

Today, the School of Communications is home to 1,000 students majoring in Journalism, Strategic Communications, Media Arts & Entertainment, Communication Science and Sport & Event Management. The school also offers an M.A. in Interactive Media degree.

The nomination letter noted that, since Parsons came to Elon, the school has created the Imagining the Internet Center in partnership with the Pew Internet & American Life Project, established the Sunshine Center for the North Carolina Open Government Coalition and begun the nation’s only undergraduate research journal in communications. In addition, the school directs the Elon in Los Angeles and New York City summer programs.

Student media also are flourishing. The Pendulum student newspaper received a national Pacemaker Award for the first time in 2009, its online edition was named Best of Show in 2010, and the Broadcast Education Association named Elon’s student TV newscast Phoenix14News as the best in the nation three times in the past decade. The school also began Live Oak Communications as a student-run, full-service agency and produces an Elon sports show that airs on ESPN2 in the state.

In 2010, the school received AEJMC’s national Equity & Diversity Award for a robust commitment to faculty diversity, and the school has attracted a Communications Advisory Board of leading professionals, including “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams as national chair.

On the national level, Parsons is the current president of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication (ASJMC), the leadership group in the discipline. He serves on the AEJMC Board of Directors and regularly chairs accreditation site-visit teams.

The nomination letter concluded, “We believe that these and other accomplishments demonstrate his exceptional leadership capabilities. He is highly competent, exceptionally hardworking and open to new information and diverse opinions. He possesses a high level of integrity, listens carefully to faculty and staff, is nurturing and considerate of individual aspirations and inspires others to greatness.”

Supporting letters were written on his behalf by Susanne Shaw, executive director of the Accrediting Council, and two former recipients of the Administrator of the Year Award: Dr. Will Norton Jr., dean of the journalism school at the University of Mississippi, and Dr. Shirley Staples Carter, former director of the journalism school at the University of South Carolina.

Parsons and the national Teacher of the Year – Joe Saltzman of the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California – will be recognized at the Scripps Howard Foundation awards dinner on May 3 in Cincinnati. The awards will be formally presented at the AEJMC national conference in August, when Parsons will speak on the role and nature of leadership.

Colin Donohue,
3/21/2011 4:15 PM