School of Communications
Elon University

Elon University seeks an exceptional, visionary leader to serve as dean of the School of Communications, beginning summer 2018. The dean will lead talented faculty and staff in continuing to expand the school’s national reputation for experiential learning and academic excellence. The dean will bring a spirit of innovation and creativity to the position, with the ability to quickly evolve and adapt in the rapidly changing communications environment of the information age. This dynamic and highly collaborative leader will be passionate about student success, support the inclusive and collegial culture of the Elon community and work closely with colleagues across the university in support of the entire institution.

Elon University School of Communications

Dwight C. Schar Hall, Elon University

Dwight C. Schar Hall, Elon University

Elon’s nationally accredited School of Communications is home to more than 1,250 students, representing about 20 percent of the university’s student body. The school encompasses a new four-building communications commons on Elon’s historic and beautiful campus.

Sixty-six full-time faculty and 11 full-time staff support undergraduate majors in journalism, strategic communications, cinema & television arts, communication design, media analytics and sport management. Students in the school learn from a challenging curriculum and immerse themselves in professional settings – all under the mentorship of teacher-scholars who have years of experience in news, interactive media, television, public relations, advertising, web design, screenwriting, film production, photojournalism and sport management. In addition, the school includes a full-time master of arts program in interactive media, and partners with Elon’s Martha and Spencer Love School of Business to provide a concentration in corporate communications as part of the master of science in management program.

Elon is one of 18 private colleges and universities in the nation with an accredited communications school. The school’s undergraduate and graduate programs were judged in compliance on all standards by a 2017 reaccreditation site team representing the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC).

Photo of Turner Theatre interior.

Turner Theatre in Dwight C. Schar Hall

The School of Communications houses the internationally recognized Imagining the Internet Center, a research effort that documents the evolution of communications technologies and informs policy development; and the Sunshine Center of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition, which unites organizations around issues of open government, records and meetings. The school also created and staffs the Elon in LA (Los Angeles) program that involves students in communications internships and classroom instruction in the nation’s entertainment capital.

The Communications Internship Office and the Student Professional Development Center counselors work together with students to identify internship and job opportunities, create personal development plans, resumes and strong networking skills with robust support of an Elon Network of employers, alumni and parents.

Student work and success

Elon News Network newsroom

Elon News Network newsroom

The School of Communications offers a wide range of opportunities for students to put their learning into practice. These include highly active student journalism organizations, under the umbrella of the Elon News Network, which includes the Pendulum newspaper, the Elon Local News and ELN Morning television newscasts, and affiliated web and social media news sites. Elon Student Television (ESTV) showcases student-produced entertainment broadcasts, WSOE-FM Radio includes a broadcast signal and online transmission and Phi Psi Cli is the student yearbook. Live Oak Communications is an award-winning student-run communications agency, elondocs supports student documentary work, Cinelon produces cinematic work, FreshTV prepares first-year students for work in cinema and broadcast production, and Maroon Sports is a new live event production partnership between the school and Elon’s NCAA Division I athletics program.

Elon students have won two collegiate Emmys (the latest in 2016 for best TV magazine show) and collectively finished in the national top 10 in writing and multimedia in the 2016 Hearst Journalism Awards and in the top 10 in broadcast in 2017. Student agency Live Oak Communications has received gold and silver ADDYs from the American Advertising Federation. In 2015, the White House News Photographers Association named an Elon journalism major as national Student Photographer of the Year, and Elon was one of five finalists in the 2017 Coca-Cola/Regal Films student filmmaker competition.


Jane and Brian Williams Studio, Elon University School of Communications

Jane and Brian Williams Studio

In spring 2017 the School of Communications expanded into a modern four-building complex surrounding the historic Under the Oaks campus quad. The new Dwight C. Schar Hall and Steers Pavilion joined the fully renovated McEwen and Long buildings to form a communications commons. Schar and McEwen are connected by the Snow Family Grand Atrium, which opens onto Citrone Plaza, a streetscape in downtown Elon.

The facilities include 21 classrooms and labs, two HD television studios with all-LED lighting and matching HD-SDI control rooms, 25 video edit suites, a Foley sound-effects studio, the 220-seat Turner Theatre and a 70-seat screening room for cinema productions, the Kanarick Media Sandbox and numerous student engagement spaces to promote collaboration, the student internship and career center, and dedicated spaces for student media.

Mission Statement for Communications

Communication is central to our lives and to our world. Our mission is to prepare students to be exemplary communicators in an increasingly diverse, interactive and global age.

To fulfill this mission, we provide dynamic undergraduate and graduate programs where students learn to appreciate the roles, responsibilities and social impact of media around the world. We value freedom of expression and the importance of serving the public good.

We are committed to helping students become better writers, speakers, creators and thinkers. We want them to learn and innovatively harness the technologies that are transforming the way we communicate. We promote the primacy of accuracy, integrity, professional standards and ethical principles.

We prepare students for careers and lives of purpose through excellent classes, outstanding student media, professional internships, entrepreneurial experiences and other forms of engaged learning.

Elon Eleven

The Elon Eleven states the values and competencies that we want all communications students to achieve. As a requirement of national accreditation, we seek to ensure that the curriculum provides balance and depth among these values and competencies.

The School of Communications values…

  1. Truth, accuracy and fairness
  2. Freedom of expression
  3. Ethical ways of reasoning
  4. History and roles of media in society
  5. Domestic and global diversity
    … and emphasizes these competencies
  6. Write clearly and effectively
  7. Employ the tools of technology
  8. Use theory in producing media content
  9. Engage in research and analysis
  10. Apply numerical concepts
  11. Demonstrate creative thinking

Mission Statement for Sport Management

The sport management major prepares students for the business of sport, including professional sport, college athletics, recreation and sport-related agencies.

Elon University

Elon University has built a national reputation as the premier student- and learning-centered environment for engaged, experiential learning, with an emphasis on strong personal relationships between students and their faculty and staff mentors. Elon students are ambitious, creative and determined problem-solvers who are passionate about making the world a better place.

Elon’s national reputation for excellence is based on five key factors:

  • Student-centered: Elon is a close community – students develop strong, mentoring relationships with faculty and staff, with their peers and with alumni.
  • Globally engaged: You’ll find Elon students engaged in learning in every corner of the world through the university’s top-ranked study abroad program.
  • Experiential: We learn best through experience, so an Elon education is filled with hands-on learning opportunities in the classroom and beyond.
  • Environment for learning: With one of the nation’s finest residential campuses, Elon provides facilities and learning resources that breed powerful collaboration and spark bold ideas.
  • Ambitious: Members of our community are unafraid to set high expectations, rising to every challenge and constantly striving to build a better world.

Elon’s rigorous curriculum is grounded in the arts and sciences and complemented by nationally accredited professional and graduate programs. The 440 full-time faculty members teach in more than 60 undergraduate majors and nine graduate programs. Elon’s four-year graduation rate of 81 percent ranks in the top 100 of U.S. private and public universities.

The university includes Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences; the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business; the School of Communications; the School of Education; the School of Health Sciences; and the School of Law, which is located on a campus in downtown Greensboro, N.C.

Elon’s 6,045 undergraduate and 746 graduate students come from 49 states and 58 other countries. About 25 percent are from North Carolina, with strong enrollment numbers from the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and other states across the country.

Elon sends more undergraduate students to study abroad than any other master’s-level university in the nation. Seventy-nine percent of Elon graduates have at least one international study experience, often combined with internships, research or service. In addition, Elon’s Study USA program includes opportunities to study in Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Alaska and other locations.

Elon is among the nation’s top universities for producing Fulbright Student Scholars. Elon earns top rankings for community service by the federal government’s Corporation for National and Community Service, with 89 percent of students participating in service-learning. In addition, 87 percent of students complete internships, 45 percent of students hold at least one campus leadership position, and 27 percent of students work with faculty mentors on undergraduate research projects.

Elon’s engaging intellectual climate is distinguished by supportive and collaborative human relationships that promote personal growth. More than 275 student organizations flourish, providing a rich array of opportunities to get involved.

Elon is the only university in the nation recognized for excellence in eight out of eight academic programs that “Focus on Student Success” in the 2018 “America’s Best Colleges” guide published by U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News also ranks Elon #1 among Southern master’s-level universities, with #1 rankings for undergraduate teaching and innovation. Princeton Review ranks Elon among the nation’s 382 “best colleges.” The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education ranks Elon #33 in the nation and #1 in North Carolina in student engagement, and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine names Elon one of the nation’s “best value” private universities.

As a member of the Colonial Athletics Association, Elon’s Phoenix athletics program includes 17 intercollegiate men’s and women’s sports in NCAA Division I (FCS football). In addition, Elon offers 18 intramural and 21 club sports. Elon athletics leads CAA with a 94 percent graduation rate.

Elon’s historic 636-acre campus in central North Carolina is designated as a botanical garden and includes the 56-acre Elon University Forest, a land preserve and natural area for scientific research; and Loy Farm, a center for environmental research and sustainability that includes a solar farm.

Elon is an academic community that provides the right balance of challenge and encouragement, helping students discover the ambition to seek something great and the courage to achieve it. Elon is a university with a powerful trajectory – ever on the rise and always striving to achieve higher levels of excellence.

The Dean

The dean will be a strong, experienced and personable leader who embraces and advances the university’s unique teacher-scholar-mentor model and its highly engaged, student- and learning-centered environment. The dean serves as the chief academic and administrative officer of the School of Communications, reporting directly to the university’s provost/executive vice president.

A successful candidate should have a record of accomplished leadership and be able to promote a rigorous academic environment, lead and support a faculty of highly engaged teacher-scholar-mentors, collaborate with other leaders across campus and in the broader community to continue to enhance the reputation and quality of the school, serve as a highly visible spokesperson and champion for the school, effectively recruit prospective students to Elon and work directly with parents, and have the ability to partner with Elon’s advancement staff to form strong relationships with benefactors and effectively fundraise for the school. A successful candidate should also have a demonstrated ability to support and promote an environment in which diversity, in all its forms, is valued and incorporated in the full range of activities.

Qualifications and characteristics of a successful candidate

  • Be a person of high integrity and ethical standards;
  • Be a person of vision and passion for the aims of higher education;
  • Have significant senior-level management experience including strategic planning and budgeting;
  • Be highly student-centered in all decision-making;
  • Value the teacher-scholar-mentor model that is core to Elon’s academic identity;
  • Be a highly visible and approachable leader who relishes engagement with Elon’s many constituencies;
  • Provide evidence of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship;
  • Be a person of intercultural competence and global perspective with proven support for diverse and inclusive communities;
  • Demonstrate an ability and strong commitment to fundraising;
  • Understand the balance of arts and sciences and professional schools at a private, comprehensive, residential institution;
  • Appreciate and preserve Elon’s egalitarian culture as well as its strong system of shared governance;
  • Demonstrate ability to support and mentor faculty through the tenure and promotion process;
  • Be an advocate for and mentor to full-time professional and administrative staff;
  • Understand the ACEJMC accreditation process and requirements and be able to guide the school to meet those standards;
  • Demonstrate exceptional communication skills; and,
  • Be cognizant of trends and best practices in communications, sport management and higher education nationally and internationally.

A terminal degree and a record of scholarship and teaching sufficient to qualify for tenure with the rank of full professor is strongly preferred. However, a long and distinguished record of professional experience in communications paired with the demonstrated ability to support faculty, staff and student advancement in a university context may be considered.

Review of candidates will begin on January 22, 2018, and will continue until a successful candidate is identified. Candidates should submit a curriculum vitae and letter of interest that addresses the position’s responsibilities and qualifications outlined above to the email address listed below. All correspondences relating to the position should be sent to and addressed to the co-chairs of the search committee, Drs. Ann Bullock and David Copeland.

Elon University is an equal opportunity employer committed to a diverse faculty, staff and student body and welcomes all applicants.

Search Committee for the Dean of the School of Communications

Committee Chairs

Ann Bullock, Dean of the School of Education and Professor of Education /

David Copeland, A. J. Fletcher Professor, Professor of Communications and Distinguished University Professor, Director of Interactive Media Master’s Program /

Committee Members

Dan Anderson, Vice President for University Communications /

David Bockino, Assistant Professor of Communications, Director of Communications Fellows Program /

Sarah Collins, Elon University Communications Fellow ’18 /

Colin Donohue, Director of Student Media and Instructor in Communications /

Jessica Gisclair, Associate Professor of Communications and Chair of the Department of Communications /

Denise Hill, Assistant Professor of Communications /

Jessie Moore, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Center for Engaged Learning /

Jennifer Platania, Associate Dean of the Love School of Business and Associate Professor of Economics /

Glenn Scott, Associate Professor of Communications /

Nagatha Tonkins, Director of Internships and Alumni Relations and Assistant Professor of Communications /

Tony Weaver, Associate Professor of Sport Management and Chair of the Sport Management Department /