After two interim deans and more than a year of searching, the University of North Texas named Dorothy M. Bland dean of the university’s school of journalism on Tuesday.
Bland, who is a journalism professor of Florida A&M University’s School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, will begin her new appointment in June.
She served as the director of the Division of Journalism in the university’s School of Journalism & Graphic Communication from 2007-12.
Bland said she sees lots of opportunity at UNT.
“We will clearly take time to listen and seek input from the key stakeholders,” she said.
She said the UNT journalism program is strategically located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Bland sees the potential for partnerships both on the UNT campus and in the North Texas region.
She sees UNT students being well positioned to become multimedia journalists.
“I think there are opportunities for research as well,” Bland said.
M. Jean Keller, a professor of kinesiology, health promotion and recreation, has served as interim dean of the school since September. She was chosen because of her previous experience as dean of the college of education from 1997 to 2008.
When university officials announced Keller’s appointment, they said they would continue to look for a permanent dean. Prior to that, Roy Busby, regents professor of journalism, served as interim dean starting in June 2011 when he took over for Mitch Land, the founding dean of the school. Land left UNT to become a dean at Regent University in Virginia.
After a year, Busby returned to his role as professor and associate dean of the school’s graduate program.
“It’s been an extended search that’s gone on for many months,” said Warren Burggren, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
He said Bland was UNT’s choice for dean because she has experience in publishing and higher education.
“She has deep experience in both those areas,” Burggren said.
During her time at Florida A&M University, Bland raised more than $100,000 to support the National Association of Black Journalists Multimedia Short Courses and the Dow Jones News Fund Multimedia High School Workshops.
She was the interim adviser for both chapters of the Association of Black Journalists at the university.
Bland also served on site teams for the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. She also was a Pulitzer Prize juror.
Bland worked in the newspaper industry for 25 years, during which time she was a reporter and editor at USA Today. She was president and publisher of the Chillicothe Gazette in Ohio and the Fort Collins Coloradoan in Colorado. Bland earned three Gannett President’s Rings.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from Arkansas State University and her master of business administration degree in marketing from George Washington University.
Bland will oversee both undergraduate and graduate students in the journalism school at UNT.
The Mayborn School of Journalism was established in 2009. It includes the department of news and department of strategic communication. It also houses the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism, which was founded in 1999 with a gift from the Frank W. and Sue Mayborn Foundation.
“I’m excited about the opportunity,” Bland said. “I’m passionate about student success.”
RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .