By Jeffrey L. Duerk
Sep 21, 2018 | Posted in School of Communication
A message from Jeffrey L. Duerk, Ph.D., Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
When Gregory Shepherd joined the University of Miami in July 2011 as the new dean of the School of Communication (SoC), Instagram was barely a year old, and “fake news” was simply referred to as propaganda. At the time, the school needed a leader who would skillfully navigate the rapidly changing world of communication. Today, eight years later, we can say with certainty that Greg did not disappoint.
Greg has informed me that this will be his last year as dean of the SoC, but he’s agreed to stay and work on a few special projects for the University. President Frenk and I are thrilled to continue working with Greg, and he is excited and up for the challenge.
Under his guidance, the school embarked on the largest reorganization in its history when it went from seven individual programs to four departments, each headed by a department chair. The shift to new departments—Cinema and Interactive Media, Communication Studies, Journalism and Media Management, and Strategic Communication—served to streamline operations at the school and boost faculty involvement in decision-making.
Major accomplishments under his leadership include establishing two new state-of-the-art centers: the Koenigsberg and Nadal Interactive Media Center and the Robert and Lauren Mann Broadcast Center. Greg was instrumental in galvanizing alumni and parent giving to create the two centers, which offer SoC students a unique collaborative experience while utilizing the latest technology. He further advanced SoC’s experiential educational opportunities through the establishment last spring of the Orange Umbrella Student Consultancy. In addition, Greg helped guide the creation of the Center for Culture, Collaboration, and Change (The 4C), created a new M.F.A. in interactive media, a consolidated Ph.D., and a semester in L.A. program, among other initiatives.
Under his leadership, the school’s new M.F.A. program has been ranked on the The Princeton Review’s 'Top 25 Graduate Schools for Game Design' since 2013. In addition, the motion pictures program jumped from number 38 in 2016 to number 27 in 2017 by TheWrap Magazine in recognition of its immersive curriculum, experienced professors, and successful university alumni, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Sylvester Stallone, Barry Waldman and David Nutter, Emmy-winning Game of Thrones director. He achieved all of these as a visionary thinker with a warm, collegial and transparent style of leadership.
A national search for the next dean of the School of Communication will be mounted soon. I will work closely with the faculty at the school to discuss next steps.
Greg received a doctorate degree in speech communication from the University of Illinois, a master’s degree in speech communication from Pennsylvania State University, and a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from the University of Minnesota. This year marks the 15th year of his career as a University dean.
Please join me in thanking Greg for his dedication and all that he has done to further the educational mission at the U.