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George Vlahakis
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Monday, March 21, 2005

IU selects Hamm to lead its School of Journalism

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Bradley J. Hamm, associate dean and associate professor of communications at Elon University in North Carolina, will be recommended to the IU Board of Trustees as the next dean of the Indiana University School of Journalism at an upcoming meeting. He would succeed Trevor Brown, who is retiring at the end of this academic year after leading the school for 20 years.

Hamm's background includes serving as interim dean for a new School of Communications founded five years ago at the private North Carolina university and several years of professional journalism experience. He has continued as associate dean since July 2001. Elon's program includes journalism, broadcasting, film, advertising and public relations and has an undergraduate program that is similar in size to IU's.

"Brad is a wonderful choice for dean of the School of Journalism," said Kenneth Gros Louis, IU senior vice president for academic affairs and chancellor of the Bloomington campus. "He has excellent qualifications and, more importantly, he will fit the culture of Indiana University. It is clear that Brad has a tremendous amount of passion for his work. I know that Brad will work with the faculty, staff and students to move the school forward."

Hamm said he feels honored to be selected as the school's next dean. "It has such a wonderful history and I think that journalism and Indiana University have always gone together in my mind," he said. "I think of people like Ernie Pyle and Roy Howard and I think of how famous that program has been. So it's just an honor to be included."

In looking for a successor to Brown, the search committee sought a candidate who could lead the school through a period when many veteran faculty members are expected to retire and the school will face funding challenges and facility needs. The committee also sought a candidate who could lead the school into a new media era.

Hamm helped build the new communications school at Elon University into a respected, up-and-coming program. At its founding, the Elon School of Communications had 14 faculty members, including 12 who were untenured assistant professors or instructors and five who had one-year appointments. Today, the school has 29 full-time faculty members, including a Pulitzer Prize-winner and 10 professors who have completed books or signed book contracts in the past year.

As interim dean, Hamm worked to build an endowment at a university that previously had not allowed academic programs to raise money. Within 15 months, about $500,000 was raised for the Elon school, including a $100,000 gift for minority scholarships. This academic year, the school has commitments for at least another $500,000.

At IU, "our goal always will be to have one of the finest journalism programs in the nation," Hamm said. "We need to consider the future of journalism. In that case, I think it's not so much the form, it's what are the qualities of journalism, what are we teaching people to do, remembering that, regardless of the form, journalism is essential to democracy."

Hamm has a bachelor of arts degree in communications from Catawba College (N.C.), a master of arts degree in journalism from the University of South Carolina, and a doctorate in mass communication research from the University of North Carolina. Before entering journalism education, he was a reporter and sportswriter for The Salisbury (N.C.) Post and night broadcast editor of the South Carolina bureau of Associated Press.

In 1999, he was a project coordinator and consultant for the New York Times Regional Newspaper Group on a project involving its three newspapers in North Carolina, "Left Behind," that won a Chairman's Award from New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and second place in the Southern Journalism Awards presented by the Institute for Southern Studies. He has taught at Elon since 1989 and was appointed as an assistant professor there in 1995. He was appointed as associate professor in 2000.