Interim dean named to College of Communication; Hart to lead college during nationwide search

AUSTIN, Texas—Longtime College of Communication Professor Roderick P. Hart has been named interim dean of the College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin, effective June 1.

He will assume the position being vacated by Ellen Wartella who is leaving The University of Texas at Austin to become executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of California Riverside on July 1.

Sheldon Ekland-Olson, the university’s executive vice president and provost, will form a search committee to select a permanent replacement.

“I am pleased that Rod has agreed to take on this role,” said Ekland-Olson. “He has the right mix of leadership, scholarship and administration experience that will enable him to build on the momentum created during Ellen’s tenure, specifically in regards to high academic standards, synergy across and within disciplines, and development of strong industry partnerships.”

Hart, who joined the Department of Communication Studies faculty in the College of Communication in 1979, holds the Allan Shivers Centennial Chair in Communication and Government and is a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at the University of Texas at Austin. His area of special interest is politics and the mass media, which led to his founding of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Participation to respond to growing political cynicism and disaffection in the United States. He also is the author of 10 books about political communication.

“The opportunity to lead the college during this important period of transition is both an honor and a challenge, said Hart. “I look forward to working closely with the administration, faculty, students and staff to continue setting the bar for excellence.”

Hart earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts and his master’s and doctor’s degrees from the Pennsylvania State University.

For more information contact: Erin Geisler, College of Communication, 512-475-8071.