After 11 years as dean of The University of Texas at Austin Moody College of Communication, Dean Roderick P. Hart has announced he will step down effective Aug. 31, 2015.
The Shivers Centennial Chair in Communication and Cronkite Regents Chair in Communication, Hart will return to teaching and scholarship as a faculty member in the Department of Communication Studies, as well as a subsidiary appointment in the Department of Government. He served as the fifth dean of Moody College, which was officially organized as the School of Communication in 1965.
“There is more work to be done, of course, and for that we need a new dean with fresh ideas,” Hart said. “That dean will lead a college with selective, and popular, undergraduate majors, thriving graduate programs and academic departments that compete for the best talent available anywhere. Our new dean will inherit a superior faculty, wise administrators, a dedicated and gifted staff and a group of alums and friends who care about the Moody College intensely.”
UT Austin President Bill Powers and Provost Greg Fenves praised Hart’s many contributions to campus.
“A favorite with students, faculty, staff and alumni, Dean Hart will go down in the college’s history as a pivotal leader,” Powers and Fenves wrote in an announcement to the campus community. “Rod has been not only a steady hand in a time of rapidly changing media environments and economic challenge, but an active leader who has transformed the college for the better.”
Fenves will soon announce plans for the recruitment of a new dean.
As dean, Hart has overseen numerous academic and fundraising initiatives, including the construction of the Belo Center for New Media, the renovation of the Jesse H. Jones Complex, and the $50 million donation from the Moody Foundation, which will result in the largest endowment for the study of communication of any public university in the nation.
He established the Denius-Sams Gaming Academy, the Texas Program in Sports and Media, the UT3D Program, the New Agendas Conferences, and the Center for Health Communication. He also helped establish the KUT Public Media Studios in the Belo Center and the creation of the all-music NPR station KUTX 98.9.
In addition to serving as dean, Hart has served as professor in the Department of Communication Studies since 1979. He also served as founding director of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life from 2000 to 2012 and founding director of the Senior Fellows Honors Program from 1987 to 1995. With a research focus in politics and the mass media, Hart has written 12 books most recently “Political Tone: How Leaders Talk and Why.” He is also the author of DICTION 7.0, a computer program designed to analyze language patterns.
Hart has spoken at more than 90 colleges and universities and received grant support from the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Foundation, Exxon Foundation, Hatton Sumners Foundation, Annenberg Foundation, Dorot Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts.
He was named a Research Fellow of the International Communication Association, a Distinguished Scholar by the National Communication Association and the National Scholar of the Year Award from Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. He also has received the Murray Edelman Career Award from the American Political Science Association.
Hart has been inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at The University of Texas and has also been designated Professor of the Year for the State of Texas by the Carnegie/C.A.S.E. Foundation.