Hub Brown, the associate dean of research, creativity, international initiatives and diversity at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications, is the new dean of UF’s College of Journalism and Communications.
The selection was announced in a press release Friday morning. Brown will start July 1, wanting to complete the academic year at Syracuse.
“The College is an amazing place,” Brown said in an interview. “I sort of had to pinch myself.”
Dean Diane McFarlin announced her retirement in March for the end of the Fall semester after eight successful years at the college. In an email to CJC faculty and staff Friday, she expressed her admiration for Brown.
“He brings experience that cuts across so many of our top priorities and, through his work with the national accrediting body, a sensibility about programs that are aspirational,” McFarlin wrote. “Knowing that someone of Hub’s caliber will succeed me gives me great peace of mind and enables me to leave with excitement about the future of the College.”
The plan for the interim period between the two deans will be announced in the coming days, McFarlin wrote.
Provost Joseph Glover formed a search committee toward the end of the Spring term, installing Michael Reid, the dean of UF’s College of Health and Human Performance, as its chair.
Glover made the final decision and Brown was informed Oct. 16. Negotiations over his five-year contract were completed earlier this week.
“Hub’s experience in academia with one of the nation’s leading communications programs and his experience as a working journalist give him invaluable perspective as he steps up to lead the college at this critical time in its history,” Glover said in the press release.
Brown will be the first Black person to hold the title. That is after an unprecedented group of three finalists, all of whom were people of color.
The other two were Battinto Batts, director of journalism strategies at the Scripps Howard Foundation, and Aminda Marqués González, the former executive editor of The Miami Herald. Marqués withdrew her candidacy earlier this month and was named the executive editor of book publishing company Simon & Schuster Thursday.
The search process differed from past searches. The number of finalists was fewer than the last search in 2012, which consisted of six.
As part of the search process, Brown gave a series of presentations on campus between Oct. 8-9. There, he shared his priorities of inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility, or his “IDEA.”
“I see it as central to the future of communication,” Brown said in his presentation. “Whether we want to be or not — this is where we’re headed.”
Brown started at Syracuse in 1996 after a career as a broadcast journalist and professor in Nebraska. At Syracuse, he served as a professor and the department chair of Newhouse’s communications department before his role as dean.
As CJC dean, he hopes to tackle issues such as misinformation and “deepfakes,” edited videos that swap out someone’s face for someone else. He also plans to keep an open-door policy, something he made a point of doing while at Syracuse.
“We all do this for the students, ” he said. “It’s very important that they know that, in me, they’ll find somebody who they can speak to and who will listen.”
Hub Brown, an associate dean at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications, is the new dean of UF’s College of Journalism and Communications. (Credit: Maddi Brown)