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Newhouse Dean David M. Rubin to step down and return to the faculty in July 2008
Newhouse Dean David M. Rubin to step down and return to the faculty in July 2008April 17, 2007Wendy S. Loughlinwsloughl@syr.edu
Syracuse University Vice Chancellor and Provost Eric F. Spina todayannounced that David M. Rubin, dean of the S.I. Newhouse School of PublicCommunications for the past 17 years, will step down as dean effective June 30, 2008, and return to the faculty.
“David’s impact on the Newhouse School and its students and faculty has been broad and far-reaching,” says Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “He has not only led Newhouse through one of its most productive eras as a school, but he has helped set the national agenda for education in communications during a time in which the profession has undergone revolutionary change. David’s leadership will be missed on campus and well beyond.”
“David Rubin has had a profound impact on the Newhouse School and generations of students here at Syracuse University,” says Spina. “His deanship truly focused on and advanced our quality — of programs, of faculty and of students. He will be sorely missed as the `dean of deans,’ but his integrity, frankness and focus on quality leave a high mark for us all.”
Spina will convene a national search for Rubin’s replacement later this spring.
As dean since July 1990, Rubin has made a major impact on all aspects of the school, from fundraising and alumni relations to the quality of the student body and the administrative structure. Always a school with a strong national reputation, Newhouse is now generally recognized as one of the nation’s premier communications schools, and its graduates are in demand in the media workplace. Perhaps his most important achievement — the construction of Newhouse III — will be celebrated at a gala dedication on Sept. 19, 2007.
Rubin has transformed the school with a number of programs, new hires and initiatives. Early in his tenure, he established a Career Development Center and an alumni relations operation that have become models for other units at SU. He created a new faculty rank, Professor of Practice, which allows top professionals from the industry to bring their expertise to the University and assume full-time faculty positions without the pressure of a research agenda.
He hired the school’s first admissions coordinator and led Newhouse to its current status as one of the most selective communications schools in the country, with an admissions rate of less than 25 percent. He initiated a focus on minority recruitment that has more than doubled the percentage of minority students in the incoming first-year class each year — from 10 percent to more than 20 percent.
Under his leadership, the school created a special deanship and office to support the graduate professional master’s degree students. He started graduate programs in Arts Journalism, New Media and Media Management.
Rubin has taught a section of the gateway course to freshmen or the senior-level communications law course every semester he has been at SU, and he regularly advises 30 or more undergraduates. Of the current 65 members of the full-time faculty, 41 were hired during Rubin’s deanship.
Rubin raised the school’s visibility through a number of successful, high-profile branding events, including the “Newhouse in New York” breakfast series, established in partnership with Conde Nast and The New Yorker magazine, at which leading media professionals are interviewed by “Annals of Communications” writer and author Ken Auletta for an invited audience. He oversaw the gala “40 at 40” celebration of the school’s 40th birthday, held in New York City and on campus, which raised more than $500,000 for scholarships. The first annual Newhouse-sponsored Mirror Awards Ceremony, recognizing excellence in media industry reporting, will be held this June in New York City and should further extend the school’s reputation in that important venue. To support these branding activities, he recently hired the school’s first director of communications and media relations.
He revamped the Newhouse Board of Advisors, creating a model group that provides strategic advice, networking, visibility and financial assistance to the school. He also built a fundraising and external advancement operation for the school and has helped secure funding for a number of programs and chairs, including the Goldring Arts Journalism Program; the Tsairis Chair in Documentary Photography; the Knight Chair in Political Reporting; the Trustee Chair in Media and Popular Culture; the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture; the Tully Center for Free Speech; the Carnegie Program in Legal Reporting; the Carnegie Program in Religion and the Media; the Healthy Campus Initiative; the Newhouse Minority Graduate Fellows Program; and the Turner Diversity Fellowship Program.
Perhaps his most notable achievement as dean is the construction of NewhouseIII, the third building in the Newhouse Communications Complex, which will be dedicated Sept. 19 with a keynote address from Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr. It is funded in part through a lead gift of $15 million from the S.I. Newhouse Foundation. Additional fundraising has increased this total to about $24 million, and fundraising continues. The building, along with renovations to Newhouse I and Newhouse II, will provide a 350-seat auditorium, a large dining center, a state-of-the-art convergent media center for student experimentation, two student lounges, an executive education wing and other important facilities.
Outside the school, Rubin hosts a weekly television show on public television station WCNY-TV, “The Ivory Tower Half Hour,” which is the highest-rated local public affairs program (other than local news) in Central New York. The program is scheduled to go statewide in July. He is a member of the advisory board of the Hearst Foundation’s College Journalism Competition and has twice served as a Pulitzer Prize juror. He has served on a variety of arts boards, including for Syracuse Opera and the Skaneateles Festival. He holds a B.A. from Columbia College in New York City, and master’s and doctoral degrees in communications from Stanford University. He previously spent 19 years on the faculty of New York University.
“This is the right time for a transition in leadership,” says Rubin. “By June of 2008, the new building will have had its first year of operation. Most of the elements of the new curriculum will be in place. The school’s new management team will have had another year of experience under its belt. We are well positioned for the University’s next capital campaign. The school is so strong and visible nationally that we should attract many excellent candidates to carry on this work.”
“I have been privileged to spend 17 years working with a highly talented and supportive group of faculty, staff and alumni. We have all benefited enormously from our association with the Newhouse family, who are models for philanthropy in their wisdom, generosity and trust.”
Following his retirement, Rubin will take a yearlong sabbatical before returning to Newhouse to teach. “I will spend the next year learning the things I need to learn to contribute to teaching in our new curriculum,” he says. “I also hope to get back the same proficiency at the piano I had when I became dean in July of 1990 and have now, sadly, lost. I intend to make Debussy, Ravel, Brahms and Mozart close acquaintances again.”