Stewarding Excellence in the College of Media


This Web site is part of a communications effort to keep the College of Media students, alumni, friends, faculty, and staff informed during the Stewarding Excellence @ Illinois initiative that aims to examine the way the University's academic enterprise is structured and funded. We will post any public communications, records of open meetings, and other pertinent documents.

We are committed to being candid and open with our community, so we hope you feel free to share your perspectives with us as well. Please note that because this site does not require authentication to access, it does not have commenting capabilities. To receive communications by email, please update your contact information.



7/9/10: Message from Interim Dean Jan Slater for college community

Published Date:July 9, 2010

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumni, and Friends of the College of Media,

I am humbled by Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dick Wheeler's confidence and trust in me, and I am honored to serve as your interim dean for the next two years. While we are all aware of the challenges that surround us in the College of Media, we must look towards a positive future. It will take all of us to move ahead, and I look forward to collaborating with you — individually and collectively.

Over the next few weeks, I'll work with Dean Harrington to ensure that there is a smooth and productive transition in leadership. I appreciate this opportunity to serve the College and the University.

Gratefully yours,


Published Date: July 9, 2010

Advertising department head Jan Slater named college interim dean for two-year term

Published Date:July 8, 2010

-- A message from UI Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dick Wheeler --

I am very pleased to report that Professor Jan Slater has agreed to become Interim Dean of the College of Media for a two-year term extending through summer 2012, pending approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

Jan Slater brings exceptional credentials to this position. Her superb work as department head in the Department of Advertising has, in just a few years, helped restore integrity and national prominence to the department. Her recent selection as President of the Board of Directors of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) demonstrates her broad recognition in areas covered by the College of Media. Her successful career in advertising prior to joining the academy underwrites her deep understanding of the relations of academic study to professional practice in a rapidly changing industry environment. Her impeccable integrity and her straightforward approach to academic responsibilities will serve her well in this position and will serve the College well.

I am grateful to Jan for agreeing to take on this demanding administrative position, and I very much look forward to working with Dean Slater as she works to address a range of issues important to the future of the College of Media. I hope you will join me in welcoming Jan to her new responsibilities, which will begin formally on August 16.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank Walt Harrington for his service as Interim Dean over the past year. Walt has been a tireless advocate for the College of Media, always working hard to promote the achievements of the College.

Richard Wheeler

Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (Interim)


Related Links:

"New dean for College of Media aims to define structure in time of change" (News-Gazette, July 9, 2010)

Published Date: July 8, 2010

6/17/10: College of Media review report available for comment

Published Date:June 17, 2010

Message from the Interim Dean of the College to Alumni, Donors, and Friends:

It is heartening to see that the University of Illinois Stewarding Excellence committee that was charged with reviewing the financial viability of the College of Media and other small units on campus has concluded that there is no empirical evidence that consolidation or merger among these units would result in significant financial savings. The committee gives its findings and its proceedings in a report published on the Stewarding Excellence web site.

To read the full report, download the PDF:

We appreciate the review committee’s studied and deliberative review that affirms the value of our College’s mission and the accomplishments of our alumni and friends. We especially thank all of you who called and emailed to express strong support for the College.

As part of the ongoing review process, the Stewarding Excellence committee now invites your response by July 1. After the public comments period, the report goes to University administration for review and action.

Your comments are welcome using this online form:

We remain committed to our mission of educating students to be the best professionals, scholars, and citizens they can be. We look forward to keeping in touch with you.

Thank you,

Walt Harrington
Interim Dean, College of Media


NEWS COVERAGE: "Team sees no savings from merging academic units at UI", News-Gazette, June 18, 2010

Published Date: June 17, 2010

5/19/10: Alumni Board shares its views on the College's future

Published Date:May 19, 2010

Members of the Alumni Board of Directors, representing the official College of Media constituent group of the University of Illinois Alumni Association, expressed in a letter to campus administrators and members of the Academic Review Committee their support to preserve and strengthen the College.

Download a PDF of the letter...

Published Date: May 19, 2010

5/3/10: National Advisory Board weighs in on future of College

Published Date:May 5, 2010

Members of the College of Media's National Advisory Board, made up of alumni and friends of the College, submitted a letter to senior campus administrators and members of the Academic Unit Review Committee to express their thoughts about the future of the College and their interest in supporting the College and its units.

Download a PDF of the letter...

Published Date: May 5, 2010

4/30/10: Interim Dean Walt Harrington's Letter to Review Committee Chair Tom Ulen

Published Date:April 30, 2010

Department of Journalism Associate Professor Eric Meyer distilled out the main conclusions of Labor and Employment Relations Professor Craig Olson's study, which were then confirmed for accuracy by Professor Olson. Interim Dean Walt Harrington's letter to review committee chair Professor Thomas Ulen <> lists those conclusions.

Professor Olson's report is available here <> for review.

Published Date: April 30, 2010

4/28/10: Deans' Response to Efficiency Assessment of Small Campus Units

Published Date:April 28, 2010

To: Tom Ulen, Chair, Academic Unit Reviews Committee
From: Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Walt Harrington, Wynne Korr, John Unsworth
Date: April 28, 2010

At a recent Council of Deans meeting, Dick Wheeler presented data that, he argued, demonstrated that small units were inefficient, and he invited us to examine the data and respond. We understand he has also shared that data with your committee. Attached are two responses.

The first is a relatively brief document <> that responds directly to Dick Wheeler's data. Dr. Wheeler's assessment used a one-year snapshot of campus that looked at administration measured in headcount, and then used that headcount as a denominator in a number of different ratios (with total expenditures, IUs, etc.). The response to this was put together by Eric Meyer in the College of Media, and has been reviewed by all four of us for accuracy. It argues that headcount is not the correct denominator to be using, and demonstrates the difference that it makes to consider FTE on state funds instead. Using FTE on state funds as the yardstick, there is no correlation between size and efficiency, in this one-year snapshot.

The second is a more in-depth analysis of ten years of campus data <>, performed by Craig Olson in Labor and Employment Relations. It uses regression analysis to address the question of whether there is evidence to support the hypothesis that small units would be more efficient if they were merged or subsumed into something larger, and it does this by comparing the four units to eighteen social science units elsewhere on campus. This document covers a great deal more territory than either Wheeler's assessment or Meyer's response to it, not only in the time-span it covers, but also in the level of detail and the nuance of its analysis. It arrives at the conclusion that the four units are not uniform in their relation to the norm of efficiency (or mean cost/IU): Media and Social Work are more efficient than the norm, LER and GSLIS less. Again, this finding demonstrates a lack of correlation between size and efficiency. But Olson's study also accounts for the differences, the most significant of which, in GSLIS, is attributable to the average class size.

We hope you'll take the time to consider both of these reports and we ask that you share them with the outside consultants as well. We would also be happy to discuss them with you. All four of us are willing to engage on the issues, and we are willing to think about new ways of doing business, but we also feel it is critically important that our discussions and our decisions be based on a careful analysis of relevant data.

The two documents linked here already appear on the UI Graduate School of Library and Information Science web site.



Published Date: April 28, 2010

4/27/10: State of the College of Media report submitted to Review Committee

Published Date:April 27, 2010

In preparation for the review of the efficiency of the College of Media, Walt Harrington, Interim Dean of the College of Media, prepared a State of the College of Media report and submitted it to the committee undertaking the review.

Download the State of the College report (PDF).


Published Date: April 27, 2010

4/1/10: Communicating with UI Campus Project Teams

Published Date:April 2, 2010

To: Members of the Campus Community
From: Robert A. Easter, Chancellor and Provost (Interim); Richard P. Wheeler, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (Interim)

As the budget review process moves forward, individuals from across campus have asked for a way to communicate directly with the Stewarding Excellence @ Illinois project teams. In response to these requests, we have created individual e-mail addresses for each of the teams.

Concerns and suggestions can be submitted and will be reviewed by project team members. We hope that this additional communication venue will strengthen the voice of faculty, staff, and students in this process. E-mail addresses for the existing and future project teams can be found at:

We would also encourage you to subscribe to weekly updates by visiting:

These updates will keep you informed of the latest developments and announcements in the budget process.


Published Date: April 2, 2010

3/8/10: University begins review of College of Media and other small academic units

Published Date:March 8, 2010

The University administration has charged an ad hoc project team of campus faculty and administrators with completing a review of smaller academic units, and the College of Media is among them. The team will focus on independent schools and colleges with fewer than 40 faculty members, including the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, the School of Labor and Employment Relations, and the School of Social Work, along with the College of Media. The College is represented on the project team by faculty member Isabel Molina-Guzmán, associate professor of media and cinema studies, Latina/o studies, and gender and women's studies.

Read entire article...

Published Date: March 8, 2010