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Perlmutter resigns as director of UI School of Journalism

BY BRENT GRIFFITHS | MAY 08, 2013 5:00 AM

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With the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication set to face a change in leadership this summer, journalism faculty said outgoing director David Perlmutter helped steer the school toward the future of new media.

Perlmutter announced Tuesday he will step down in June to seek a position at Texas Tech University.

“Before Dr. Perlmutter, [the journalism school was] treading water, and it was not really clear what direction we were going as a school,” UI journalism Professor Julie Andsager said. “He brought a lot of energy and ideas and was very positive for the school in many ways.”

Perlmutter announced his decision in a letter; he indicated he would become dean of the College of Media and Mass Communication at Texas Tech University.

“First of all it’s a much bigger program; [Texas Tech’s program] in total is probably four times as big as Iowa’s,” he said. “It’s an independent college — more responsibility but more flexibility and opportunity. Third, [the program] also plays a more prominent role on campus and collaborating with other colleges for research.”

Other faculty members point to Perlmutter’s “lasting impact” at the school —  including the past weekend, when the journalism school received full accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Journalism and Mass Communication.

Associate Director for Undergraduate Studies Charles Munro, who worked with Perlmutter on the accreditation process, said the director brought many ideas with him when he took over four years ago and helped move the school into other emerging forms of journalism.

“He was a good leader, a ball of fire who always has ideas,” Munro said. “I have never heard him say something that wasn’t worthwhile or … worth doing.”

One of the areas faculty noted the most was the transition from the school’s focus more on print journalism to expanding to multimedia.

“… [David Perlmutter] and I used to have this expression that to be good journalist today you have to be a info-techno geek,” UI journalism Professor Stephen Bloom said. “It wasn’t good enough to be an extraordinary writer. To be a good journalist today, you have to be able to write with multimedia components, and understand the conditions of the profession and how it’s changing.”

Chaden Djalali, the dean of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said Perlmutter’s decision was not affected by the end of his five-year term, which would have expired next year.

“I’m not surprised other universities have gone after him not because he didn’t like it here, but David always has a vision and likes building things,” he said.

Djalali said officials will conduct an internal search to see if a replacement is in the college, and if there is none, they will instate an interim director followed by a national search.


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