MU journalism school dean announces retirement

Thursday, February 6, 2014 | 10:44 a.m. CST; updated 9:28 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 6, 2014

COLUMBIA – Dean Mills, dean of the Missouri School of Journalism, announced Thursday morning his plans to retire at the end of August, according to an email he sent to faculty members.

In the email, Mills wrote that his retirement will be effective Aug. 31, 2014. He will stay on half-time as director of the Reynolds Fellows program at the Reynolds Journalism Institute, according to a release from MU News Bureau. Mills has been dean of the journalism school for 25 years and is the longest current serving dean at MU, according to the release.

Highlights during Mills' tenure as dean include the launches of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, online versions of the journalism school's media properties and the school's first online master's degree program.

“We will greatly miss Dean Mills’ leadership,” MU Interim Provost Ken Dean said in the release. “He has guided the School of Journalism through a rapidly changing landscape in the profession. As journalism has adapted to new technologies and an explosion of information resources, Dean has been at the helm of the world’s best journalism school, making sure that we are educating the next generation of communication specialists, building on the latest research and offering guidance to some of the most influential journalism organizations in the world.”

Mills received a doctorate in communications from the University of Illinois in 1981, according to the journalism school's website. Before coming to MU in 1989, he served as director of The Pennsylvania State University’s School of Journalism and then as coordinator of graduate study in communications at California State University, Fullerton.

Mills also has worked as a professional journalist. He became Moscow Bureau Chief for the Baltimore Sun in 1969 after earning a master’s degree in journalism at the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in Russian and journalism at the University of Iowa. From 1972 to 1975, he was a Sun correspondent in Washington, D.C.

He was inducted into the Missouri Press Hall of Fame in 2012.

Here is the text of the email:

Dear Colleagues:

When I was given the extraordinary opportunity to serve as dean of this wonderful school, I fully expected to step down within five or six years—a normal tenure for deans. You may have noticed some procrastination. In my defense, I point out that I was distracted by the pure fun of working with the School's students, alumni, faculty and staff, and other supporters around the world, as well as my fellow deans, MU administrators and other great colleagues on campus and in the greater UM system.

But now, nearly twenty-five years later, I realize I can't hold onto this job forever just because I continue to enjoy it. It's time (some of you might say way past time) for the school to have a new dean.

I have told Provost Ken Dean that I will retire effective Aug. 31, 2014.

Fair warning: I won't be entirely out of your hair. In a moment of weakness, Randy Picht agreed to let me stay on as director of the Reynolds Fellows program. I look forward to working with you in that new job.

I promised Randy I wouldn't hold on to it for 25 years.


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