Ann Brill has been called many things in her life. She was called a Tiger for the eight years she spent teaching at the Missouri School of Journalism. She has been called a Jayhawk for the past four years since she joined the faculty at the University of Kansas’ journalism school.
Now, just call her dean.
This month, Brill was named the seventh dean of the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas, where she has served as interim dean since July. She is the first woman to hold that position. She formerly chaired the news and information track within the school.
Brill said women are in the majority of journalism students at KU, so when her new position was announced, she said one student’s comment seemed particularly appropriate: “You go, girl!”
As head of the news and information track, Brill oversaw both print and broadcast journalism as well as the rapidly developing field of online journalism — her specialty.
While Brill taught at MU, she was also involved in the further development of the Digital Missourian, the online version of this newspaper that Brill said she still reads.
“She was very much on the cutting edge,” said Zoe Smith, an MU journalism professor and a longtime friend of Brill’s.
The two met at Marquette University in Milwaukee when Smith was new to the faculty and Brill was a master’s student working as Smith’s teaching assistant. Since then, the two have been colleagues at both Marquette and MU.
“I was really sad to see her go,” Smith said.
As dean of the journalism school at KU, Brill hopes to build on the school’s emphasis on journalism ethics.
“We’re one of the few schools that require ethics,” Brill said, referring to the mandatory ethics classes for journalism students.
Brill said her goal at KU is to graduate all students with strong journalism skills, integrity and a passion for journalism.