New comm dean hopes to bring fresh perspective

by Katherine Burns / Beacon Staff • March 23, 2016

Dr. Raul Reis comes to Emerson in July.
Courtesy of Raul Reis
Dr. Raul Reis comes to Emerson in July.
Courtesy of Raul Reis

Dr. Raul Reis was hired as the new dean of the School of Communication at Emerson last week, and said that the college has the potential to be a leader in communication education.

Reis, currently the dean and a professor of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Florida International University, said he applied for this position because of Emerson’s reputation among communication schools.

“It was exciting when I heard they were looking for a dean because it’s a college that I always held in high regard,” Reis said. “The more I heard about what they were looking for, the more I felt like it would be a good fit for me.”

As a dean at FIU, Reis created two new undergraduate majors and a graduate program, according to an email sent to the Emerson community by Michaele Whelan, vice president of academic affairs. Reis also increased enrollment and raised $3 million for the university.

Catherine D’Ignazio, an assistant journalism professor and member of the search committee, said she would like to see Reis raise the communication school’s profile.

“Ultimately, we’d love to see a dean that would secure more resources,” D’Ignazio said.  “Research funding, innovation funding, grants … they could raise the profile and make Emerson more visible in the communications world.”

D’Ignazio also said Reis stood out as a candidate in the search, and said the search committee wanted to clap after he left the room.

“There were a number of candidates that i think could have made great deans, but he definitely stood out,” Dignazio said. “We thought he brought a lot of energy. He was incredibly charismatic and likeable.”

Reis said he would like to make Emerson a top choice for students interested in studying communication.

“I think we can position the college with some changes, and new programs and new initiatives,” Reis said. “It is already extremely well-regarded but I think we can take it to the next level.”

Reis also said he wants to get feedback from students and faculty when making these changes and decisions.

He specifically cited focusing on multimedia journalism, reaching younger audiences and producing content that is relevant.

“We have the potential with maybe some changes in the curriculum or maybe more faculty or more resources,” Reis said. “We can achieve wonderful things.”

Reis will take the new position in July 2016. He is replacing Dr. Phillip Glenn, the current interim dean, who has been in the position since 2012. Glenn said he would be staying at Emerson as a professor.