Students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication are having mixed reactions to Dean Paul Voakes’ announcement to step down from his current position.
Voakes announced Wednesday morning that he will be stepping down as dean effective June 30, 2011. He will be rejoining the faculty.
Alexis Bridenbaugh, a 19-year-old junior broadcast news and communication major, said she is sad to hear Dean Voakes is stepping down and she has enjoyed taking his classes in the past.
“I’m actually really sad because I love Dean Voakes,” Bridenbaugh said. “I actually had a class with him my freshman year, the Dean’s Scholars class, and it only had about 15 or so students in it, so it was really interactive.”
She said Voakes went out of his way to connect with his students and she would take another of his classes in the future.
“He always tried his hardest to work with each student individually,” Bridenbaugh said. “I would definitely take another class with him in the future, I’m glad he’s not leaving altogether.”
Voakes was appointed dean of the SJMC since 2003, and has held academic positions at other universities throughout his career including the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, according to a CU news release.
Michelle Davenport, a 20-year-old senior news editorial major and former CU Independent sports reporter, said she found the dean’s announcement surprising.
“I think it’s understandable but definitely unexpected,” Davenport said. “Who’s to say what his position would have been in the new whatever we’re forming.”
She said she looks forward to seeing how the new leadership will work the changes already set in place into the SJMC.
“As far as him not being the dean, it will be interesting to see who comes in and what their thoughts are on the newly renovated school,” Davenport said.
Other students also said they thought Voakes’ decision to step down, while surprising, should not impact how students feel about taking his classes.
“Yeah, sure I would take some of his classes,” said Luke Lahman, a 21-year-old junior advertising major. “I don’t see any problem with his actual teaching abilities because he stepped down as dean.”
Provost Russell Moore said he will begin his search for interim leadership for the SJMC after Voakes steps down in June.
Davenport said amid the changes taking place in the SJMC, she feels the dean’s decision seems reasonable.
“I can understand, with the politics behind the reforming of the new school,” she said. “He will definitely be missed as the dean.”
Contact CU Independent Breaking News Editor Sarah Simmons at Sarah.firstname.lastname@example.org.