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Bradley Hamm Named Medill Dean

Hamm brings a track record of significant academic innovations and successes

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May 3, 2012 | by Alan K. Cubbage
Produced by Matt Paolelli

EVANSTON, Ill. --- At a well-attended event today, members of the Medill and Northwestern University community were introduced to Bradley J. Hamm, who in September will succeed John Lavine as dean of the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. Hamm since 2005 has served as dean and professor at the Indiana University School of Journalism.

Citing Medill’s “legendary program” and its international reputation in journalism education, Hamm told his McCormick Tribune Forum audience that Medill was “the one place where I hoped I could be one day” and promised to build on Northwestern’s and Medill’s “strong foundation.”

Provost Daniel Linzer talked about the wide-reaching search for a dean who will bring the right mix of academic, media and leadership credentials to lead Medill, arguably the leading journalism school in the world, as the media landscape continues its unpredictable transformation. He said he is confident Hamm will expertly sail the ship in a time “when we don't know which way the wind will blow.”

President Morton Schapiro called it “a great day” for the University and Medill. He talked about the extraordinary opportunities the appointment presents for both Hamm and the entire Northwestern community. He also referred to the family member that most charmed the crowd that gathered to hear the announcement -- Hamm's 2-year-old son, Yoshiki.

Yoshiki’s name means strong foundation, Hamm explained. “When I think of the strong, incredible foundation of Northwestern University and of Medill, it is amazing what you can do despite the challenges -- what's unknown in the world, in education, in the media, in the economy -- but what a difference a strong foundation makes,” he said.

“It ensures that you have the ability to succeed and the ability to attract the kinds of people, the kinds of friends, the kinds of supporters, to help us achieve our goals,” said Hamm, who later was joined onstage by his wife, Hiromi Sumiyoshi, and son.

Both President Schapiro and Provost Linzer cited Medill Dean Lavine’s “transformative” accomplishments during his tenure. And the provost thanked the search team, particularly its chair, Medill Professor Jack Doppelt, for finding a new dean who “fit the aspirations of the search committee.” 

Hamm will join the faculty as dean-designate on July 1 before assuming the deanship on Sept. 1. He led the Indiana journalism school’s undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. programs on both the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses. As dean, he led the creation of several distinctive academic programs, substantially increased financial aid for undergraduate and graduate students and significantly increased enrollment. 

“He has helped transform the journalism school at Indiana, and he brings a track record of significant academic innovations and successes,” Linzer said.

Hamm created the nation’s first master’s degree program in sports journalism and a master’s in public relations on the Indianapolis campus. He has also established several new programs, such as the Ernie Pyle Scholars program, in which selected students have the opportunity to participate in a study-abroad course, and a program at the Poynter Institute for students to interact with keynote speakers coming to campus. In addition, under his tenure, student enrollment, quality and diversity have increased significantly. 

Another focus during his tenure at Indiana has been the development of international educational opportunities for students. The initiatives have tripled the percentage of journalism students studying abroad to 60 percent, the highest percentage among all of the schools at IU. In partnership with IU’s medical school, he created a cross-campus collaboration that allowed journalism students to cover the work of the medical students in Kenya.

“I am excited and enthusiastic about the opportunity to join Northwestern and lead Medill, which is recognized both nationally and internationally for its programs in journalism and integrated marketing communications,” Hamm said. “I look forward to working with faculty, students, alumni, supporters and other partners in keeping Medill at the forefront of its fields.” 

Prior to becoming dean at Indiana, Hamm served as associate dean of the School of Communications at Elon University in North Carolina. He was one of the founding faculty members of the School of Communications there, and, as associate dean, helped establish a strong undergraduate research focus. 

Hamm holds a Ph.D. in mass communication research from the University of North Carolina and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of South Carolina. His research interests include media history, international communications and agenda-setting theory.

He began his career as a reporter and sportswriter for the Salisbury Post in Salisbury, N.C.  Since that time he has been closely connected with media organizations, establishing institutional relationships with the Poynter Institute, USA Today, the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and the Scripps-Howard Foundation.

“Dean Hamm brings experience and proven success in developing new programs, engaging students effectively and strongly supporting faculty teaching and research,” Northwestern President Schapiro said. “We are confident he will continue the strong leadership that Medill has had in recent years.”

Hamm’s twin brother is the editorial director of Landmark Community Newspapers, handling news and legal issues for more than 60 newspapers and seven college sports publications.

Lavine has served as Medill’s dean since 2006, leading a transformation of the school that included revamping the undergraduate curriculum, creating a new undergraduate certificate program in integrated marketing communications and significantly extending the school’s global footprint. 

Topics: University News