August 04, 2008

Enrollment growth among MCMA dean’s priorities

by Pete Rosenbery

gary kolb

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Enrollment growth, along with an increased recruitment and retention effort, is among the goals Gary P. Kolb is focusing on as the new permanent dean of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s College of Mass Communication and Media Arts.

“During the 2007-08 academic year, as interim dean of the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts, Gary Kolb demonstrated the expertise and experience to be a successful leader,” Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor Don S. Rice said. “He also has the support of his colleagues and their trust in his decisions. Gary brings a strong commitment to the coherence and success of the college, and I look forward to our positive administrative relationship.”

Kolb, 56, became interim dean in May 2007. The appointment, effective in July, requires ratification by the SIU Board of Trustees.

“I’m honored I was chosen and I’m grateful for the strong support of faculty and staff in the college who have given me a lot of encouragement,” he said. “I feel we can work together to build a stronger college.”

Kolb was among three finalists for the post. He succeeds Manjunath Pendakur, who left to become dean of the Dorothy Schmidt College of Arts and Letters at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla.

The college offers undergraduate degrees from the departments of Cinema & Photography and Radio-Television, and from the School of Journalism and graduate degrees at the college level. The college also is home to WSIU Public Broadcasting and the Global Media Research Center.

Kolb will begin his 30th year at SIUC this fall. The move is a natural progression in many respects, he said. A professor and director of the college’s New Media Center, Kolb’s association with the college dates to 1979, when he started as a term faculty member in the Department of Cinema & Photography. After becoming a tenure-track assistant professor, Kolb became an associate professor in 1985, and in 1998, a professor in the department.

He served as department chair from 1994 to 1997, and held the post of acting chair on two other occasions. Kolb served as acting director of New Media Center and Interactive Multimedia Master’s Program in 2002 and 2003, and as associate dean and director of The New Media Center from 2003 to 2007.

Kolb also served on the Phoenix Committee and authored the first proposal for realigning the one-time College of Communication and Fine Arts into the current College of Mass Communication and Media Arts in fall 1992.

“Being in on the birth of the college and seeing it grow and mature has really been exciting,” he said. “I’m honored to be in a position now to help that process along and move it forward.”

There are now about 950 undergraduate students and 150 graduate students. Kolb wants to see 20 to 25 percent enrollment increases in both areas over the next three years.

Kolb wants MCMA’s international presence to continue to grow. The college has built an “extremely strong international base” over the past five or six years with faculty traveling to venues throughout the world with both their creative work and scholarship, a trend that Kolb wants to see continue. He also wants to continue to grow partnerships with international universities.

Emphasizing that critical, theoretical and scholarly work remain extremely important components within the college, Kolb said he also wants to continue to strengthen hands-on learning opportunities for students, another of the college’s traditional and critical components.

“A huge priority for me while we look toward the future is that we also pay attention to our past and what has traditionally made this college strong,” he said.

He wants the college’s expanding internship programs to grow in resources and personnel. A record number of about 70 students are participating in internship programs this summer, he said.

Kolb is a believer in “evolving the college rather than starting from scratch to rebuild it.”

Faculty and staff support is also critical to MCMA’s future successes, he said. Kolb emphasizes the input he receives from faculty, chairs, directors and staff will partially determine MCMA’s future goals.

“Goals cannot be mandated from the top,” he said. “Efforts have to be truly cooperative.”

A native of Cleveland, Kolb earned a bachelor’s degree in history and literature of religions from Northwestern University in 1974. He earned a master of fine arts degree in photography from Ohio University in 1977.

Kolb and his wife, Georgia Wessel, live in Carbondale. A daughter, Annie Clark, also lives in Carbondale.