Medill Dean John Lavine will step down as the head of the journalism school next year, according to an email he sent to Medill students today.
Lavine, who has been dean of the school since January 2006, will officially resign on Aug. 31, 2012, just weeks before next school year. No official replacement for the dean has been named.
“When I became dean, journalism and marketing communications were being roiled by a digital tsunami, and soon thereafter, by one of the worst economic downturns in a century,” Lavine wrote in the email.
“What counts is the progress we’ve made, the foundation for the future that we’ve built, and the validation of what we’ve done from external sources.”
Lavine’s reign as Medill’s dean has been marked by major curricular changes to adapt to the digital age and the integration of marketing communications into journalism instruction. The shifts culminated in the school’s adoption of a new name in November: The Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications.
Along with heading the journalism school, Lavine is a professor of media management and strategy at both Medill and the Kellogg School of Management. He was also the founding director of the Northwestern Media Management Center.
The longtime editor and publisher will step down to examine “how the media can determine if people are truly informed by the content they provide,” he wrote. He added that he also wants to spend more time with his wife.
Despite his sometime controversial tenure – from curricular and name changes to the high-profile David Protess scandal — Lavine expressed his pride in what Medill has accomplished in the past six years.
“It has been quite an odyssey,” Lavine wrote in the email. “Together we’ve accomplished far more than was envisioned in our Medill 2020 plan. Along the way, we’ve faced and overcome major challenges, as well as some controversies; when you undertake seismic change, both are inevitable.”