IOWA CITY – Departing University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication Director David Perlmutter said Tuesday the UI program is in a “fantastic place,” and he believes it will draw a new director who will keep the momentum going.
Perlmutter, who has led the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication since 2009, announced Tuesday he will leave the university in the coming weeks to become dean of the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University, where he will start July 1.
He was approached about the job by the search firm working with Texas Tech, and the more he learned about that program, the more interested he became, Perlmutter said.
At Texas Tech, Perlmutter will lead an independent college of journalism, rather than a school within a college. Where the UI has about 450 students in its program, Texas Tech has about 1,500 students in the college, and about three times the number of faculty and staff, he said.
“It’s a pretty famous college in our field,” he said.
The timing also was right for Perlmutter to look at other opportunities, he said, because he was on a five-year contract at the UI, which led to a natural consideration of staying with the university for another contract or looking elsewhere.
“I did take a look at my opportunities and this one seemed too good to pass up,” he said.
The team of faculty, staff and students in the UI program have made numerous notable strides in the past several years, Perlmutter said, including the new Moeller Research Lab; a new undergraduate multidisciplinary certificate in fundraising and philanthropic communication; a new distance master’s degree program in strategic communications; an updated and revised curriculum for undergraduate and graduate programs to better fit a changing media world; the hiring of seven new assistant professors; and the full accreditation of the undergraduate program.
“At the end of the day, what I think I’m most proud of is that places like The Gazette … hire our students, really like the job they’re doing and say to us ‘send us more,’” he said. “To me, that’s the single best indicator that a professional program is doing well.”
Perlmutter came to the UI from the University of Kansas, where he was a professor in the school of journalism and mass communication.