School of Journalism Interim Dean Michael Evans is leaving his position for a new role as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Unity College in Unity, Maine.
Evans verbally accepted the position Tuesday, though he won’t officially begin his new job until July 1.
“I realized there was no way we were going to have a successful internal appointee for the dean of the new unit,” Evans said of his future opportunities in a new merger between the School of Journalism and the departments of Telecommunications and Communication and Culture.
At that point last fall, Evans began applying to new administrative positions at different academic institutions. He will now oversee about 40 personnel at Unity College, a private, liberal arts college with an environmental focus.
He began his tenure as journalism interim dean in July 2012, replacing former dean Brad Hamm, who left IU to become the dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.
Evans served the school as associate dean for undergraduate studies from 2009-2012 and has been part of the journalism faculty since 1995.
Provost Lauren Robel, who recommended Evans serve as interim dean to the Board of Trustees, has yet to announce her decision about future leadership of the School of Journalism, though she did ask Evans for his recommendations, he said, and will likely consult the four-person School of Journalism policy committee.
Evans has led the school as it continues to prepare for a possible merger.
“He genuinely cares about what happens with the School,” said Lesa Hatley Major, senior associate dean of the school. “He really did act with the best intentions of the School of Journalism in mind. The fact that he was open during these uncertain times kept people calm.”
School of Journalism Associate Dean Bonnie Brownlee said she’ll remember Evans’ leadership and dedication to ensuring the school retains its national accreditation by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.
“He’s brought this faculty back together with a transparency and openness,” Brownlee said. “He was constantly in communication with faculty and staff as discussions were going on. Even with his search for a new job, he was open.”
Before he leaves, Evans said he has two main priorities. Firstly, he will see to the completion of a document called a memorandum of understanding. It will outline how the School of Journalism will operate in the College of Arts and Sciences under the current merger proposal, Major said.
Evans said he is now sorting through and condensing the findings of various brainstorming teams which assessed areas including journalism programming, curriculum and accreditation and facilities. Once completed, Evans will present the finalized memorandum to school personnel for final agreement before it is passed to the upper administration of the College.
Once there, the College will incorporate its own memorandum of understanding to the existing document. If there are differences in thought, points of contention will be negotiated before a finalized document is agreed to by both schools and sent to the provost.
From there, Robel will take the memorandum into account as she crafts her proposal to the Board of Trustees, a proposal Evans expects she will make at the August 8-9 IU trustees meeting at IU-Purdue University Indianapolis.
Evans’ second main goal before he leaves is to ensure the smooth transition of the new interim dean, who could be appointed by Robel from inside or outside of the School of Journalism. He added that he hopes Robel will act quickly to make the appointment, as he would like to have an overlap period to ensure things are “handed off gracefully.”
As an added incentive for the move, Evans will more permanently reunite with his wife, Joanna, who has been working in New York state for the past six years.
“We’ve always loved New England,” he said. “Going back will be wonderful for us.”