Second search for director of School of Journalism and Broadcasting ends with no hire

Magnifying glass

The second search for a director for the School of Journalism and Broadcasting has resulted in no hires for the position, Dean of Potter College of Arts and Letters Larry Snyder said in an email to SJB faculty and staff. 

In his email sent to SJB faculty and staff, he said the search is “on pause” but not closed.

As the Herald previously reported in November, the search had been narrowed down to two candidates. 

The two candidates were Aaron Chimbel, professor at Texas Christian University, and Mary Lou Sheffer, a broadcast journalism professor at the University of Southern Mississippi. 

Snyder, in an interview with the Herald, said there was no consensus among faculty for the candidates and that “neither one of those candidates was a particularly good fit.” However, Snyder also said one candidate declined and pulled their name out. 

“We’re looking for a very particular set of skills and experiences,” he said. 

A search committee held a search for a new director spring semester of last year after former director Loup Langton announced his decision to step down in October 2016, but it ended unsuccessfully after top candidates came to campus in April.

Snyder told a Herald reporter last June he made the decision to close the first search because there was no consensus of support for either candidate.

Robert Dietle, who was head of the history department at the time, was named interim director of SJB last June before the search relaunched last fall semester, headed by English Department Head Robert Hale.

Hale declined to comment on the search and directed the Herald to speak to Snyder for comment. 

Snyder said there was “more consensus this time” than with the first round of candidates, but ultimately, neither candidate was hired. Snyder said he suspects the search will not run again in the spring, but will begin again this summer or fall. 

“This is a prominent program for Potter College and the university, with a national reputation, so we’re looking to find the right person for this and not to settle.”