The Maneater

Journalism dean’s retirement to take effect Aug. 31

Dean Mills will remain at the university half-time as director of the Donald W. Reynolds Fellows Program.

Dean Mills, School of Journalism dean, plans to remain at the university half-time as director of the Donald W. Reynolds Fellows Program after his retirement takes effect Aug. 31.

Mills’ retirement, which he announced Feb. 6, will end his 25-year term as dean.

As director of the Reynolds Fellows Program, which will be housed in the Reynolds Journalism Institute, Mills will be working with three types of fellows to improve journalism.

One is a residential fellowship, Mills said.

“People come in for eight months of the academic year and work on some kind of project using the technology at RJI to develop some new technique or approach to journalism,” he said.

Mills said the two kinds of non-residential fellowships also differ.

“For (the individual fellowship), people don’t have to move to Columbia, and (they) visit RJI to work on projects of some kind to improve journalism in some way,” he said. “And then the third kind is an institutional fellowship. Those go to a news operation or a media company that wants to develop some new approach to journalism.”

Mills will now be able to work for the institute he helped launch in 2004, which he said was a highlight of his career.

“It’s unique,” he said. “It’s the only entity of its kind connected to the university. It’s trying to figure out how to develop new ways of connecting journalists and citizens. It fills a very needed role, and there have been challenges.”

As Mills continues his last year as dean, a search committee will be formed to find his successor. MU Spokesman Christian Basi said the members of that committee have yet to be named. There will be no interim dean.

Mills said his time as dean of the journalism school was enhanced by the faculty working with him, with running the school a team effort that he, chairmen and associate deans all work together on.

“What we’re all working for is to provide the best possible experience we can for students who will be the future journalists of the world,” he said. “That’s a big enough task…. I hope that we have — not just I, but all of us — done things over the past several years to make this a better experience for students and give them the tools they need.”

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