Celebrating CMCI with Professor Paul Voakes

At the grand introduction of the new College of Media, Communication, and Information (CMCI), I got a chance to speak to Professor Paul Voakes, who previously served as Dean of the old School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC), to get his take on transitioning to the new CMCI and the possibilities he sees for its future.

Professor Voakes described how the JMC’s closing was received when the administration made the announcement five years ago.

“That was… sad and shocking news to a lot of people, because what people heard in the headline was ‘Journalism School Shutting Down.’ And that’s not really a great way to embrace a bright new future.”

One of the main challenges from that point, he said, was changing the perception that something was ending, and instead see it as a transition to something new and “more cognizant of a very different media landscape that ought to embrace far more than just journalism.”

In fact, for all the public concern that something was ending, “the reality was that we did not lose a single faculty member, and that our enrollment stayed steady, and that our curriculum continued to offer all of the courses that we had been offering for years and years and years.” It was just “business as usual, and we were also moving forward.”

Looking to the future, Voakes hopes that the CMCI builds a legacy as a school on the cutting edge of media communications.

“What I really hope is the legacy, is that when there are major shifts or changes in the doing of media, whether it’s in journalism or whether it’s in entertainment, or whether it’s in interpersonal communications… the people who understand it first and who teach it first are the people at [CU Boulder], because we have this thing called the CMCI. That’s what I’m hoping for.”

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