Colleagues, Below are the relevant parts of an email I sent to Dafna in late January responding to her request for some hiring areas. It was based on department meeting conversations, surveys, emails, and word clouds.
As I mentioned a couple of months ago, the deans moved forward on two of the hires (NTT and TT1, not TT2). All Rutgers NB hiring proposals are now sitting in Chancellor-Provost Conway’s office awaiting a decision. Dafna has encouraged departments to continue to work on search priorities in advance of the decisions so that quick moves could be made over the summer to generate job ads.
One reason Dafna gave for sending up two not three areas: TT2 did not sound very different from TT1. One thing this tells me is that we can find ways of integrating elements of the second into the first (and/or NTT hire)
After sending this proposal forward, a couple of things happened that we could consider in shaping the hiring areas:
1) The curriculum review committee conducted surveys and focus groups on undergraduate interest in specializations. There was also a survey on student preferences for upper level courses. The results were three potential areas of specialization: Digital and Social Media; Entertainment and Cultural Media; and Production. These map rather neatly on to the three areas we proposed. We can think about how Entertainment and Cultural Media could inform one or both of the hires.
2) One phrase/area that was not (to my memory) mentioned by the department is “solutions-oriented journalism.” I encountered it (again) at the MIC conference in early Feb. I think it would be worth discussing in addition to investigative journalism (which is in our current title). Please look this over and bring your thoughts on Wednesday, when we’ll also be discussing how to conduct the search process itself.
** Here’s what JMS has been talking about and foreseeing.
The first approach is based on the “replacement model” of hiring, which involves counting losses, determining lacks, and filling in gaps. Significant faculty losses include: Chenjerai Kumanyika at TT, Juan Gonzalez at NTT, Rafael Longrono at NTT (though only with us a year, he made some good contributions), and the upcoming retirement of Jorge Schement (Full) (who has only recently joined the department but has been an important voice and much-needed member for institutional service).
We can list the courses, scholarly/public research areas, and department work if needed.
In addition to their expertise and departmental contributions, what is notable about them is that they are all people of color. The department’s ongoing commitment to building a diverse faculty has taken a blow with these departures.
The second approach is based on a "growth and future direction model." Again, we would have a better sense of this at the end of our conversations. But we have identified some areas fairly quickly.
* number of searches: 3
* level of hire: 1 NTT and 2 TT (assistant prof)
* general line of scholarship or practice NTT: Production (audio, video, and/or digital); Investigative Journalism TT1: Social/Digital Media and Marginalized Communities (celebrities/influencers, surveillance studies, disinformation) TT2: Media Industries and Marginalized Communities (sound/music studies, global media, data infrastructures)
* justification (in addition to the preamble above):
* NTT: we see the need for a production-focused NTT hire since we see student interest in our production courses. * Audio production includes podcasting, which is now lying fallow due to Chenjerai’s departure. But we see value in expanding into multimedia, as courses like Digital Media Production are popular at undergrad and grad levels. We also identified the importance of Investigative Reporting, building on what Juan has been doing and will continue for a bit of time, and we foresee the need to have someone who is here full time to anchor that important work.
We are focusing on TT Assistant Professors because of our expected top-heavy department come Fall 2023. Youngrim Kim will be our only Assistant Professor, while 70% of the department will (fingers-crossed) be at Full level.
Two TTs would be important because of their significant themes. Social/Digital Media focuses on the techno-social practices of platform-based social media. We have some courses right now, but generating a scholarship/teaching focus on it seems like it would register with media studies research tendencies as well as student interest. Media Industries focuses on the professions, organizations, and economies that generate a variety of media, not just social/digital (e.g. film, documentary, television, news, even as these legacy media are transformed through digital technologies). While we aren’t tying the latter to a new Masters program, we see the value of it for undergraduates as well (as a potential specialization). We can define it broadly, but we know that burgeoning media professionals like our majors and other students are looking for more guidance to understanding those professions.
Also, each would bring new or expanded expertise to our undergraduate/masters programs around the combination of study and production. We see the Social/Digital Media hire working on emergent forms of production, such as someone who knows how to teach video-based social media as an algorithmic practice to undergrads while studying the broader social and cultural implications of digital influencing. In other words, someone who can teach at all program levels.
The Media Industries position would not just study the formal economies of media production, but would have a more intimate knowledge of those industries. That could be a media maker (e.g. visual-documentary) or someone who knows how to write about and report on them (e.g. someone who could teach an Entertainment/Cultural journalism course), In other words, someone who can teach at all program levels.
Both TT positions also foreground Marginalized Communities, which is why we see this as an internal cluster hire to continue our commitment to social inequality and justice. This will be prominent in the NTT position as well, though we haven’t figured out how to name it in the main areas for the position.
We are still thinking through what Marginalized Communities means specifically for our department, but two significant areas we felt we need to develop is in LGBTQ+ studies/media and Latinx Studies and/or Media.
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