New Dean

Dr. Kristie Bunton, TCU dean of Schieffer College of Communications

| by Sean ChaffinDr. Kristie Bunton was recently announced as the new dean of TCU’s Schieffer College of Communications. Since 2011, Bunton served as associate dean and professor at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.

Can you tell us about your background? I’m from a farm where the radio ag report, daily newspaper, and my grandmother’s weekly column were sacred rituals. I fell in love with journalism through these channels, so it was a no-brainer to attend Missouri’s j-school. I became more intrigued by ethics in journalism than by being a journalist, so I pursued a Mizzou master’s and an Indiana Ph.D. I’ve been teaching ethical issues for 22 years.

What are your thoughts on the Schieffer College? The teaching, mentoring and research skills of its faculty, coupled with the resources and technology it enjoys, make the college exceptionally strong, as do Mr. Schieffer’s name and reputation. I’m most drawn to it because of its central purpose of educating students for lives as skilled, responsible communicators and ethical leaders.

What are some goals for TCU? My key goals will come from faculty, whose teaching and scholarship tell them what our students must learn. I want to keep faculty and the college student-centered, and then identify programs to enhance, or new ones to launch, that will propel us to national significance. More graduate and community outreach programs? More ethics education? These are all possible.

How have journalism departments changed to keep pace with ever-changing technology and industry? We’ve had to acquire and learn new technologies and roles. But no matter how the professional world changes, we have to steep students in the fundamental purpose of communication – telling the human story in truthful, responsible ways – while giving them practical tools to use in that world.
The changes offer exciting opportunities. They let students pursue careers in a more flexible, entrepreneurial and less rigid way than in the past. If we help students become critical thinkers and lifelong learners, they will adapt successfully to whatever their professional environment holds.