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Communications dean, journalism chair to retire
combined years of service to Arkansas State University,
Russell Shain, dean of the College of Communications, and Dr. Joel
Gambill, chair of the Department of Journalism, have announced that each
will retire from their respective positions. Dr. Shain leaves on June
30, 2010, after 20 years at ASU, while Dr. Gambill retires on July 30,
2010, after completing 40 years.
Dr. Osa Amienyi, chair of the Department of Radio-Television, will
become the interim dean for the College of Communications, while Dr. Gil
Fowler, associate dean of the Honors College, will become chair of
journalism. Professor of radio-television Dr. Mary Jackson-Pitts will
serve as the interim chair of RTV, and Rebecca Oliver, current director
of student services for the Honors College, will become director of the
Honors College, reporting to Dr. Andy Sustich, dean of the Graduate
School and Honors College.
“We appreciate deeply the leadership of Dr. Shain and Dr. Gambill,” said
Dr. Dan Howard, executive vice chancellor of Academic Affairs and
Research and provost. “They have built a legacy of outstanding
leadership in the College of Communications and have strong ties with
its students and alumni. The college
has an excellent national reputation for providing high quality,
hands-on experience for its students and these two leaders have been a
significant part of it.
“With these seasoned veterans retiring from the college, we want strong
senior leadership in place to ensure a smooth transition and
continuation of its high quality programs. We are certain that the new
leadership team will achieve these objectives.”
Dr. Shain has
been dean of the College of Communications since 1990. He concurrently
served as the dean of the ASU College of Fine Arts during 1995-98.
During his 20 years, he led ASU to four successful accreditation reviews
by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass
Communications, an extraordinary accomplishment.
Previously, he was at the University of Colorado at Boulder for 20
years, including 10 as dean of the School of Journalism and Mass
Communication. He also worked as a copy editor for the Lexington (Ky.)
Herald and the Denver Post.
Dr. Shain was president of
the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication
(ASJMC) during 2005-06, which is the premier national organization of
journalism administrators. He has published one book and several
scholarly articles on culture and communications technology. He holds a
doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
to Arkansas State University in 1966 and has remained here ever since;
with the exception of a three-year leave of absence beginning in 1970 to
complete his doctorate at Southern Illinois University. Upon completion
of his doctorate degree, he was appointed assistant professor of
journalism and department chair.
His scholarly interests are communications law and ethics, reporting,
and history of the mass media. He is a member of the Association for
Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and the Society of
The Arkansas Press Association selected him as the Journalism Educator
of the Year in 1996. In 2008, he initiated the Journalism Alumni
Speakers Series which features journalism alumni who return to campus
and share professional experience with students and interact with
In addition, Dr. Gambill has worked as a reporter and copy editor for
the Jonesboro Sun, the Daily Oklahoman, and the Paragould Daily Press.
He has been the official scorer of men’s and women’s basketball games at
Arkansas State for 35 years and was the
head statistician for ASU football for 24
He received a Bachelor of Science from ASU, a Master of Arts from the
University of Oklahoma, and a doctorate from Southern Illinois
Dr. Amienyi, chair of the Department of Radio-Television since 2007,
joined the radio-television faculty in 1989 after a career in film,
videography, and radio-television. His research on communication and
national development has been published in a variety of journals.
Dr. Amienyi was a film producer and videographer in Nigeria and worked
in radio and television in the U.S. His research on national development
has appeared in a variety of national and international publications. He
is author of the book, Communicating National Integration: Empowering
Development in African Countries (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2005), and
received a Fulbright Fellowship to teach and conduct research at The
University of Malawi in 2005.
He attended Tennessee State University where he earned a bachelor’s
degree and then received a master’s degree from Northern Illinois
University. Dr. Amienyi holds a doctorate from Bowling Green State
Dr. Fowler compiled a distinguished research and teaching record in the
Department of Journalism before becoming administrative head of the
Honors College. Under his leadership, the Honors College has grown
significantly, and he helped develop the Honors Living and Learning
Center in collaboration with the Office of Student Affairs. He has been
recognized nationally for his contributions to scholarly organizations
and is president of the Western Social Science Association. He holds a
doctorate from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Dr. Pitts joined the radio-television faculty in 1988. She teaches
courses in traditional and multimedia journalism, research methods,
documentary and corporate media, and focuses her research on how new
technology impacts media outlets and their delivery of content.
She has published widely and serves as mass communication section
coordinator of the Western Social Science Association. Dr. Pitts is an
active leader in the Southern States Communication Association. Her
professional career includes six years in television news and
production. She holds a doctorate from the University of Southern
As director of the Honors College, Oliver will assume the daily
operations and provide administrative leadership for the program. She
has worked at Florida State University, the University of Kansas, and
Temple University. She is an active member of several professional
organizations, including the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC).
She has made presentations to NCHC on such topics as honors recruiting,
empowering honors students, and honors living-learning communities.
Oliver holds a master’s degree in counseling and higher education
administration from Truman State University.