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Announcement Regarding Dean Raul Reis

Dear members of the Emerson community,

I write to share the news that after almost six years of outstanding leadership, Raul Reis, Dean of the School of Communication, will be leaving Emerson in June to transition to a new position as Dean of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, beginning July 1. 

Upon sharing the news of his departure, Dean Reis said, “I will be forever grateful to the Emerson community, especially to my School of Communication colleagues, for the incredible opportunity to serve as dean for the past six years. You welcomed me with open arms, and anything we were able to accomplish in the past years was because of your warm, collaborative, and entrepreneurial spirit.”

Since joining Emerson as the dean and a tenured professor in 2016, Dean Reis has helped to create and launch 10 new degree programs, including Sports Communication, Business of Creative Enterprises (BCE), Public Relations, Media Design, and two online programs, Speech@Emerson and Digital Marketing and Data Analytics. In addition, with a focus on the College’s priority of increasing diversity, he has hired more than 40 new full-time faculty members, including department chairs and program directors who have brought a new energy and expertise to the SOC. In addition, Dean Reis, in partnership with colleagues within the school, Admissions, Enrollment, and the Provost’s office, has helped to grow the School’s enrollment numbers from 27 percent of Emerson’s student body in 2016 to almost 50 percent of the total student population this year. 

In support of the School of Communication student body, he created and launched the School’s First Year Initiative, which, since 2017, has connected new SOC students around topics such as democracy and civic participation (2017), dialogue and conversation (2018), sustainability (2019), social action (2020), and the historical and social underpinnings of racial discrimination (2021). 

Internally, he has created four new staff positions, including operations, communications, an assistant dean, and an associate dean, who enabled the School to take on initiatives in the areas of engagement, faculty and student support, and student and alumni events. He also supported deep curricular reviews and revisions that are producing some of the most innovative and cutting-edge communication-related programs in the country, while simultaneously infusing diversity, equity, and inclusion into School of Communication classes and initiatives. He also encouraged additional communication initiatives, including a monthly newsletter and new social media channels, that have helped connect stakeholders, including alumni and community organizations.

He supported the growth of several programs, including the Washington D.C. program, Emerson Launch, and Emerson Polling; the SOC’s participation in programming at Emerson Los Angeles; and engaged faculty and administration in discussion of the 2017-2022 Strategic Plan and 2018 Diversity Plan. 

Prior to his arrival at Emerson in 2016, he served as Dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) at Florida International University in Miami, from 2011 to 2016. He has published extensively in academic journals and books, on such topics as the impact of mass media on traditional communities; Latin American and Brazilian media; higher education; and science, health and environmental communication. Prior to entering academia, he worked for many years as a newspaper, television, and magazine reporter and editor for Brazilian and U.S. news organizations.

I am grateful to Dean Reis for his steadiness at the helm of the School of Communication, particularly during the challenges of the pandemic, for his creativity, and for his thoughtful approach to problem solving.

I have begun working with Dean Reis on a leadership transition plan, and will soon announce the appointment of an internal Interim Dean who will continue the important work ahead of us. I feel very fortunate that we have such depth of faculty talent, leadership and dedication to service, and I know Raul shares my confidence in our colleagues and the Emerson leadership to continue the positive trajectory for the SOC and the College.

In the coming weeks, we will share plans to celebrate Dean Reis prior to his departure from Emerson, but in the meantime, please join me in thanking him for his service to Emerson and wishing him much success and happiness.


Jan Roberts-Breslin,
Interim Provost

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