Newswise — Amy Falkner has been named the new dean of Ithaca College’s Roy H. Park School of Communications. Falkner has had a lengthy career as a teacher and leader in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, including serving as acting and interim dean for two years from 2018-2020. She joined the Newhouse faculty in 1998, was named associate dean for academic affairs in 2006, and has been senior associate dean since 2012.
In announcing Falkner’s appointment, Ithaca College Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Melanie Stein said she is a leader who is interested in bringing people together around a shared vision to achieve positive results, with a record of building cross-campus partnerships and joint graduate programs and of leading, inspiring, and motivating those who work for and with her.
“From her early career in newspapers, through her years teaching in the classroom and conducting and presenting research, to serving for the past decade-and-a-half in academic leadership roles within a comprehensive communications education program, Amy has demonstrated the understanding and expertise that we have been seeking in our next Park School dean,” said Stein. “Her experiences and qualities will serve our current and future Park School students well in preparing them for the ongoing transformation to the realm of digital media.”
Falkner holds a B.A. in communications/journalism from St. John Fisher College and M.A. in magazine journalism from Syracuse University. She worked in the newspaper industry for a decade, where she was named one of Presstime’s “Top 20 under 40” newspaper industry executives. She then entered academia as an assistant professor in the advertising department at Newhouse. Falkner was the first member of the faculty to become a two-time winner of the Newhouse Teaching Excellence Award, an honor voted on annually by the graduating class.
“Ithaca College is such a wonderful academic institution in an incredibly beautiful locale and active local community that my family and I hope to become very engaged in,” said Falkner. “The college as a whole has so many incredible programs that are very student-focused, which I love. My passion is what is best for students, and I feel like that is a mantra on this campus. I am thrilled to become a part of that kind of environment.”
Among her professional affiliations, Falkner is an active member of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, in which she has served as an elected member of the Professional Freedom and Responsibility Committee, which focuses on five core areas: free expression, ethics, media criticism and accountability, diversity and inclusion, and public service. She also was elected to two terms on the Standing Committee on Teaching.
Falkner has been active in the diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) space while assisting Syracuse University in finalizing its DEIA strategic plan. In the Newhouse School, this included implementing new faculty training on topics such as implicit bias, oversight of faculty recruitment, hiring and retention showing sustained growth in BIPOC and female faculty populations, holding listening sessions with students of color and their allies, being the point person for student bias reports, supporting intercultural events, and rolling out a new 3-credit diversity class required of all 2,000 Newhouse undergraduates.
A productive researcher, Falkner studies the purchasing behaviors and media usage of LGBT consumers. For six years, she led the “Gay and Lesbian Consumer Online Census,” a national annual survey with 10,000 respondents intended to help Fortune 500 advertisers understand the complexities of the LGBT market. Results were used to develop and implement communications campaign strategies.
Falkner is excited to join Park and to work alongside professionals and scholars who are leading the way in their respective communications fields.
“The teaching and learning that goes on in the Park School is top level, and supported by an incredibly capable and welcoming staff,” said Falkner. “The promise of Park is that its students are ready to go the first day of their new jobs as young professionals and scholars. Leading a school that strives for excellence in everything it does is exactly where I want to be.”
Falkner will begin her new position at Ithaca College on August 1. She succeeds Jack Powers, who has been serving as interim dean of the Park School since 2020.