Stephen B. Shepard, founding dean of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, announced today that he would step down, effective Dec. 31, 2013. He will stay on as a University Professor at CUNY, working on special projects at the Journalism School, such as CUNY Journalism Press.

A search committee will be appointed to recommend candidates for the dean’s job to CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. CUNY expects a successor to be named by the fall.

Shepard, a 1961 graduate of City College, came to CUNY in March 2005 to create a new graduate school of journalism after a long career in magazines. He was a senior editor at Newsweek, editor of Saturday Review, and editor-in-chief of BusinessWeek for more than 20 years. He also served as president of the American Society of Magazine Editors. His memoir, Deadlines and Disruption: My Turbulent Path From Print to Digital, was published in 2012 by McGraw-Hill.

“I will be forever grateful for the privilege of serving as founding dean of this innovative new school,” Shepard said. “We can all be proud of what we’ve accomplished in short order.”

Launched in August 2006, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism is the only publicly funded graduate journalism school in the Northeast. It offers a three-semester Master of Arts in Journalism and a newer M.A. in Entrepreneurial Journalism. The School enrolls about 100 new students each fall, about 65% of them women and nearly 40% students of color. The School graduated its sixth class in December 2012.

The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism was among the first to offer a fully converged curriculum that blends traditional journalism – reporting, writing, critical thinking, and ethical values – with the multimedia, interactive, and technical skills of the new media world. Students also specialize in one of five subject concentrations: arts and culture, business and economics, health and science, international, or urban reporting.

All students participate in a summer internship program at a media company in the U.S. or abroad, and the students receive a stipend from the School of up to $3,000 for their internships.

Shepard is credited with putting together a world-class-faculty and establishing a national footprint for the School. He raised about $25 million for special academic programs and scholarships for deserving students. Alumni of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism work at nearly every major news organization in the U.S. and abroad. Some four out of five of its graduates are earning their living in journalism within six months of graduation.

The School occupies state-of-the-art facilities on West 40th Street near Times Square, in a building next to The New York Times that formerly housed the New York Herald Tribune.

Beyond its basic programs, the CUNY Graduate School ofJournalism runs two centers and a book publishing imprint:

* The Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism trains students and mid-career professionals to develop products and services for the digital age and conduct research on new business models to sustain quality journalism.

* The Center for Community and Ethnic Media, launched in 2012, serves New York’s vibrant neighborhood and immigrant-community newspapers and broadcast outlets -– some 350 of them, published in more than 50 languages. The Center offers their staffs training programs in business, technology, and journalism.

* CUNY Journalism Press, launched in 2012 in partnership with OR Books, publishes books about journalism in two formats: e-books and print-on-demand paperbacks.

“CUNY is profoundly grateful to Stephen B. Shepard, who took the helm of the School at a time when the journalism field was on the cusp of profound change,” CUNY Board Chairperson Benno Schmidt said. “During the past nine years he has built a School for this new age, featuring an innovative curriculum, a highly regarded faculty, a talented and diverse student body, and a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of the world’s media capital.”

“The City University of New York is deeply indebted to Stephen B. Shepard, a CCNY alumnus and one of America’s most distinguished journalists,” Chancellor Goldstein said. “As Founding Dean of CUNY’s pioneering Graduate School of Journalism, he helped create an extraordinary graduate program that blends the eternal values of traditional journalism, including fine reporting and writing, critical thinking, and ethical values, with the new multimedia, interactive possibilities of the 21st century.”


From the Columbia Journalism Review

Photo by Jennifer S. Altman