Andrea Hickerson has been selected to serve as Dean of the School of Journalism and New Media. Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Noel Wilkin announced that Hickerson accepted the position in an email to SOJNM employees. Her appointment to the position will be effective once approved by the Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees.
“I’m absolutely thrilled. I fell in love with the people and the campus is beautiful, too. I think that’s well known,” Hickerson said. “I was really struck by the energy and enthusiasm of the faculty, staff and students, and I left just feeling like it was something I really wanted to be a part of, and I’m excited to be there and figure out what we can do together.”
Hickerson was offered the position after a nationwide search which yielded many qualified candidates. She has an impressive background in teaching, administration and research.
She has earned a Bachelor of Arts in both journalism and international relations from Syracuse University. She also earned a Master of Arts in both journalism and Middle Eastern studies from the University of Texas at Austin and a doctorate from the University of Washington in communications.
“She is an accomplished researcher and scholar with experience studying ‘deepfakes’ and issues facing international journalism,” Wilkin said in the email. “She has been a principal investigator, co-principal investigator or investigator on over $1.6M in external support from a wide range of sources that include the National Science Foundation, U.S. State Department, foundations and news networks. She is also an accomplished administrator, having served as a director at two universities.”
Prior to accepting the dean position at the University of Mississippi, Hickerson was the Director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications and an associate dean in the College of Information and Communications at the University of South Carolina.
Hickerson will succeed Debora Wenger, who has served as interim-Dean of the SOJNM since the resignation of Will Norton in 2020.
“As I leave the interim role, I’m most proud of the way our school came together over the past two years to hire some extraordinary new colleagues and to host the first-ever IMC Connect event, which celebrated some of the best and brightest practitioners and academics in the IMC discipline,” Wenger said. “I’m so pleased to see how many amazing students we’ve been able to admit to our programs for fall 2022. I know all of this is going to help ensure ongoing success for our school.”
Integrated marketing communications, a program within the SOJNM, is one of the university’s most popular majors. Communication, journalism and related programs made up 9.53% of all bachelor’s degrees conferred last year.
“I’d like to say thank you to those individuals who continually offered me their support and their help during my tenure. Please know that I deeply appreciate all that you did,” Wenger said.
Wenger will retain her position as full professor in the school.
“I’m admittedly biased here, but our new dean will be joining a dedicated faculty and staff and outstanding students in one of the most entrepreneurial and progressive schools on campus. I very much look forward to working with Dr. Hickerson and seeing what more our school can accomplish under her leadership,” she said.
Hickerson’s appointment to the position will become official once approved by the IHL Board of Trustees, which they will likely consider at their next board meeting, scheduled for May 19.