After serving for more than a decade at the helm of one of the preeminent communications programs in the nation, Diane Gayeski has let us know that this academic year will be her last as dean of the Roy H. Park School of Communications. A 1974 graduate of the school, Diane has spent the majority of her academic career in service to her alma mater. And that service won’t end with her departure as dean — following a fall 2020 sabbatical, she will return to teaching in the Department of Strategic Communication.
Diane’s early notice will give us the opportunity to put together plans to conduct a search for her successor in the coming year. We will keep the campus community updated on the search process as those plans are developed.
While Diane has been a fixture in the Park School since joining the faculty in 1979, it is not just her longevity that makes her a standout. During a time when the communications field itself is undergoing rapid and unprecedented change, she has led the school with a confident hand, ensuring that excellence and innovation remain hallmarks of an IC communications education.
The school’s faculty are regularly honored for their teaching, research, publications and productions. Students create award-winning work in the classroom and in the field, as well as through the student-run media outlets — The Ithacan, ICTV and WICB/VIC radio — and such co-curricular programs as Park Productions, Park Promotions and The Studio.
This past June, a team from the Ad Lab senior capstone course won the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition. Park is regularly listed among the top film schools in the country by Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, and Princeton Review this year ranked IC at #4 for best college newspaper and #7 for best college radio station.
Diane has inaugurated programs that recognize the critical role media play in society, such as Women in Media Month, which includes the presentation of the Jessica Savitch Breakthrough Award and the Rod Serling Award for Advancing Social Justice Through Popular Media, and the John Keshishoglou Center for Global Communications Innovation, which hosts the MS in Communications Innovation degree program and Media for Social Responsibility mini-courses.
She created S’Park, a signature course for first-year students that brings alumni and other distinguished visitors to the school, and the S’Park Media Mentor Awards, which honor high school teachers and advisers who are committed to igniting a passion for media in their students.
In August, a $30 million gift to the Park Scholars program established an endowment that will help position the school as a leader in preparing future communication professionals with a rigorous education and a solid foundation of ethical principles.
Diane is also an internationally recognized pioneer in the field of organizational learning and communication, business performance improvement, and educational technologies. She authored the first textbook on non-broadcast corporate and instructional video, and co-authored the first book on interactive media. She has been a contributor and journal editor for major professional societies, and her work and ideas have been cited in the Wall Street Journal, Computerworld, Business Week and Newsweek, among other publications.
Her peers have recognized Diane with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Business Communicators and the Distinguished Professional Achievement Award from the International Society for Performance Improvement. At IC, she has been honored with both the Faculty Leadership Award and Excellence in Scholarship Award.
Diane has taken an active role in serving the college as a whole as well. In just the past few years alone, she was a member of the Presidential Search Committee; chaired search committees for dean of the Schools of Business, Health Sciences and Human Performance, and Humanities and Sciences; and co-chaired the search committee for the vice president for human and organizational development and planning.
In 2008–9 Diane served as interim dean of the Division of Graduate and Professional Studies, and then as interim dean of the Park School in 2009 before being named dean the following year. She had earlier held positions in the school as associate dean of faculty, department chair, chair of the graduate program, and director of online certificate programs in strategic communication management and performance improvement management.
In addition to teaching upon her return from sabbatical, Diane has graciously agreed to assist the administration in alumni relations and development efforts, and to serve as an ambassador helping to move forward the Ithaca Forever strategic plan.
We are all tremendously thankful to Diane for her countless contributions to this institution.
La Jerne Terry Cornish
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs