Neil Henry stepping down as J-School dean

Neil Henry, who took over as dean of Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism in the fall of 2009 after leading the school since 2007 on an interim basis, is stepping down to return to teaching, the campus has announced.

Neil Henry

Neil Henry

A veteran reporter and editor who served stints as Africa bureau chief for the Washington Post and staff writer for Newsweek, Henry joined Berkeley’s journalism faculty in 1993. As dean, he secured three endowed faculty chairs under the Hewlett Foundation Endowed Chair Challenge and implemented a major reorganization of the curriculum for teaching multimedia and basic reporting, an initiative funded by Ford Foundation grants totaling more than $1 million. He was also instrumental in launching the Bay Citizen, a regional online publication funded in large part by philanthropist Warren Hellman.

In an email announcement sent this morning to the Cabinet and the Council of Deans, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer praised Henry’s “important and lasting contributions to the school, the region and the profession of journalism,” adding that “Chancellor Birgeneau, Vice Provost [Janet] Broughton and I are deeply grateful for Neil’s extraordinary service.”

Henry plans to return to teaching in both the journalism school and the media-studies undergraduate program. Long passionate about intercollegiate sports, he will also serve as special assistant to the Athletic Study Center, helping student-athletes to maximize their academic experience during their time at Berkeley.

Breslauer announced that journalist, author and Berkeley professor Tom Goldstein, who served as dean of the J-School from 1988 to 1996 and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism from 1997 to 2002, will assume the role of interim dean for the coming academic year.

The search for a new dean will begin shortly, wrote Breslauer, who said he expects that the school will have a full-term leader in place by July 2012.