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Patricia Prijatel, director of Drake University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the E.T. Meredith distinguished professor of journalism, has retired at the close of the 2006-07 academic year. Kathleen Richardson, associate professor of journalism, has been named the school’s new director. David Wright remains associate dean and associate professor.
“Teaching at Drake and helping lead the J-School have been extremely rewarding, so leaving will be bittersweet,” Prijatel said. “Looking back on more than two decades worth of excellent colleagues and students, it has truly been a marvelous way to spend a career.”
Drake will conduct a national search during the 2007-08 academic year to find a successor for head of the magazine program. Rick Tapscott, former managing editor of the Des Moines Register, will join the SJMC as a visiting adjunct professor in the news-Internet program. Lori Blachford, former managing editor of Country Home magazine, will continue to teach magazine courses as an adjunct instructor. Angela Renkoski will continue to direct the E.T. Center for Magazine Studies and the Meredith Apprenticeship program and teach courses within the SJMC.
“Under Prijatel’s leadership, the magazine program has grown from fewer than 20 students her first year to more than 120 magazine majors now,” said Dean Charlie Edwards. “She has turned the magazine sequence into an award-winning program of national prominence and has brought extensive resources to the School of Journalism, not least of which is development of the E.T. Meredith Center for Magazine Studies.”
Prijatel’s 23-year career at Drake has been marked by accolades such as receiving Drake’s Madelyn M. Levitt Teacher of the Year Award and the Burlington-Northern Junior Teacher Award, both University-wide honors for classroom excellence. She was named the E.T. Meredith distinguished professor of journalism in 1997 and director and dean of the SJMC in 2005.
Prijatel is co-author of “The Magazine from Cover to Cover,” a textbook used in more than 70 universities throughout the world. Prijatel and her collaborator, Sammye Johnson of Trinity University, recently published a second edition of the book.
“As much as we are indebted to Prijatel for her service to Drake and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, both she and I, along with the journalism faculty, are confident that Richardson will do wonderful job as the new director,” Edwards said. “The school is in good hands.”
Richardson succeeds Prijatel with more than 20 years of professional experience working at the Des Moines Register as copy editor and copy desk chief, wire editor, news editor, features editor, book reviewer and columnist. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Drake in 1976 and a law degree from Drake Law School in 2002. Richardson began teaching at Drake in 1997 and also serves as executive secretary of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, which is headquartered in Drake’s Meredith Hall.
“I look forward to working with the rest of the SJMC faculty to build on our tradition of innovation and excellence,” Richardson said.