This semester, SUNY Oswego is undergoing its most significant change in academic organization since 1992, launching the School of Communication, Media and the Arts. The new school will be Oswego's fourth school, alongside the School of Business, School of Education and College of Arts and Sciences.
SUNY Oswego Provost Susan Coultrap-McQuin named communication studies chair Fritz Messere ’71 as interim dean and music chair Julie Pretzat as interim associate dean. A national search for the deans’ positions will begin in the fall.
Messere has been a member of the SUNY Oswego faculty since 1976, when he ran an overseas program in London, England. He has a bachelor’s degree in English from SUNY Oswego, a graduate degree in communications, and also did postgraduate work at Cornell University in the fields of communication and science, and technology policy.
Before Messere returned to teach writing, media law, production and business of broadcasting courses at his alma mater, he worked in radio and television production, did freelance sound reinforcement and taught at Cayuga Community College. Prior to becoming chair of communication studies, Messere was coordinator and then chair of broadcasting.
Messere has been external assistant to Commissioner Mimi Dawson at the Federal Communications Commission, served as a Senior Fellow of the Annenberg Washington Program in Communication Policy for Northwestern University, sat on the National Expert Panel on Telecommunications for the Rural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri and served as a consultant for the National Telecommunications Information Administration.
“My vision for the school is that within the next five years, we will become the best public school for the study of communication, media and the arts. I envision new performance and production spaces that will enhance the quality of the Oswego experience,” Messere said of his goals as interim dean.
Messere said he hopes to help faculty develop new ideas and programs to strengthen the new school and its students, while reaching out to alumni and the greater Central New York region. He also noted the importance of keeping up with new technologies, referencing Web sites such as YouTube, Facebook and MySpace.
“Colleges like Oswego need to respond to this changing landscape with programs that allow us to experiment and examine these new opportunities for self-expression,” said Messere. Interdisciplinary studies are one way the new school will be meeting this goal.
“The creation of the new school is a formalization of what many of our students have been doing for years — finding interesting combinations of disciplines to suit their interests in the theoretical, historical and performance aspects of all the arts and communication,” said Pretzat.
Pretzat has been a member of the SUNY Oswego faculty since 1985, serving as chair of music since 2002. She earned a bachelor’s in music from Smith College, a master’s of music in conducting from the University of Michigan, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Prior to teaching at Oswego, Pretzat held positions at Mount Holyoke College, Moorhead State University and Syracuse University’s Hendricks Chapel, and was music director of the Syracuse Vocal Arts Ensemble for five years. At Oswego, she has directed College Choir, Chamber Singers, StateSingers, Festival Chorus and College-Community Orchestra, as well as Oswego Opera's music director. Pretzat is also the director of music at Park Central Presbyterian Church in Syracuse. She has been active on the programming board for ARTSwego and in developing programs in arts management and creative arts therapy.
“We are excited about the collaborative mission of the school and feel it positions Oswego well for development and grants,” said Pretzat. “We want to acknowledge that SUNY Oswego is the center for cultural life in the area and build on that strength.”
Both Messere and Pretzat encourage alumni to share their stories and become involved with the new school, whether they spread the word about the new school, offer an internship to a current student, come back to speak with students or share their information about cutting-edge technologies to help the school keep abreast with current trends.
“I am most proud of the great successes of our alumni. I get a tremendous kick out of hearing the many wonderful success stories that they share,” said Messere.
— Kristin Quinn ’08
Communication studies chair Fritz Messere ’71 has been named interim dean of the new School of Communication, Media and the Arts.
Music chair Julie Pretzat is the new school’s interim associate dean.
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