SUNY Oswego names founding dean of communication, arts school

Fritz Messere, a longtime member of SUNY Oswego’s communications faculty, has been appointed the founding dean of the college’s newest academic unit, the School of Communication, Media and the Arts.

Founding Dean Fritz Messere.“In a very strong pool of candidates from across the nation, Mr. Messere stood apart in his vision for the future of the school as well as in his national reputation as an expert on current and emerging issues in media,” said the college’s provost, Dr. Susan Coultrap-McQuin.

Messere has served as interim dean of the School of Communication, Media and the Arts since it was established in January 2008. The school combines the departments of art, communication, music and theatre to create greater connection and collaboration in fields that are becoming increasingly interwoven and innovative.

A member of Oswego’s communication studies faculty since 1977, Messere is a former coordinator of its broadcasting and mass communication program and two-time department chair. He has nurtured relationships with students as they became successful alumni, benefiting current students through internship opportunities, guest lectures and career nights. His bonds with alumni have also helped bring about donations that have funded valuable new equipment, scholarships and the high-visibility Lewis B. O’Donnell Media Summit.

As interim dean for the past two years, he has brought two summer programs to campus for high school students that will provide both financial and recruiting benefits to the school, one in media arts and one in theatre. He is overseeing the development of new academic programs in integrated media and audio arts.

Next up for the school, Messere said, will be development of a strategic plan that encompasses all the departments. “I’m excited about working with all the faculty of the school as we apply our best thinking to develop new programs that reflect our strengths,” he said.

Facilities renewal

In another development, Messere said, the school’s faculty will begin discussions next fall with an architectural firm planning a full-scale renovation of Tyler Hall, which is home to three of the school’s four departments.

Long-term, the new dean hopes to see Tyler connected to the current Hewitt Union, which would house the communication studies department, and an addition to Tyler overlooking Glimmerglass Lagoon that would include state-of-the-art performing and gallery space indoors and an outdoor amphitheater.

“It would make us a unique place,” he said, “a summer getaway for visiting artists, a home for summer institutes and programs, and a venue year-round for touring companies and cultural events of interest to the larger community as well as the college.”

Messere received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oswego and did post-graduate work at Cornell University. He is the co-author of five textbooks on electronic media and communication, including “Broadcasting, Cable, the Internet and Beyond.”

He is a nationally recognized expert on broadcasting regulation and telecommunications. Messere has served as external assistant to FCC Commissioner Mimi Wayforth Dawson, as senior fellow of the Annenberg Washington Program in Communication Policy, and on the Rural Policy Research Institute’s National Experts Panel on Telecommunications.

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(Posted: May 07, 2010)