Charlyne Berens appointed interim journalism dean

Released on 06/19/2009, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Lincoln, Neb., June 19th, 2009 —

Charlyne Berens, a professor of journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has been appointed interim dean of the UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications. The appointment, announced June 18 by Barbara Couture, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, is effective July 1, pending approval by the University of Nebraska president and the NU Board of Regents.

Berens has taught news-editorial journalism full time at UNL since 1995. She holds a bachelor's degree from Concordia University in Seward, and an M.A. and Ph.D., both in political science, from UNL.

"I'm thrilled but also maybe a little bit shell-shocked," Berens said. "I appreciate the confidence the chancellor and senior vice chancellor have shown in me, and I also appreciate the support I've received from my colleagues in journalism. This was not something I sought, but I'm very happy to do whatever it takes to help the college continue to move forward."

Couture said Berens' long tenure in the college, her leadership style and her strong reputation among faculty and working media professionals are key assets that will help her provide excellent leadership for the college. Couture added that Berens' connections with students and her strong teaching credentials also will bode well for the college's future during her tenure as interim.

Berens headed the college's news-editorial sequence for nine years. She has taught courses in news writing and reporting, editing, freedom of expression, and writing for online publications, as well as a media survey course for majors and non-majors. She was one of the faculty members who helped produce "Renovating the Republic," the depth-reporting magazine about Germany published in August 2007, and "Fabric as Narrative," a magazine about international quilting published in 2008. Berens was editor of the journalism alumni magazine from 1991 until this spring and is director of UNL's Dow Jones Newspaper Fund editing internship boot camp held annually in May.

She taught junior high English before spending 14 years as editor and co-publisher of the community newspaper in Seward, Neb.

Her 2006 book, "Chuck Hagel: Moving Forward," is a biography of Nebraska's former U.S. Senator. She has also published two books about Nebraska's unicameral legislature.

Berens replaces Will Norton Jr., who has been dean since 1990 and is leaving to take a position at the University of Mississippi. Plans for a search for a permanent dean for the college will be announced later this summer.

News Release Contacts: