Dr Catherine Staub: Leading the Drake SJMC into its next great era

In November 2021, Associate Professor Dr. Catherine Staub was named the new Dean of the Drake University School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC), succeeding current Dean Kathleen Richardson after June 2022.

“The Drake School of Journalism and Mass Communication is a nationally recognized school with a commitment to excellence and innovation,” Staub said in a Drake press release. “I am honored and thrilled to serve our students, my colleagues, Drake University, our alumni, our donors, and our community as the next Dean.”

Staub has been a faculty member at SJMC since 2015, teaching primarily in Drake Magazine Media and Master of Communication Leadership programs. She is the Peggy Fisher and Larry Stelter Chair of Magazine Journalism and Director of the ET Meredith Center for Magazine Studies. Staub also served as a member of the Drake SJMC National Advisory Board.

Staub grew up in Wisconsin, a first-generation college student and the only child in a blue-collar family. She is married with two college-age children and enjoys spending time with her family outdoors, especially in the snow.

“People will roll their eyes, but I’ll say this: I’m obsessed with downhill skiing. It’s my favorite thing in the whole world,” Staub said. “I’m also training for a sprint triathlon. I have run a few marathons and several half marathons.

She is the founder and former CEO of Lexicon Content Marketing, a Des Moines-branded media marketing agency that provides clients with services in communications, marketing, public relations, photography, graphic design and more. Previously, she was the Learning and Development Manager and National Implementation Team Consultant for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Associate Editor at Meredith Corporation (now Dotdash Meredith) and High School English Teacher.

“[Lexicon] gave me the opportunity to bring all of those things together — my passion for journalism and storytelling and all that, and content marketing as we called it back then,” Staub said. “We’ve had Drake interns over the years and I’ve hired almost all of them. [of my entry-level employees] by Drake.

Staub is a judge for the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) Ellie Awards and is the former head of the AEJMC Magazine division. She is also the current president of the Rotary Club of Des Moines, the oldest and largest such club in the region, and will serve as president and a member of the club’s founding board.

As Drake University President Marty Martin said in his presentation of Staub during the 42n/a Annual Bucksbaum Lecture, “Staub is a bulldog many times.” She earned a BSE in English and Education, a Masters in Journalism, an Ed.S. in Education and Ed.D. in instructional leadership, all at Drake.

“Every experience I have had professionally, personally, and throughout my time as a student informs and influences what I bring to my current role as a faculty member and what I plan to bring to my new role as Dean of the SJMC. Obviously, from my list of degrees, I’m a Bulldog through and through,” Staub said. “In my role as Dean, I will continue to share my enthusiasm for Drake and SJMC with prospective students, current students, alumni, faculty, staff, industry professionals, and the Des Moines community.”

David Wright, a former electronic media professor and associate dean, was on the committee that hired Staub. Wright said Staub was a great fit for the job.

“First of all, his business roots in this city are so strong,” Wright said. “She runs media companies and she has an incredible understanding of it. And her business acumen in journalism, I don’t think there’s anyone in the state that can come close to what she has with that. She also has a really keen eye on where the industry is going, which is like chemistry, you know, trying to figure out where the industry is going.

Staub’s priorities as the new dean include reaccreditation, which includes voluminous reports and a site visit, as well as fundraising, promoting and connecting students.

“We want to make sure that we’re known for being really student-centered, student-centered. A lot of people think SJMC is kind of a big family,” Staub said. “[I’ll be] work as a liaison with organizations that can hire our students [or] are already hiring our students [as well as] ensuring our curriculum is at the forefront of what students need to do and how we maintain these core skills [students need] while preparing students to be truly nimble with anything new.

Staub hopes to continue fostering a diverse student body, staff, and faculty in her new role.

“Journalism works best when reporters reflect the audience they’re trying to communicate to,” Staub said.

Meredith Hall’s renovation could potentially complicate Staub’s first year as dean of the SJMC, but she said the transition will be difficult, renovation or not, due to the transition to her new leadership position alone and the task difficult to fulfill the leadership legacy of current dean Kathleen Richardson. .

“Dean Richardson has been here a very long time. It is well established, well known. She is recognized as a truly innovative leader who makes things happen. So no matter what, those were big, cliche shoes to fill,” Staub said. “There are a lot of things the SJMC does absolutely well that we want to continue. There is this balance between the degree of success [is] simply continuing on a great trajectory that we are on and how much success lies in new initiatives, new vision, new goals and accomplishments. »

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