UNL names Knight Foundation's Kebbel as dean of journalism college

Gary Kebbel, journalism program director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, will be the new dean of the UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications. The appointment, pending approval by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, was announced Feb. 22 by Ellen Weissinger, UNL's interim senior vice chancellor for academic affairs.

"Gary Kebbel is a respected national leader in the news industry who has also shaped the cutting edge of journalism education," Weissinger said. "He is well prepared to lead the college during this fascinating time of transformation in the journalism profession."

Kebbel said, "I welcome the chance to work with faculty and staff at one of the best colleges of journalism and mass communications in the country. Together, we will prepare students for the challenges of informing people in the digital age."

Kebbel will assume the dean's post on July 1 and will be a tenured professor in the college's journalism sequence.

Charlyne Berens, who has served as interim dean since July 1, 2009, said the college is eager to welcome Kebbel to campus.

"Gary impressed us as a very bright person with outstanding media experience and expertise," Berens said. "We look forward to his leadership as the college continues to figure out how best to serve our students in a changing media environment."

As journalism program director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Kebbel directs the $25 million Knight News Challenge, which funds digital news innovations. He has been director of AOL News, was founding editor of USAToday.com and Newsweek.com. He also directed AOL's online election and government guides.

He was a graphics editor at USA Today and managing editor for The Record in Troy, N.Y.; managing editor and assistant managing editor of the Post-Star in Glens Falls, N.Y.; and city editor of the Ithaca (N.Y.) Journal. He has been adjunct instructor at Philip Merrill College of Journalism, College Park, Md.; Northern Illinois University; and Adirondack Community College.

He has a bachelor's degree from Illinois State University, master's degrees in journalism and political science from University of Illinois and a master's in social work from the Catholic University of America. He has served as a Fulbright Senior Specialist at Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria, South Africa, and assisted the State and Defense departments by teaching public affairs officers the latest digital media and social networking techniques.

Kebbel replaces former dean Will Norton Jr. who took a position in 2009 at the University of Mississippi after serving at UNL since 1990.