Kebbel to take on new, campus-wide leadership role

Taking the helm of a campus-wide initiative, Gary Kebbel will leave his post as dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications to create a Center for Mobile Media.

Ellen Weissinger, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, told faculty on June 11 that she could not think of anyone more qualified to head what she called a vital program. Kebbel is a nationally recognized expert in mobile and digital media.

“I look forward to the entrepreneurial vision that Gary will bring to our mobile media initiative,” Weissinger said in an email to faculty and staff.

Kebbel will work with faculty, students and staff from the entire campus and also may be involved with opportunities at Innovation Campus, she said.

Kebbel will resign as dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications effective June 30. He will remain a tenured full professor in the college.

Jim O’Hanlon, who recently served as interim dean of the College of Architecture, will be interim dean of the journalism college, and Charlyne Berens will continue as associate dean.

Kebbel came to UNL in July 2010 after working as journalism program director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

He also has been director of AOL News and was founding editor of and

At UNL, he has increased external grant funding and helped initiate the new Drone News Lab, Nebraska News Service and the Jacht student ad agency. He also created new collaborations with UNL’s Raikes School and other academic departments.

“Gary’s career is unusually well-suited to this role," Weissinger said. "His network of collaborators nationally and globally is very valuable to UNL, and he has established relationships across campus that will allow him to pull together expertise from many colleges.

In an email to faculty and staff, Kebbel summarized some of the thing the college accomplished under his leadership during the past two years:

  • increasing the size of the faculty, specifically the ADPR faculty.
  • creation of classes in mobile apps and new product development.
  • obtaining grants from a variety of sources.
  • raising $477,020 for the college in 2011, with an additional $75,000 committed toward a $200,000 match this year and a major new professorship expected this summer.
  • creating new classes that serve the community, such as the Nebraska News Service and Nebraska Mosaic.
  • creating the student ad agency, Jacht.
  • creating a team-teaching relationship with UNL’s Raikes School of Computer Science and Management.
  • creating new classes with computer science, political science and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
  • creating ADPR tracks that also allow students to create their own track.
  • receiving funding for Native Daughters II.
  • fully developing the visual literacy sequence for all students.
  • creating the nation’s first Drone Journalism Lab.
  • furthering the college’s and the university’s international work by sending professors to teach in China.
  • helping a journalism school in India and taking CoJMC students to Russia, India and Japan.
  • winning more ADDY’s and PR awards in a year than ever before.
  • winning the National Student Advertising Competition.
  • finishing fifth nationally among all accredited schools of journalism in the 2011-12 the Hearst Awards.
  • strengthening the college’s relationship with the Nebraska Press Association and hosting events for the Nebraska Broadcasters Association.
  • putting the Nebraska High School Press Association on solid financial footing after a 20-year deficit.
  • making it a priority to provide training to help faculty stay up to date with changing technology and practices in journalism, advertising and public relations.
  • creating a strategy committee to focus the college’s resources and efforts for identifiable public impact.
  • working to improve broadcast students’ access to the latest technology through partnerships with NET.
  • planning ways to equal our Big 10 colleagues by creating a nightly student newscast.
  • creating a national external Advisory Board that will evaluate student achievement from our capstone classes.
  • achieving a faculty vote to keep broadcasting and journalism united.
  • achieving faculty approval of a comprehensive strategic plan.
  • achieving faculty review of the college’s administrative structure.
  • creating office procedures to better serve the college’s customers and to speed processes like faculty expense reimbursements.
  • developing a new product/business in the college that is being explored for commercial expansion with the assistance of NUtech Ventures.


Gary Kebbel