Letter from Dean Steve Coll | Columbia Journalism School
Steve Coll

Letter from Dean Steve Coll

Dear All,

You may have seen the message from Lee Bollinger letting you know that I will be stepping down as Dean at the end of this academic year, on July 1, 2022, after nine years in the role. Lee will soon appoint a committee to conduct a search for my successor.

In 2013, when I joined the J-School, Facebook seemed benign if disruptive; BuzzFeed and Vice looked like juggernauts of news; and many of us worried about the future of public interest reporting. We’ve been on quite a journey since then, through Trumpland, a new age of misinformation, renewed discourse about journalism’s role in American racism, and of course the continuing pandemic.

Our students, faculty and our profession have risen to the moment time and again, and in many ways our crises have produced a golden age of public service journalism. It’s been a joy to travel along with you.

I’ve appreciated very much the collaborative nature of this role. The school is an enduring, values-based, self-renewing place where faculty, staff and students all play influential roles. I’ve been grateful above all for your goodwill toward one another and your commitment to the school’s core principles and teaching mission.

Change is always an opportunity, and I’m sure we will attract an exciting and diverse slate of candidates to lead us forward and to support our faculty and staff. I’m not going anywhere quickly, however. We have a full, important agenda during the next nine months. 

And there will be our century-old school’s sources of continuity: The new investments we have been fortunate to make during the last decade – five new endowed professorships, three new endowed centers devoted to global journalism; ethics; and civil and human rights – are now among the school’s many enduring resources.

I know the next Dean will have a strong team to help with the transition, and I look forward to taking up my seat among the faculty, to teach and to contribute as best I can.

Steve