Bob Stewart

The dean of Ohio University’s College of Communication announced today who will take over as head of the college’s journalism school.

Bob Stewart, the associate director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, will replace outgoing director Tom Hodson. Hodson announced earlier this month that he would step down as director in June and return to full-time teaching, saying he needed to commit more time to his family. Hodson’s wife, Jan, is undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

Journalism faculty voted last week to recommend that Stewart take over as director. The college’s dean, Greg Shepherd, announced the appointment this morning. Stewart will take over the position July 1.

The appointment will last three years and covers key events for the school, he said, citing the planned redesign of the journalism curriculum and other plans.

Within a single academic year, 2012-2013, the school must switch to a semester calendar, move from Scripps Hall to the former Baker Center and apply for re-accreditation, Stewart said, calling it “a perfect storm.”

Despite the planned changes, Shepherd said he is confident in his choice.

“We are facing some exciting challenges in the next few years that made Bob a natural choice, given his knowledge of the school, college and university,” Shepherd said in an e-mail today.

Stewart joined the school’s faculty in 1987 and became associate director in 2007. He earned his bachelor’s degree in communication from Hunter College in New York and both his master’s and doctorate degrees in communication from the University of Washington.

Hodson graduated OU with a journalism degree in 1970. He went on to earn his law degree from Ohio State University and work as both a lawyer and a judge in Athens County. He became the journalism school’s director in 2003.

Stewart is paid a $86,842 salary as associate director and Hodson is paid $108,813, according to OU salary records. Neither Stewart nor Shepherd would comment on Stewart’s new salary as director.

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