Dean of OU journalism school to step down

Mar. 6—Ed Kelley, a veteran news executive who has led the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma since 2016, announced last week he is resigning as dean.

Kelley, in a letter to faculty and staff, said he plans to step down, effective June 30 when OU's fiscal year ends.

"The college and OU deserve a younger leader who brings new ideas and insight, to build upon the successes that you — faculty, staff, adjunct instructors and yes, our top students — have created, to the benefit of many others," he said in a letter to colleagues. "The next level awaits Gaylord, and the next dean will be the person to take it there."

Kelley, who turns 70 this spring, is the 10th person to serve as full-time director of the school in its 110-year history. Prior to 2000, it was the H.H. Herbert School of Journalism.

A graduate of the program, he said age played a role in his decision to step aside.

"I like birthdays, but not necessarily my own," he wrote. "To a certain degree I believe age is but a number. Still, I face a milestone one this spring, which I've wrestled with for some time now.

"Should Gaylord College — an institution devoted to serving the needs of a constantly changing, 24/7 media environment that soon will be dominated by Generation Z — be overseen by a white-haired dean who is 70 years old? I think not."

Kelley was named dean of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication in March 2016 after serving nearly eight months as interim dean, according to college's website.

A veteran news executive, he came to OU from Salt Lake City, where he was senior contributing editor at the Deseret News. He also has served as editor of The Washington Times, in Washington, D.C., and The Oklahoman, in Oklahoma City.

Kelley has held a variety of other news positions in his career, including that of Washington bureau chief, managing editor and editorial page editor. He was named Editor of the Year in 1996 by the Washington-based National Press Foundation for overseeing The Oklahoman's coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing. He served as a juror to the Pulitzer Prizes in 1998 and was named to the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame in 2003.

Provost Andre Wright is expected to name an interim dean in the coming weeks, followed by a national search in the 2023-24 academic year.