Diane Gayeski, dean of the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, will step down from her position at the end of the 2019–20 academic year.
La Jerne Cornish, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, made the announcement to the campus community via email Oct. 8. Gayeski first served as the interim dean of the Park School in 2009 and was named dean the following year. Gayeski is also an alum of the college and former faculty member, associate dean of faculty, department chair, chair of the graduate program and director of online certificate programs in strategic communication management and performance improvement management.
After taking a sabbatical during Fall 2020, Gayeski will return to teach in the Department of Strategic Communication.
Gayeski said she is excited to be working on a more individualized level with students again. She said she plans to use her sabbatical to prepare for her teaching role and to help the next dean transition into the role.
“After being in this role for 10 years — and sort of totally unexpectedly, because being dean was never in my career plans to begin with — I find myself being drawn to teaching and research and thinking about that a lot,” Gayeski said. “And before I totally retire, I would just like to be able to go back and do that again.”
Gayeski said she will also be working to help strengthen the college’s alumni network.
Cornish said in the email that Gayeski’s early notice of her departure gives the college enough time to find another dean before the start of the 2020–21 academic year. She said in the email that updates will be provided to the campus community when they are available. Gayeski said she is not sure if the next dean will be an internal or external candidate, but a national search will be conducted.
Gayeski is the second dean to announce that this academic year will be their last year in the position. In September, Karl Paulnack, dean of the School of Music, announced that he was stepping down.
Gayeski’s impact on the Park School includes the introduction of Women in Media Month, the Rod Serling Award for Advancing Social Justice Through Popular Media, the John Keshishoglou Center for Global Communications Innovation and S’Park, the course for all freshmen Park students that allows them to connect with professionals in the media industry.
Beyond the Park School, she was a member of the presidential search committee, chaired dean search committees for three schools and co-chaired the search committee for the vice president for human and organizational development and planning.
Additionally, Gayeski has published books and written articles about organizational learning and communication and educational technologies.
She said the dedication of the faculty and staff have situated the Park School to have a smooth transition for the next dean.
“It’s just been such an honor and privilege, I can’t even put it into words,” Gayeski said. “But being at the intersection of the massive changes that are happening both in media and higher ed is an incredible thing to wrap your head around. There’s nobody who has it figured out. … So the leader just needs to recognize the great things that we’ve built in and add some new energy and ideas.”