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After holding the dean position at the Reynolds School of Journalism and becoming a beloved member of the campus community, Al Stavitsky, dean of the Reynolds School of Journalism, announced he would be stepping down from his current position in February 2023. Stavitsky has held the position since 2012, however he will remain at the university as a faculty member.

“My time as Reynolds School dean has been the most rewarding experience in my 30-plus years in higher education,” says Stavitsky. “I’m now eager to get back to teaching and to my research in the next chapter of my career.”

Since then, a search for a new RSJ dean has been underway, having been narrowed down to four candidates — Mark Horvit, Aaron Chimbel, Jessica Retis and Gi W. Yun. A board will vote on who will be the next dean, and the decision is expected to be announced by the end of the fall 2023 semester.

 Learn more about each candidate below:

Mark Horvit

Mark Horvit is currently a professor at the University of Missouri in Columbia, but also serves as chair of the Journalism Professions faculty. He teaches investigative reporting and is director of the school’s State Government Reporting Program.

Horvit previously held the executive director position at Investigative Reporters and Editors and the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting. During his time, he provided training in investigative reporting and data journalism globally. Prior to his role at IRE, Horvit had a 20-year career in journalism as a reporter and editor in cities such as Corpus Christi, Texas, Fort Worth, Texas, Columbia, Mo., and Charlotte, N.C.

Aaron Chimbel

Aaron Chimbel is the current dean and a tenured professor at the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University. He specializes in video and digital journalism and previously taught journalism at Texas Christian University’s Bob Schieffer College of Communication.

Before teaching journalism full-time, he worked as a journalist for WFAA-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth and KWTX-TV in Waco, Texas and as a producer at Texas Cable News. He also produced two documentaries. During his time with WFAA-TV, he received many accolades including five Advanced Media Emmy Awards. 

Jessica Retis

Jessica Retis has been the director of the University of Arizona’s School of Journalism since 2022. She is also their director of the Master’s in Bilingual Journalism program. Retis became a recognized scholar in the U.S. and abroad through her international academic training.

Retis worked as a journalist in Peru, Mexico and Spain for more than two decades, where she worked for various print and broadcast media outlets. Retis has more than three decades of teaching experience at universities in the United States, Mexico and Spain. She taught a wide range of courses at undergraduate and graduate levels at California State University Northridge in both English and Spanish. 

Gi W. Yun 

Gi W. Yun is currently the associate dean and a professor at the RSJ and the only internal dean candidate. His research focuses on the social psychological aspects of media and communication. 

From 2016 to 2021, he was director at the Center for Advanced Media Studies at the university. Prior to joining the University, Yun was faculty at Bowling Green State University for 13 years. Yun’s projects involve topics such as healthcare advertising in local media, machine bias in information production and consumption, and local media agenda-setting on immigration stories. 

Nick Stewart can be reached at or on Twitter @nickk_stewart. 

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