Reappointment of Dean Willow Bay

Dear Annenberg School Community,

On behalf of President Folt, I am pleased to announce that Willow Bay has been reappointed Dean of USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. We look forward to continuing to work with Dean Bay for another five years as she further advances the school towards a bold vision for the future.

This decision followed a comprehensive review process that produced thoughtful and important input. Dean Bay was praised for her commitment to academic excellence and for her student-centric focus in all that she undertakes. She was lauded for her dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion; she has made a priority of adding faculty and students of color to Annenberg.

Dean Bay was credited as a strong and collaborative leader. Faculty and staff noted that she showed integrity and compassion as she led the school through the difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. She created new teams to support operations during the pandemic, and she initiated the first school Staff Council to ensure strong communication between senior leadership and Annenberg staff. Additionally, she worked with her fellow deans to help lead and guide the university during these unprecedented times.

She has positioned USC Annenberg well to address the ever-changing media and communication environment by expanding the school’s scholarly portfolio in many areas, including media and cultural studies, science and technology (STS) studies, networks and computational communication, mobile and emerging media technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, and big data in advertising and public relations. She has launched strong new undergraduate minors and master’s programs, and reviewed existing programs to reflect transformation across industries and disciplines. Along with her faculty, she has continued to position USC Annenberg as a thought leader by leading conversations globally, nationally, and locally that encourage opportunities for dialogue and debate.

Dean Bay’s vision for the school includes a sustained focus on investing in emerging areas of scholarly inquiry and new domains of faculty expertise, identifying, and supporting unique pathways for students to acquire new knowledge as well as human-centered and technology-infused skills, and advancing conversations that are critical to the school’s disciplines and our industries. She also anticipates academic and scholarship opportunities that will expand collaboration across the university.
I want to thank the Annenberg School dean review committee for their service. The committee was chaired by Distinguished Professor Sherman Jackson with members representing the breadth of the school. The review committee compiled a thorough and balanced analysis that was based on a survey and listening sessions, as well as other feedback. Details of the process, which was developed in conjunction with the Academic Senate, are available here: I discussed all the input with Dean Bay.

The faculty and staff of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism are recognized globally for exceptional education, research, and training programs that are enormously important as these fields undergo rapid change. During her tenure, Dean Bay established an environment sustaining and expanding these strengths, and she is poised to move the school forward with increased vigor and impact. Please join us in thanking Dean Bay for her continued service and we wish her much success in the next term.


Charles F. Zukoski
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

cc: Office of the President
Academic Deans
President’s Senior Leadership Team
Provost’s Leadership Team
Academic Senate
Staff Assembly
GSG President
USG President

[Note: This message was edited on March 22, 2022 to correct a hyperlink.]