Falcon Media landing at BGSU provost’s office

    Falcon Media, which includes the student-run media organizations at Bowling Green State University, has
    been moved to the provost’s office from the School of Media and Communication, according to a letter
    sent across campus last week.
    The letter from Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Joe Whitehead, Ph.D.,
    states that the change will be taking place over “the coming months,” but the “reporting and
    supervision” became effective Feb. 22.
    “This is all a part of how we can engage students on campus and off campus and how can we get more
    students participating,” Whitehead said in a follow-up interview. “This is all part of an overall
    approach where we are looking at moving the reporting of Falcon Media to student affairs.”
    Whitehead clarified the term “reporting,” as referring to a bureaucratic chain of command and not
    journalistic reporting of the news.
    “Part of the history is actually this is not unusual. Falcon Media was actually part of student affairs
    until 2014, here at BGSU,” Whitehead said. “This is part of an overall effort to enhance student
    engagement, to provide more visibility, inclusion, etc. The students in student media will still be
    engaged with faculty, their faculty advisers and still be located in the Kuhlin Center, with the
    equipment and facilities over there. So this is not somehow moving or severing relationships. It will
    actually strengthen relationships.”
    The change may have legal implications involving the union contract.
    “Faculty did not contribute to the decision and the union is consulting with our legal counsel and with
    the faculty to see if, in fact, shared governance was ignored, the extent to which it may have been
    ignored and if it amounts to collective bargaining agreement contract violations,” David Jackson,
    Faculty Association president and political science professor, said.
    Because of the creation of the Kuhlin Center, which Whitehead called “a state-of-the-art facility,” the
    new organizational structure will not simply revert to what it was.
    “We are not going back to the model we had in place in 2014,” Whitehead said, because both the school and
    Falcon Media use the facilities and many of the students and faculty are involved in both units.
    BG Falcon Media website states that it includes the BG News, BG24, WBGU-FM, Bowling Green Radio Sports
    Organization, Key Magazine, The Obsidian, Falcon Communications and BG Authors.
    The Kuhlin Center houses the School of Media and Communication, as well as the radio broadcast facilities
    and the Convergence Lab where the various Falcon Media platforms have editing for audio, video and print
    publications.
    “The students have experiential learning opportunities through the school. Each aspect of Falcon Media
    has faculty advisers. Those relationships will continue. We see that this will not disrupt the
    relationship between the faculty advisers and different aspects of Falcon Media,” Whitehead said.
    The BGSU Journalism Program is part of the School of Media and Communication. Falcon Media is not limited
    to journalism students, as students in any major can take part.
    Whitehead also said that the change will not affect the independent aspects of editorial content and
    character that are part of the student-run media.
    “The editorial freedom of Falcon Media would remain intact,” he said.
    Whitehead said that at other institutions the student media is also run out of student affairs, because
    student affairs manages student organizations.
    “Some might say that in terms of being within an academic unit, that could actually limit editorial
    independence, but in this case it did not,” Whitehead said. “So, we don’t see it impacting editorial
    independence in a negative fashion.”
    The provost’s letter states that the move will “to provide for more collaboration and intentionality, we
    are elevating our student engagement efforts to have a more comprehensive impact.
    “We see that this will increase the visibility of Falcon Media and create more interest among a wider
    swath of students. There is a broad interest now, but the question is, can we increase interest? As we
    look at the future cohort, the competition for future students will become even greater and so we are
    looking for many different ways to highlight the many great things that are happening at BGSU and Falcon
    Media can help tell that story about what’s happening,” Whitehead said.
    The director of Falcon Media, Robert Bortel, retired Nov. 30 and a search is on to find his replacement.

    Falcon Media will organizationally report to Brian Heilmeier, Ph.D., who is becoming the director of
    student engagement. He was previously the associate dean of students for campus activities.
    Heilmeier’s duties will also include campus activities, fraternity and sorority life, on- and off-campus
    student engagement and resident adviser engagement and training.
    The move is part of a broader reorganization in Student Affairs. Heilmeier will report to Jodi Webb,
    associate vice president for student affairs, who is under Glenn Davis, Ph.D., the vice provost for
    academic affairs.
    The provost’s letter also notes that there will not be any full- or part-time positions eliminated in the
    restructuring.