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Seton Hall appoints interim dean for new merged college, establishes dean search committee

Seton Hall appointed Joseph Martinelli as interim dean of its new College of Human Development, Culture, and Media, set to officially replace the College of Education and the College of Communication and the Arts in July.

Martinelli has been a part of the Seton Hall faculty for 22 years and is approaching the end of his second year as interim dean for the College of Education. Before becoming an interim dean, he was an associate dean of Academic Affairs for eight years.   

Martinelli said that the merge of both the College of Education and College of Communication and the Arts is a part of the University’s “seeds of innovation” strategic plan. 

“The opportunities are endless, but what we need is faculty and participants to want to jump in and build something new together,” Martinelli said. “The bottom line is students are the lifeblood of any university, and if you didn’t have students, you wouldn’t have a university.” 

Martinelli said he thinks Seton Hall will be one of the few colleges in the region to offer such an extensive program as a result of the new school. He added that he hopes to lead the transition smoothly and set a firm foundation moving forward so the school will be a success. 

“Growth and change is often painful at times but rewarding,” Martinelli said. 

This merger plan was created initially without the approval of faculty, who alleged the move as a violation of an obligation of the University called “shared governance,” the principle that faculty should be involved in decisions regarding academic changes. The University's Director of Media Relations, Laurie Pine, said the Faculty Senate was "involved throughout the process."

After the NJ American Association of University Professors (NJ-AAUP) threatened a censure of the University, it was determined that the plan would go forward after much discussion. Once the schools merge, they will become departments within the college.

The University also announced the dean search committee on Tuesday, dedicated to the process of finding a new dean who has professional connections in addition to academic success and other credentials. 

“A good dean fosters leadership within a team with both staff and students,” Catherine Zizik, an associate professor of communication, said. “A person who is unique and new to the institution is a breath of fresh air to bring innovation.”

The committee held three listening sessions on Thursday with faculty, administration and students and alumni respectively. 

“We need a diverse leadership team,” Rong Chen, a professor in the College of Education, said. “The faculty members should have their own voice.”

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Other faculty are looking for someone who can really connect with campus. 

“[Seton Hall is] a small campus, so I would look for someone who’s visible to students,” Ann Oro, the University’s senior instructional designer, said. “Someone who has the imagination for growing.”

The committee is currently in the first phase of selecting a dean. Once they finish garnering feedback from people on campus, they will put together the position’s description and post the application. The official timeline of the hiring process is unclear.

Vivienne Dotoli can be reached at

Emma Thumann and Jiaqi Liu contributed to reporting.


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