Rafael Lorente will be the new dean of the University of Maryland’s journalism college starting July 1, this university announced Thursday.
Lorente is currently the associate dean for academic affairs and the master’s program director for the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. He has also worked for the college as a senior lecturer and the director of the Washington, D.C., and Annapolis Capital News Service bureaus.
“Rafael has proven his commitment to everything our university values and strives for: creating a diverse and inclusive community, providing our students unparalleled opportunities, and pursuing excellence in everything we do,” Jennifer King Rice, this university’s senior vice president and provost, wrote in the announcement.
The current journalism school dean, Lucy Dalglish, announced in October that she will be stepping down from the position this summer. She plans to return to the college as a professor in 2024.
Lorente — who was one of four finalists for the college’s dean role — has restructured the college’s curriculum into focus areas, like data and investigative journalism, and worked to increase the diversity of the master’s program during his time with the journalism college, according to the university announcement.
“I believe passionately in the power of journalism to right wrongs and create more level playing fields, and I believe in the power of universities and journalism programs to do the same,” Lorente said.
Before joining the journalism college, Lorente reported on topics including politics and higher education. He worked for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, where he was a Washington correspondent, and the Miami Herald.
Lorente is the vice chair of a committee for the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, which is responsible for evaluating professional journalism programs at colleges and universities. He also serves on the board of directors for the National Press Foundation.
“Merrill College and the University of Maryland are uniquely positioned to tackle the grand challenge of reimagining journalism education in the service of democracy, and in alignment with the university’s strategic plan,” Lorente said in the release. “I am honored to lead these efforts as the College’s next dean.”