UM Journalism Dean Named Special Adviser to Provost, Interim Appointed

September 07, 2018

MISSOULA – In an effort to serve students better at the University of Montana, Larry Abramson, dean of the School of Journalism, will become special adviser to the provost starting Sept. 10.

In this new capacity, Abramson will provide UM’s new Executive Vice President and Provost Jon Harbor with guidance and assistance for cross-cutting university priorities in which he has key knowledge and experience – one of which will be in global and international opportunities.

Abramson was a prominent NPR news correspondent before joining UM as dean of the School of Journalism in 2014. Denise Dowling, currently associate professor and director of student services in the journalism school, will take over as interim dean on Sept. 10.

“I look forward to serving the UM community in my new role as special adviser to the provost, specifically on topics such as diversity and inclusion,” Abramson said. “I’m confident that the staff and faculty of the J-school will continue their long-standing commitment to serving students, and that their dedication and experience will make this transition successful.”

Dowling served in the interim dean role from 2012 to 2014, while the search for Abramson took place.

One highlight of Abramson’s tenure as dean includes expanding Montana Journalism Abroad, which sent three groups of students overseas to Germany, Japan and Korea to produce original journalism about some of the challenges and opportunities these countries face. This work received widespread publication, including in CityLab, a prominent news website.

Other achievements include the Crown Project, a mentoring and scholarship program for graduate students studying the Crown of the Continent, as well as the launch of the Montana Media Lab, which included hiring of the lab’s founding director.

“The UM community at large, and J-school students in particular, benefited from Abramson’s extensive network of journalism professionals, many of whom Abramson brought to campus for lectures and workshops,” Harbor said.

Abramson’s role as special adviser to the provost comes at an opportune time – UM’s executive vice president and provost has been in that role for a bit over a month.

“Larry’s perspective and advice are valuable to me during my first year as UM provost,” Harbor said. “His knowledge and experience relating to free speech, diversity and inclusion, making the most of UM’s global and international opportunities and honors education, will help advance a number of our goals for UM.”


Contact: Paula Short, director of communications, UM Office of the President, 406-243-2311,