Jonathan Nichols-Pethick named director of Pulliam Center, Media Fellows Program


After the faculty and staff at the Pulliam Center entered a closed meeting Monday afternoon, Jonathan Nichols-Pethick left the building with a smile.
The university announced in a press release Monday evening that the professor of communication and theatre would take over the position of Director of the Pulliam Center for Contemporary Media and Director of the Media Fellows Program. Nichols-Pethick will take over the position from David Bohmer, '69, who began the role in Aug. of 1994 and planned to retire at the end of the academic year. Nichols-Pethick will begin July 1.
In a phone interview Monday evening, Nichols-Pethick said he looked forward to beginning in the new position, mentioning that Bohmer served as a mentor through his example. He explained his vision for an "21st Century Media Education" that he hopes to unravel during his tenure.
"I want students to think about media in a more forward-thinking way," Nichols-Pethick said. "I don't want them to be followers. I want them to be on the cutting edge."
The three principal prongs of Nichols-Pethicks' plan include making production opportunities in the Pulliam Center more readily available to all students, encouraging faculty to use the center more often and fostering "entrepreneurial thinking" among students.
"We really need to help develop students' skills to help them get ahead of where they are now," Nichols-Pethick said. "As a Center we should take more risks and try to be leaders of the media landscape."
As part of his appointment to the role of director, Nichols-Pethick discussed his ideas with President Brian Casey and Vice President of Academic Affairs Larry Stimpert. Both were impressed by the new appointee's vision.
"I'm very excited about Nichols-Pethick. I had a very long conversation with him the other day where he gave a very ambitious agenda," Casey said Monday afternoon. "I'm excited to work with him to make his plans come to pass."
After joining the DePauw faculty in 2002, Nichols-Pethick taught various courses in communication and theatre. He also directed the film studies program for six years, worked with the Media Fellows Program and became a member of the Media Fellows Program's steering committee.
Stimpert said Nichols-Pethick's variety of experience made him a strong candidate for the position, which was selected from within the DePauw faculty and staff.
"As a highly accomplished scholar and administrator, he brings expertise with the theory and practice of media that makes him well positioned for this role," Stimpert said in a university press release.
Overall, Nichols-Pethick said he hopes the Pulliam Center will continue to grow under his guidance.
"It's a great building and a great center," he said. "I just want to raise awareness among students about it so that everyone can take advantage of what's there."