Dr. Jeff Rutenbeck Named Provost & Senior VP for Academic Affairs at Arcadia University

By diprinziod | May 31, 2019

Arcadia University is proud to announce that, following a national search, Dr. Jeff Rutenbeck has been appointed provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs. An expert in communication and digital media studies, Dr. Rutenbeck begins his tenure at Arcadia on Aug. 15.

“Dr. Rutenbeck will be an esteemed addition to Arcadia University, to our faculty, and to our entire community of scholars,” said Dr. Ajay Nair, president of Arcadia University. “In addition to his distinguished academic, scholarly, and professional pursuits, Dr. Rutenbeck has demonstrated excellence in leadership positions throughout his career. He has shown strong support for faculty and staff in the schools and divisions in which he’s worked, and he has displayed innovation in his many administrative and academic initiatives.”  

Since June 2012, Dr. Rutenbeck has served as dean of the School of Communication at American University in Washington, D.C., where he oversees more than 110 full-time faculty and staff, nearly 1000 undergraduates, and 450 graduate students (including doctoral students) in four academic divisions: Journalism, Public Communication, Film and Media Arts, and Communication Studies. The School also includes the Investigative Reporting Workshop (including an embedded PBS Frontline team), the Center for Environmental Filmmaking, the Center for Media and Social Impact, the Internet Governance Lab, and the Game Lab, among other units.

At American, he led the $26 million renovation of the McKinley Building, the School of Communication’s home, and led efforts that raised approximately $25 million in grants and gifts over the past seven years. Dr. Rutenbeck also increased annual giving almost 100 percent over the previous three-year average. He oversaw increases in undergraduate and graduate revenue and expanded funding relationships with several foundations, including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Wyncote Foundation, and he founded and oversaw a university-wide partnership with Sony, leading to a broad range of university technology projects.  

“I have long admired Arcadia’s history of innovation and its commitment to academic excellence and experiential learning,” said Dr. Rutenbeck. “I’m thrilled to be joining a community of such dedicated and student-centered faculty and staff.”

Dr. Rutenbeck contributed to student success and helped build relevant and innovative academic programs at American University. He co-chaired the University Research Systems Innovation Task Force, teamed with senior leadership to launch RiSE (Reinventing the Student Experience Initiative), and launched the School of Communication’s first fully online master’s program, Strategic Communication, which is now the School’s largest master’s program. On the undergraduate side, the School of Communication consistently delivered the highest first-to-second year retention rates, as well as the highest graduation rate, of any school at American University.

Prior to joining American University, Dr. Rutenbeck worked at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt., where he was the founding dean of the Division of Communication and Creative Media. He also spent 11 years as the founding director of Digital Media Studies at the University of Denver. Dr. Rutenbeck was a full professor in the School of Communication at American University, a full professor in the Division of Communication and Creative Media at Champlain College, and an associate professor of journalism and mass communications at the University of Denver.

“Dr. Rutenbeck brings with him a distinguished level of expertise and experience as our chief academic officer,” said Dr. Ana Maria Garcia, chair of Faculty Senate at Arcadia. “We look forward to working with him to strengthen Arcadia’s academic programs for our students and faculty.”

Dr. Rutenbeck has published one book and dozens of refereed articles and book chapters on a variety of topics, including on digitization, hyper-complexity, and media history. He served as founding president (2003-2005) and long-serving chair (2005-2010) of the Board of the International Digital Media and Arts Association, and he is an alum of the distinguished Academy for Innovation in Higher Education Leadership run by Arizona State University and Georgetown University.

Dr. Rutenbeck earned a doctorate in communication from the University of Washington, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Colorado College.