Rochelle Ford has been named the new Dean of the School of Communications. The selection comes after a five-month, nation-wide search for the next dean to replace Paul Parsons, who announced in October he was going to return to teaching after being the founding dean of the school 17 years ago. 

Ford is the chair of the public relations department and a professor at Syracuse University. Ford also serves as a Provost’s faculty fellow. 

Before starting at Syracuse in 2014, Ford was a faculty member and administrator at Howard University starting in 1998. 

According to her Syracuse University biography page, Ford earned her doctorate from Southern Illinois University and her public relations accreditation from the Universal Accreditation Board. Ford also holds graduate certificates in management and leadership from Harvard University. 

Awards she has received include the Public Relations Society of America's national D. Parke Gibson Multiculturalism Award, PRSA’s National Capital Chapter Diversity Champion Award, the National Black Public Relations Society Founders Award, the International Award for Innovative Teaching, Learning & Technology and PRWeek’s 30 Under 30 Award.

The new dean will face new trials, including getting Elon’s communication program to be recognized at the national level; fundraising to continue to advance the school’s technology, faculty and infrastructure; and forming new connections with corporations to support students in school and help them receive jobs straight out of college. There will also be challenges growing the school’s newest major, media analytics, integrating the sports management program into the school and accommodating one of the largest and fasting growing majors at Elon University: strategic communications.

Ford is anticipated to start on June 30. 

Paul LeBlanc and Emmanuel Morgan contributed to this report.