New dean has optimistic vision for School of Communication

School of Communication Dean Sam Grogg joined the University in July filled with visions for the future. And as the former dean of the American Film Institute, visions are his specialty.

“[There are] so many new beginnings on the horizon for the School of Communication,” Grogg said. He looks forward to the opening of the new 30,000 square-foot addition to the School to be inaugurated in January.

“We will probably increase the faculty as the new building comes online,” Grogg said.

Along with an increase of faculty, Grogg hopes to expand other aspects of the school, such as Communication Week, which he hopes will encompass a broad international series of events. He would also like to exhibit more films on campus and include classic programming, increasing students’ exposure to film through photography and television festivals on-campus.

“[My] primary goal is to take the program towards more of a hands-on experience-more research and producing more films,” he said.

Grogg enjoys helping independent voices and young filmmakers get their start. One of the ways to do this, he said, is with technology.

“We have to make sure our faculty has all the resources needed to do their jobs,” Grogg said. “We have to insure that students have access to cutting -edge technology.”

Grogg encourages communication between students and faculty and hopes to increase accessibility between the two.

“We are here because of the students,” he said. “I’m going to get out there and be as accessible as I can. I’m very interested in hearing what the students have to say.”

Grogg received his Ph. D. from Bowling Green University with a specialization in popular culture and film. He has helped to found numerous businesses and organizations including The Journal of Popular Film and Television, The Independent Feature Project and The Sundance Festival.

According to Grogg, he is especially proud of two of his films: The Trip to Bountiful and Patti Rocks. The Trip to Bountiful delivers the message that someone is never too old to return home. Patti Rocks deals with the issue of men being disrespectful to women and the inequality behind closed doors.

Grogg attributes his decision to join the University to President Donna E. Shalala’s dynamic leadership and charisma. He believes that anyone who wants to accomplish a great deal would be doing well to be led by her.

With so many plans laying ahead, Grogg is not one to stress.

“I’m a true optimist,” said Grogg. “I do not indulge in negative thinking for very long. I have a bad minute or two, not a bad day. I always try to think positively. I rely on optimism.”

Grogg would like to extend his positive attitude to students and encourage them to participate, be active and stay involved.

“Find a way, any way, to get involved with your community,” Grogg said.

Melissa Dore can be contacted at