Associate deans begin roles July 1 in Bellisario College

Denise Bortree (left) and Anthony Olorunnisola begin their roles as associate deans in the Bellisario College of Communications on July 1. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two experienced and respected Penn State faculty members will move into leadership roles as associate deans in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications beginning July 1.

Denise Bortree will serve as associate dean of academic affairs and Anthony Olorunnisola will serve as associate dean of graduate programs and research.

Bortree will act as the chief academic officer for the Bellisario College, primarily for its undergraduate and online programs, responsible for accreditation, assessment and curriculum. Olorunnisola will lead the graduate education enterprise, manage the Bellisario College’s expanding research profile, and oversee its promotion-and-tenure process, among other responsibilities. Both serve as members of the executive committee.

Bortree, a professor of advertising/public relations, will remain as director of the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication, which is housed in the college. She conducts research and writes about nonprofit organizational communication and sustainability.

Bortree has co-edited two books, has authored more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles, and presented more than 30 conference papers at national and international conferences where she has won numerous top paper awards. Bortree has earned Deans’ Excellence Awards for integrated scholarship (2016), and for research and creative accomplishments (2010).

Undergraduate options in the Bellisario College include eight majors — five offered in residence (advertising/public relations, film-video, journalism, media studies, and telecommunications) and three online (digital journalism and media, digital multimedia design, and strategic communications).

Olorunnisola, a professor of media studies and previous head of the Department of Film-Video and Media Studies, conducts research about media systems, especially as they interact with and are influenced by political, economic and cultural systems of nations. His work has produced several journal articles and four edited book volumes about the co-transformation of political, economic and media systems — with special focus on media in African transitional societies, including post-apartheid and post-military and post-democratic governance.

An alumnus of the Fulbright Scholar Program, which promotes mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through scholar exchange programs, Olorunnisola has led several embedded study abroad programs to South Africa since 2001. He currently serves on the editorial boards of seven U.S. and Africa-based academic journals.

The Bellisario College’s growing and respected graduate program offers a master’s degree in media studies and a doctoral degree in mass communications with a curriculum that allows students to design a program of study tailored to their interests. The research portfolio features internationally respected scholars and a dozen centers or enterprises that focus on a broad array of issues and topics.

Last Updated June 14, 2021