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 Tuesday, February 8, 2005 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


In the Spotlight with Paul Voakes

They lead major academic divisions and shape the direction and quality of programs for faculty, staff and students. In this series, "In the Spotlight," we ask CU-Boulder deans to give us a glimpse into their personalities by answering questions aimed at providing a unique perspective on "the person behind the desk." Part five of this series features Paul Voakes, dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

1. Outside of work, what do you spend the most time thinking about and why?

Some days, "outside of work" I can think about very little at all.

Family and home, home and family. My wife, Barbara, is a nurse at Boulder Community Hospital's Cancer Care Unit and her workaday stories - often sad, often inspiring, always important - really put mine in perspective. I also think a lot about our three sons. We became empty-nesters at the same time we moved to Boulder, 1 1/2 years ago. We went from having them all within three miles of us to now being 1,000 miles away and in two different directions. E-mail is great, but it's not quite the same as accidentally bumping into one of them on campus. And the "home" part of "home and family"? That's the thinking I devote to our remodeling project. Currently about half the house's interior is demolished, so we ponder at length the when, the how, and yes, sometimes the why, of our extreme makeover.

2. What was the best professional advice you ever received?

This piece of professional advice pre-dates my professional days. As a beginning reporting student at the UC Berkeley School of Journalism, like many of my classmates, I had an overdeveloped sense of Writing Flair and an underdeveloped sense of Factual Accuracy. My first instructor, a curmudgeon of few words, warned us: "When in doubt, leave it out." The advice immediately improved my grade that semester, but it has stuck in my head through 15 years of professional journalism and 15 years of academic work. It's a simple reminder of the power of words and of the responsibility inherent in the use of words. Whether addressing a national audience or one other person, we need to be sure that what we say is based on solid facts, not rumor or speculation.

In the Spotlight with Paul Voakes

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