Highlights from 2023

The achievements of our students, faculty and staff and continued investments in new programs propelled the College to new heights in 2023.

Highlights from 2023

Highlights from 2023

The achievements of our students, faculty and staff and continued investments in new programs propelled the College to new heights in 2023.

Strategic Funding Initiatives

The College received funding from the UF President’s Office for a variety of new initiatives, including the establishment of an environment/sustainability/small business desk in the Innovation News Center, expansion of coverage in “news desert” communities, and the creation of a live, student-produced “Game Day” preview show for Gator football. Read more.

Major Awards

The Public Relations Department was named PR Week’s Outstanding Education Program in 2023 and has been named a finalist in 2024, the fourth year in a row the program has made the finals. For the third year in a row, CJC has placed second overall in the prestigious Hearst Journalism Awards program. Read more. 

From left students Ava Girard and Sarah Main, Executive Associate Dean Sprio Kiousis, Associate Dean for Research Marcia DiStaso, Public Relations Department Chair Myiah Hutchens, Dean Hub Brown and Public Relations Lecturer Natalie Asorey.

Brechner Center

To continue to strengthen the College’s commitment to freedom of information and the First Amendment, CJC hired freedom of information expert Dave Cuillier to be the new director of the Joseph L. Brechner Freedom of Information Project and scholar Jane Bambauer to lead the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project. Read more.

Environmental and Climate Journalism 

Cynthia Barnett

Senior Lecturer Cynthia Barnett was named director of Climate and Environment Reporting Initiatives, which will build student immersion opportunities in the Innovation News Center and in the field, including national and international science and environmental reporting experiences and in-depth coverage of agriculture, rural communities and environmental justice. Read more.


A 13-member team of students, led by Barnett, completed a six-month investigation of Florida’s water quality to mark the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act and the Florida Water Resources Act. The project resulted in several awards, including the 2023 Online Journalism Association’s Student Journalism Award. Learn more on the CJC website.

Internal Communication

Rita Men

Public Relations Professor Linjuan Rita Men was named director of Internal Communication Research to stake a leadership role for CJC in this growing field of study. Men’s Internal Communication Research Hub will study the intersections of leadership, communication, culture and technology; investigate critical contexts, such as change, crises and cross-borders for internal communication; and explore the implications for organizational external relations and business performance. Learn more on the CJC website.

Study Abroad

As part of CJC’s expanding focus on international initiatives, the College offered new opportunities for students to study abroad. In 2022 and 2023, new programs included trips to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Munich and Frankfurt, Germany, to cover the NFL games played in those cities, Paris to cover the second NBA game played there, and the U.K. to explore its football and sports culture. In 2024, new programs include a semester in Europe and travel to London and Greece. Learn more on the CJC website.

Students on study abroad trip to Italy.

Ring of Honor

In 2023, the College’s Sports@CJC program established the Ring of Honor to recognize UF alumni, faculty and staff who have made outstanding contributions to the sports journalism, media and communications industries and positively represent the values and impact of the College and its sports program. The first two inductees were college football writer Edward Aschoff and former Dean John Wright. Learn more on the CJC website.

Traversing the Civil Rights Trail

In commemoration of an important milestone in the history of the U.S. civil rights movement, CJC partnered with the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University to lead 11 students on an eight-day, 2,800-mile trip through Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee. Students created a website about the trip and a 25-minute documentary broadcast on WUFT-TV. Learn more on the CJC website.

Students and faculty on civil-rights trail exploration.


The College is using Futuri Media’s AI technology on GHQ, CJC’s student-run, multi-platform “radio station,” to create“Q,” an AI personality that will develop and read scripts with hourly updates on weather, events and other news around UF and the Gainesville community. GHQ is one of the first radio stations in the world to use this service to better connect to audiences. Learn more on the CJC website.


The College said goodbye to some prominent faculty and staff members who retired at the end of 2022 and 2023, including Public Relations Professor Mary Ann Ferguson, Senior Director of Advancement and Alumni Relations Margaret Gaylord, Advertising Professor Debbie Treise, INC News Manager Ryan Vasquez, and Journalism Professor Wayne Wanta.