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Office of the Provost, Division of Academic Affairs, University of Maryland


Welcoming the New Dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism

Headshot of Rafael Lorente

Dear University of Maryland community,

I am pleased to announce that Rafael Lorente has been named dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. He will begin his new role on July 1, 2023. As dean, Rafael will provide strong and visionary leadership for the College; support an environment of diversity and inclusive excellence in teaching and learning; and promote a culture of impactful research, scholarship and creative activities. He will work among the College’s students, faculty, staff and alumni to effectively advance the mission of the College.

Rafael currently serves as associate dean for academic affairs and director of the master's program for UMD’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. In these roles, he works to connect research and practice to courses throughout the College’s curriculum, and collaborates with the journalism industry to facilitate partnerships and internships for students. He has steered the restructuring of the College's curriculum toward strategic areas, including data journalism, changing business models and investigative journalism. With a particular focus on increasing diversity in the College’s master’s program, Rafael’s leadership has resulted in cohorts that average 40 percent students of color.

During his tenure, Rafael has worked closely with national news outlets to elevate opportunities for UMD's journalism students. He initiated a partnership with the Associated Press, making Capital News Service one of the first student-staffed news services in the country to be distributed nationally by the Associated Press. He helped oversee a multi-university partnership for student coverage of the national political conventions in 2016, allowing UMD journalism students to report from the residence of the U.S. ambassador in London. He also worked with USA Today to create a co-taught class featuring a UMD faculty member and the company’s senior director of news strategy.

Rafael has led multiple innovative efforts to advance the College's offerings. He helped lead a team of faculty and staff that put together the successful proposal for a three-year, $3 million grant for investigative journalism from the Scripps Howard Foundation to create the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism. He also co-led the interdisciplinary team that developed a master’s degree in data journalism to be offered jointly with the College of Information Studies.

Previously, Rafael was a lecturer in the College, and served as both the Washington and Annapolis Bureau Director for the College’s Capital News Service. Prior to joining academia, Rafael was a practicing journalist at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, particularly focused on legislative and political matters and higher education. He covered the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, the attacks of September 11, and U.S.-Cuba relations.

He currently serves as vice chair of a national committee for the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication; on the board of directors for both the Center for Media Integrity of the Americas and the National Press Foundation; and chairs the D.C. Regional Planning Committee for Phillips Academy, Andover. He also recently served on the board of directors for the National Press Club Journalism Institute.

Rafael holds a master's degree from the University of Maryland in journalism, and a bachelor's degree from the University of Miami in English, politics and public affairs.

Over the past 20 years, Rafael has proven his commitment to everything our university values and strives for: creating a diverse and inclusive community, providing our students unparalleled opportunities, and pursuing excellence in everything we do. Under his leadership, the Philip Merrill College of Journalism will teach the next generation of journalists to research, investigate and contextualize the grand challenges of our time.

I would also like to thank Dr. Lucy Dalglish for her 11 years of exceptional leadership as dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. I am grateful for her dedication and service to the University of Maryland. Her vast contributions over the past decade include the establishment of the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism and the creation of the George Solomon Endowed Chair in Sports Journalism. She received the "Administrator of the Year Award" by the Scripps Howard Foundation and the Association for Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication in 2021. I am particularly grateful that Dean Dalglish agreed to serve one year beyond the typical two five-year-term tenure of UMD deans to help ensure a successful accreditation process for the Merrill College this year. Her work has made a tremendous impact on the College, and given its next leader a solid foundation upon which to build.

I also extend my thanks to the search committee, led by College of Information Studies Dean Keith Marzullo, for their work to identify an outstanding group of finalists.

Please join me in congratulating Rafael on his new role with the university's Philip Merrill College of Journalism.


Jennifer King Rice
Senior Vice President and Provost