New Horizons

Open letter to Students of the School of Journalism at IUPUI:

It is with regret that I report to you that I will be leaving IUPUI at the end of July to pursue other opportunities.

After learning from School administrators that I would no longer be Coordinator of the Public Relations sequence nor direct the public relations graduate degree program, I was offered a solution to leave the university early and I have accepted that solution.

I am very proud of what has been accomplished over the past seven years, including the solid development of a professional undergraduate public relations sequence of courses, the establishment of a university-wide minor in advertising, and the development and very successful launch of a Master of Arts in Public Relations degree program.

But most significantly, I am so very proud of all of our School of Journalism students and graduates. You all make up the heart of the School of Journalism at IUPUI. Your successes over the past years are significant, and I expect you to continue to have a major impact on the professions of public relations and journalism as you progress in your careers.

I will always be available to all of you to help in any way I can in forwarding your student and/or professional careers. Connect with me on LinkedIn and Facebook so we can keep in contact. Don’t ever hesitate to contact me if you need anything.

It has indeed been my pleasure to serve the students of IUPUI for the past seven years. They are among the most important years of my professional life. I thank all of you for those experiences.


Bob Dittmer


28 thoughts on “New Horizons

  1. This is truly sad news, Bob. Meeting you and taking your classes has changed my life in ways you can’t imagine! The decision of administrators you speak of is a poor one indeed, and it speaks to the myopic and weak leadership in place.

    My hope is you remain in the area and find new opportunities to teach. Perhaps at Ball State or Butler.

  2. Bob,
    I cannot put into words how truly inspirational you have been to me over the years. You were, and always will be, a wonderful professor, mentor and person. You have taught me a lot over the years and I appreciate everything you have done. I’m very proud to be an IUPUI graduate and that is because of you and the other professors that have taught me along the way. I believe this is a very big mistake being made by administration but I know you will find great things elsewhere.

    Thank you for everything you have done for me and I hope you get the opportunity to inspire others as you have me.

  3. All concerned:

    Bob is just one of many inspirational and talented faculty that have left the program in recent months. Poor leadership has resulted in a quick crumbling of the school I and so many others love.

    If you would like to voice your concerns, please email a letter to by next week. It’s important we have a voice for those who were so influential in our lives.

    • Tara,

      I agree with you about the leadership of IU School of Journalism. I’m not sure why IU continues to travel a path of poor and irresponsible leadership at all levels of administration, but sadly it does.

      A letter to adminstrators isn’t enough! Maybe storming their offices is better.

      • I’m in. Let’s do it. I emailed Prof. Drew and received his Out of Office message that he will return on Aug. 15 and to direct all emails to his AA. Seriously? It’s time to take action.

  4. Bob (Ditto),

    Although I wasn’t directly correlated to the public relations aspect of journalism, I can say with great confidence that you impacted my time at IUPUI in wonderful ways. I always felt that your door was open to talk and your advice was always beneficial to my current situation. I wish you well with wherever life takes you next and I hope we stay in touch.


  5. To all of Bob’s students: I’ve had the opportunity to know Bob for more years than either one of us wants to admit, and let me state the obvious: You’ve had one of the great teachers of all time at IUPUI…and not just in public relations! Besides the course work, I know he’s taught you the essence of our business, the techniques AND the ethical and moral side. Anyone can learn to write a “press release” but using information well and effectively takes a higher level of thinking and consideration. I’ve seen the embodiment of his, Julie’s and other teaching in the many wonderful IUPUI interns we’ve had the opportunity to hire!

    And don’t worry…Bob always hangs in there!

    Shank Public Relations Counselors

    • David,

      You make a good point here. Bob took his students into a deeper understanding of the business of PR. I count the learning I received from him as the foundation that got me through graduate school. His understanding of ethical and moral side of our business is profound.


  6. Diesel,
    I don’t have words. It’s obvious you meant so much to so many people in their time at IUPUI, and I squarely count myself among them. I have no idea what I’d have done without you, or that fateful conversation in your office about moving over to PR (the dark side). To say you have impacted my life positively is a drastic understatement.
    Blessings to you my friend. I will be in touch.


  7. Bob,
    Though I wasn’t in the PR track, I always felt welcome by you and truly enjoyed you as a teacher in the few classes I had with you. You were also so kind and helpful to me as my internship coordinator, and I enjoyed chatting with you and working with you while I was working in the office last year.
    You were one of the best people I knew up on the fifth floor of IT, and you will be remembered with great fondness and appreciation.
    Best of luck to whatever comes next, I’ll be in touch one way or another!

    Alyssa (Frankus) Rebbec

  8. Bob,

    Thank you for all that you have done for me and other SoJ students. SoJ is not only loosing a great teacher, but a fantastic person. The amount of growth and opportunity that I have experienced is due, in large part, to you. SoJ will not be the same without you.

    Best wishes for you and your future endeavors,

    Josie Harvey

  9. I also would like to echo the comments of those above, and simply say the loss of Bob from the program is a loss to the program and everyone involved. Plain and simple, you built this program, and one can see from the dramatic growth in applications and classrooms, this program was flourishing under your direction.

    I’m not sure what happened, where things broke down, or how we’ve gotten to this point. I am sure, however, this will continue to degrade the level of professionalism and real-life experience so vital to the graduate PR program.

    The good news, or at least as it see it, is you are immensely talented and will land somewhere to do great and wonderful things. I hope you will keep in touch on this next chapter.

    Best wishes,
    Dave Hosick

  10. Bob,
    This is truly a loss to the IUPUI community…far beyond the School of Journalism. I have truly appreciated working with you and your students. I have no doubt that something bigger and better awaits, and I look forward to hearing all about it.

  11. Bob,
    So very sad to hear everything you have worked so hard to create the last several years is now in the hands of someone else! No one can run the PR program as wonderfully as you did and also give the students everything they need and more to get into the field. I feel like everything that we all have worked so very hard to make better and better has or will be thrown by the wayside! This saddens my heart knowing the students are not being thought of and that one of the best teachers in the world of Journalism is leaving because of the administration! Please stay in touch, I know I will. Thank you so very much for everything you have done for me and everything you have put into teaching! You will be greatly missed!

  12. Bob,

    I had no idea you were leaving as well. Words cannot explain how sad and angry I am about this entire situation. The fact that IUB could even think to take away your position as the coordinator of the public relations sequence OR director of the public relations graduate degree program absolutely baffles me, considering those programs wouldn’t even EXIST without you. You are hands down the best professor I have ever had, and the School of Journalism will suffer without you. They will never, ever receive any alumni donations from me. I am confident you will go on to do even greater things, and I don’t blame you at all for leaving. What kind of opportunities would there be with an administration like that?! Make sure you keep in touch and keep all of us updated! You have seven years’ worth of SoJ graduates behind you 100 percent.


  13. Bob,
    I’m on lunch right now at work but I’d thought I’d stop in and say that this is just not right! Unethical, unflattering, whatever you want bottom line is that your situation along with the other issues SOJ is dealing with is total garbage! Believe it or not you and various others were the heart and soul of SOJ, with out you we would not have recieved the education we have! Many of us are very displeased with what is going on! I personally believe you got a raw deal, and would to go bat for you! The administrators will soon realize what a grave mistake they have made! We’re here for you Bob!

  14. Bob —

    Your absence will be felt everywhere throughout the school, there is no doubt about that. Just wanted to thank you for your guidance and everything you have provided (even though I wasn’t a PR student) throughout my time as a j-school student and afterwards! Best of luck for your future endeavors.

    That school is turning into a ghost town, it’s very depressing.

  15. I can say with 100% confidence that for all JStudents, PR or not, you will always be our PR Director. Just like Dean Brown will always be our one and only dean and like there will always be just one Publisher: Maggie. And of course, our academic road map was drafted by only one person: Deb.

  16. I just heard the news yesterday. I am so sorry. You were my very first journalism professor at IUPUI and so welcoming of the “old lady” in the class who could answer news questions from back in the day. Your enthusiasm, knowledge, and you, will be missed…it stinks. I didn’t even know Maggie was gone until yesterday, now you and Deb…it’s awful.

    Please take care and good luck.

  17. Bob,
    Congratulations on building an excellent program at IUPUI. My hope is that your administration won’t totally FUBAR things, but sadly this decision would seem to indicate to me that they don’t have a clue! You’ll be sorely missed in academe, sir!

    As we’d say in the Navy…Fair winds and following seas!

  18. One of the only reasons I went to the 5th floor was see if you were in your office to talk. I will miss your sage advice and help. I know many students who came to the department because of you.

  19. Bob, I’ll never forget that when I was a confused, incoming freshman with issues with my admissions, you were they one who sat down with me, worked through my problems, and introduced me to IUPUI and the Public Relations track. You never ceased to treat everyone you came across as an equal, a human being with independent thoughts. I can only hope that I grow to have the same passion for whatever I end up doing as you did and continue to have.

  20. I have the distinction to have once been Bob’s journalism instructor when “we were soldiers once and young.”

    In the intervening decades, Bob convinced me to join PRSA, become accredited, hired me at his PR firm and, much later, to teach at IUPUI. He also got in his licks as my instructor for several courses in the BSU masters program, which he persuaded me to enter AND to finish. He also tipped me off to a job opportunity that I landed.

    As important and even life shaping as those experiences were for me, they pale beside Bob’s commitment to his students. Bob’s enthusiasm and erudition remind me of the Oxford Fellow described by Chaucer in the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales: “And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche.”

    Even after more than 25 years practicing and teaching public relations, I seek out Bob’s counsel and advice. Along the way, he has recommended many excellent science fiction books.

    I will close with a statement by Executive Associate Dean Emeritus James W. Brown at a journalism ceremony a couple of years ago:

    “Bob Dittmer was the best hire I ever made.”

  21. Bob,

    I don’t know what they’re smoking up at the SOJ these days, but I am shocked to hear this news! I hope you know what a fantastic teacher you are, and what a fantastic human being you are too.

    At my AmeriCorps*Vista position this last year, I have been putting to use the graphic design skills I learned in your class. I feel very blessed that I attended the SOJ while I did, because I received the best of the best in terms of the quality of the professors – I graduated just in time!

    I know that you will go on to bigger and better things.

    As they Germans say: your a guter Mann!

    All the best,

    Sean Windle

  22. Bob,

    I am just now reading this and am so sadden by this news! You were the reason I decided to pursue the PR world and I will always be indebted to you for that opening my eyes to this now passion of mine. You have such a gift for teaching and were a wonderful mentor to me! It just won’t be the same not having you on campus, you will be greatly missed. Thank you for all the knowledge you passed on and for always making class a true joy! I wish you the best!

    Take care and all the best.

    -Robyn Gretzinger

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