Roderick P. Hart is one of the most successful deans in the history of the Moody College and is among its most renowned scholars and teachers. An expert of politics and the mass media, he has taught in the Communication Studies Department since 1979 and is the author of 12 books. He has taught courses on political communication, rhetoric, and government and is a member of UT’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers. He founded the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life, a research and outreach center committed to reversing civic and political apathy. From 2004 to 2015, he served as dean of the Moody College of Communication.
Hart transformed the Moody College through his commitment to students, faculty, and philanthropy. Under his leadership, the Moody College:
- Secured a $50 million gift from the Moody Foundation, resulting in the largest endowment for the study of communication of any public university in the nation.
- Raised the funds to construct the $55 million Belo Center for New Media, the foremost facility for the study of new and convergent media.
- Raised funds to renovate the Jesse H. Jones Communication Center, the historic home of the Moody College of Communication.
- Created groundbreaking new programs, including the Texas Program in Sports and Media, UT3D, Denius-Sams Gaming Academy, the Center for Health Communication, the Michael and Tami Lang Stuttering Institute, and the Senior Fellows honors program.
- Supported the creation of the new KUT and KUTX studios.
- Championed the cause of Texas Student Media by assuming its oversight.
- Completed the $10 million campaign to establish the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations.
In August 2014, Hart announced his plans to step down as dean in the summer of 2015 and return to what he loves—teaching students and conducting scholarship. In addition to returning to his position as professor in the Communications Studies Department, he will spearhead an endeavor to lead students to success through the Roderick P. Hart Student Achievement Awards. The Hart Awards seek to create a $1 million permanent endowment to honor the two things Hart prizes most—our students and their intellectual accomplishments. The Hart Awards will serve as a much-needed addition and round out the college's ability to honor graduates, benefactors, and now students.
About the Hart Awards
The Hart Awards will celebrate exceptional student work—brilliant research papers, enterprise journalism, imaginative advertising campaigns, exciting films, new treatments for communication disorders, and exceptional theses and dissertations. They will provide three awards annually in each department—one for undergraduates, master’s students, and doctoral students. Additionally, the awards will provide stipends to graduate students assisting with long-term research projects in civic engagement. The Hart Awards will provide much-needed support and encouragement to students—ultimately helping to foster their development so that they can make the vital contributions in the field of communications in the future.
Presented annually at our Honor’s Day celebration, the Hart Awards will complement the Moody College’s two highest honors also named for past deans—the DeWitt C. Reddick Award and the Robert C. Jeffrey Award. The Hart Awards will be administered and presented by Hart until his retirement. Afterward, the sitting dean of the Moody College will oversee them, ensuring Hart’s legacy for generations to come.