After more than 38 years of service, Bob Bassett, founding Dean of Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University, has announced his retirement at the end of August, 2019. His wife, Professor Janell Shearer Bassett, chair of the Media Arts Division, is retiring at that time.
Dean Bassett and Professor Shearer joined the faculty in the Communications Department in 1981 as the first full-time film professors in film and public relations, respectively. As Chapman grew, Dean Bassett built a film program out of a few courses, eventually creating the School of Film and Television in 1996. In 2004, thanks to a generous gift from Lawrence and Kristina Dodge, the School of Film and Television was renamed the Lawrence and Kristina Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. The transformation was all but completed when, in 2006, the iconic Marion Knott Studios was completed.
Dean Bassett’s leadership saw the completion of two additional buildings: the impressive Digital Media Arts Center, dedicated to animation and visual effects, and Chapman Studios West, home to the Dhont Documentary Film Center. Under his tenure, Dean Bassett built a world-class program attracting award-winning faculty with a combined filmography of over 500 feature film credits; launched Chapman Filmed Entertainment (CFE), a first-of-its-kind production and distribution company aimed at accelerating the careers of alumni; and built a top 10 film school (currently #6), graduating generations of storytellers whose accomplishments speak not only to the success of Chapman University, but to the influence and impact of his creative vision and relentless tenacity.
Professor Shearer played a key, if less public role, in the development of the film school in partnership with her husband, essentially serving as the school’s public relations director and chief communications and marketing manager for many years. She worked with him to develop strategies and messages in support of many of the school’s programs, worked with him on fund-raising initiatives, and managed virtually all of the school’s external communications, from newsletters to magazines to web copy to media relations and event publicity and programs, as the school grew. In addition, she led the development of the PR and Advertising, Broadcast Journalism and Documentary, Animation and Visual Effects, and Television Writing and Production programs.
Dean Bassett will continue to serve as dean while the university searches for his replacement.
Join us in congratulating Dean Bassett and Professor Shearer for their years of service to Chapman University. We invite you to submit your photos, video tributes, and/or stories via the online form.