Jack L. Daniel Named Pitt Distinguished Service Professor

Issue Date: 
September 9, 2009
Jack L. DanielJack L. Daniel

The University of Pittsburgh has named Jack L. Daniel, professor of communication in Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences and former vice provost for undergraduate studies and dean of students, as a Distinguished Service Professor of Communication, effective Sept. 1. Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg made the appointment based on the recommendation of Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor James V. Maher.

The appointment of a faculty member to a Distinguished Professorship constitutes the highest honor that can be accorded a member of the professoriate. The title Distinguished Service Professor is given in recognition of distinctive contributions and outstanding service to the University community in support of its mission, as well as performance excellence in the faculty member’s department or school and national stature in his or her field.

Daniel served as Pitt vice provost for undergraduate studies and dean of students from September 2002 to December 2005. In his administrative role, Daniel served as chair of the Enrollment Management Steering Committee, coordinating a number of campuswide activities related to student recruitment, retention, satisfaction, graduation, and placement. He also was responsible for new undergraduate academic programs and worked with the Chancellor’s Diversity Task Force and Equipoise on issues relating to diversity.

At Pitt since 1968, Daniel has served as chair of the Department of Black Studies, vice provost for academic affairs, and interim dean of the College of General Studies.

An active member of the National Communication Association (NCA), Daniel served as chair of NCA’s Finance Committee. He also served as secretary, vice president, and president of NCA’s Black Caucus. Among Daniel’s honors and recognitions are NCA’s Spotlight Program on the Contributions of Jack L. Daniel in 1995, NCA’s Presidential Award for Contribution to the Black Caucus in 1997, and the Eastern Communication Association Special Focus Program on the Scholarship of Jack L. Daniel in 2006. Black Pioneers in Communication Research (Sage Publications, 2006) by Ronald Jackson includes a chapter on Daniel as cofounder of NCA’s Black Caucus and his pioneering work in communication research. In 2001, Daniel was the commencement speaker at the University of Durban-Westville, South Africa.

A teacher in the area of African American communication, Daniel has research and writing interests that include African American family communication and the African cultural continuities that impact African American discourse.

Daniel is a Pitt alumnus who began at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and then earned his BS degree in psychology at the Pittsburgh campus in 1963 and the MA and PhD degrees in communication at the Pittsburgh campus in 1965 and 1968, respectively. He was an American Council on Education Fellow at Stanford University in 1973-74 and is a 1986 alumnus of Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management.

Since the publication of We Fish, the Journey to Fatherhood (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003), a memoir he coauthored with his son, Omari, Daniel has gained national acclaim and media attention as a writer. Currently, he is working on a book-length manuscript tentatively titled The Pursuit of Diversity: A Black Soul’s Wandering in an Ivory Tower; it is a critical analysis of his life’s work at Pitt.

Daniel’s wife, Jerlean E. Daniel (A&S ’64, SHRS ’72G, EDUC ’75G), is a former professor and chair in the School of Education’s Department of Psychology in Education. She currently is executive deputy director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children in Washington, D.C.

Omari Daniel received his bachelor’s degree from Pitt and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Maryland. He is a public school teacher in Maryland’s Blake High School. The Daniels’ daughter, Marijata, earned bachelor’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Michigan and a master’s degree at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the research director for the HighScope Educational Foundation in Ypsilanti, Mich.