University Senate                                                            

Proposed: March 2, 2012
Adopted: March 2, 2012 by voice vote with no dissent


 RESOLUTION to establish
 The David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation
(Graduate School of Journalism)


WHEREAS         the Graduate School of Journalism has recognized the increasingly important connection between journalism and technology and has been building its capacity in digital media since the early 1990s, making rapid progress in recent years, and

WHEREAS                   the School recently has established a joint degree program in journalism and computer science with Columbia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, and

WHEREAS                   the School will establish a partnership with Stanford University to support the creation and development of innovations in the media landscape in a research program of significant magnitude, and

WHEREAS                   a generous gift has been made that will enable both institutions to develop interdepartmental research and educational programs, and

WHEREAS                   the proposed Institute will have an administrative structure and will command resources of its own, and

WHEREAS                   the Education Committee of the University Senate has favorably reviewed the proposal;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED                      that the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation be established, approved by the Senate and authorized by the president, and that the Senate forward this resolution to the Trustees for appropriate action.


                                                                             Committee on Education



Proposal for the establishment of
The David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation
(Graduate School of Journalism)


A major gift from Helen Gurley Brown of $ 18 million to Columbia University and $ 12 million to Stanford University for a total of $ 30 million will support the establishment of the Brown Institute.

The Columbia-Stanford partnership will be built on different but complementary capabilities at the two institutions, rather than similar ones. Stanford has a small school of communications with a handful of journalism students. The Stanford engineering school is substantially responsible for the creation of Silicon Valley and its continued dominance in the technology world; companies like Hewlett-Packard, Google, Yahoo, and Cisco Systems began as graduate student projects at the school.  The proposed partnership is meant to represent Stanford’s taking on the future of journalism and media as part of the school’s mission, and it will give the Journalism School more sustained access to high-level computer engineering resources than any institution in journalism has today. 
The Graduate School of Journalism has recently built a new partnership with Columbia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, in order to offer the first joint degree in journalism and applied science; the new partnership with Stanford will be complementary, but of much larger magnitude.

Columbia will build the physical headquarters for the Brown Institute. Six million dollars of the gift will go toward the construction of the Institute’s headquarters, which will be located in the large double-height space just to the east of the lobby of the Journalism building. The remaining funds will be endowed to fund the following:

  1. to establish the David and Helen Gurley Brown Professorship of Journalism and Innovation. The holder of this professorship shall serve as the Columbia Director of the Brown Institute.
  2. to support the creation of a postgraduate fellowship program at the Institute and to hire a minimum of two postdoctoral research scholars each year to work on a project or prototype combining technology and content
  3. to offer so-called “magic grants” which will fund the most promising ideas of postdoctoral research scholars, students or faculty for research and development promoting the goals of the Institute.

Finally, an allocation from the Kluge gift will establish a scholarship fund for students working in the area of media innovation, who will be known as David and Helen Gurley Brown scholars.

The proposed Institute meets the requirements for the establishment of an Institute.
The Education Committee recommends its approval.