Loyola’s School of Communication and Design hires a new permanent director


Hannah Renton

Sheryl Haydel, the new director for the School of Communication and Design, talks with public relations professor Cathy Rogers during the open house on Aug. 19, 2021. Haydel is taking on the role following the departure of the school’s former director Sonya Duhé.

New Orleans native Sheryl Kennedy Haydel has been brought on as the new director of Loyola’s School of Communication and Design, ending a yearlong period of constant change in which the school was without permanent leadership.
After previous director Sonya Duhé left Loyola, leaving allegations of racism in her wake, the coronavirus pandemic disrupted college life as an interim director stepped in to temporarily lead. Now, Haydel is poised to take on the challenge of directing the School of Communication and Design toward a brighter future.
After serving two years as a public relations assistant professor at Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication, Haydel has confidence that sharing her experience as a journalist with students can help inspire others’ career paths.
“We’re all collaborators and storytellers,” Haydel said. “I want students to know they are in the right place.”
With degrees in both mass communication and public relations, Haydel believes her diverse background will encourage students to grow and stay flexible within the industry.
Haydel was the editor-in-chief of both her high school and college newspapers, but her leadership experience doesn’t stop there. She has experience in college administration as well, working with Xavier University, Dillard University, and Louisiana State University.
“It’s an honor to not only work at Loyola but also to work with students,” Haydel said. “I feel like there’s a strong connection at Loyola, and I want to continue to capitalize on that.”
Haydel is confident and optimistic, heading into her first semester as director. She said she is committed to enhancing student organizations to keep students active and engaged. She said she’s highly responsive and wants students to know her office has an “open-door policy.”
“We’re moving forward,” Haydel said. “I want students to be over-prepared and have a memorable experience once they leave.”
Before Haydel’s arrival, Lisa Collins acted as the interim director after Sonya Duhé’s departure and worked to rebuild trust from students. Despite the challenges caused by COVID-19, Collins created new ways to implement student feedback in programs and changes to the curriculum.
“It was an honor to serve as interim director,” Collins said. “I believe Dr. Haydel will continue to build on the foundation that we have created.”
Haydel has plans to commit to a theme each year to help enhance and improve the school’s resources for the school’s students. Each theme will be dedicated to either implementing a new resource for the department or fixing an issue that needs improvement.
Professor Daniela Marx was one of many members of the selection committee created to fill the director position.
“She made me think in collaborative ways when she talked about new ideas,” Marx said. “She is very pro recruitment and highlighted that we all need to be flexible because industry shifts.”
Marx noted that Haydel is interested in creating opportunities in certificate programs, starting collaborative classes and programs, and inviting guest speakers to communicate and engage with students.
“She is what we need at Loyola and for the School of Communication and Design,” Marx said.