Thursday, December 29, 2011

UC Davis Chancellor putting increased emphasis on communications

Just got this email announcement and I thought I would share.  As many know, in the aftermath of the pepper spray incident, whether you support the UC Davis Chancellor or not, it was pretty clear that communications regarding the incident were, well, poor at best.  Hopefully this will improve things.  Of course, action is more important than communication --- but I am glad to see the Chancellor responding to communication issues ---

Dear Colleagues, 
I write to inform you about additional actions that I am taking immediately to strengthen Strategic Communications. These steps will help us address needs and challenges facing UC Davis today while preparing us to take advantage of opportunities that lie ahead. 

You may recall that in September 2011 I eliminated the office of Vice Chancellor of University Relations and shifted Communications, Government Relations, and Special Events to the Office of the Chancellor, reporting directly to me. Shortly thereafter, Cynthia Barbera was brought on to serve as the acting Executive Director of Strategic Communications pending the appointment of a permanent director. 
In meetings with various colleges and departments over the past three weeks as well as in other contexts, I heard many comments and clearly expressed concerns about the ability of Strategic Communications to meet our present needs. I share many of these concerns. 
Accordingly, I have asked Barry Shiller to serve as interim Executive Director of Strategic Communications. He will assume day-to-day management of the campus’s central communications activities, effective January 5, 2012. 
Barry brings to us an extensive background in strategic communications, diverse career experiences from the UC system and elsewhere, and – as a proud Aggie parent (Class of 2007) – particular appreciation for UC Davis' distinctions and excellence. 
Most recently, Barry served for more than three years as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Communications & Marketing at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). There, he guided UCSC’s marketing and institutional communication efforts including media relations, branding and marketing, and campus communications. He closely collaborated with students, faculty, staff, foundation and alumni representatives, campus leadership and others on a comprehensive effort to highlight UCSC’s many distinctions in teaching, research and service. Under his leadership, UCSC achieved greater regional and national prominence. 
Barry previously served in a similar capacity for nearly five years at Saint Mary's College of California. Prior to that, he held communications and public affairs leadership positions at a San Francisco public relations agency; an e-commerce start-up firm and the northern California affiliate of the American Automobile Association (AAA). Barry earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of San Francisco and completed advanced studies in insurance and risk management. 
I am confident that Barry will serve us extremely well as the interim leader of our central communications activities. I hope you will join me in warmly welcoming him to the UC Davis family. 
It is also essential that we launch and complete a comprehensive national search for the permanent director of our central communications unit. Many faculty and others have expressed an interest in helping to shape and inform the long-term direction of our campus communications activities. Community input will be critical to this search as well as the ongoing evolution of our strategic communications efforts. 
I have asked Jessie Ann Owens, Dean of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies, to chair the Recruitment and Selection Committee for this important position, and Dean Owens has graciously agreed. You may expect details early in the New Year about the search process and in particular how faculty, students, staff and other members of the campus community can contribute to this endeavor. 
I’ll continue to share updates as we work to improve our communications efforts. Your assistance is critical to our success. 
I wish each of you much peace as we enter the New Year. 
Linda P.B. Katehi 

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