National Search Begins for New University Relations Vice President

Posted: November 23, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Jeremy Lasich

The national search for a new vice president of university relations (UR) is under way. The job posting is seeking someone who “will expand on George Mason’s growing national and international reputation for excellence and innovation in a fast-paced environment.”

The vice president for university relations oversees the offices of Media Relations, Events Management, Creative Services (publications, electronic publications, and multimedia), Community Relations, and Information Services. The position answers to the president, and is part of the Executive Council.

Helen Ackerman, George Mason’s vice president for university relations since 1992, is retiring in March.

Joy Hughes, vice president for information technology and chair of the search committee, says the group is “looking for someone who can raise the national profile of Mason significantly and who can, in the service of that goal, mobilize people and other resources both within UR and throughout the university-most particularly in the academic units-to work collaboratively on marketing the university at a higher level of quality and impact.”

Change management skills will be important to the success of the position, according to Hughes. Given the diverse set of responsibilities under the UR umbrella, she says the candidate will need to “be able to organize and support a team of high-performing UR staff who can plan and successfully execute in areas not receiving the direct day-to-day attention of the vice president.”

Members of the committee decided that the successful candidate does not need to come from higher education. “Higher education and other nonprofit candidates have an advantage in that they are used to working in a collegial culture, whereas the corporate culture provides the chief marketing person much more autonomy,” says Hughes. “The corporate sector has an advantage in that the candidate may bring the discipline and credibility that are needed to effect change. A corporate candidate may also have more expertise in counseling an organization through crisis, a skill that will become more important as Mason becomes more complex.”

In addition to Hughes and four cooperate adjuncts, members of the committee are:

  • Kurt Ankeny-Beauchamp, communications coordinator, Information Technology
  • Buzzy Correll, associate athletic director, Intercollegiate Athletics
  • Rick Davis, associate dean, College of Visual and Performing Arts
  • Andrew Flagel, dean of admissions
  • Judy Jobbitt, president, George Mason University Foundation
  • Cathy Lemmon, president, Alumni Association (BA ’86, MA ’93)
  • Rose Pascarell, associate dean, University Life
  • Anne Richard, associate dean, School of Law
  • Esperanza Roman-Mendoza, senator, Faculty Senate
  • Kathy Rowan, faculty, Communication
  • Stephanie Sauer, president, Student Government
  • Gary Shapiro, member, Board of Visitors
  • Toni-Michelle Travis, associate professor, Public and International Affairs

Marilyn McKenzie, associate provost for educational programs, is also assisting the committee in reaching out to minority communities to find qualified candidates.

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