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New VP position created

It will take two to replace former Vice President of College and Alumni Relations Mickey Munley ’87.

Meaning, the position he occupied until his retirement last semester will be split into two—a Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations and a Vice President for Communications, as has been the case in the past. Vice President of Institutional Planning Marci Sortor took on Munley’s responsibilities until the new Vice Presidents are hired.

“We have a lot of work to do on the communications front in articulating a clear message about what we think distinguishes us, what we want people—prospective students, donors, a lot of people—to think about the College,” said President Raynard Kington.
Kington explained that the positions are intended to highlight the positive aspects of the institution and look toward growth and expansion.

“We have the potential to do incredible things. We’re a great place now, but I think we could be just incredible,” Kington said. “It will mean both really taking a good look at what we are doing internally, in terms of how we run the institution, but also outreach.”
Ideally, the new hires will focus on outreach at the level of both recruiting and fundraising from a distinctly “Grinnellian” foundation.

“I think we’re way ahead of the game in terms of the focus on teaching and the quality of teaching. I think we have a great product—we’re a great deal,” Kington said. “But it is also how we communicate that message on what makes us distinctive to the broader world and how we use that to connect to alumni and how we make the case for having alumni and the broader community invest in us so that we can become even better than what we are.”

Although the Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations will continue to focus on internal development and strengthening relations with alumni, the new position as Vice President for Communications will address communication at large.

“The world of communications is exploding in all sorts of ways,” Kington said. “While in the old days, one good article in the New York Times, hard copy, would communicate to a big chunk of people, now the world is much more differentiated in terms of where people get their information. And it’s not just generational, I think it cuts across generations.”

Because of this, the VP for Communications will focus on communicating Grinnell’s various distinctive attributes across media platforms.

“Sources of information and the volume of information and the variety of ways in which people like to receive communication and how they deal with information are all so much more complex now that it’s harder to get messages across,” Kington said. “[It] requires reaching out in all sorts of ways and figuring out how to do that from social media, to hard copy newspapers and magazines, to the Internet—all of the ways we communicate. It’s become a harder job, bottom line.”

The VP for Communications will be responsible not just for getting word about the College out there but also for communicating with future members of the College, “for example, how we communicate to perspective students what we think are the characteristics that make us unique and what type of student think will excel,” Kington said.

The VP for Communications will also work to increase communication within the College community.

“Communications will jump beyond just external communications,” Kington said. “I think we need to do a much better job internally. So you know, I started a blog, we started a Q&A page where questions come to me and we get answers… Answers get posted so anyone can go and get them.”

The new VP will need to communicate the structural and functional aspects of the College, or more specifically, the budget.

“How we communicate about the budget, how we communicate about lots of decisions—I see communication as going way beyond just alumni and development both internally and externally,” Kington said.

This focus on communications is also aimed at deploying the College’s values in internal functioning.

“I’m into transparency and I would like the new VP to have a more direct impact on all the ways we communicate and to do it more effectively, both internally and externally,” Kington said. “I would hope that students, faculty and staff would see a change in how we expand how we communicate and particularly really putting into action this value of transparency.”

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    FrankMar 13, 2011 at 12:53 am

    I think you meant to say: “It will take two to repair the damage done by former Vice President of College and Alumni Relations Mickey Munley.”