University of Rochester

Currents--University of Rochester newspaper

Seligman outlines a ‘fresh approach’

In a recently released memo, President Seligman announced that efforts are under way to raise the University's national profile and to revamp University communications. As part of that effort, Seligman has asked Douglas Phillips, senior vice president for institutional resources, to chair a search committee to identify candidates for the new position of vice president for communications. The committee includes representatives from each school and the two cochairs of the Faculty Senate. (A complete list of committee members is available at

In addition, the president also announced the Office of Public Relations will be renamed the Office of Communications and will address University-wide external and internal communications and coexist with divisional programs.

"What I am announcing today is not a criticism of the past, but a new approach," notes Seligman. "It is based on a different vision than has been held in the past of what a leading 21st century university requires. I do believe that the office will need new leadership to effectively demonstrate my commitment to change."

Robert Kraus, associate vice president for public relations, will continue to direct the Office of Communications until a new vice president is appointed. At that time, Kraus will work with James Thompson, the newly appointed senior vice president and chief advancement officer, to develop a communications program for the central advancement office.

Seligman says his "fresh approach" to communications is part of an overall effort to increase the local and national visibility of the University as well as create a cohesive identity and message. "Simply stated in today's parlance—the University of Rochester has not 'branded' itself effectively, cohesively, and consistently," he adds.

The approach will incorporate recommendations made by M. Fredric Volkmann, vice chancellor for public affairs at Washington University, as part of a comprehensive report prepared at the president's request.

To read the announcement in its entirety, visit

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