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The University’s communications strategic plan, Communications at the Next Level, was approved by the Board of Trustees in October 2016. The current overarching strategic communications goal is:

To raise the national and international profile of the University of Rochester consistent with the institution’s world-class stature and in ways that create awareness, recognition, and pride inside and outside the University community.

Currently, University Communications and Advancement Communications are engaged in a project to develop and implement the specific strategic communications positioning and messaging elements specified by the strategic plan. This project is slated for completion in December 2017. With respect to this strategic planning process, our work will be primarily supportive. We are committed to advancing the entirety of the University’s current and future strategic priorities through our combined communications efforts.

That said, the University of Rochester is in an increasingly competitive environment, contending with many other institutions for students, faculty, donors, patients, research dollars, etc. We believe that the University must consider whether to fundamentally shift its traditional communications approach and commit to compete in a more active and assertive way. To do so, we believe we must address four key questions:

  1. What is our unique value proposition? What distinguishes the University of Rochester from its competitors?
  2. Should we be marketing, not just communicating? Elite educational institutions have not traditionally engaged in marketing, except in certain revenue-generating areas like clinical practice or executive education. A university-focused marketing program will require additional human and capital resources and may also face some skepticism.
  3. What is the role of research in guiding our communications programs and strategy? Sophisticated tools exist for assessing institutional reputation, communications effectiveness, and brand awareness that can provide insights and recommend future action. Again, these research tools require both human and capital resources.
  4. How do we measure communications success? As part of the strategic planning effort, we should establish key performance indicators and specific goals related to communications effectiveness. Such goals might include increased brand awareness, broadened international recognition, share of voice, or social media engagement; any communications goals should be tied to the University’s strategic goals.


Elizabeth Stauderman, Chair (University Communications)
Erin Martin Kane (Advancement)
Patti Giordano (MAG)
Karl Withers (UR Medicine)
Rick Kessel (Eastman)
Laura Brophy (Warner)
Josh Farrelman (Government and Community Relations)
Jane Gatewood (Global Engagement)
Scott Clyde (Undergraduate Admissions)
Amy Bruinooge (Simon)
Chip Partner (URMC External Communications)
Amy McDonald (University Communications)
Jenny Leonard (University Communications)
Sara Miller (University Communications)
Scott Hauser (University Communications)
Steve Dow (University Communications)
Lori Packer (University Communications)
Jen Roach (University Communications)
Jim Ver Steeg (University Communications)

Communication Liaisons to the Working Groups

Lead through Research: Jenny Leonard, Assistant Vice President for Digital Strategy
Data Science: Scott Hauser, Associate Vice President for Content
Neuroscience: Karl Withers, Associate Vice President, Marketing, URMC
Innovate in Education: Amy McDonald, Associate Vice President for Communications and Strategy
Performing Arts and Humanities: Amy McDonald, Associate Vice President for Communications and Strategy
Build and Embrace Community: Scott Clyde, Executive Director, College Enrollment
Transform Health Care: Chip Partner, Assistant Vice President, External Affairs, URMC
Envision the University of Rochester in 2025: Elizabeth Stauderman, Vice President for Communications
Financial Sustainability: Erin Kane, Associate Vice President Communications, Marketing, Constituent Engagement