Search for new V.P. underway

Although the administration hasn’t seen much of a personnel shakeup since President Neil Theobald took the reins on Jan. 1, a new cabinet position addressing marketing and communications will most likely be filled by some point in March.

The university is currently seeking a vice president for strategic marketing and communications who will serve in Theobald’s cabinet and “will be responsible for setting the overall strategic and creative direction of the university’s branding, marketing, and communications efforts,” according to a job description in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Currently, communications duties are housed in two different departments. University Communications handles internal, media and public relations, while Institutional Advancement handles marketing communications, said Ken Lawrence, senior vice president for government, community and public affairs. The new position would bring these two communications together.

“This position will actually bring these two lines together and become the focal point for communications at the university,” Lawrence said.

A search committee chaired by Lawrence has been tasked with finding finalists for the position to recommend to Theobald and has been searching for about a month, Lawrence said. The committee is conducting a national search and is seeking someone who has higher education experience, has run marketing campaigns, is familiar with public relations and someone who can “think about these things 24/7 for the university,” Lawrence said.

The candidate must also have at least 10 years experience in marketing and communications in higher education and would supervise more than 30 employees, according to the Chronicle. The description added that whoever fills the position should be prepared to act as the university’s spokesperson.

The committee will be assisted by Heidrick & Struggles, a leadership advisory firm, as it searches for the new administrator, according to the Chronicle.

Lawrence said this communications structure would put Temple more in alignment with peer institutions in the area.

“This is a more traditional structure,” Lawrence said. “Even though our University Communications and our marketing people would talk now, it would put them more in alignment because they’d be reporting up through the same vice president.”

Since Theobald was named the university’s 10th president in August, he has called on the university to market itself more prominently.

“We do not do nearly a good enough job of telling our story,” Theobald said in an interview with The Temple News earlier this month. “If you’re going to recruit new students, recruit new faculty, they have to know what a wonderful place this is. It’s not bragging, it is letting people know the return they will receive by coming to school here, by being a faculty member here, by donating money here. This is a really important place and people need to know that.”

Before the Temple Made campaign, the university didn’t do a whole lot of university-wide marketing. This position would build on that foundation, Lawrence said.

“For several years we hadn’t done any marketing,” Lawrence said. “The Temple Made campaign has really been the first time in several years that the university has done any marketing. I think this position will put a more coordinated focus on that [as well as] maintain and build on the groundwork that’s already in place.”

The committee will present Theobald with three candidates in late February.

Lawrence said he expects a decision to be made on the position some time in March.

Sean Carlin can be reached at sean.carlin@temple.edu or on Twitter @SeanCarlin84.

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