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U Relations | Here to Help

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Today I went to the UMCF program, Beginner's Circle: Working with University Relations, and discovered a pocket of resources for us as communicators. I am fairly new (one and half years at the U) and have had veterans tell me that you are not a real U employee until you have been here for ten. It was nice to hear that for some people that were closer to the ten-year mark, this was good information all around. So, whether you are new to the University or have been here for years, there was a little something for everyone.

The panelists were: Ann Aronson, responsible for marketing and branding; Laura Johnson, responsible for creative services; Chuck Tombarge, responsible for the news service; and Jay Weiner, the presidents speechwriter.

Here are some of the resources they provide:

New Service: (www.umn.edu/urelate/public-relations.html) Will work with you on a press release or connecting you to local reporters. Provide media training for faculty and staff. Provide council on social media strategy. Write a column from the president in your department/units newsletter.

There are four staff members, broken into beats that they cover:

  • Julie Christensen covers public affairs, access, engagement, philanthropy and diversity.
  • Steve Henneberry covers liberal arts, humanities, and video.
  • Matt Hodson covers STEM, research, science to industry, business, and agriculture.
  • Patty Mattern covers administration, athletics, crisis, and efficiency.

Creative Services and Marketing Communications: (www.umn.edu/urelate/marketing.html) Provides consulting in collaboration with marketing and branding for marketing strategies, electronic communications, shared media, design, writing, editing, multimedia, and photography. The U Story on the homepage is also handled through creative services and ideas can be submitted to urstory@umn.edu.

The overall focus for University Relations this year is President Kaler's priorities that can be found here: www.umn.edu/president/initiatives-priorities/index.html.

Do you have other resources that would be helpful for navigating communications at the U?

I am also looking forward to the next program, Expert Insights: Dave Pyle, Former bureau chief of the MN/WI Associated Press on December 5.

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