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UM System, MU Announce Joint Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing

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Christian Basi

June 06, 2017

Journalism professor to serve as interim executive director

COLUMBIA, Mo. – As part of the fiscal 2018 budget plan announced last Friday, University of Missouri System President Mun Choi and University of Missouri-Columbia Interim Chancellor and Provost Garnett Stokes, in consultation with incoming Chancellor Alexander Cartwright, announced today that marketing and communications functions of the UM System and MU will merge. The move is the first in a series of reorganizations and consolidations across the UM System that are expected to streamline operations and free resources that can be reinvested in the university’s highest priorities.               

“This merger will take advantage of the synergies that come from being a multi-campus system," Choi said. "I have carefully examined how the university promotes itself statewide and nationally. We want to make sure we are communicating effectively with prospective students and their families, alumni, donors, citizens of Missouri, civic leaders and industry partners. Our four campuses are making a difference across the entire state and beyond, and sharing our message strategically will continue to be a focus for us.”

“We strongly believe this change in our communications structure will result in more efficient communications with our constituencies as we continue to be mindful of the resources entrusted to us by the citizens of the state,” Stokes said. “This bold move is an example of the steps we are determined to take to emphasize student success and excellence in our academic and research programs.”

Suzette Heiman will serve as interim executive director of the new Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing, effective June 6, 2017, and will have a dual reporting relationship to the chancellor of MU and the associate vice president and chief of staff of the UM System.

“I want to thank President Choi, Interim Chancellor and Provost Stokes, and incoming Chancellor Cartwright for providing me with this opportunity to reimagine communications on the system and campus levels,” Heiman said. “Our streamlined efforts will allow us to better show how the innovative research and creative projects of our faculty and students are helping Missourians and the world. Our new leadership team is energized to build on our traditions of excellence.”  

Heiman is a recognized national leader in strategic communications and currently serves as professor of strategic communication and director of planning and communications for the Missouri School of Journalism. She teaches courses in the area of strategic communication, including advanced social media strategies and public relations writing.

Heiman earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from MU in 1973 and a master’s degree in English education from Truman State University in 1976. Before returning to the School of Journalism as a faculty member in 1989, she held a series of positions in private industry in advertising, public relations and marketing communications.