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 Tuesday, February 13, 2007 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


New hires prove CU's message matters
Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson

The importance of good communications cannot be underestimated, and as such, it is imperative that we clearly communicate the value of our university to all of our constituents—especially to the people of the state of Colorado. With this in mind, for the past six months, we have been focusing on making effective communications one of our highest priorities. To accomplish this, we undertook and recently concluded two national searches that have yielded a pair of seasoned professionals to help our university implement a proactive, message-driven, and dynamic communications strategy.

The first of these new appointments, Bronson Hilliard, Director of Media Relations and CU Spokesperson, joined us in early November. He reports directly to Michael Warden, who was named Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communication last December and who joined us in early January.

Bronson literally grew up in the Colorado media. He is the son of Carl Hilliard, veteran political reporter at the Associated Press and dean of the Capitol press corps in Denver. Bronson scored his first byline as a journalist at CU-Boulder's Campus Press in 1983, worked as a reporter for the AP (1990-91) and the Colorado Daily (1991-94) before coming to work for the CU System (1994-2000), where he served two CU Presidents—Judith E. N. Albino and John C. Buechner—as a media relations specialist and assistant director of media relations, respectively. More recently, in 2001, he assumed responsibility for the editorial management of the Colorado Daily, leading that publication to a slate of awards for editorial writing and news coverage.

Bronson impressed me not only with his background and writing—one of his Daily editorials was so compelling it has helped to shape how as chancellor, I communicate our goals today—he also brings an unbeatable combination to his new job: knowledge of the University of Colorado at Boulder and the respect of Colorado's highly professional press corps.

As spokesman and director of media relations, I have charged Bronson with taking a proactive approach to strengthening our relationships with the media, organizing our message development and delivery, and ensuring that we are prepared to meet the challenges of the modern, continuous 24/7 news cycle.

In that work, he is joined by an effective and experienced communications staff and a valuable ally and resource in Michael Warden, Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communication, to whom he and the other directors and staff within University Communications report. Michael brings to us three decades of experience in government, private sector and higher education communications and public relations. Most recently, he was employed by the University of Texas System where he served for five years as vice chancellor for public affairs. In that role, he was responsible for both the internal and external communications for one of the country's largest higher education institutions. He was also a member of the faculty as an adjunct associate professor in the College of Communications at UT Austin. 

Before his work with the UT System, Michael spent more than 20 years in the United States Air Force, rising to the rank of colonel and spearheading communications and public relations efforts across a broad spectrum of commands at a variety of theaters and duty stations. Approximately half of his military career was spent in Washington, D.C., in a variety of high-level assignments including responsibility for the first strategic communication planning efforts for the Air Force.

I have charged Michael with overseeing, coordinating and strategically organizing all of our university communication efforts, bringing together our marketing, branding, media relations, publications, Web, internal communications and community relations efforts. Among his first tasks will be to recommend how we can best deploy our college-based and campus-wide communications resources for maximum effectiveness and adding strategic value to all of our internal and external communication efforts.

These two veteran communicators are not "spin doctors," but rather key resources for our faculty, staff and students. In their respective roles, they will work collaboratively and proactively to transform how our most vital messages are developed and ensure that these messages are delivered to the public, to our stakeholders and to our supporters, in a clear, concise and effective manner. In so doing, we are making an important investment in our future success—we have important stories to tell in the local, national and global media, and we must ensure that our messages are effectively distributed so to clearly communicate our values and the importance of the work so many of you are doing.  

With the addition of these new faces, and the continuing efforts of our existing communications staff, our faculty, students and administrators, we can convey these stories to new audiences, in new, creative and exciting ways.

I want to welcome them both to the University of Colorado at Boulder and wish them well as they lead our efforts to communicate the value and importance of what all of us do here at the University of Colorado at Boulder!

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