Kuhr named UM vice president of integrated communications

2013-01-08T06:00:00Z 2013-01-08T06:36:42Z Kuhr named UM vice president of integrated communicationsBy MARTIN KIDSTON of the Missoulian missoulian.com
January 08, 2013 6:00 am  • 

The former School of Journalism dean at the University of Montana was named the new vice president of integrated communications on Monday, ending a months-long search to fill the newly created and highly public position.

Peggy Kuhr accepted the post, assuming a job she has held on an interim basis since it was created by UM President Royce Engstrom in August.

She’ll earn a salary of $147,000 a year and answer to the university president.

“I’ll be putting focus on the word integrated,” Kuhr said Monday. “We have people in offices across campus working on communications in some way. We’ve already started bringing those folks together as a group.”

The new Office of Integrated Communications was created before the current academic year to improve the university’s internal and external dialogue. The duties were formerly wrapped into the position of executive vice president, held by Jim Foley.

Kuhr initially stepped into the job on an interim basis and was chairing the search committee’s quest for candidates. She resigned her committee seat last month before announcing her own candidacy for the position.

“My mission had been to lead a committee that would deliver to Engstrom a handful of candidates who would best fit the scope of this newly configured position,” Kuhr said. “It wasn’t until late in the process that I realized my qualifications would mirror the type of candidate the committee was charged with identifying.”

The university also announced the hiring of Mario Schulzke to serve as assistant vice president for marketing. The position operates within the new Office of Integrated Communications.

Schulzke had been a finalist for the job awarded to Kuhr. He began the marketing job last week.

“Schulzke impressed the search committee with his vision and energy to address UM’s immediate and long-term marketing and digital media needs,” Engstrom said.

Engstrom created the new assistant vice president of marketing by restructuring two vacant positions at University Relations. In the past, Foley had worked on marketing UM as well as managing its external communications.

The success of that arrangement often was the target of criticism and public frustration. Having an assistant vice president of marketing will serve as a benefit to the university, Kuhr said.

“Like all other universities, UM is in a really competitive market,” Kuhr said. “We’re competing for students and faculty and staff and administration. We need to know we’re doing the best work possible in getting the word out about UM.”

***

With Kuhr now running the communications post and Schulzke managing the marketing side, the search for a new journalism dean has begun.

Denise Dowling has held the position on an interim basis since August, when Kuhr stepped over to serve as the vice president for integrated communications.

“The search for a new dean will start very soon and we will be working with the provost to identify members of the search committee,” Dowling said. “I’ll continue to serve as interim dean until the position can be filled permanently.”

Both Kuhr and Schulzke are UM alumni.

Engstrom has worked the past six months to place UM on a new path after a difficult 2011-12 academic year, which saw the school fall under widespread criticism for the way it handled a series of rape allegations, followed by ongoing investigations by the NCAA and the federal departments of Justice and Education.

Most members of the prior administration have either left the university or are scheduled to do so on June 30, including former athletic director Jim O’Day, who currently has no assigned duties at UM but remains on the payroll.

David Aronofsky stepped down as chief legal counsel on Sept. 1. He was transferred to International Programs at UM, Kuhr said.

Foley, whom Kuhr and Schulzke replaced at the new Office of Integrated Communications, has been on approved personal leave and is expected to work on assignments for the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education until June 30.

Robin Pflugrad, the former head football coach, saw his contract end on Dec. 31. He is no longer affiliated with the university, Kuhr said.

Reporter Martin Kidston can be reached at 523-5260, martin.kidston@missoulian.com or @martinkidston.

Copyright 2015 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(4) Comments

  1. Not4Nothin
    Report Abuse
    Not4Nothin - January 08, 2013 11:45 am
    "VP of Integrated Communication"? They had to work real hard to come up with such a silly position title. Did you come up with that yourself or did you hire a consultant to help with the heavy lifting?

    Oh, yeah, it is much better than just plain old "VP of Communication." Just like "sexual assault" is a much better term than "date rape."

    If this is they way UM is gonna communicate, we're in for a bumpy ride.
  2. hellgatenights
    Report Abuse
    hellgatenights - January 08, 2013 3:37 am
    What we have here is a $150k for a woman who might work 8 months spinning yarns about the wonderful UofM liberal arts programs. She will have to spin good to avoid those pesky questions about little things.......like "How many grads obtained a career type job" and "How many took jobs not related to their major."

    The Spin will make a grown man dizzy to the point of yakking when the questions come up on "Campus safety" and the dozens of unsolved rape cases.

    No........we didn't need a spin doctor, we need a new president and a new police chief (I would say Mayor too, but he already has designs on a rather large chair with the new governor).
  3. allthewhyzer
    Report Abuse
    allthewhyzer - January 07, 2013 10:21 pm
    Doin' a happy dance ! Great choice !
  4. Tracker
    Report Abuse
    Tracker - January 07, 2013 6:43 pm
    I'm happy to see this. Peggy Kuhr is a class act with tons of integrity. I think she will be far superior to "Can't Comment" Foley.
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