College holds forums in search for Communications and Marketing Officer

Geneseo will finish hosting a series of open forums for the three finalists for the new position of Chief Communications and Marketing Officer in MacVittie College Union 319 on Thursday March 3 and Friday March 4. This new cabinet-level position will report to President Denise Battles and will replace the Assistant Vice President position originally located in the college’s Advancement division, which was vacated in the fall semester. According to Vice President for Student and Campus Life and search committee chair Robert A. Bonfiglio, some of the responsibilities for the Chief Communications and Marketing Officer include making the college more visible by developing a marketing strategy with admissions and enrollment services and working on expanding the college’s web and social media presence.

The final candidates for the position include Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Dordt College Sonya Jongsma Knauss, former Executive Director of Philanthropic Communications and Donor Relations at Purdue University and former Associate Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications at Claremont McKenna College Richard Rodner and Senior Director of Communications and Marketing at Union College Gail Glover. Knauss’ open forum was held on Wednesday March 2.  Rodner’s will take place on Thursday March 3 and Glover’s on Friday March 4.

Students have the opportunity to ask questions at these forums and provide feedback on a Google document. According to Bonfiglio, each of the candidates’ resumes will also be on file in the library for students.

Bonfiglio stated that for this position, the search committee is looking for someone who has a lot of experience working in communication for institutions, someone who has a plan to make the college less of a hidden gem and someone who knows what working for a public liberal arts college requires.

According to Bonfiglio, over 100 candidates originally applied for this position. The committee then used a rubric to narrow down the pool to 10 applicants. Seven of those 10 accepted an hour-long interview with the search committee. Based on those interviews, the final three applicants were invited to spend a day on campus.

“The full day on campus will involve meeting with the search committee again, meeting with the President’s cabinet, meeting with the residents, meeting with the admissions staff, meeting with the communications staff and an open meeting for the entire campus community,” Bonfiglio said.

According to Battles, the process of filling this position began in October and applications were due in January. The search committee consists of eight faculty and staff members and one student representative, senior Brittney Richardson.

Battles explained that students are included in search committees if the position requires interaction with the student population.

“When I invite a student to serve on a search committee, I do so knowing it’s a lot of work and so I don’t want to make the request of a student unless there’s going to be some significant interest and engagement with that person,” she said.

Ultimately, Battles will make the final decision of who will fill this new position after meeting with the candidates, looking at their credentials and evaluating the search committee’s assessment of each of the applicants.

Battles stressed the importance of the role of the Chief Communications and Marketing Officer in helping Geneseo promote itself in all aspects.

“It’s so essential that as a college we’re telling our story; it’s been one of my emphases as President that we need to be out there doing that as effectively as possible,” she said. “I hope that the whole campus would appreciate just how important a position this is because this will be an individual who will be primarily charged with helping us tell our story.”