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Coming Home to Radford
A Message from Jeffrey S. Douglas
About three weeks ago, I began work as Radford University’s new executive director of university relations and chief communications officer. I’ve wanted this job for years, and I’m delighted to be here.
I return to Radford as a double alum (B.S. Journalism,’77 and M.S. Corporate and Professional Communications, ’99) and as a person who spent four years working in Radford’s office of university relations in the early ‘80’s. I was a member of the second class of men to ever be admitted.
I thought I knew Radford. After all, I’ve worked at Virginia Tech for the past 25 years and lived right here in the New River Valley.
How wrong I was! I return to a campus that is so much more than I remember. Yes, the cultural emphasis on personal relationships is still here. Students matter a lot and opportunities exist for all of us to establish more substantial relationships with a greater number of people than you can in most places.
The campus itself is still gorgeous, but it seems so much larger. Beautiful new buildings punctuate an academic landscape that is growing and growing in both size and quality.
But something seems a little different. There’s an “energy” on campus that I don’t quite remember. Maybe it’s because we all know these are serious times for higher education, but I clearly sense this mood of “getting down to business” and I see it everywhere.
You can see it in the eyes of students as they walk to class, well aware of the realities of rising tuition costs, educational debt loads, and the prospects of finding a job in an economy jolted by the “Great Recession.”
You can hear it in the voices of faculty, their passion for teaching and scholarship undeterred, yet tempered by the relentless need to do more with less.
You can sense it on the minds of administrators, forced to make difficult decisions in a public policy environment that has been anything but kind to higher education over the past 20 years.
You can feel it when you talk with alumni, who remember well how Radford transformed their lives, and care dearly about an experience that will live in their hearts and minds forever.
We are different groups with different perspectives and occasionally, different priorities. But we’re thousands of people all bound together by the “Radford experience” and we all share the common hope for the future that you can only get from being connected to a university.
Good communication is a force-multiplier, and that’s why I’m so very excited by my opportunity to serve as CCO. I see our Office of University Relations as Radford’s ”window to the world.” My colleagues and I look forward to leveraging our university strengths by transmitting the excellence of what you do every day, to people who know about RU and people who need to know about RU. We also look forward to improving our internal, on-campus communication programs.
I believe in exceptional customer service, continuous improvement, and of course, the “Promise of Radford.” Over the months and years ahead, I hope to meet and get to know many of you very well. In the meantime, please share your ideas and comments about how our office can serve you better. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, my office phone number is 831-5803, and my office is located in Martin Hall. It’s good to be back, I look forward to working with you, and thanks for this opportunity to serve.
Sept. 3, 2009