DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL RELATIONS

DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL RELATIONS
Kristi R. Deetz, Senior Director

Staff of 36: External Relations (1), Admissions (11 full-time/2 part-time), Marketing Services and Communications (2), Parent and Family Services (1), University Events (1), University Relations (2), Sports Information (1), University Photography (1), TRIO Program (14).

The Department of External Relations (ER) develops and executes data-based recruitment strategies for the Vincennes Campus; establishes processes that set the basis for system-wide admissions; collaborates with Institutional Research to track enrollment, pinpoint shifts, and identify changing student populations; manages University branding, awareness, and strategic marketing; provides the services of an in-house agency for the production of advertising and promotional materials; generates public information communications and news releases; promotes VU athletics; offers ombudsman services and specialized communications to VU parents and families; coordinates special events such as dedications, commencements, conferences, and camps; partners with the University webmaster and other offices to generate the institution’s online web presence through www.vinu.edu, www.govutrailblazers.com, and social media outlets; and maintains strong collaborative relationships throughout the University system and with external organizations.

External Relations Offices & Services

OFFICE OF ADMISSIONS
Heidi Whitehead, Director

The Admissions Office is responsible for recruiting students and coordinating/supporting campus-wide recruitment efforts. The Admissions staff visits high schools; participates in college and career fairs; sponsors special visitation days; coordinates the campus open-house program (PreVU); hosts regional programs for high school counselors, students, parents, and other key stakeholders; coordinates student telecommunications and tour guide staff; meets with individual students and families; answers mail and phone inquiries; coordinats all communications with prospective students; and supports faculty and staff in recruitment and retention efforts.

CREATIVE DIRECTOR FOR UNIVERSITY MARKETING
Jennifer Houchins, Director

The Creative Director manages and executes marketing activities under the direction of Vincennes University’s Senior Director of External Relations. The position is focused on formulating innovative concepts that support the VU brand, marketing, recruitment, and online development goals. The Creative Director will provide direction to the University’ talented visual design team, as well as well as be the lead producer of audio/video productions and contribute to web management and content generation.

OFFICE OF MARKETING SERVICES
Andrea Tscherter, Director

The primary directive of Marketing Services is to enhance and maintain the integrity of the University brand in all External Relations materials. Proper presentation of the brand works to establish an accurate perception of the University’s role in Indiana’s educational system. Increased awareness of the University brand translates to increased awareness of the university’s programs and the potential for increased enrollment.

OFFICE OF PARENT AND FAMILY SERVICES
Brandi Porter, Director

The Office of Parent and Family Services encourages and supports the growth and development of the whole student by providing programs and support services to parents and families of VU students. These services complement students’ academic and personal development and success. The Office of Parent and Family Services amplifies the overall mission of the University through resources that promote outreach, leadership, diversity, critical thinking, social interaction, and community.

OFFICE OF UNIVERSITY EVENTS AND SPECIAL PROJECTS
Cindy A. Beaman, Director

The Office of University Events and Special Projects focuses on marketing the University as a host site for events, camps, conferences, and other special projects. All multi-day reservations are made through this office for large-scale events that use multiple venues and services, such as meeting rooms, special event space, residence hall accommodations, catering, audio-visual needs, and parking. The office serves as the central point of contact for both internal and external clients, providing accurate information and handling requests for conferences, camps, meetings, and events.

OFFICE OF UNIVERSITY PHOTOGRAPHY
Amber Nixon, Photographer

The photographer's primary role is to serve as a visual documentarian of the life of Vincennes University. Responsibilities include providing professional imagery to support projects initiated by the Department of External Relations, such as marketing materials, institutional advancement, news releases, social media, and strategic online communications. The photographer leads the operations of photo.vinu.edu (smugmug social media site) as an accurate imagery archive.

OFFICE OF UNIVERSITY RELATIONS
Duane Chattin, Director of Public Information
Vickie Puffer, Communications Coordinator and Online Newsroom Manager
Blake Albrecht, Sports Information Director

The VU News Team facilitates media access to campus leaders and newsmakers, topical experts, news releases, and photos. The staff provides assistance for breaking news, current trends, public opinion, or research. The mission of the office is to plan, design, manage, implement, monitor, and evaluate specific programs intended to enhance the overall image, communications, reputation, perception, competitive positioning, and understanding of Vincennes University and its programs and issues among external and key constituencies.

TRIO PROGRAMS

TRIO is a set of federally funded college opportunity programs that motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds in their pursuit of a college degree. TRIO programs provide academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance, and other supports necessary for educational access and retention. Vincennes University offers Project ASPIREE (Achieving Success through Participation in Reaching Educational Excellence), Upward Bound, and Educational Talent Search.