Karen Smith takes on role as Vice President of University Relations
By Sara Ridgway | Published Jan. 29, 2018
Karen Smith, former senior director of University News & Media Relations at Rutgers University, has been appointed as Kean’s new Vice President of University Relations.
President Dawood Farahi in a Nov. 17 press release to faculty and students, noted that Smith will bring to Kean “a wealth of knowledge and strong perspectives on brand management and strategic communications, which will essentially be effective for this position at Kean.”
In her role at Rutgers, Smith worked toward enhancing the Rutgers brand through new channels by developing a multimedia promotion program and social media. She was also responsible for the proactive promotion of the central administration and coordination of University-wide media outreach, as well as media responses.
She described what she brings to Kean University as a mix of both strategic and hands-on experience for sharing information effectively.
“I know how to build websites, launch social media accounts, write stories and shoot videos,” Smith said in an interview with The Tower. “More importantly, I also know how to build strategies to make sure Kean uses all of those tools effectively to reach all audiences.”
Smith comes from a background in journalism as a reporter and editor covering K-12 school districts and higher education for The Dallas Morning News and The Times of Trenton. She has a degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in communication from the University of Texas at Arlington.
She brings skills in telling stories through print, video and social media platforms.
“I understand how to deliver news and information to various education audiences,” said Smith.
Ultimately, Smith has distinct goals for fulfilling this new position revolving around enhancing communications with prospective students, current students and faculty, as well as the Kean community as a whole.
“I want to share the Kean story in new and different ways to help prospective students and others appreciate what makes Kean such an extraordinary place,” Smith said. “I want to help people better access information about Kean, whether through the web or via other tools.”
Smith is excited by the opportunity to shape the marketing and public relations messages at Kean.
“This university has a fantastic story to tell prospective students and others,” Smith said. “ It’s my job to make sure it’s being shared effectively through all channels.”