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Hopeful sees UI as inspiring brand name

BY KEVIN HOFFMAN | NOVEMBER 12, 2009 7:20 AM

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Tysen Kendig believes the UI is like a brand name and should be promoted to intrigue and inspire people.

Kendig, the UI’s third candidate for the position of vice president for Strategic Communication, detailed how his past experience would help him in the job to around 60 audience members Wednesday afternoon.

“I think what needs to be done better — not just here but I think at every major university — is to convey the scope and the fact that we touch every corner of the state,” he said.

He has served as the associate vice chancellor for University Relations at the University of Arkansas for three years. Before assuming that role, Kendig held public-relations positions at Penn State University and Rider University in New Jersey.

Kendig noted his experience transforming websites into strategic sites for communicating information.

While at Penn State University, he helped create a live news-wire system that organized and disseminated information.

In the beginning, the live news service had approximately 1,000 subscribers. Today, roughly 400,000 subscribe to the site.

During his presentation, Kendig talked about the use of social networking, calling it the No. 1 way of communication for people under the age 25.



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“These are people we are trying to reach every day,” he said. “We need to think about this audience; we need to engage them in different ways.”

And he said engaging students is vital for the Strategic Communication position.

“If you increase the communications about the university, and subsequently enhance the content of the university … the degrees of the students are going to become more valuable,” Kendig said. “A rise in tide raises all ships and students are probably the battleship among all the ships that are being raised.”

One audience member asked him anonymously to what extent he would influence the recruitment of undergraduate students if hired. Kendig said UI admissions seems to be on board with the school’s central communication.

“It all comes back to having common themes that drive home,” Kendig said.

Kendig said he believes that being successful in strategic communication involves continually updating people with information and staying one step ahead of people’s questions.

Gina King, director of news and editorial communications at the University of Arkansas, said Kendig is a “visionary.”

“He brings a lot of really out-of-the-box thinking,” said King, who has worked with him for three years. “He really does have his eye looking down the road, yet he is very much in the moment.”

Though Kendig is vying with three other candidates to get the new position, King said she’s rooting against him — in a good way.

“I’m kind of hoping he doesn’t get the job,” King said, and laughed. “I would miss him tremendously, as the whole staff would.”

The fourth and final candidate, Jeff Iseminger, will attend a public forum today at 2:30 p.m. in S-401 Pappajohn Business Building.

Iseminger is the assistant vice president for integrated marketing at Minnesota State University in Mankato.

Previously, Iseminger was the director of communications at Oxford Brooks University in England and former assistant director of university communications at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Iseminger is also a graduate of the UI and University of Wisconsin-Madison.


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