New Grad School dean to improve communication

Responding to rapid changes in technology, the Graduate School has appointed a new dean to oversee communications.

This September, Robin Ladouceur GRD ’04, was appointed to an assistant deanship in the Graduate School, a position that was created to strengthen and streamline communications within the school, Graduate School Dean Tom Pollard said. Pamela Schirmeister, associate dean for Yale College and the Graduate School, said the evolution of communications technology has led Yale and other universities to create more communications-related jobs.

With four years of experience in Yale’s Instructional Technology Group, which provides technological support to Yale faculty, Ladouceur will oversee all Graduate School communications, including social networking, emails and the newsletter.

“This job is a really exciting opportunity to come back to the Graduate School after taking a non-academic career track and incorporate what I learned back into academics,” Ladouceur said.

In her new position, Ladouceur said she hopes to use student and faculty input to determine new and more effective channels of communication within the Graduate School. She added that her experience working in technology and her relationships with former colleagues will keep her “up-to-date” on cutting-edge applications and help her be flexible in a constantly changing field.

Pollard said Graduate School communications must be “upgraded” to broaden their reach to students, faculty and alumni, adding that the school currently lacks a social media presence.

“I want to figure out what are the best ways to communicate,” Ladouceur said. “Is it email, is it social networking or is it something else, and what can we be doing in this new age?”

The Graduate School relies largely on email, which Schirmeister said may not be the best way to disseminate information and foster open dialogue. She added that Graduate School administrators are often older than students and, as a result, may not know the best way to communicate with the student body. Ladouceur said she is currently expanding the Graduate School’s social networking presence by revamping its Twitter page, adding that she is looking to explore communications via Facebook in the near future.

Paul McKinley DRA ’96, who was named the Yale College Director of Strategic Communications last year, said his position, like Ladouceur’s, was created because the College did not previously have an individual charged with overseeing all communications. He added that while both he and Ladouceur are still adjusting to their new positions, he expects to work with the new dean in the future on facilitating University-wide communication strategy.

Both McKinley and Ladouceur said they meet with their colleagues at the University’s Office of Public Affairs and Communications and in the professional schools to discuss their current projects and exchange communication strategies each week.

Ladouceur graduated from Yale with a Ph.D. in Slavic languages and literature.

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