Welcoming Executive Director of Public Affairs and Communications Sheena McFarland
Reed College will start 2023 with a proven communications leader, naming Sheena McFarland as its executive director of public affairs and communications. McFarland will lead the college’s comprehensive public relations and marketing strategy, working with others to develop, define and communicate Reed’s institutional identity and distinctive qualities.
“Sheena will bring remarkable talent and thoughtfulness to Reed’s communications efforts,” said Reed President Audrey Bilger. “As a communicator, journalist, scholar, and equity-minded leader, Sheena possesses the experience to present Reed to the world and energize our community as we continue to build on our strengths and advance toward our aspirations. I am thrilled to welcome her to campus.”
McFarland, currently the director of marketing and communications at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, rose to the top of a national search led by Hugh Porter, Reed’s vice president for college relations and planning.
“Sheena immediately impressed our search committee with her energy and enthusiasm for inclusive communications strategies that can create meaningful change,” Porter said. “She will be a force for Reed’s communications efforts, and I greatly look forward to supporting her as she begins this new role.”
McFarland will join Reed on January 9, 2023, reporting to Porter, and will be a member of President Bilger’s senior staff. She will lead a team of creative professionals in developing and implementing communications and programs that engage the college’s key constituencies, including students, faculty, staff, prospective students, families, alumni, donors and supporters, government officials, and the news media.
“I look forward to drawing on expertise in student recruitment, media relations, social media, and executive communications to further the mission of excellence at Reed,” McFarland said. “We will also work toward creating more inclusive and equitable policies and practices to attract students from historically underserved populations.”
McFarland joined the Eccles School in 2015 as a communications specialist before being promoted to associate director of marketing and communications and then director. In June 2020, she helped found the Eccles School’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. She became its chair in January 2022, ushering in transformational changes in how the school welcomes students of all identities.
As an adjunct professor at the University of Utah, McFarland taught news writing and marketing, employing a “flipped classroom” approach that emphasized hands-on, applied work in class and self-directed learning outside of class.
Previously, McFarland worked for 12 years as an award-winning reporter at the Salt Lake (Utah) Tribune, also serving as the communities, business, justice, and web editor with a team of 14 full-time reporters. From 2012–15, she was a communications specialist at the Graduation Alliance. McFarland wrote and published white papers on the importance of mentorship and support beyond the classroom for the organization, which works with high schools to help students reach their educational goals.
McFarland holds a bachelor’s degree in communications, a master’s degree in public administration, and a doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy, all from the University of Utah.
Submitted by Raymond Rodriguez.
Posted on Nov 1, 2022
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