Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos today announced that the Division of Public Affairs will restructure to better address the increasing needs and demands of a global university that is deeply rooted in Nashville and the state of Tennessee.
Under the restructuring, the division, which has been led by Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Beth Fortune since 2008, will divide into two areas, communications and public affairs. Zeppos will conduct a national search this fall for the new position of vice chancellor for communications. Federal, state and local government relations, community relations and the Vanderbilt Center for Nashville Studies will be grouped together and will continue to be led by Fortune as vice chancellor for public affairs.
“After discussions with Vice Chancellor Beth Fortune, it is clear that Vanderbilt’s needs in both the realm of governmental affairs and communications are more complex and demanding than ever,” Zeppos said. “We have marked great progress over the past eight years under Beth and her team. At the same time, we also have seen the challenges and opportunities in governmental affairs at all levels and in the exponential increase in media attention. As a result, the celebration and communication of our mission, the governmental scrutiny and the heightened regulatory landscape now require a new structure.”
Fortune said the restructuring “makes strategic sense to balance the complex communications needs of a top-tier university and the importance of Vanderbilt’s maintaining and growing its presence in the community and engaging on the local, state and federal levels, where there are often significant opportunities and challenges.”
Until the restructuring is complete, Fortune will continue to lead all areas of Public Affairs. In addition to community and neighborhood relations, local, state and federal government relations and VCNS, Public Affairs comprises News and Communications and Creative Services.