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Electronic communication is focus of new WMU unit

May 20, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Comprehensive oversight of Western Michigan University's electronic communication initiatives is the focus of a new unit on campus headed by a veteran WMU employee.

Thomas A. Myers was recently named director of electronic communication, formalizing and expanding the role he plays in overseeing the University's public Web presence and other electronic communication tools. In addition, Tonya R. Hernandez has been named assistant director of electronic communication, and Deanne Molinari was named news and communications specialist. The three posts are in the Office of University Relations, where Myers has been a staff member since 1996. Both Hernandez and Molinari have worked in part-time roles in the office since fall 2006.

In her new role, Hernandez is part of a team of electronic communication specialists supervised by Myers. The unit, which is part of the Office of University Relations, also includes Bradley Horstman, a Web manager and staff member since 2001. The team oversees redevelopment of the University's Web presence and implementation of a new content management system that will bring a greater level of consistency and accuracy to WMU's campuswide Web presence. The team also is responsible for WMU News, the University's online news site; WMU Today, a campuswide e-mail to faculty and staff; and announcements in GoWMU, the University's intranet portal.

"For many years, Thom Myers has been our point person in balancing the technical aspects of emerging media with the professional communication demands so often neglected as organizations embrace electronic tools," says Cheryl Roland, executive director of university relations. "More recently, he has taken on the critical job of restructuring the University's Web presence and bringing to that medium the level of quality, accuracy, visual appeal and consistency that will best showcase this university's stature. The team approach and staff additions will allow him to spend more time on developmental and maintain the quality of the tools already in place."

Myers has been a WMU staff member since 1987, when he was named director of communications in the Development Office. He brought his Web and desktop publishing skills to the Office of University Relations in 1996, working first in graphics and design and then in news and communications. He created WMU News a decade ago and launched WMU Today in 2004. He also created and maintains the University Writing Style Guide and is the author of the popular writing tips that are part of WMU Today.

In 2006, the task of directing WMU's Web redevelopment was added to his responsibilities. To begin that initiative, he has worked with external consultants from M. Stoner to develop new architecture, test new page designs and content, and acquire a content management system.

A graduate of Allegheny College who has done graduate work at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Myers worked as manager of advertising and public relations for a division of Teledyne Inc. for a decade before becoming director of public relations and publications at Kalamazoo College and then joining the WMU staff.

Hernandez is a 2003 WMU School of Communication alumna, who returned to Kalamazoo after earning a master's degree in public relations from Syracuse University and working in the marketing field in Atlanta for more than two years. She spent a year as a marketing and communications specialist with INTEWORX.NET Inc., an engineering sales firm. After that, she was a founding executive and manager of Georgia Tech's Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship. At WMU, she will develop and edit electronic communication.

Molinari is a member of the news and communications staff in university relations, and her assignments will cover both internal and Web communications and external news story placement. She is a journalism graduate of Michigan State University who has spent the past 15 years as a reporter, editor and free-lance journalist for such publications as Business Review West Michigan, Grand Rapids Business Journal, Grand Rapids Magazine, the Holland Sentinel and Mt. Pleasant Morning Sun. She spent two years in Lansing as editor and reporter for the Michigan Information and Research Service, a daily insider political news service, and she also has served as an editor for Communidad Primero, a Holland, Mich.-based bi-lingual monthly.

The new electronic communication unit joins two other units--graphics and design and news and communications--as the primary areas of focus for the Office of University Relations. David H. Smith is director of the graphics and design area. News and communication remains under the direction of Roland, who manages the entire university relations operation.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400