University of North Dakota President Robert O. Kelley has named Susan Balcom Walton as UND’s first Vice President for University and Public Affairs.
Walton currently serves as an Associate Professor of Public Relations and recently completed a term as Associate Chair for Student Media in the Department of Communications at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She is slated to start at UND July 2.
“Following a national search, I am pleased to announce that Susan Balcom Walton has accepted the position of Vice President for University and Public Affairs, and I am delighted to welcome her to the UND community,” Kelley said. “With a wealth of experience developed in both academia and the private sector, Susan brings a depth of understanding and proven expertise in communication, marketing and public relations. I look forward to her contributions as a colleague and a leader at this exceptional University.”
Kelley added, “I want to thank selection committee chair Dr. Joshua Wynne, UND Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and the members of the committee for a thorough, successful search for competitive candidates.”
Said Walton, “I look forward to working with President Kelley, the administration, and colleagues across campus in fulfilling UND’s mission of outstanding teaching, research, creative activities and service. The creation of this new position reflects a deep commitment to the importance of communication in achieving those goals. I am honored to serve in this role.”
The new Vice President for University and Public Affairs will oversee the Office of University Relations, and the functions of internal and external communication and governmental affairs. The position will endeavor to enhance coordination between the activities of several offices and to leverage synergies that are created to enhance UND’s presence and reputation across all key constituencies. Areas that the Vice President will oversee include marketing, public and media relations, visitor/alumni liaison, ceremonies and special events, media services, government and community relations.
Susan Balcom Walton
Susan Balcom Walton has been a member of the Brigham Young University Department of Communications faculty since June 2006, and served as the Department’s Associate Chair for Student Media from May 2009 until May 1 of this year. She was responsible for providing administrative management for student-run labs, including the Bradley Public Relations Agency, the Advanced Advertising Lab, the ElevenNews daily television news broadcast and The Daily Universe, Brigham Young University’s campus newspaper.
Walton has also served as a tenure-track Assistant Professor of English & Professional Communications at Monroe Community College, part of the State University of New York system, Rochester, N.Y., 1987-1989. Her published research and writing focuses on workplace relationships.
Walton also currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Public Relations Society of America, the world’s largest organization for public relations professionals with a membership of more than 21,000.
Walton earned a master’s in English from Brigham Young University in 1986 and a Bachelor of Independent Studies, also from Brigham Young University in 1979.
Complementing Walton’s academic credentials is her experience of more than 20 years as an entrepreneur and a leader in global corporate communications. She is the owner and principal of Strategic Communications Consulting LLC, a communications consulting and writing agency. She led The Dow Chemical Company’s global marketing communications for a business unit in Horgen, Switzerland, as well as managed global brand positioning for Dow Plastics. Walton was director of corporate communications for Boise Cascade, and was director of corporate communications for Harley-Davidson Motor Company, where she learned to ride a motorcycle to develop a customer’s perspective of the company’s products.
David L. Dodds
Media Relations/Writer & Editor
Office of University Relations
701.777.5529| 701.777.4616 fax