Lewis & Clark’s Office of Public Affairs and Communications has been renamed as the Office of Communications. Stacey Kim ’94 was recently promoted to associate vice president (AVP) for communications, and will lead the office following the departures of previous AVP Joe Becker in May 2021 and Director of Public Relations Roy Kaufmann in Sept. 2021.
According to The Source, Kim previously served as director of marketing and communications. Lois Davis, initially hired as interim AVP of public relations in September, now serves as senior advisor to the president for communications.
According to Kim, there were a number of decisions behind the office’s name change. The strongest reason was that the term public affairs did not fully represent the office’s work. Davis also said that the change was inspired by how the word “communications” alone encompasses the work the office does, which still includes both public relations and marketing.
“Communications more generally reflects the work our office does, which, at the end of the day, is to explain to people what Lewis & Clark stands for and what makes it a great institution,” Kim said via email.
Davis serves directly under the president’s office. Presidential and executive communication support is now more directly linked to the president’s office, rather than solely handled through the Office of Communications. Davis has also been designated as LC’s first point of contact for any crisis communication.
“If God forbid there were an earthquake, or some other disaster on campus, some crisis of that sort, fire or any other, I would be on first,” Davis said.
Even though Davis deals more with the executive side of communications, including working with the president and news sources, she and Kim work closely together, sharing many responsibilities and supporting each other’s work.
“We’re communicators — we like to be in touch.” Kim said.
Kim’s main goal as AVP is simply to improve communications.
“Perhaps that seems basic, but there are always more and better ways to reach prospective students, alumni, the general public and our current community members,” Kim said. “I am constantly asking myself, ‘Are we getting people the information we need? Are we telling stories that represent our community? Are we meeting people where they are? Who needs this information and how can I make sure they get it?’”
Kim also hopes to increase student involvement in the Office of Communications. Currently, there are student positions within the office that support LC’s social media accounts by producing videos and taking photos, but Kim hopes “to get students involved in focus groups, experience testing on our website, discussions on representation, or whatever else might be of interest.”
For Davis personally, her goals as senior advisor to the president for communications include doing the best possible job of representing LC.
“(My goal is) making sure that the students have access to talk to the administration about what’s going on,” Davis said. “Making sure that we are open, transparent (and) timely in providing you information, and in making sure that the other parts of the community, that will be the staff, feel informed about what’s going on. I want people not to be shy. I mean, if you’ve got questions, ask the questions, and we’ll get you the answers.”
Kim plans to address recent discussion around a potential name change for the college by asking the community questions and listening to their answers. She has been a member of the Committee on Equity and Inclusion for as long as she has been working at LC, and notes that the conversation around the name change has come up numerous times.
“I make it a point to ask students, faculty, staff and alumni what they think about the men Lewis and Clark, and about the institution bearing their names, and I’ve been surprised about the range of answers I’ve received,” Kim said. “The most important thing I can do is gather information and engage with our community. I know there are some discussions planned for February on this topic, and I’m eager to see what comes from those events.”
Following Kim’s promotion, there is now a vacancy for her previous position, director of marketing and communications. A plan for hiring has not yet been determined.
Additional reporting by Ihsaan Mohamed