Under new leadership higher education recruitment focuses on diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility
Caitlin Peel, the previous associate director of marketing since 2019, was recently promoted to director of marketing. She took over the role of Stacey Kim, who is now working as the assistant vice president of communications.
Peel joined the Lewis & Clark community in 2015 when she was hired as the assistant director of marketing. Project Manager for Marketing and Publications Janna Hecker Clark now works closely with Peel, but their connection goes further back: Hecker Clark was also on the search team that first hired Peel.
“She had a wide range of applicable skills and had worked in the nonprofit world, but that job was her introduction to working in higher ed,” Hecker Clark said. “It didn’t take her long at all to immerse herself fully in that world.”
After six years of working for a renewable energy advocacy nonprofit, Peel felt that she needed a change. When she saw the 2015 job posting at LC, something clicked. Since then, she has become a key member of the Office of Communications.
Peel’s primary duties involve managing LC’s brand identity, gathering student and alumni profiles for recruitment, providing communications expertise to the institution’s clients and maintaining the undergraduate website based on the admissions cycle. She also writes and edits copy for undergraduate, graduate and law recruitment, along with overseeing digital and print communications projects.
“I love getting to know our students, alumni and faculty through the profiles that we create together,” Peel said via email. “I learn about so many amazing things that are happening on our campuses, and I am continually inspired by what our students are working on or are passionate about. As a professional communicator, I love talking with people and getting to know their stories!”
The primary difference between Peel’s previous role as associate director of marketing and her current role as director of marketing — aside from increased leadership responsibility — is that she has more creative freedom to manage the direction and voice of LC’s brand.
“One of my long-term goals is to expand equity, inclusion and accessibility in all marketing and communications at L&C,” Peel said. “Our office works hard to be sure we review and assess all of our communications through a DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) and accessibility lens, but I also know we can do more and will continue to prioritize educating ourselves and others on best practices.”
With freshman class sizes increasing and housing and parking concerns rising, students might wonder how the Office of Communications influences the admissions process.
“Higher education recruitment, enrollment, and retention efforts are evolving, and the tailoring of these efforts is more critical than ever,” Peel said. “We don’t simply want larger and larger applicant pools, we want to find the right students who are the right fit for Lewis & Clark.”
Aside from crafting material that showcases what makes LC distinct, the Office of Communications is currently working on tracking 359 live projects using their project management app according to Hecker Clark. These include the LC Magazine, website, admissions materials, event programs, TikToks, invitations, newsroom stories, posters, dedication plaques, maps and more. They are also focused on Robin Holmes-Sullivan’s inauguration events, as well as the ENVX Symposium and Ray Warren Symposium on Race and Ethnic Studies.
Part of Peel’s new role involves supervising some of her coworkers, such as Digital Media Manager Devan Freeman. Freeman is excited to have Peel step up as a leader.
“She is a fantastic supervisor and has an incredible eye for strategy and detail in our marketing efforts, which is exactly what the role requires,” Freeman said. “We’re set up for success with her in this role.”
The communications staff work in a highly collaborative setting and make efforts to cross-train each other when their work overlaps. As the crafters of the comprehensive narrative LC tells to the world, their creativity and teamwork is important in storytelling.
“It is really great to be on a team where everyone is so supportive of each other and willing to work together to best serve our campus community,” Freeman said.