Conferences & Training
Faculty - Annual Conference for Media Relations Professionals

Conference Co-Chairs

Teresa Valerio Parrot

Teresa Valerio Parrot
Principal
TVP Communications

Teresa Valerio Parrot is principal of TVP Communications. She brings her expertise in higher education media, crisis communications, marketing and administration to provide data-driven strategy and counsel to higher education clients. She draws on extensive experience designing and implementing strategic media and marketing efforts aimed at enhancing institutions' image, reputation and brand.

Previously, Valerio Parrot served as senior vice president for Widmeyer Communications' higher education practice and as vice president of media relations and crisis communications for SimpsonScarborough, a higher education consulting firm.

A sampling of her numerous consulting clients have included the University of California Los Angeles, College of the Holy Cross, the University of Michigan, Middlebury College, Baylor University, Drake University, Amherst College, Georgia State University, Michigan State University, Lumina Foundation for Education, the University of Montana, the University of Maryland, the University of California Hastings, Augustana College and Montana State University

A prolific keynote and conference session presenter, Valerio Parrot has spoken on behalf of Academic Impressions, ACE Institute for New Presidents, ACE Fellows, ACE webinar series, AGB national conference and online speaker series, AASCU, AHEPPP, AIMHO, AMA, AWIS Advance and STEMinar, CAAE, CASE Summit, CASE New Deans Boot Camp, CASE online speaker series and Districts I and IV, CCCU, Higher Education Hero, IHEP Summer Institute, NAGAP, NEACAC, NAPAHE, NASPA, Paperclip, PRSA CHE, RMACRAO, United Educators webinar series, and USA Funds, among others.

She counts almost 10 years of experience with the University of Colorado System, including an officer-level appointment as assistant secretary of the university, in which capacity she assisted the board on policy and media/PR issues over two years filled with athletic and academic controversy that drew national and international headlines. In addition, she served the Boulder campus chancellor as director of donor relations during the university's successful $1 billion fundraising campaign and served as special assistant to the System president.

Valerio Parrot earned a bachelor's degree in communications with a minor in environmental biology, and a master's degree in public administration with emphases in state and local government and nonprofit management, both from the University of Colorado.


Jim Reische

Jim Reische
Chief Communications Officer
Williams College

Jim Reische is chief communications officer at Williams College. Prior to that he served as the first ever college-wide senior communications officer at St. John's College, supervising development communications, admissions marketing, PR and media relations for the school's campuses in Annapolis and Santa Fe..

From 2011 to 2016, Reische was vice president of communications at Grinnell College-another institution where he acted as the school's first senior communications, PR and marketing officer. His work there included development and implementation of a new institutional identity, launch of a coordinated social media program, and development with President Raynard S. Kington of a media and PR platform highlighting Grinnell's national leadership in affordability, diversity, data-informed decision-making, and liberal arts innovation. He helped the college safely navigate various reputational crises and challenges during his tenure.
Early in his career, Reische served as assistant director of campaign planning and senior writer at the University of Michigan Office of University Development, and as executive editor of the University of Michigan Press. He holds a bachelor's degree in social sciences and a master's degree in history from the University of Michigan, and a master's degree in Russian and Eastern European area studies from Harvard.

Reische co-chaired the 2016 CASE Annual Conference for Media Relations Professionals with Teresa Valerio Parrott, and is contributing to a new effort by the Professional Speechwriters' Association to improve networking opportunities among higher education speechwriters.



Faculty

Rachel Reuben

Rachel Reuben
Rachel Reuben Consulting, LLC

Rachel Reuben is a marketing and communications strategist with nearly two decades experience leading integrated marketing campaigns in higher education. Now a thought leader and consultant, she previously held posts as the vice president of communications at Colgate University, and as the associate vice president for marketing communications at Ithaca College.

From 2010-14 she led a comprehensive award-winning rebrand of Ithaca College, which included a new identity, logo, storytelling campaign, brand awareness advertising program, reskinned website and more. Results included significantly raising the perception and awareness of Ithaca College in new, key markets, and more than a 30 percent increase in applications.

Known as a silo-buster and a change agent, Reuben has had much success assessing and restructuring marketing communications divisions at her last two institutions to promote content strategy and sharing, integrate print magazines with news and web services, better manage public relations, and communicate more effectively with both internal and external stakeholders.

A prolific and frequently invited speaker, she has presented at the American Marketing Association's Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education, CASE conferences, PRSA, eduWeb, HighEdWeb, UCDA, AACSB, and more. Her writing and expertise have been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, University Business, Currents magazine, Campus Technology, and many blogs.


Stacey Schmeidel

Stacey Schmeidel
Media Relations Director
Smith College

Stacey Schmeidel is a senior public relations professional with a successful career as an advocate for nationally selective liberal arts colleges, including Amherst, Smith and Davidson. She has experience in all aspects of communications and marketing, including publications, digital communications and integrated communications--but she especially enjoys media relations, as it provides an opportunity to shape the national conversation by connecting key college thinkers with those who shape the debate.



Speakers

James Devitt

James Devitt
Deputy Director, Media Relations
New York University

James Devitt is New York University's deputy director for media relations. His experience in public relations has also included stints at Columbia University, the nonprofit White House Project, and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. In addition, he worked multiple election cycles at the Campaign Group, a Philadelphia-based media and consulting firm.

Devitt has taught at Columbia University, the City University of New York, New York University and the University of Pennsylvania. His research on news content has been published in a variety of academic journals, including the Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics and Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly.

He holds a doctorate in communication from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor's degree in rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley.


Erin Hennessy

Erin Hennessy
Vice President
TVP Communications

Erin A. Hennessy is vice president at TVP Communications, where she brings more than 20 years of communications experience and expertise in the areas of higher education policy, communication strategy, media outreach, crisis communication and new media.

Most recently, Hennessy served as assistant vice president for public affairs and publishing at the American Council on Education. She served as a trusted advisor to the Council's senior leadership, crafting strategic communications plans to promote and position ACE in the public sphere. She developed and implemented the Council's media and public relations strategy, helped strengthen ACE's brand through direction of its graphic identity, and supervised the editing and layout of all Council publications, including the member magazine, The Presidency.

Hennessy worked with the leadership team responsible for announcing a joint venture between ACE and Pearson VUE to drive the future design, direction and delivery of the GED testing program, and directed the announcement of a groundbreaking relationship between ACE and Coursera to evaluate MOOCs for possible college credit. She also directed the Council's first foray into social media with its @ACEducation Twitter feed, which achieved more than 11,000 followers in less than three years, as well as subsequent efforts on YouTube, Storify and Facebook.

Prior to joining ACE in 2007, she served as press secretary for U.S. Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), a member of the House Appropriations Committee. She worked closely with legislative and district staff to communicate the member's priorities and respond to media requests and constituent concerns. She also directed a comprehensive redesign of the Congressman's website.

Hennessy spent more than five years as deputy chief of staff to two presidents of Drew University, Thomas H. Kean and Robert Weisbuch. She assisted the president and his cabinet in the day-to-day and long-term administration of the university, including the university's response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, President Kean's appointment to chair the 9/11 Commission, and the presidential transition following Kean's retirement. She also held positions in the New Jersey Governor's Office during the administration of Christine Todd Whitman.

Hennessy holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Drew University and a master's degree in public communication from American University.


Jason Hollander

Jason Hollander
Senior Director of Communications
New York University

With a portfolio that includes strategic communications, social media, video production, internal communications, the NYU Alumni Magazine and several other publications, Jason Hollander is used to wearing many hats throughout the day.

Over the past few years, he and his talented colleagues have helped redefine communications at NYU--creating a more relatable and modern aesthetic and tone that is now a hallmark of the university's social media and other outlets. In 2011, Hollander earned a CASE Circle of Excellence bronze medal for best alumni magazine as editor and received the NYU Mindful Leader Award in 2016 for co-founding MindfulNYU-an initiative that promotes insight, compassion, and well-being on campus. He also teaches PR practices and principles as an adjunct professor in NYU's Steinhardt School.

You can hear him awkwardly pursuing the wisdom of the ages as co-host of the Meditate This! podcast at meditatethispodcast.com.


Tyler Kingkade

Tyler Kingkade
Reporter
BuzzFeed News

Tyler Kingkade is a national reporter at BuzzFeed News, who covers sexual violence and harassment, and is based in New York. He was previously a senior editor and reporter at The Huffington Post, where he covered higher education and sexual assault for several years. He's originally from Des Moines, Iowa, and attended Des Moines Area Community College, Iowa State University, and studied at Georgetown University through The Fund for American Studies.

Follow him on Twitter: @tylerkingkade


Melissa Korn

Melissa Korn
Reporter
The Wall Street Journal

Melissa Korn is a New York City-based reporter at The Wall Street Journal, covering higher education. She writes about admissions, student debt, regulatory affairs and culture wars on campuses nationwide, as well as about the shifting business models of public and private institutions. She occasionally writes about mountaintop graduations and robot teaching assistants as well.

She previously covered business schools for The Journal, and before that wrote about for-profit colleges for its sister publication, Dow Jones Newswires.

Korn graduated from Cornell University and received her master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. You can follow her on Twitter @melissakorn.


Janet Lorin

Janet Lorin
Reporter
Bloomberg News

Janet Lorin writes about college endowments at Bloomberg News and appears weekly on Bloomberg Radio. She previously focused on college admissions and student debt at Bloomberg, and has also written about the nonprofit testing industry, university presidents who sit on corporate boards and the impact of the economic downturn on university finances.

Before joining Bloomberg in 2008, she worked for The Associated Press as Newark Correspondent, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Akron Beacon Journal.

Lorin holds a bachelor's degree in history from Columbia College of Columbia University and a master's degree from Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism. She and Bloomberg colleague John Hechinger won the George Polk Award for National Reporting for their 2012 series about student debt. You can follow her on Twitter @JanetLorin.


Eileen Reynolds

Eileen Reynolds
Assistant Director of Social Media
New York University

Since joining NYU's Office of Public Affairs in 2013, Eileen Reynolds has helped craft the university's "voice" and priorities on social media, working on the team that has grown NYU's following from 7,000 to 81,000 on Twitter and from 180,000 to 688,000 on Facebook. In addition to her work on social media and strategic communications, she also writes articles and conducts video interviews for the "features" section of the NYU News page, an online multimedia magazine highlighting unusual and inspiring stories from all around the university.

Outside of NYU, Reynolds' writing has been featured in such publications as the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Believer, the Forward, NPR's "All Things Considered," and the website of The New Yorker, where she previously worked as a proofreader on the magazine's print and digital editions.

She holds a master's degree in cultural reporting and criticism from NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and a bachelor's in bassoon performance (with a second major in English) from Florida State University.


Liz Willen

Liz Willen
Editor in Chief
The Hechinger Report

Liz Willen, a longtime education reporter, has been proud to lead an award-winning staff of The Hechinger Report since 2011. She was recently honored for commentary writing by the New York Press Club. She got her start in newspapers as feature editor of Northport High School's The Rag, in Northport, New York, and worked at an array of New England newspapers before covering New York City public schools for New York Newsday and the education beat for Bloomberg News.

Willen is a graduate of Tufts University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and a board member for the Spencer Education Fellowships at Columbia. She is a sought-after moderator at education conferences and events, has been an active New York City public school parent and recipient of the "Above and Beyond" award by the media company City & State for exemplary leadership. She hates jargon.


Dinah Winnick

Dinah Winnick
Director of Communications
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

Dinah Winnick directs communications for UMBC, a leading public research university known as a national model of inclusive excellence. Her team raises the visibility of UMBC's research, teaching and community partnerships through the award-winning UMBC News website, media relations and strategic social media. She has organized conferences for higher education professionals focused on social media and the use of video, and she provides training and expertise on a broad range communications topics.