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Public Affairs functions restructured

STANFORD -- The Office of Public Affairs is being dissolved and its duties divided among three senior administrators as part of the current budget-reduction process and ongoing administrative reorganization.

Communications-related activities are being consolidated under News and Publications Director Terry Shepard, whose new title will be director of university communications.

Community-related activities will go to Larry Horton, whose title will be expanded to director of government and community relations.

Jean Fetter, assistant to the president, will take more direct responsibility for other functions performed by public affairs, including overseeing the Parents' Program, response to correspondence to the president and setting priorities for the president's calendar.

As part of the reorganization, the positions of director and assistant director of public affairs are being eliminated. Director Rich Kurovsky will stay in his post through August. Assistant Director Mary Bartlett had already accepted a position in Los Angeles as associate director of development for the annual fund when the restructuring was decided.

Fetter said the reorganization is a continuation of changes in administrative structure launched by Gerhard Casper when he took over as Stanford president in September 1992. It also is part of the restructuring and budget reduction the provost has asked of all administrative units, she said.

Fetter said that the president and provost sought examination of the Office of Public Affairs as part of the budget process, when each of the 16 units under the President/Provost's Office was asked to suggest how it would function if its budget was cut 5 percent to 10 percent annually for three years.

An ad hoc group consisting of Fetter, Shepard and Stephen Peeps, associate vice president for development, was asked to study whether Public Affairs and the Office of Events and Services were organized in the most logical, effective and efficient way.

"Both offices over the years took on duties that were historic anomalies," Fetter said.

An example, she said, is that fact that the Guide and Visitors Service was in the Public Affairs Office, but the Tresidder Information Center became part of Events and Services. As part of the Public Affairs dissolution, the Guide and Visitors Service was moved to Events and Services under Lois Wagner.

Fetter said that other functions of Events and Services are still under review.

Shepard's new responsibilities open the position of director of the Stanford News Service, for which a search is getting under way. Shepard said he hoped to fill the position by June, and in the meantime will divide his time between the News Service and an office in Building 170.

Shepard joined Stanford as news director in April 1991. The News Service, which is the university's media relations office, publishes Campus Report and the Stanford Observer.

The new news director will report to Shepard, who will continue as supervisor of Sue Cretarolo, director of Stanford Publication Services. Don Gibbons, director of medical communications, also reports to Shepard, as well as to the dean of the medical school and the president of the Stanford Hospital.

The public affairs function was formalized in 1960 at the beginning of the $100 million PACE (Plan of Action for a Challenging Era) campaign with the formation of an office called University Relations.

Lyle Nelson was recruited from the University of Michigan to serve as its first director, overseeing media relations, publications, public relations and community relations, and serving as liaison with the Alumni Association. Government relations activities eventually were added.

Nelson was succeeded in the early 1970s by Frank Newman. Over the years, responsibilities and staff had grown as relations with local, state and federal agencies became more complex. In naming Robert Rosenzweig as Newman's successor in 1974, then-President Richard W. Lyman upgraded the post to vice president for public affairs.

Robert Freelen took over in 1983 when Rosenzweig left Stanford to head the Association of American Universities. Freelen announced in August 1992 that he would take early retirement. He left the following February and the vice presidency was eliminated.

In the initial reorganization that followed, Kurovsky's title was changed from director of university relations to director of public affairs, including responsibility for community relations, some communications functions and support to the president. Horton's title changed from associate vice president for public affairs to director of government relations. He and Shepard have been reporting directly to Casper, while Kurovsky has reported to Fetter.

Though slimming the organization, the arrangement left a number of ambiguities in responsibilities that the new restructuring seeks to eliminate, Fetter said.

The reorganization plans were not finalized until Feb. 25, although the Stanford Daily several days earlier broke preliminary word of the changes.



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