This summer, F&M’s Office of College Communications welcomed Eric Quiñones and Julia Ferrante to act as the new associate vice president for communications and the new assistant director of media relations, respectively. Their main tasks will be to assist the College in its marketing and communications initiatives.
Quiñones will work on managing daily operations throughout the Office, which includes updating social media profiles, helping guide F&M’s communications strategy, and creating videos and other multimedia content.
Before starting work at the College Aug. 20, Quiñones worked as the managing editor of news and editorial services at Princeton University.
Ferrante worked most recently as assistant director of news and recruitment communications at Bucknell University, and began working for F&M July 30. She will work to distribute information to the campus community and the general public by encouraging relationships between F&M and media outlets, use new technologies to describe events at F&M, and help faculty, staff, and students promote their events and research.
Before starting work in academia, Quiñones and Ferrante were both reporters for many years. They believe their experiences as journalists help with their communication with the outside media and the campus, because it allows them to better gauge what kind of information is useful and on which platform it should be distributed.
“You’re still sort of thinking along the same lines as a reporter, which is exciting,” Ferrante said.
Since beginning the new positions, Quiñones and Ferrante have been spending much of their time meeting with staff, faculty, and students to get to know F&M better and learn more about the events occurring around campus, allowing them to distribute information about the College more readily.
“For me, it’s really about being a part of this team, which is really focused on being collaborative and creative, and finding engaging ways to tell the stories of F&M to the varied audiences that we serve,” Quiñones said.
Specifically, Quiñones will encourage employees in the Office to utilize new and traditional media tools and will work to enhance the video and multimedia content the Office creates.
Ferrante will focus mainly on the communications side of first-year orientation programs, organizing events related to the celebration of F&M’s 225 anniversary, and working with colleagues to identify news stories about the College and distributing them to the media. She will also encourage media outlets to cite F&M professors in their work, especially with regard to commentary about the elections and issues that might come up during the campaign.
Although Ferrante and Quiñones worked most recently at larger universities in different communications positions, both said their experiences in academia is transferable to their jobs at F&M because the College’s mission is similar to those of the schools for which they previously worked.
“At their core [Princeton] has the same mission [as F&M]: to provide a rigorous liberal arts education in a supportive community to help students thrive and grow,” Quiñones said. “Of course every institution has differences in the way it operates so I’m really looking forward to learning what is distinctive about F&M’s approach.”
According to Quiñones, the main challenge the Office faces is needing to continually adapt to the new forms of technology that can help it better communicate with others. To understand how to best use new technology, he said it is necessary to talk with many members of the community to determine the best strategies for spreading news about F&M in the most engaging ways.
Aside from changes in technology, changes in the journalism industry, such as the reduction in the size of many newspaper staffs and the number of reporters, are only increasing the importance of other communications positions.
“Because of the reductions of newspaper staffs, it is increasingly important for colleges to tell their own stories through as many different medium as possible, like social media, video, and finding ways to draw people in visually,” Ferrante said.
Questions? Email Julia at firstname.lastname@example.org.