MISSOULA – The University of Montana has hired a new director of communications for the Office of the President.
Paula Short, chief of the Forestry Assistance Bureau at the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, will begin her new duties at UM on Monday, July 25. Short’s position at UM is a newly reconfigured role combining the work of communications and lobbying. Vice President for Integrated Communications Peggy Kuhr has stepped down from her position and will work on special projects for the president until she retires in December.
The job is composed of three main areas of responsibility – development of all forms of the president’s formal written and oral communications, serving as the University’s representative on the Montana University System legislative strategy team during and between legislative sessions, and developing and nurturing relationships with individuals and groups associated with the University. The director will also serve as the main point of contact with the news media and take on other projects as they arise.
“The search committee did a fantastic job of identifying talented people for the position,” said President Royce C. Engstrom. “Paula emerged as a person with exemplary communications experience, high energy and knowledge of the legislative process. We are fortunate to have her join the UM team.”
Short is a UM alumna, having received her Bachelor of Science in forestry in 1994. During her time as a student, she served as a UM Advocate and was elected business manager of the Associated Students of UM. Short began her career with the DNRC in 1994 and also worked for several years as a morning show co-host and news director for western Montana radio stations. In 2008 she received her master’s degree in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University.
“I was so impressed with the communicators I met with from across campus during the selection process,” Short said. “I am excited to serve UM, and I look forward to being part of an extraordinary team.”