Jim Knight, a former finalist for Central Michigan University director of student publications, has been hired as the College of Medicine’s lead communications official.
For Knight, the husband of Associate Vice President of Communications Sherry Knight, the opportunity to be closer to family while working in a brand new position as CMED director of marketing and communications was too much to pass up.
“Family is certainly a part of it,” Knight, a 1984 CMU alum, said. “But, the chance to work in a new position that hasn’t existed before and is very important is exciting.”
Knight, the former manager of human resources communications at the University of Michigan, was previously one of three finalists for the student publications director position, whose duties include advising and overseeing Central Michigan Life and The Central Review. His candidacy was greeted with controversy in April because of a perceived conflict of interest due to his marriage.
While he was passed over for the student publications position for current director Dave Clark, Knight will soon find himself working at CMU anyway, beginning his new job with CMED on Monday.
Knight will be paid $80,000 per year for the position, which puts him in charge of communicating CMED news to the campus community and promoting the new college to potential students as the college prepares to open this fall.
“He’ll be making sure we can attract the best students and the best faculty possible, in addition to attracting patients for our clinical skills program,” CMED Dean Ernie Yoder said.
Knight will report to CMED Associate Dean of Administration and Finance Deborah Biggs, who said his extensive experience in both public relations and in journalism made him the “perfect” candidate for the job, pointing to his work in managing annarbor.com off the ground as the site’s sports editor and as one of its earliest hires.
“(The position was created) because we just have specialized needs when it comes to promoting the college and our clinical skills program, especially” Biggs said. “We’re thrilled to have Jim along.”
Knight was selected following a search process that saw him beat out six other candidates for the job. He said he applied for the position at roughly the same time he applied for the student publications job in February and was called in for an interview with a search committee later on.
“My whole bent (during the interview) was that there’s a whole lot to be communicated here,” Knight said, adding that reaching out to prospective students and future donors by utilizing social media is a top priority of his.
He said the “project management” skills he honed at annarbor.com and at U-M will be put to the test at CMU.
Knight said he will hit the ground running when he takes over the job Monday, saying he will spend much of his time introducing himself to university officials and beginning work on several projects.
“We’re gearing up to recruit a good, second class of students right now,” he said.
CMED’s inaugural class is made up of 64 students, 57 of which are from Michigan.
In addition to his jobs at annarbor.com and at U-M, Knight has worked at The Ann Arbor News, the Jackson Citizen Patriot, Annapolis Central and the Huron Daily Tribune.