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VP candidate Rosalee Rush discusses priorities, authenticity at first public forum


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Rosalee Rush speaks to students, faculty and staff during the vice president for university communications and chief of marketing officer open forum​ on Oct. 22 in the Charles V. Park Library Baber Room. She is the senior associate vice president for marketing, communications and media relations at California State University, Stanislaus in California.

Rosalee Rush is one of three finalists for the search of Central Michigan University's next vice president for university communications and chief of marketing officer. 

She currently serves as the senior associate vice president for marketing, communications and media relations at California State University, Stanislaus, in Turlock, California. 

Rush opened the public forums Oct. 22 in the Charles V. Park Library Baber Room.

"For me, communications are intentional and purposeful," Rush said. "We aren't just communicating to communicate. We are communicating to evoke a response and emotion that helps students understand why they fit here."

From conversations with President Bob Davies and watching him interact with others, Rush said the authenticity piece of his work was a key aspect that attracted her to seek out a position at CMU.

Rush said she understands, through Davies, that students attend CMU to find their passion, and it's something she wants to be a part of moving forward in her career.

"I see these interactions (from President Davies)," Rush said. "It seems real. He's focused on student success. I want to be at a place where I can have that impact, where I can support that."

Along with following Davies' authentic approach, Rush said she wants to speak with the student government, cabinet members, deans, provosts and others across campus if she's selected as the next vice president for university communications.

She's also willing to get out in the community and learn the culture. 

"I even want to go on a ride with the police on your campus," Rush said. "I want to know the issues; I want to ride around. What you'll find me doing is walking around. If I can walk, I can talk to people."

Rush said there are concerns from CMU regarding branding messages, especially connecting with high school students in Grand Rapids and Detroit. She said the strategy must improve.

"We're losing market share there," Rush said. "You can look at the data, but what is it not telling us? Grand Valley is doing well in that area. Western (Michigan) is even starting to come up in that area.

"You move beyond analytics, but how do you use the analytics to change and adapt what you're doing? You have to have some on the ground measures in place."

As a Detroit native, Rush attended high school at Interlochen Center for the Arts and received her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University. She started her career working for the State of Michigan in the economic development agency.

Rush was once an adjunct faculty member at CMU's Saginaw Center.

The other candidates are John Veilleux, the vice president of marketing, communications and enrollment at Texas Wesleyan University, and Rhonda DeLong, the director of marketing and communications at Henry Ford College.

Before Rush's time at Stan State, which began in July 2017, she served in a similar position for five years at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

"When you're communicating with students, you need to understand where the students are on social media," Rush said. "The biggest lesson I've learned is pulling students into our office and having internships that allow them to teach us how to communicate with the students."

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