Fall of 2017 brought significant changes to Trinity’s upper administration. Two new hires, Tess Coody-Anders, vice president for strategic communications and marketing, and Jim Bradley, chief information officer, joined Trinity’s staff, each expressing immense excitement for their new roles.
The two brand new positions were created in conjunction following the departure of Chuck White, vice president for information resources, marketing and communication. An administrative audit and faculty panel suggested that White’s role be divided into two positions. The university then began an extensive, nationwide search that ultimately lead to the hiring of Coody-Anders and Bradley.
Both Coody-Anders and Bradley used their first three months at Trinity to familiarize themselves with the campus climate in order to figure out what next steps their respective departments should take. Coody-Anders, who graduated from Trinity in 1993, reflected on her experience returning to campus.
“I think the highlight of my first semester back was getting to connect with students and faculty in ways that reinforced all the great things that I knew about Trinity when I was a student here,” Coody-Anders said. “This is a campus of bright, engaged people, and that was really reassuring and invigorating to know that that value system is still in place at Trinity.”
Coody-Anders said that technological advancements are the major difference between her time here as a student and as an administrator.
“The speed with which anyone with a concern or an idea can communicate that and get others engaged around the concern or idea — that happens so much more quickly now than it could have when I was a student here, and that’s exciting,” Coody-Anders said.
However, Coody-Anders points out that this is not always a good thing.
“Sometimes, we haven’t really completed a conversation before moving on to another one, and I think that, as someone who is looking at how we map the experience of going to school here, that that’s a particular challenge,” Coody-Anders said. “There are opportunities to improve things here for the students and their experience that we need to explore more fully, and sometimes we are on to a new thing in terms of our community conversation before we have had a chance to close the door on a robust conversation.”
Coody-Anders also spoke about her department’s biggest project, which began this semester, with the bulk of the research phase to take place in spring 2018.
“I’m really excited about our work around a project we call ‘experience mapping’ which will involve, quite literally, representatives from the entire Trinity community, and it’s a way of capturing the high points and low points of various stakeholders’ experiences with Trinity,” Coody-Anders said.
Coody-Anders stressed the importance of this research in relation to Trinity’s place in higher education.
“It’s a way for us to understand the reality of the brand promise that we deliver at Trinity, versus what we may say about ourselves. Where do we overperform and underperform? Knowing this will help us to better determine how to go forward with the way we talk about Trinity as a brand so that we can be sure to always deliver on the promise that we make,” Coody-Anders said.
Michelle Bartonico, director of strategic communication and marketing, works closely with Coody-Anders and was involved in the search process for the new vice president.
“[Coody-Anders] quickly showed the entire department that she truly cares about each person and wants to see everyone succeed,” Bartonico said. “Trinity has so much momentum, and Tess has the experience to take our marketing and communications strategies to the next level that will really differentiate Trinity and bring value to the Trinity community.”
On the IT side, Bradley has been equally impressed with his first semester at Trinity.
“It’s been fantastic. I’ve really been impressed with the school. This is my fourth university, and this is far and away the nicest place I’ve ever worked. It is really a wonderful thing to get to work with students and faculty because what’s going on there is almost magical,” Bradley said. “I feel like I haven’t just taken a job at a great school. I’ve joined a wonderful community.”
Like Coody-Anders, Bradley has been focused on communicating with the Trinity population in order to assess need.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of people. Right now, it’s been primarily gathering information about where things need to be focused,” Bradley said.
Diane Saphire, associate vice president for institutional research and effectiveness, was involved in Bradley’s hiring and has been impressed by his work thus far.
“Jim’s willingness to talk with various campus constituencies has been appreciated by many,” Saphire said. “He has developed a reputation for listening to people’s concerns and responding in ways that let them know that he understands their position and will work on resolving issues.”
Bradley spoke of a long to-do list for semesters to come.
“There are several things planned, primarily focused on academics and research. There’s a need for computational resources for some of our research faculty, supercomputers and high-performance computing,” Bradley said. “There is a need to address what tools are used in the classroom. There’s a need to deliver better training. People need to better understand how to use the technology tools that are given to them.”
Bradley also mentioned collaboration with Coody-Anders department.
“One thing we want to continue is working with our colleagues in marketing and communication. We’re talking about a faculty publishing platform. We’re very early in discussing that, but several faculty have talked about needs for something like that,” Bradley said.
Bradley expressed gratitude for his experience so far.
“It’s a real privilege to be here. It’s a privilege to get to help people achieve their dreams and get their education, and to help the people that get to make that happen. So, I’m very grateful, and I could not be happier to be here,” Bradley said.
Coody-Anders echoed Bradley’s sentiment.
“I’m really proud to be a Tiger, and I couldn’t be more excited than to explore how we tell our story,” Coody-Anders said.