Laura Jacobs has been named associate vice chancellor and chief of staff for incoming University of Arkansas chancellor Joseph Steinmetz.
Jacobs previously worked as associate vice chancellor for University Relations. In her new role, she will be responsible for executive strategy and strategic planning, advising the chancellor, serving as a liaison to internal and external constituencies, and advancing the institutional vision through special projects. The Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History will report to her.
“I was consistently impressed with Laura as I got to know her last year during the chancellor search process in her role leading the search committee,” Steinmetz said. “Her depth of experience in strategic planning and communications combined with her natural tact in dealing with others make her a perfect fit for this important role.”
Jacobs first joined the university in 1998 and held several roles with increasing responsibilities, including manager of development communications, managing editor of Arkansas magazine and senior director of strategic communications. She served for more than two years as director of communications at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, then returned to university relations in early 2014 as associate vice chancellor.
Jacobs is a graduate of the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts in English and communications and a master of education in higher education administration.
Other staff changes in the chancellor’s office include:
Marcia Overby has been promoted to associate vice chancellor for administration.
Overby has been with the university for 30 years, working with four chancellors in her 22 years in the chancellor’s office. She will be responsible for office management and budgetary oversight of accounts supporting the chancellor’s office, liaison for special events in Fowler House including managing house operations, and will serve as secretary of the executive committee and continue to prepare items for Board of Trustees agendas.
Overby is a UA graduate with a Bachelor of Science in education as well as a master’s degree and doctorate in education. She is also a third-generation employee of the university.
Sally Adams has been named executive assistant to the chancellor.
Adams will manage scheduling as well as correspondence for the chancellor’s office. She has been at the university since 1998, starting her career at the law school before she moved to the Office of Advancement in 2001 and finally to the Chancellor’s Office in 2008.
She has a Bachelor of Science in family studies from the University of Arizona.
In the Office of University Relations, Mark Rushing replaces Jacobs as acting director, after serving as director of strategic communications since early 2012. He helped launch and continues to oversee the university’s award-winning video series, “Short Takes,” was designated as the campus coordinator for Freedom of Information Act requests in 2013 and was named the Division of Advancement employee of the year in 2014.
Rushing has 20 years of experience as a public relations executive and broadcast journalist, including six years leading public relations campaigns for clients of Little Rock-based branding and marketing firm Thoma Thoma and more than a decade as a broadcast journalist with television stations in Fayetteville, Tallahassee, Fla., and Little Rock. He has received numerous public relations and broadcasting awards, including three regional Emmy Awards, multiple Associated Press awards and a “Best of Show” award from the Arkansas chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.
Rushing earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas in 1993. He also holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Memphis.
Amy Schlesing now serves as acting director of strategic communications for university relations. She will also continue leading the office’s science and research communications efforts, including the publication of Research Frontiers, the university’s research magazine and website.
Schlesing worked as deputy communications director for former Sen. Mark Pryor. She is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years’ experience in print journalism, policy development and communications. She spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan as an embedded military reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and has earned four Associated Press Media Editors Service to the FOI awards, two Katie Awards from the Dallas Press Club, and a Minuteman Award from the National Guard Bureau.
Schlesing graduated from the University of Arkansas with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism. She also earned a Master’s Certificate in Conflict Resolution and Communications from Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri.
The changes went into effect Jan. 1.