New chancellor position puts focus on university’s national presence

Two university administrators have new job titles on their nameplates as they return to work this semester.

Larry Lauer’s title will move from vice chancellor for Marketing and Communications to a newly created position as vice chancellor for Government Affairs and Tracy Syler-Jones will step into the role vacated by Lauer from her former spot as associate vice chancellor.

The change was made because of the increasing amount of time Lauer had been focusing on advancing TCU’s presence in the nation and state capitals in terms of the school’s influence among private schools, Chancellor Victor Boschini said.

A number of the country’s major education associations are in Washington, D.C., which is the reason Lauer needed to spend more time away from Fort Worth. The associations include the American Council on Education and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, an organization from which Boschini recently stepped down as chairman of the board, he said.

Lauer said the university’s goal is to make a place for itself at the forefront of higher education.

In Austin, the major bill that the university is working to influence is the Texas Tuition Equalization Grant, which provides the difference in tuition of private schools and public schools to students that fall within a certain income range, Boschini said.

According to the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas Inc., the average income level for students to qualify for the TEG is about $35,000. Boschini said Lauer has been a strong advocate for the bill.

The job position changes should not come as a surprise because Syler-Jones has slowly seen her duties in the Marketing and Communications department increase as Lauer continues to spend more and more time in the capital cities, Boschini said.

“For the last year and a half Tracy Syler-Jones really has been leading all of our media efforts,” Boschini said. “So really it was just announcing to the rest of the campus community we’re officially saying now that Larry will be doing government relations and Tracy will be doing communications.”

Lauer said he has no issues with vacating his former position, as Syler-Jones is more than capable of taking over.

“She is developing a reputation outside of TCU, within the profession she is fairly well known now,” Lauer said. “I would say she’s going to be a real star in this field and I’m really proud to be able to turn this over to her.”

Syler-Jones wrote in an e-mail that the biggest development the school has made in marketing is on the Internet. Starting a Twitter page, a Facebook fan page and a YouTube channel has increased the Internet presence of the university, giving the Horned Frog network a way to speak out, she wrote.

“The beauty of social networking is that it’s a great multiplier,” Syler-Jones wrote. “The reach is just phenomenal.”