Indiana University Northwest is pleased to announce that Toni Lieteau has joined the Gary, Ind. campus as Associate Vice Chancellor for the Division of University Advancement. Lieteau brings an abundance of media and public-relations experience to IU Northwest. Her background in higher education and her knowledge of the Chicago-area media market ideally position Lieteau to help promote IU Northwest’s mission of excellence in education, research and community engagement.
Before joining IU Northwest, Lieteau was not aware that Gary, Indiana had a college campus to call its own. Like most people in the Chicagoland area, Lieteau had heard about the less flattering aspects of Gary’s reputation, but upon visiting the campus she was thrilled to learn that IU Northwest is helping to lead Gary into a revitalized future.
Lieteau, a Chicago native and Richton Park, Ill. resident, believes the same positives that enticed her to continue her career at IU’s Gary campus can also help persuade other working professionals and business owners to join a city that is beginning to flex its renewed potential.
“This is an absolutely lovely campus,” Lieteau said. “I think Gary is back on the move, and I believe IU Northwest is taking the lead as a partner in the community and showing people that this is a good place to be.”
Although University Advancement is charged with promoting IU Northwest to donors, alumni, potential students, and the community at large, Lieteau said it’s important for every member of the campus community to extol the University’s merits as an educator and community partner.
“I call it being an ambassador,” Lieteau said. “I think everybody is going to have to be an ambassador for the University. Any connections you have with other people, you need to see that as an opportunity to talk about IU Northwest and the positive things that are happening here. Our department can take care of the print side of it and do other things to market the University, but it’s everybody’s responsibility to get the message out.”
Lieteau came to IU Northwest after working for the past 11 years in public relations for the community healthcare industry in Chicago.
“I liked healthcare, except that it could get a little depressing as things escalated and you saw that people couldn’t get the services they needed or wanted,” she said.
Lieteau also has considerable prior experience in public relations for higher education. She has worked for the University of Pittsburgh, and in Los Angeles for UCLA and for the Loyola Marymount University Law School. Lieteau said she was thrilled to resume working in higher education at IU Northwest.
“I have been in this field my entire professional career,” she said. “I love marketing and public relations. I don’t think there is anything else I’d rather be doing.
“I’ve been behind the camera and in front of the camera,” Lieteau said. “I’ve been a reporter, and I’ve done public relations. I’ve done layout, and I’ve been an editor. I don’t think there is any aspect of communications that I have not touched on.”
Lieteau, who obtained her bachelor’s degrees in journalism and political science from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and her master’s degree in communications/public relations from Point Park University in that same city, also has college-level teaching experience. She has taught English composition and creative writing at Columbia College, the DeVry Institute of Technology and the Chicago Community Colleges, so Lieteau understands some of the challenges instructors face in the classroom.
For some students, she said, the biggest obstacle was a lack of prior preparation in English. For others, the culprit was a disinterest in writing or a failure to understand the subject’s importance. But Lieteau nonetheless enjoyed her direct contact with young learners. She said that she would like to see IU Northwest reach out even more to young people in classrooms across Northwest Indiana to get them started thinking about going to college – and about going to college here – early in their high school careers.
The point isn’t just to promote the University, Lieteau said, but also to broaden students’ perceptions about the different career paths they can follow in higher education.
“I’d like to set up a program where we have people go into high school classes with freshmen and sophomores and talk to them about college,” Lieteau said. “If we can get to them as sophomores, maybe by their junior year they will already know that they want to come to IU Northwest. I am sure that we have professors on campus who would love the chance to speak to students about their programs and research.”
Lieteau said that she’d like for University Advancement to establish contacts not just with media outlets and alumni, but also with political, community and school leaders. Advancing the University’s image is a collective and cumulative effort, she said, one that requires persistent and enthusiastic delivery of the IU Northwest message to all potential audiences.
“It’s just getting our message out continually,” she said. “We’ve got to keep focusing attention on all the good that we’re doing here.
“I’m excited about this place,” Lieteau added. “I think we’re going to do some wonderful things here.”
Since joining the campus on Sept. 11, Lieteau has received a friendly and enthusiastic IU Northwest welcome. She said the warm reception from faculty and staff has helped to make the transition into her new position a pleasant one.
“Everybody has been very warm and welcoming,” Lieteau said. “It’s a lot easier to be a new employee if your co-workers are cordial, and everyone here has been fantastic.”
Lieteau’s office is Sycamore 200. She can be reached at (219) 980-4232, or via e-mail at tlieteau.iun.edu