Mason announces VP hire and promotion

Mason announces VP hire and promotion

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Joe Brennan named VP for strategic communication; Mark Braun promoted to VP for external relations

University of Iowa President Sally Mason will ask the Board of Regents to approve two changes to her cabinet of top-level advisors. First is the hire of Joe Brennan as vice president for strategic communication (VPSC), and second is the promotion of Mark Braun to chief of staff and vice president for external relations.

"I am committed to effectively communicating the value of the University of Iowa to all Iowans and to the university’s many other stakeholders,” Mason says. “Mark’s 15 years of experience conveying university priorities at the legislative and grassroots levels and Joe’s record of executing successful communications and marketing strategies will increase our visibility in many critically important areas.”

Brennan comes to Iowa from the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he is associate vice president for university communications. Braun, Mason’s chief of staff, has also served as interim vice president for strategic communication since January. His promotion adds responsibilities as vice president for external relations to his existing chief of staff role.

Brennan and Braun will collaborate to improve university communications and enhance the UI’s reputation as a premier provider of teaching, research, and service, Mason says.

Portrait of Joe Brennan
Joe Brennan

Brennan, who will make $220,000 as VPSC, has more than 20 years of higher education communications experience and will begin his new job Aug. 31. His responsibilities include steering consistent and successful messaging from University Communication and Marketing, the university’s 11 colleges, and other units with independent communication units. He also will oversee the university’s Hancher performing arts program.

"The University of Iowa is a fabulous institution and is one of the top public research universities in the U.S.,” Brennan says. “My wife Marianna and I are very excited to join the great team President Mason has put in place at the University of Iowa. I am looking forward to being able to tell in every way possible how the UI is working to improve the lives of Iowans and beyond."

Portrait of Mark Braun
Mark Braun

Braun, who will make $225,000, was the university’s lobbyist in the state legislature for 10 years and has been Mason’s chief of staff for the past five. He will be responsible for the Office of the President, University of Iowa Alumni Association, Office of Governmental Relations; serve as the UI's transparency officer; and coordinate with the vice president for strategic communication and the university spokesperson.

“As a native Iowan with two degrees from Iowa and as someone who has been advocating for the university for 15 years, I’ve seen our students, faculty, and staff in their relentless search for knowledge and devotion to teaching and public service,” Braun says. “External constituents need to hear our stories in order to support the vital role this university plays. I look forward to collaborating with Joe to devise the best ways to share these stories effectively to all constituencies across many channels of communication.”


Tom Moore, University Communication and Marketing, 319-356-3945


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