StratCom Staff


Chris Harris's portrait
Chris Harris Deputy Associate Chancellor and Senior Director of Executive Communications 217-333-5010

Chris Harris joined the university in 1994 and is currently responsible for managing speechwriting and other executive communications activities for the Office of the Chancellor as well as providing support for issues-based communications to the campus community. His career path has included stints in arts marketing, field archaeology, environmental communications and institutional fundraising.

Robin Kaler Associate Chancellor for Strategic Communications and Marketing 217-333-5010

Robin Kaler leads the Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing and serves on the chancellor’s senior leadership team advising on issues management and crisis communications. She is the university’s official spokesperson and leads the university’s crisis response communications team. She and her family enjoy exploring the world together.

August Schiess Director of Digital Strategy and Development 217-300-4181

August Schiess leads the social media, digital marketing, web and design teams for the university. She enjoys working with colleagues to develop and execute digital content to effectively and strategically tell the Illinois story—and helping others do the same. When she’s not checking her phone for notifications, she’s reading, running or finding her next piece of chocolate.

Pam Steele Executive Assistant to the Associate Chancellor 217-300-7230

Pam Steele is the executive assistant to the Associate Chancellor. As part of her role, she also leads all business and human resources activities for the unit. When she’s not working, she enjoys volunteering in her hometown of Tolono and spending time with her grandkids.

Rashmi Tenneti Director of Analytics and Alignment 217-300-4754

As the Director of Analytics and Alignment, Rashmi combines meaningful metrics, data-based storytelling, process documentation, and project management to enhance team efficiency and drive strategic decision-making. Beyond her role at StratCom, Rashmi finds fulfillment in teaching an advertising class and serving on the board of the local not-for-profit, Ten Thousand Villages. During her leisure time, she enjoys reading, spends time with her beloved dog, Puri, and explores local food.

Allison Copenbarger Vance Director of Messaging 217-300-6171

Allison Vance leads messaging for the university and assists with crisis communications. She supervises the institutional communications, media relations and News Bureau teams and manages the marketing and communications team for the Office of the Provost. She also teaches public relations courses in the department of advertising and is a proud two-time alumna (journalism and advertising) of the College of Media.

Laura Wilhelm-Barr portrait
Laura Wilhelm-Barr Senior Director of Special Events 217-333-8834

Laura Wilhelm-Barr directs the team that produces and manages university-wide special events, including Commencement at Memorial Stadium, New Student Convocation, groundbreakings/dedications, pregame donor events, large-scale advancement celebrations and other gatherings hosted by the Chancellor. When not at an event, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and reading.

E. Todd Wilson Director of Multimedia Services 217-333-4059

E. Todd Wilson oversees Multimedia Services, which includes Video Services, Photo Services and Big Ten Network non-athletic programming (documentaries) for the U of I. He also curates content on the campus homepage and in the online directory, A-Z list and calendars. Outside of work, he is an adventure motorcyclist, camper and friend of furry critters.

Jim Wilson Director of Web Services 217-333-4312

Jim Wilson oversees Web Services and helps to create and support Webtools, a suite of marketing and communications solutions available to units and departments. Jim enjoys juggling and getting out and exploring new places.