UW-Parkside names Tannette Elie as new executive director of University Relations

Published: January 31, 2022

Tannette ElieSOMERS, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin-Parkside has named university communications lecturer and former Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Tannette Elie as the new executive director of university relations.

Elie began her new role on Jan. 24.  She succeeds John Mielke, long-time communications director who retired July 2020 after 19 years of service with UW-Parkside.

“We welcome Tannette to her new role as Executive Director of University Relations and to the campus leadership team,” said UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford. “Tannette’s experiences as an educator, journalist, bold leader and story-teller make her the right person to lead University Relations.” 

An award-winning journalist and seasoned higher education professional, Elie will serve as a member of the chancellor’s cabinet, while also leading integrated communications, branding,  and marketing efforts to advance UW-Parkside’s reputation.  She will oversee a collaborative team of individuals working in media relations, publications, marketing, social media, graphic design, website, videography, photography, and printing.  She will also serve as the university’s primary legislative liaison and public information officer.

Elie, who is African American, is the first woman of color to hold such a position at UW-Parkside, which she believes reflects the administration’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“We are thrilled Tannette joined our advancement team and president’s cabinet,” said Willie Jude II, UW-Parkside vice chancellor for Advancement and Alumni Relations. “Tannette’s expertise, professionalism, network, positive energy, work ethic, collaborative spirit, and visionary leadership are qualities needed for this role and our university.”

Elie brings a unique combination of academic and journalism experience, having taught communication courses at UW-Parkside for 15 years and having enjoyed an illustrious, 19-year career as a reporter and business columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  She currently serves as vice president of Print Media for the Wisconsin Black Media Association and is a member of the Milwaukee Press Club.

Prior to taking on her new role, Elie was a lecturer in the Communication Department at UW-Parkside where she primarily taught multimedia journalism and public speaking. She has led production of the Root Magazine, a cultural arts publication produced by students in the College of Arts and Humanities.  She also has taught courses for the university’s Theatre Arts and English departments.

“I’m grateful and excited to join the University Relations team and look forward to utilizing powerful storytelling to elevate Parkside’s brand, building on the strengths of the talented team we have in place,” Elie said. “After teaching here for many years, I understand the value of this university and the remarkable opportunities it provides for its students and the overall community. It will be an honor to play a part in telling our story.”

During her career at the Journal Sentinel, Elie covered a variety of key beats, including education, courts, city and county governments, local news, and business.  She penned an award-winning business column for the Journal Sentinel for 12 years that won local and national recognition for highlighting the struggles and triumphs of small and minority-owned businesses in metro Milwaukee.  

Shortly after her departure from the paper, Elie took on roles as a communication consultant for several Milwaukee-based non-profit organizations, and as a contributing writer for the Milwaukee Business Journal and Insight Into Diversity Magazine, the nation’s oldest and largest diversity-focused magazine and website in higher education.  For nearly five years she has led Marquette University’s Urban Journalism Workshop, an intense, two-week workshop that exposes young people to the world of journalism.

Elie is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Bradley University and a Master of Science in communication from Purdue University.  A Louisiana native, Elie grew up in the ethnically diverse Hyde Park neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.  She is married and has two sons.

“My goal is to help enhance storytelling to reinforce the vision of our leadership and highlight the outstanding contributions of our faculty, staff, students and alumni,” said Elie. “There are wonderful characteristics that make UW-Parkside unique in the community, in the UW-System and in region, and as a university, we must become bold in telling our story.”

The University of Wisconsin-Parkside is committed to high-quality educational programs, creative and scholarly activities, and services responsive to its diverse student population, and its local, national, and global communities. We are a dynamic learning community grounded in academic excellence and focused on student success, diversity, inclusion, and community engagement.  The campus serves as a premier comprehensive public institution and a destination of choice, serving as a focal point of local, regional, and global progress. 

Media contact:

Andrew Savagian
Communications Director
University of Wisconsin-Parkside

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