Case names new director of community relations
University augments commitment to local neighborhoods
In order to build more and stronger relationships with the city of Cleveland and the neighborhoods surrounding campus, Case Western Reserve University has named Latisha M. James of Cleveland Heights as director of community relations. She began her duties June 23 in Case's Center for Community Partnerships.
James comes to Case from the Cleveland Indians, where she served as director of community relations since October 2000.
She also will be responsible for improving internal and external recognition for those community groups and institutions helping Case in its mission of offering a superior place of learning, research and community service.
As director, James will represent the university to community, civic and business representatives, functioning as a liaison and catalyst to enhance university/community relations. She also will assist in the development and promotion of an integrated institutional strategy to community relations and community service, as well as in outreach to the Cleveland Municipal School District and other community organizations. In cooperation with other university offices, James also will facilitate the establishment of productive and sustainable community dialogues and promote effective community relations. She will report to Chisholm.
"Working with the community is a top priority of this university," said Chisholm. "Latisha James will be a remarkable asset to Case. Her work with the Indians and the city of Cleveland make her a natural selection for this important position. I am excited about how the addition of Latisha James to our staff will enhance the prospect of what our Center for Community Partnerships will be able to accomplish for Cleveland and particularly for the neighborhoods surrounding Case and University Circle."
In addition to her work with the external community, James will also work with organizations on campus to identify and organize volunteer opportunities for Case faculty, staff, students and alumni.
The Center for Community Partnerships at Case was created in 2003 to nurture more and stronger relationships with the city of Cleveland, University Circle and the neighborhoods surrounding it. The center is the catalyst behind the recent launch of the Case Community Card, which local residents in neighborhoods near campus can use to access many of the same facilities and services Case provides to students, faculty and staff. Community card holders have a plastic Case ID card with a photo and a status bar of "Community" and can take advantage of the university's educational, recreational, cultural and dining services for the first time.
Among other university/community-related efforts, the center is also responsible for promoting Case's award-winning Supplier Diversity Initiative, which assists minority and women-owned business enterprises gain greater access to business opportunities at the university.
While with the Cleveland Indians, James supervised all facets of connecting the ballclub to the Northeast Ohio community, including the coordination of youth baseball, educational and civic outreach programs for the players, wives association and front office employees. She also served as a team liaison with the Major League Baseball office regarding league-wide community relations and corporate affairs programs and translated league initiatives to the local level. In addition, James managed various budgets totaling close to $1 million in club activities, community donations, market development, recreational, player and wives programs.
Prior to her duties with the Indians, James worked at University Circle Inc. and served as the project manager of "Shaping the Future of University Circle" in 1999 and 2000. She also spent two years as media and project coordinator for the Cleveland Department of Port Control and was an assistant press secretary to former Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White from 1995-1997. James also worked as an assistant marketing manager for the Cleveland Department of Public Utilities.
"I truly have a passion for Cleveland," said James. "I'm really looking forward to continuing my work in the Cleveland community. Oftentimes people hear only the negatives about Cleveland. But what I liked about Case is that we want to focus on what's right with Cleveland instead of what's wrong."
James holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio. She lives in Cleveland Heights with her nine-year-old son.
About Case Western Reserve University
Case is among the nation's leading research institutions. Founded in 1826 and shaped by the unique merger of the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, Case is distinguished by its strengths in education, research, service, and experiential learning. Located in Cleveland, Case offers nationally recognized programs in the Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Engineering, Law, Management, Medicine, Nursing, and Social Work. http://www.case.edu.