Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications
Joel Curran was named Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications at the University of Notre Dame in 2021. The Office of Public Affairs and Communications at Notre Dame is composed of marketing communications, multimedia services, print services, web services, media relations, internal communications, strategic content, issues management, Notre Dame Magazine, local and state government relations, federal government relations, community engagement and the Robinson Community Learning Center.
Prior to joining Notre Dame, Curran was the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's first vice chancellor for communications. There, he spent eight years as the chief communications officer at one of the most prominent, headline-driving universities in the country. As a top senior strategist and advisor to two chancellors, he set the communications and reputation management vision for the University. In doing so, he was directly involved in the strategic planning and response to many of the most significant issues confronting today’s campus leaders across America.
Before entering higher education communications, he spent his career working for The Walt Disney Co. and leading top global and regional agencies in the United States. Before returning to Carolina, Curran was managing director of MSLGROUP New York and directed the firm’s Midwest Region from Chicago. Prior to MSLGROUP, he was managing director of CKPR, the public relations arm of independent advertising agency Cramer-Krasselt headquartered in Chicago. Curran also worked at public relations firms Fleishman-Hillard in Los Angeles and Price/McNabb (now Eric Mower & Associates) in Raleigh and Charlotte.
Earlier in his career, Curran spent two, four-year tours with The Walt Disney Co. He began at the Walt Disney World Resort as a skipper on the world-famous Jungle Cruise attraction before becoming a publicist, theme park associate brand manager and rising to manager of synergy in Orlando. He then was appointed director of synergy for the company’s network and syndicated television shows in Burbank and Disney’s professional sports franchises at that time, the Mighty Ducks National Hockey League and Los Angeles Angels Major League Baseball franchises in Anaheim.
Joel earned his first Public Relations Society of America Silver Anvil in 1992 and went on to lead teams that won numerous industry awards, including recognition as the Chicago PRSA chapter’s “Public Relations Professional of the Year.” He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill and an executive education certificate in Public Leadership from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Assistant Vice President for News and Media Relations
Dennis Brown serves as chief spokesman and is the assistant vice president for news and media relations. His duties include oversight of issues management, media relations, internal communications and institutional news.
Laura Parker McAleer
Associate Vice President, Federal & Washington Relations
Laura McAleer serves as the University’s spokesperson and representative in our Nation’s capital, responsible for the development and execution of the University’s communications and engagement strategy in Washington, DC.
Associate Vice President for Public Affairs
Tim Sexton has served as associate vice president for public affairs since 2009. Tim focuses on state and local government relations, as well as community relations. He serves as the primary liaison between Notre Dame and community leaders. Prior to his coming back to his alma mater, he served as vice president of community development at Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center (SJRMC), where he represented SJRMC with federal, state, and local elected officials. Tim earned both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Notre Dame.