Appointment of Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer

June 7, 2023

Dear Trojan Community,

It is my pleasure to announce the appointment of Joel Curran as USC’s senior vice president and chief communications officer. Effective July 10, Joel will lead all of USC’s central communications and events functions.

A passionate leader and skilled communicator, Joel brings nearly four decades of public relations expertise earned across higher education, consultancy, and corporate communications. He comes to us from the University of Notre Dame, where he has been serving as vice president of public affairs and communications, overseeing all facets of the university’s public, state, and federal relations.

A nationally respected higher education communications innovator, Joel combines a well-honed strategic mindset with an understanding of the data-driven insights, thoughtful planning, and skills that contribute to a successful communications program. This unique toolkit equips him well to lead our talented team and connect with USC’s key audiences across an evolving communications landscape.

Prior to joining Notre Dame, Joel was UNC-Chapel Hill’s (UNC-CH) first vice chancellor of communications. There, he created and implemented the university’s first comprehensive strategic communication and community outreach plan, actively engaged in communications for the recently completed multibillion-dollar capital campaign, and promoted alignment across the university to address the changes in higher education, locally and nationally.  

Joel has an impressive track record of building outstanding teams and leading institutions. He is known for his capacity to assemble mission-focused, high-performing teams. At Notre Dame, for example, he led the university’s first national reputation and trust study in nearly 17 years, conducted a far-reaching study to develop the university’s key messaging, and implemented systems and processes that created a more collaborative communications culture.

Outside of higher education, Joel has advised organizations and senior executives while in leadership roles with public relations firms, such as CKPR (Cramer-Krasselt) and MSL. He has also held senior communications and marketing roles with Disney. Joel, who resided in Southern California several times earlier in his career, is excited to return to the area.

Before closing, I want to thank Beth Shuster for stepping in to serve as acting senior vice president during this transition. USC’s communications and events teams are high-performing units that work in unison to tell compelling stories and create memorable experiences for our internal and external audiences. I know once Joel is on board, he will continue to rely on Beth’s leadership and advice as she returns to her role as vice president, content strategy and chief of staff, university communications.

Please join me in thanking Beth and welcoming Joel, his wife Shelley, and their family.

Fight On!

Carol L. Folt