Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations
Chief Communications Officer
Michael Schoenfeld is the chief communications and government relations officer for Duke University in Durham, NC. He serves as Duke's principal spokesperson and counselor to the president and trustees on public affairs, issues and crisis management, media relations, marketing, branding and advocacy. He is also a visiting professor of the practice of journalism and public policy at Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy, where he teaches a course on media and politics.
As the chief external affairs strategist, he directs Duke's efforts to connect with local, regional, national and global audiences, represents the university before a wide range of constituencies, leads messaging and communications across the academic, health care and athletics units, and oversees Duke's Washington, DC, center. One of the world’s leading research universities, Duke has 15,000 students, more than 40,000 employees, a regional health care network with three hospitals and academic programs in dozens of countries around the world.
Since coming to Duke in 2008, Schoenfeld has led the transformation of the university's internal and external communications and implemented a comprehensive digital and social media strategy. He also created a global communications network to advance the university's priorities around the world, including the launch of new campuses in Singapore and China, and travels extensively in Asia, Eurasia, Europe, and South America representing Duke to government officials, media, business and educational institutions. Schoenfeld is also co-founder and chairman of Futurity (futurity.org), a multimedia consortium of more than 60 leading research universities from the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia.
Schoenfeld previously served as vice chancellor for public affairs at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, from 1997-2008, where he created and led a comprehensive public affairs program that earned multiple honors, including several regional Emmy awards for television production. He was twice named "best public relations executive" by the Nashville Scene, twice named volunteer of the year by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce and received the Otis Floyd Award for Distinguished Service to Education from the Tennessee College Public Relations Association.
Earlier, Schoenfeld was senior vice president for policy and public affairs at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) in Washington, D.C. He also held reporting and leadership positions at the Voice of America, including news and sports anchor, Congressional liaison officer, executive assistant to the director, and served as the first director of program development at Worldnet, the United States Information Agency's global satellite television network. He was honored by the President's Advisory Board for Broadcasting to Cuba for his work on the launch of TV Marti.
Schoenfeld is a member and secretary-treasurer of The Seminar, a group of senior public relations executives from the leading corporations and nonprofit organizations, and the Page Society. He is a board member and past chair of the Durham Chamber of Commerce, vice chair of the WUNC-North Carolina Public Radio board of directors, vice chair/chair-elect of the Triangle Community Foundation, and a member of the board of the Public Affairs Council, the Institute for Public Relations, the Association of American Universities Public Affairs Network, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (Midsouth) and the Regional Transportation Alliance. Schoenfeld is a member of the National Press Club and the Public Relations Society of America.
A 1984 Duke graduate, Schoenfeld received a master's degree in public policy from the Stony Brook University in 1986. He and his wife Elizabeth, a writer, have one child, Abby, a Ph.D. student at Princeton University.