The media relations team is responsible for the development and implementation of a strategic media relations program designed to build the University’s visibility in print and broadcast media. To support and promote the University, the media relations team responds to media queries, coordinates media interviews and press conferences, prepares news releases and media kits and proactively develops and maintains effective working relationships with media personnel.
Internally, the media relations team assists in defining the communication needs of the schools and colleges and recommends the most effective means to meet their goals, paying special attention to complex and/or sensitive issues.
Director, News and Public Information
Communications Officer, Capital Campaign
Loretto Hall 356
Office of the Chancellor
School of Education
Polly Burtch serves as the Office of Public Affairs' director, news and public information and the Development Department's communications officer for the university's capital campaign. In her Office of Public Affairs role, Polly provides media relations, public relations counsel and specialized public relations support for the Office of the Chancellor, the extended campus network, the Office of Academic Affairs and the School of Education.
Burtch, who joined the university in 1990 is also an adjunct professor in the School of Communications where she teaches Introduction to Mass Communications and Crisis Communications and Management. Prior to joining Webster, Polly worked for CBS/KMOV-TV, where she won numerous Flair Awards and a National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy for community outreach. Polly also served as the Communications Director for the American Red Cross where she received the "Best in Show" national communications award for a photo exhibit honoring Vietnam veterans and numerous national communications awards. Polly has also done private consulting in the area of Crisis Communications and Management.
Polly has served on many committees and boards for a variety of local organizations including United Way of Greater St. Louis, the American Youth Foundation, the St. Louis Academy of Science, the Diversity Awareness Partnership, the V. P. Fair/Fair St. Louis, the Junior League of St. Louis, the Columbia University Media & Society Seminar Project, the National Museum of Broadcasting and the Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital Bibliotherapy Project. A three-time honoree of the YWCA Women in Leadership Award, Burtch holds a Bachelor of Journalism Degree from the University of Missouri, Columbia.
Barb McEwen Ehnes
Director of Media & Community Relations
Loretto Hall 354
As media relations director, Barb develops and manages the media relations program to increase the knowledge and reputation of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts and Webster's International programs.
As director of community relations, Barb is responsible for managing Webster University’s community relations program. The program's mission is to present a positive image to the Webster Groves community, to facilitate a healthy and reliable dialogue and to build long-term, positive and productive relationships with the residents and business owners in Webster Groves and the greater St. Louis region.
Barb joined the University in 1994 and has an MA in public relations and a BA in management. She is a board member of the Webster Groves/ Shrewsbury Area Chamber of Commerce and the Shepherd's Center of Webster/Kirkwood, an interfaith volunteer organization that provides educational programs and services for older adults.
Interim Director of Public Relations
Loretto Hall 356
Susan Kerth, media relations officer at Webster University, is responsible for media cultivation and outreach for the institution-at-large, the Office of the President, the School of Business and Technology and the Holden Public Policy Forum.
Susan has more than 15 years of experience in public relations and journalism. Prior to joining the University in 2007, she was a reporter for the St. Louis Business Journal. Susan also served as public relations manager for A.G. Edwards and as account executive at the public relations firm of Fleishman-Hillard Inc.
Susan holds a bachelor’s degree in public affairs from the University of Missouri-Columbia.