Karen Lykins has been promoted to the position, after serving since October 2010 in the interim. Lykins advances to the post after serving for more than 13 years in the department, first as public affairs writer and later as news and communications director.
"Karen's relationships with the news media, her skills as a journalist, and her performance as the interim associate vice president of the department have been tremendous benefits to the university. She is most deserving," said J. Mark Hutchins, TTU's vice president for University Advancement.
She brings award-winning public relations skills to the position, having been awarded the 2010 Tennessee College Public Relations Association's Charles Holmes Award for Service and TTU's 2007 Outstanding Professional of the Year.
Lykins earned her bachelor's degree in communications with a concentration in broadcasting from the University of Tennessee. She earned her master's degree in journalism with a concentration in public relations from the University of Memphis, where she was also named the 2006 Outstanding Graduate Student.
"Karen is one of the most dedicated, professional and committed people I know, and the result of those traits is obvious in her work. Because of her, the university continues to hold an excellent reputation and image in our communities," said Monica Greppin, TTU's former associate vice president for Communications and Marketing who advances to a post as communications director at the Tennessee Board of Regents.
Since joining TTU's Communications and Marketing team in 1998, Lykins' duties have included promoting a positive image, both in-house and externally, of the university.
In her previous role, Lykins supported the strategic goals of the university through writing and media relations. She oversaw the news function of the university and assessed the flow and effectiveness of communication to students, faculty, staff, alumni and university constituents.
In her new role, she will oversee and strategically plan the university's public relations, communications and marketing efforts, serve as the university's primary media spokesperson and supervise the Communications and Marketing Office.
Communications and Marketing coordinates and supports the university's communications efforts and enhances TTU's recognition and image through the media. The office is the hub for campus publications, media relations and web design.
Lykins' service extends beyond the Communications and Marketing arena however. She has taught as an adjunct journalism professor at TTU since 2005. She also holds memberships in the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and Tennessee College Public Relations Association, where she currently serves as treasurer.
She volunteers her service and experience as an on-air pledge drive host and on-air Great TV Auction host at WCTE-TV, Cookeville's public television station.