Indiana University has hired former Indianapolis Star publisher Karen Ferguson Fuson as a communications and marketing consultant.

Ferguson Fuson, who was publisher of the state's largest newspaper for about eight years beginning in 2010, will spend at least one year working to improve and expand IU's communications activities, according to a services agreement. The agreement specifies she will be paid a flat fee of $20,000 a month during that time, or $240,000 for a 12-month period ending June 10, 2019. But IU spokesman Chuck Carney said she will only be paid $120,000.

Ferguson Fuson recently accepted an appointment to be interim president and CEO of Riley Children's Foundation, the fundraising arm of Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health in Indianapolis. As a result, she will split her time between the two responsibilities and send a monthly invoice to IU for her consulting work. Carney said Ferguson Fuson's services agreement will not be amended and there will not be a new agreement. 

"The end effect will be that she’ll be earning at half of what is in the services agreement," he said. "And that was a verbal agreement between the parties after that services agreement was drawn up. With it being invoiced, they believe it was simple enough to figure out."

In her role as a consultant for IU, Ferguson Fuson will evaluate the university's communications and marketing efforts, advise senior leadership on improving in those areas and help the vice president for communications and marketing develop strategies. In addition, she will assess "opportunities for academic engagement" with units, such as the Media School, School of Global and International Studies and the Kelley School of Business. Carney said the academic engagement portion of Ferguson Fuson's agreement is still being discussed, but it could involve teaching.

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