The University of Montana has hired a new director of communications for the Office of the President.

Paula Short, chief of the Forestry Assistance Bureau at the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, will begin her new duties at UM on Monday, July 25.

UM President Royce Engstrom said Short emerged as the best qualified of three finalists for the position.

"She was chosen for the range of experiences that she has had, and because of what I perceive to be the level of intensity of her work, the energy she brings to the table and her eagerness to get started," Engstrom said. "All that came through to me as being the one being best suited for what I was looking for from the election pool of outstanding finalists."

Engstrom said the search committee makes recommendations from the group of finalists, but in the end,, he said it was his decision to hire Short, as part of his reworked and expanded UM cabinet.

Short said resident Engstrom identified three main areas in which she would be concentrating her efforts.

"I will be working directly with him on all of his communication, both written and oral messaging," she said. "In addition, I will be working with the legislative team for the Montana University System as we gear up for the 2017 session, but in the interim, working with local lawmakers from around the state. Third, I'll be enhancing communications across the campus and within. Both the internal UM community as well as all this wide array of stakeholders and supporters of the university to make sure they're current on all the things happening at UM."

Peggy Kuhr has not retired. She informed KGVO News that she will continue to be a special assistant to the president, working on several projects for the university out of her new office in the Don Anderson journalism building.