The Executive Director of Communications reports to the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer and is responsible for the internal and external communications and public relations activities of the entire university. Works closely with senior administration to formulate and deliver university messages and chancellor communications.
Serves as a member of the CMCO’s leadership team, providing counsel and input in the execution of WCU's strategic marketing communications plan. Leads and provides oversight of strategic and integrated public relations plans and programs that support the strategic initiatives of the entire university. Performs executive communications (speech writing and presentations for the chancellor's office) and directs the communications team, including news and public information; earned, shared and owned media functions; public relations and crisis communications; internal communications; and social media. Serves as copywriter, final proofreader for all written content. This position is a principal contact for news media inquiries, sometimes serving as university spokesperson and providing support to the CMCO in such instances. Acts in the absence of the CMCO. With the CMCO, advises the senior leadership on crisis communications and issues management. This position is required to keep abreast of best practices in the field and remain up to date on current trends and new technologies. This position should anticipate change and ensure the organization is positioned to succeed.
Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations, Marketing, Communications, Journalism or a related field; and/or equivalent experience/training. Ten (10) years of progressive growth experience preferred in higher education.
A Master’s Degree with 5 years progressively responsible experience in a related field.
- Advanced written (including AP style), verbal, interpersonal communications, active listening and political acumen skills. - Proven ability to compose executive communications (speech writing and presentations) for senior leadership. - Advanced knowledge and understanding of all aspects of communications, including strategic planning for various media venues, technical aspects and requirements of various venues, and the most appropriate and effective applications. - Ability to think broadly about content marketing across written and visual platforms for varied audiences, including the strategic development and management of content across print and digital platforms. - Advanced strategic planning and implementation skills to design strategic and comprehensive institutional communications plans and programs, taking into consideration institutional image, message and positioning, mission, goals, priorities and accomplishments; while building a content calendar and implementing accountability standards. - Advanced knowledge and understanding of digital media and contemporary organizational communications. - Proven ability to cultivate relationships with local, regional and national media and proactively pitch WCU stories to media. - Advanced measurement and evaluation skills to develop state-of-the-art metrics for measuring the effectiveness of contemporary communications. - Ability to quickly gain knowledge of the institution, its achievements, mission, vision, goals, policies, and infrastructure; advanced knowledge of current affairs and issues in higher education - Advanced skills to integrate messaging and counsel. - Strong skills to create, develop and implement comprehensive and effective long- and short-term strategic communications plans. - Demonstrated superior ability to work across the division to develop creative and integrated communications programs to support university strategic initiatives - Advanced skills to ensure production of high-quality work within budget and time constraints. - Strong analytical, critical thinking, project management, and problem recognition, avoidance and resolution skills. - Advanced management skills to select, train, manage, direct, guide, motivate and evaluate staff to produce high quality work; skill to take corrective action as required. - Proven skills to advise and consult management on all aspects of communications including developing effective communications strategies and dealing effectively with inquiries regarding sensitive or complex issues or information. - Demonstrated knowledge and skills in financial and personnel administration and management. - Proven ability to maintain a strict code of confidentiality of privileged information, while performing a wide range of duties that require tact, sensitivity, independent judgment, diplomacy, discretion, and flexibility. - Proven competency and commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. Knowledge and understanding of the historical and social context of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and of the complexities of the intersections of various communities and demonstrated ability to translate that knowledge into practical applications, processes, policies, responses, and programs.
Special Instructions to Applicants:
To be considered, you must apply online. Please include a cover letter, resume, list of professional references, and a writing sample to complete the application process. For questions or additional information, please contact Brian Mullen at email@example.com.
As the westernmost institution in the University of North Carolina system, WCU provides comprehensive educational opportunities to residents in the state’s western region and attracts students from around the globe to explore the region’s vast natural diversity. Founded in 1889 as a teaching college, Western Carolina now provides an education to more than 10,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs.