Director of Design and Communications

Saint Louis, Missouri
Commensurate with experience
Oct 07, 2017
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

The Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts is one of seven schools at Washington University in St. Louis, a top-tier, private research university, with strong undergraduate programs in both the liberal arts and professional fields, and graduate programs in many fields, including Architecture and Art. The Director of Design and Communications envisions, creates, and evaluates communications for the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.

In its first ten years, the school established a strong identity as a leader in architecture, art, and design. Now, as the school expands its facilities and programs with a major building project, there is an exciting opportunity to re-imagine and expand this identity and its associated website, to market each school’s programs individually, while also building the larger school identity across print, digital collateral, and social media practices. The Director of Design and Communications is a member of the School’s senior administrative team, reporting to the dean of the school, and works closely with the school’s directors and chairs, and with communications groups across the University to lead strategic communications initiatives. The Director supervises two team members.

Primary responsibilities include:

Craft a visionary communication and design strategy to raise the profile of the school and build its reputation locally, nationally, and internationally.

Develop annual and long-range communications plans that:

  • Articulate a vision for the school’s messaging and graphic identity to build reputation. Ensure that the primary identity and sub identities are identified, differentiated, and consistently applied.
  • Ensure distinctive, strong design development in alignment with the school’s identity.
  • Establish key messages that support the overall school as well as the individual goals of the undergraduate and graduate degree programs and majors within each academic program—art, architecture, communication design, urban design, landscape architecture, and fashion.
  • Address the school’s multiple audiences and wide range of communications platforms.
  • Prioritize communications initiatives and goals; establish timelines for implementation; meet key project deadlines.

In concert with the dean, develop and oversee an annual budget. Track and evaluate costs and benefits.

Track and evaluate ongoing communications efforts and their effectiveness with key stakeholder groups. Prepare reports for senior administration annually to convey results.

Provide exceptional leadership and project management to serve the communications needs of the school’s many internal and external constituents.

Oversee the design, production, and content development of the School’s portfolio of print and digital publications, such as viewbooks, newsletters, e-news, and program brochures to support the strategic initiatives of the School and the University.

  • Establish clear procedures for the Communications Office, ensuring strong, positive working relationships.
  • Oversee the school’s social media content and strategies.
  • Manage the development of content and design for the School’s website, performing reviews of analytics.
  • Collaborate with the dean, assistant dean, and alumni & development team to advance the School’s fundraising efforts.
  • Partner with the admissions team to develop communications that helps build an applicant pool of qualified and diverse undergraduate prospective students.
  • Work closely with directors and chairs of graduate art and architecture programs to identify key target markets and messages for prospective students nationally and internationally.
  • Develop communications support special events and exhibitions.
  • Manage relationships with external vendors, including designers, coders, strategists and printers.

Represent the Sam Fox School internally and externally.

  • Serve as the principal liaison with Public Affairs to assure the distribution of faculty research achievements, increase visibility of the School’s programs and accomplishments, and establish the School as a leader in the fields of art, architecture, and design education.
  • Serve on Sam Fox School and University-wide committees.

Manage the Communications Office staff.

Complete annual performance evaluations; provide ongoing feedback.


Bachelor's degree in design, communications, marketing or a related field.

7-10 years of experience in a related role. Strong record of successful implementation of communications, leadership, and strategic planning.


Strong design background.

Writing and editing skills.

Ability to think strategically, critically, and creatively.

Ability to set and meet deadlines.

Digital media expertise.

Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to establish and maintain excellent relations with alumni, faculty, and university offices.


Submit an application, including writing and visual samples, at Search job #38056.