Chief Communications Officer – Office of Strategic Communications (R-01342)

Job description

Position Description:
The Chief Communications Officer serves as lead to the Office of Strategic Communications for Fort Hays State University. The ideal candidate will be a leader responsible for developing and implementing an overarching plan for strategic communications, marketing, and external affairs that is progressive, proactive, and innovative to tell Fort Hays State University’s compelling story and support institutional priorities and goals. The Chief Communications Officer must structure and execute a marketing and public relations plan that advances the university’s reputation among all key constituencies regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in communications, marketing, public relations, or a related field.  Individuals nearing the completion of a Master’s degree as listed will be considered for the position and the completion of the Master’s program will be a condition of employment.  
  • Ten years of related professional experience.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • In-depth understanding of the power dynamics, opportunities, and challenges present at a university or comparably complex enterprise.
  • Expertise in developing and implementing a cohesive vision for communication that is connected to university priorities and history.
  • Strategic thinking with the capability of contributing at the senior leadership level.
  • Experience working in a college/university environment.
  • Knowledge and experienced in reputation management.
  • Experienced in risk and crisis management.
  • Experienced in working with the news media.
  • Superior written communication skills.
  • Experienced in serving as a writer and content manager on speech writing.
  • Exceptional oral presentation skills and the ability to communicate with diverse audiences.
  • Supervisory/management experience with specific experience in hiring, training, coaching, and managing performance.
  • Experienced in developing and executing a budget.

Appointment Date:  The anticipated start date is negotiable.

Application Deadline: Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until position is filled.

Salary: Commensurate with qualifications/experience.  Competitive benefits.

Benefits: Competitive benefit package


The Chief Communications Officer is expected to be a galvanizing leader and relationship builder with a sophisticated understanding of how best to impact the university’s constituencies. The Chief Communications Officer will be responsible for:

  • Owning and extending the Fort Hays State University story as conceived and developed through rigorous mixed methods research and driving the dissemination of this story in the institution’s authentic voice.
  • Building and managing an outstanding strategic communications, marketing, and public relations program that drives awareness and reputation by incorporating all traditional and digital channels and other media that can be considered best-in-class among the university’s peers across higher education.
  • Integrating strategic communications programs across all primary stakeholders to drive consistent and authentic institutional personality and brand expression.
  • Advising and supporting the president in interactions with the news media and general public, serving as a co-strategist, writer and content manager on messaging; ensuring that the president is well briefed and highly productive with respect to communications-related activities; similarly guiding and supporting the executive leadership team, senior administrators, deans, faculty, and other community members in their capacity as formal university representatives.
  • Serving as the chief spokesperson of the university, university president, and any other assigned areas of the institution.
  • Continually evaluating the effectiveness of existing and proposed communications strategies and vehicles; establishing defined goals, objectives, and metrics for all communications activities and monitoring progress toward fulfillment.
  • Playing a leadership role in risk and crisis management, including establishing crisis communications policies and procedures; offering real-time crisis management, counsel and support to ensure a thoughtful, energetic, unified, and consistent brand identity and communications style.
  • Promoting excellence through well-defined and measurable goals; inspiring and motivating staff through the free flow of information and highest level of effective communication; continually framing staff work and projects within the context of the university’s strategic priorities and mission; providing professional development opportunities as appropriate, and encouraging staff to set personal growth targets.
  • Managing reputation management strategy, including issues management; establishing processes and procedures that will enable early identification of potential issues that could impact the university and its reputation, and establishing strategies to mitigate reputational damage.
  • Managing the strategic communications budget.

Application Process:  To apply for this position, please visit  Only electronic applications submitted through the webpage will be accepted.

Required Application Documents:  Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, and names and contact information for five professional references. Applicant documents should be submitted in one PDF.

If you have questions regarding the position, please contact:
Name:  Dr. Joey Linn, Vice President for Student Affairs
Email:  [email protected]
Phone:  (785) 628-4277

Notice of Non-discrimination – Fort Hays State University is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religion, national origin, color, age, marital status, sexual orientation, genetic information, disability or veteran status.

Background Check: Final candidate will have consented to and successfully completed a criminal background check.

Notice to KPERS retirees applying for a position: Recent legislation changes working-after-retirement rules for both you and your employer if you go back to work for a KPERS employer. Please contact your KPERS representative or for further information on how this might affect you.




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Job No:
Posted: 11/7/2018
Application Due: 1/5/2019
Work Type: