Director of Marketing and Communications

University of Michigan, Office of Academic Innovation
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Dec 21, 2018
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Job Summary

The Office of Academic Innovation is seeking candidates for the position of Director of Marketing and Communications. We seek a team leader to connect and inspire our growing global community and university stakeholders. The Director of Marketing and Communications will be responsible for advancing our marketing and communication strategy in order to increase the impact of the Academic Innovation portfolio and further establish U-M’s position as a leading institution shaping the future of learning and the future of higher education.

The Director will help to broaden our impact by designing and operationalizing strategic marketing and communications plans that integrates a mix of marketing, branding, communications, and advertising strategies and tactics. Through engagement initiatives, creative content, and event experiences the Director will help the Office of Academic Innovation as a team leader, master storyteller, and brand builder, to create greater impact and organizational cohesion.  Join our team and help create a culture of innovation at U-M with a deep understanding of the University of Michigan brand and its traditions.

We seek a talented leader who understands the interplay between brand, strategy, exceptional operations, and culture to drive broad, long-term goals, while strengthening internal identity, cohesion, and capacity.

The ideal candidate leverages a background in marketing and communications to act as a strategic partner to the Academic Innovation leadership team and the University by organizing marketing and communications tactics into a cohesive brand experience. This role reports to the Associate Vice Provost (AVP) for Academic Innovation and leads the marketing and communications team. This position works closely with the Academic R&D, Behavioral Science, Design Management, Media Design and Production, Learning Experience Design, Public Engagement, User Experience Design, Software Development, Online and Hybrid Programs, and Operations teams in the Office of Academic Innovation.

The new Director of Marketing and Communications, working as a member of the senior leadership team of the Office Academic Innovation, provides leadership aligning our brand with our mission, values, and strategy by:

  • Positioning the global identity of the Academic Innovation and Michigan Online brands as distinct, memorable, and rooted in our values
  • Providing marketing and communications leadership that contributes to internal cohesion while enhancing external trust and reputation
  • Collaborating with University and community partners to create and scale new opportunities for awareness, enrollment, engagement, and event attendance
  • Developing objectives and key results to evaluate the effectiveness of marketing and communication activities and promote a culture of analytics to pursue continuous improvement
  • Creating systems and processes necessary for a marketing and communications team to create brand alignment and integrity
  • Building on our unwavering commitment to academic excellence, inclusion, and innovation

This position is an exciting leadership role that provides an opportunity to work with other members of the senior leadership team at the Office of Academic Innovation and to consult with world-class faculty, strategic partners, and senior administrators at the University of Michigan, to develop and operationalize a brand strategy aligned with Academic Innovation and University priorities. The person in this role will have a unique opportunity to help position U-M among the world’s most innovative higher education institutions as part of our university’s commitment to academic excellence, inclusion, and innovation.


You are willing to experiment, take risks, and drive innovation. You thrive on collaboration. You see opportunities to engage colleagues with talents different from your own in positive problem solving activities. You are a talented storyteller. You lead by listening, by collaborating, and by encouraging. You think impractically before layering in constraints. You have experience creating something new and helping an organization and community to realize its potential. You pursue context relentlessly. You have reflected deeply on the role of higher education in society and see opportunities to build a future where everyone can participate. You enjoy working in diverse teams and have experience designing inclusive and collaborative initiatives. You bring a record of success in building and strengthening brands and helping nonprofit organizations and stakeholders to take on bold initiatives.


The Office of Academic Innovation is a strategic priority for the University of Michigan. Through curricular innovation, leadership in learning analytics and tools for learning and personalization at scale, Academic Innovation aims to shape the future of learning and redefine public residential education at a 21st century research university by unlocking new opportunities for the U-M community and learners around the world. At the University of Michigan we believe a peaceful, equitable, and empowered society is dependent on learners everywhere adopting a learning lifestyle. To that end, a significant part of our institution’s mission is to develop leaders and citizens who challenge the present and enrich the future.

Our preferred future includes:

  • An open model for pre-college learning and preparation that broadens access and enhances participation
  • A personalized, rigorous, and inclusive model for residential learning grounded in learning analytics and experimentation
  • A flexible and networked model for global and lifelong learning that embraces the evolution of a more permeable university
  • A participatory and inclusive model for public engagement that accelerates bilateral knowledge construction and sharing

As we reimagine the global public research university and create a culture of innovation in learning, we value:

  • Boldness and humility
  • Creativity and process
  • Risk taking and tradition
  • Personalization and scale
  • Openness

For more information, please visit our website: Academic Innovation.


  • Provide counsel to AVP for Academic Innovation and senior leadership team and collaborate on building a best-in-class marketing operation. 
  • Provide leadership in the design, management, and continuous improvement of our brands including, but not limited to, establishing brand-level marketing and communications goals, a cohesive communication strategy, and brand-level messaging. 
  • Develop and manage the marketing and communications team. This includes providing leadership, setting and evaluating individual goals, developing and sustaining appropriate training, and monitoring primary focus areas of team members.
  • Nurture a culture that thrives on gathering and interpreting data analytics to make informed decisions. Use data and analytics to strategically think about content, platforms, audiences, time and user experience.
  • Position Academic Innovation as a thought leader in higher education innovation by communicating the success of unit activities and programs in local, national and international media (communicating strategy, sharing successes, etc.).
  • Team with AI Research & Development colleagues to investigate novel ways of tracking Academic Innovation's presence, growth, and market share (i.e. on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, in practitioner and scholarly publications, and in conference venues); design data-driven visualizations telling the story of Academic Innovation history and growth; and build processes for leveraging analytics and research insights to drive marketing efforts.
  • Team with AI Behavioral Science colleagues to apply behavioral science strategies to marketing outreach, as well as apply marketing expertise to behavioral interventions.
  • Team with AI User Experience Design colleagues to develop experiences that delight Academic Innovation partners and learners across properties and platforms (e.g. AI website, Michigan Online, etc.).
  • Team with AI Design Management colleagues to develop effective and engaging promotional materials for Teach-Outs, MOOCs, and other online learning experiences, and help project teams understand enrollment trends, audiences, SEO considerations, cost analyses, and engagement strategies.
  • Team with AI Media Design & Production colleagues to assist in creating compelling, cohesive, and expedient marketing and promotional material.
  • Team with AI Learning Experience Design colleagues to develop market/evidence-based personas.
  • Team with Online and Hybrid Program colleagues to provide strategic and tactical guidance to academic units partnering with AI to launch exemplary online and hybrid programs.  
  • Team with Software Development colleagues to enhance Michigan Online, promote AI digital tools, and create information flows and deliver personalized communications.
  • Oversee the creative campaign process for a variety of content including print, video, and digital communication channels.

Required Qualifications*

  • Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of seven to ten years of experience, preferably at a large research university (or a comparably complex nonprofit organization), in communications, marketing, or related field. An advanced degree is preferred.
  • Successful completion of brand development from concept through to production, distribution and management.
  • A track record of implementing major omnichannel marketing campaigns which meet or exceeded stated measurable goals.
  • A strong understanding of online and social media strategy and savviness with respective platforms.   
  • Demonstrated success in leading marketing campaigns and strategies.  
  • High-level experience with brand management, creative campaigns, multimedia technology and communication plans.
  • Strong organizational and analytical skills with the ability to initiate, analyze, monitor, evaluate and advance strategic plans and programs that support the mission, vision, and values of the Office of Academic Innovation.
  • Excellent organizational, interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills.
  • The individual must possess skill and comfort in proactively building relationships with strategic partners, alumni, donors and community members.
  • Ability to generate strategic and creative solutions in order to advance the unit’s efforts to maintain and strengthen high-quality relationships with all audiences.
  • Proven skill and ability with managing multi-phase projects from inception to completion, including the ability to build consensus among team members and balance multiple concurrent priorities.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Able to use both problem solving and sound judgment in situations requiring independent initiative and tact.
  • Ability to work well in a multicultural and collaborative environment.
  • Understanding of blog management, paid advertising, email marketing, event management, and related best practices.

Desired Qualifications*

  • Expertise in using web-based tools and technologies (e.g., Google Analytics, MailChimp, social networking applications and media sharing sites) and website content management software (e.g., WordPress).
  • Experience using Adobe Creative Suite software, particularly Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
  • Experience leading and contributing to coordinated marketing campaigns with partner organizations (e.g. schools/colleges, external partners, etc.) leading to successful outcomes.