Assistant Vice President for Communications and University Spokesperson
The Assistant VP for Communications and University Spokesperson – hereafter, Spokesperson – represents the University of Virginia in responding to media inquiries, supports institutional public affairs, coordinates issues management, engages in proactive media relations, and when needed, supports crisis communications.
The Spokesperson works closely with administrative leadership – including the Offices of the President, the Provost and the Chief Operating Officer, Public Safety, Student Affairs, Athletics, Government Relations, University Counsel, and the UVA Health System. This includes working with colleagues to identify and respond to media inquiries, public affairs matters, and other emerging issues that may impact our overall reputation. The Spokesperson works closely with University Content and News colleagues within the Office of University Communications to assist in developing and implementing proactive media strategies that strengthen the University’s reputation and foster mutually beneficial relationships with members of the media.
- Serve as the official spokesperson for UVA for media inquiries and requests related to institutional public affairs, emerging issues and crises, personnel matters or legal actions.
- Serve as a high-level communications professional, providing direction and expertise to team members and colleagues across the University.
- In consultation with the VP for Communications and Associate VP for Communications, advise senior leadership on communications strategies for managing issues associated with ongoing University-wide programs and initiatives.
- Lead and collaborate with key subject matter experts from across the University to help identify and manage issues or events that could impact the University’s reputation.
- Contribute to the development of briefings involving leadership and representatives from relevant areas.
- Lead efforts to disseminate accurate information and to serve as an advocate and principal for addressing misinformation.
- As appropriate, work closely with University Content and News colleagues on proactive and supporting narratives, including an editorial calendar for proactive institutional media opportunities.
- Benchmark best practices in higher education and other industries to ensure an innovative and contemporary approach to public affairs, issues management and crisis communications.
- Foster positive relationships with key local, regional and national members of the media.
- Coach executive and administrative leadership for media interviews.
Bachelor’s degree in communications, public relations, journalism or related field.
A record of progressive experience in this area, serving 7 or more years as spokesperson for a university or corporation/organization; or a combination of issues management/crisis communications experience and substantial experience in public affairs, journalism or a related field.
Substantial issues management and public affairs experience in a mid- to large-sized higher education environment.
-Demonstrated ability to create and manage communications plans.
- Demonstrated ability to organize and conduct effective media relations, including relationship-building and on-camera representation.
- Demonstrated ability in public affairs, issues management, and crisis communications.
- Ability to write effectively and efficiently.
- Ability to maintain composure and project confidence in a fast-paced environment.
- Ability to assertively represent an organization’s interests, and address media inaccuracies efficiently and directly.
- Ability to appropriately manage sensitive information, and deploy diplomacy and tact in interactions with internal and external audiences that generate understanding, mutual respect, and goodwill.
- Skill and comfort communicating with a variety of audiences that will include students, faculty, staff, administration, academic leadership, and elected and government officials at all levels.
- A can-do spirit with proven ability to handle multiple complex and time-sensitive demands with detail-oriented organization, thoughtfulness and a professional attitude.