Director, Communications & External Relations

Job description

Director, Communications & External Relations

Salary: $81,704.00 - $126,903.00 Annually
Job Type:
Job Number: 20201110
Closing: 11/24/2020 5:00 PM Pacific
Location: Merced, CA
Department: Office of External Relations/Foundation
Merced College is a midsized community college located in California's Central Valley. Incorporated in 1889, Merced offers historical sites, affordable housing, and access to the Bay Area and Sacramento, and is the Gateway to Yosemite National Park and the Sierra mountains as well as home to the University of California Merced campus. Our tree-shaded growing community of just over 80,000 includes multiple biking and walking trails as well as access to several lakes - large and small - throughout the county. The college is currently in a time of exciting innovation.

We're seeking an experienced and driven Director of Communications and External Relations who will support strategic and tactical digital communications programs and brand management for Merced College. The role collaborates with multiple departments to develop relevant and compelling messaging and constructs these communications on print and digital platforms such as the college's website, social media channels, printed marketing campaigns, public relations, and email communications under the Office of External Relations/Foundation. As such, the individual selected for this role must demonstrate the proven ability to effectively work individually and collaboratively with stakeholders to create highly engaging content that supports communications and marketing objectives across all digital channels. If you excel in a high-energy and fast-paced environment, we encourage you to apply and be part of our fun and dynamic team!

Merced College Vision
Merced College will provide transformative and empowering educational experiences to meet student and community needs.

Merced College Mission
Growing our community through education and workforce training:

  • lifelong learning
  • basic skills
  • career technical education
  • transfer
  • degree/certificate programs

Ensuring student success through equitable access, continuous quality improvement, institutional effectiveness, and student achievement.

General Description:
Reporting to the Associate Vice President of External Relations, the Director of Communications and External Relations will hold the central role in print and digital content development and social and electronic media administration with Merced College. The position also requires in-depth understanding of web content and social media best practices as well as marketing and public relations.

The role ensures that communications are timely, appropriate, creative, and varied. The person in this position must have proven planning, organizational, and project management skills, as well as the willingness and ability to learn and adopt the use of innovative marketing approaches and new technologies and information systems. The successful candidate must also be comfortable in an environment with multiple deadlines and shifting priorities.

Examples of Duties
Essential Functions:
  • Provides leadership and oversight to a team of digital and print media specialists, including web design, social media publication, print and digital media, print services, and other communication strategies and projects.
  • Oversees the College brand alignment strategies and standards, including oversight of the print and digital services areas, graphic design, and marketing.
  • Utilizes web content management systems and corresponding tools to create and update web pages for use by internal and external audiences.
  • Coordinates announcements of Merced College news on the college website, across social media channels, print media, and through e-mails, press releases, and e-newsletters.
  • Serves as resource for departments and teams to maintain standards/style for digital and print communications.
  • Creates or edits images to enhance content presentation and formatting.
  • Responsible for defining and reporting on analytics/survey results.
  • Works with Merced College ITS to provide back-end technical support for website maintenance and introduction of new features and functionality.
  • Coordinates, in close collaboration with ITS, regular training in content writing and posting for Merced College website editors and publishers.
  • Vets public-facing content as adherent to Merced College messaging, branding, and style guidelines.
  • Writes, edits and develops - in collaboration with subject matter experts - content for print media, websites, social media, press releases, and other digital channels.
  • Reviews and edits all assigned and self-initiated digital and print communications content using proper grammar, appropriate style, and institutional voice before publishing and posting.
  • Develops and executes social media campaigns to grow digital audience and assists with the coordination of other marketing campaigns as needed.
  • Works closely with outside marketing, media, and other contractors to execute marketing campaigns for the District.
  • Shares social media best practices with paid and volunteer student contributors.
  • Recruits and manages students for social media student-generated perspectives on Merced College programs and events.
  • Establishes, in conjunction with the AVP, social media goals and provides reports on progress toward meeting those goals.
  • Assists the AVP with brand management and oversight for the District.
  • Other related duties as assigned.
Knowledge of:
  • Content relationship management applications and use
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices
  • Working within higher education or institutional structure for approval processes
  • Website design and layout
  • Marketing and public relations
  • Proven planning, organizational, and multi-task project management skills

Ability to:
  • Consistently negotiate expectations and outcomes with internal management and external vendors
  • Work well under pressure, meet deadlines, and work within an environment of shifting priorities to deliver a quality digital user experience
  • Demonstrate exceptional written and verbal communication skills
  • Exhibit attention to detail, business maturity, and professionalism
  • Demonstrate sensitivity to and understanding of the diverse academic, socioeconomic, cultural, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ethnic backgrounds of community college students

Typical Qualifications
Required Education/Experience:
  • Bachelor's degree in digital media, communications, public relations, journalism, English, or related program AND
  • Two years of experience in higher education or institutional communications, digital communications, or corporate marketing AND
  • Proven internet-based positioning experience AND
  • Sensitivity to and understanding of the diverse academic, socioeconomic, cultural, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ethnic backgrounds of community college students
  • OR the equivalent education and experience, as described below:

  • Any combination of education, training, and professional experience that provides the individual with the required knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the job is qualifying
  • Sensitivity to and understanding of the diverse academic, socioeconomic, cultural, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and ethnic backgrounds of community college students

Preferred Education/Experience:
  • Mix of experience in writing, editing, and social media management
  • Technical and graphics editing skills
  • Exceptional understanding of criteria for organizing and maintaining a high quality digital and social media that meets best practices of user-responsiveness, accuracy, accessibility, and consistency
  • Familiarity with marketing, branding, and related communications fields
  • Demonstrated knowledge and use of social media platforms
  • Advanced knowledge of graphic design software applications, website coding, and best practice programs and systems related to website design and structure

The conditions herein are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individual with disabilities to perform the essential job functions.

Work is performed primarily in an office environment with some travel to different sites; incumbents may be required to work extended hours including evenings and weekends.

Physical Ability to:
  • Hear and understand speech at normal levels
  • Communicate so others will be able to clearly understand normal conversation
  • Read printed matter and computer screens
  • Stand or sit for prolonged periods of time
  • Bend, twist, stoop, kneel, crawl, push, and pull
  • Reach in all directions
  • Work at a desk, conference table or in meetings of various configurations
  • Operate office equipment requiring repetitive hand movement and fine coordination including use of a computer keyboard
See in the normal visual range with or without correction.

Hear in the normal audio range with or without correction.

Supplemental Information
How to Apply: Candidates will submit a complete application on the Merced College career pages at

  1. Letter of interest addressing your qualifications for the position
  2. Resume
  3. List five professional references
  4. Legible unofficial college transcripts (undergraduate and graduate). Transcripts must include the degree major and date the institution granted the degree. Official copies are not required unless applicant is hired.
  5. Foreign transcripts must include a U.S. evaluation and translation. (Download PDF reader)
  6. Diversity Statement: Provide a statement about yourself that specifically demonstrates sensitivity to the needs of the diverse academic, socioeconomic, cultural, disability and ethnic backgrounds of community college students and the community at large. Your response is limited to one (1) page.

No documents other than those required and listed above will be accepted for this recruitment. Please do not submit additional materials.

Individuals with disabilities may request any needed accommodation to participate in the application process. Please submit your request with your application to the Human Resources Office.

Interview Information: Those applicants deemed highly qualified for the position will be invited to appear for oral interviews before a screening committee. The interview process may include a pre-interview writing assessment. A limited number of candidates will be invited to interviews. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, all interviews will be scheduled via Zoom. Candidates are required to ensure access to the necessary technology to participate in a Zoom interview.

Employee Benefits: The District pays (with small contribution from employee) health, prescription, vision and dental insurance premiums for the employee and dependents. Life and income protection insurance premiums are provided for the employee only, as well as paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays.

Condition of Employment: The selected candidate must be fingerprinted and tested for tuberculosis at his/her own expense prior to the start of employment. In compliance with the Immigration Reform Act of 1986, all new employees are required to verify their identity and the right to work in the United States. Merced College does not sponsor visas. An applicant must be able to perform essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodations. All offers of employment are subject to approval by the Board of Trustees.

To apply, visit

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Job No:
Posted: 11/11/2020
Application Due: 11/25/2020
Work Type: