Executive Director of Communications #000073

Job description

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Classification Title:

Executive Director

Working Title:

Executive Director of Communications #000073


Communications and Public Relations

Position Summary:

The Executive Director of Communications reports to the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer and is responsible for the internal and external communications and public relations activities of the entire university. Works closely with senior administration to formulate and deliver university messages and chancellor communications.

Serves as a member of the CMCO’s leadership team, providing counsel and input in the execution of WCU’s strategic marketing communications plan. Leads and provides oversight of strategic and integrated public relations plans and programs that support the strategic initiatives of the entire university. Performs executive communications (speech writing and presentations for the chancellor’s office) and directs the communications team, including news and public information; earned, shared and owned media functions; public relations and crisis communications; internal communications; and social media. Serves as copywriter, final proofreader for all written content. This position is a principal contact for news media inquiries, sometimes serving as university spokesperson and providing support to the CMCO in such instances. Acts in the absence of the CMCO. With the CMCO, advises the senior leadership on crisis communications and issues management. This position is required to keep abreast of best practices in the field and remain up to date on current trends and new technologies. This position should anticipate change and ensure the organization is positioned to succeed.

Minimum Qualifications:

Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations, Marketing, Communications, Journalism or a related field; and/or equivalent experience/training. Ten (10) years of progressive growth experience preferred in higher education.

Preferred Qualifications:

A Master’s Degree with 5 years progressively responsible experience in a related field.

- Advanced written (including AP style), verbal, interpersonal communications, active listening and political acumen skills.
- Proven ability to compose executive communications (speech writing and presentations) for senior leadership.
- Advanced knowledge and understanding of all aspects of communications, including strategic planning for various media venues, technical aspects and requirements of various venues, and the most appropriate and effective applications.
- Ability to think broadly about content marketing across written and visual platforms for varied audiences, including the strategic development and management of content across print and digital platforms.
- Advanced strategic planning and implementation skills to design strategic and comprehensive institutional communications plans and programs, taking into consideration institutional image, message and positioning, mission, goals, priorities and accomplishments; while building a content calendar and implementing accountability standards.
- Advanced knowledge and understanding of digital media and contemporary organizational communications.
- Proven ability to cultivate relationships with local, regional and national media and proactively pitch WCU stories to media.
- Advanced measurement and evaluation skills to develop state-of-the-art metrics for measuring the effectiveness of contemporary communications.
- Ability to quickly gain knowledge of the institution, its achievements, mission, vision, goals, policies, and infrastructure; advanced knowledge of current affairs and issues in higher education
- Advanced skills to integrate messaging and counsel.
- Strong skills to create, develop and implement comprehensive and effective long- and short-term strategic communications plans.
- Demonstrated superior ability to work across the division to develop creative and integrated communications programs to support university strategic initiatives
- Advanced skills to ensure production of high-quality work within budget and time constraints.
- Strong analytical, critical thinking, project management, and problem recognition, avoidance and resolution skills.
- Advanced management skills to select, train, manage, direct, guide, motivate and evaluate staff to produce high quality work; skill to take corrective action as required.
- Proven skills to advise and consult management on all aspects of communications including developing effective communications strategies and dealing effectively with inquiries regarding sensitive or complex issues or information.
- Demonstrated knowledge and skills in financial and personnel administration and management.
- Proven ability to maintain a strict code of confidentiality of privileged information, while performing a wide range of duties that require tact, sensitivity, independent judgment, diplomacy, discretion, and flexibility.
- Proven competency and commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. Knowledge and understanding of the historical and social context of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and of the complexities of the intersections of various communities and demonstrated ability to translate that knowledge into practical applications, processes, policies, responses, and programs.

Position Type:

Permanent Full-Time

Number of Months Per Year:


Open Date:


Open Until Filled:


Special Instructions to Applicants:

To be considered, you must apply online. Please include a cover letter, resume, list of professional references, and a writing sample to complete the application process. For questions or additional information, please contact Brian Mullen at [email protected]


Final candidates are subject to criminal & sex offender background checks. Some vacancies also require credit or motor vehicle checks.

Western Carolina University uses E-Verify to confirm employment eligibility of all newly hired employees. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, please visit www.dhs.gov/E-Verify. Proper documentation of identity and employability are required at the time of employment.

Credential Verification:

All new employees are required to have listed credentials/degrees verified within 30 days of employment. All new employees who will be teaching are required to provide official transcripts within 30 days of employment. Transcripts should be provided for the highest earned degree and/or the degree which is being used to satisfy credential/qualification requirements.


Western Carolina University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race; color; religion; sex; sexual orientation; gender identity or expression; national origin; age; disability; genetic information; political affiliation; National Guard or veteran status, consistent with applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations, and policies, and the policies of The University of North Carolina. Additionally, the University promotes the realization of equal employment opportunity for minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and veterans through its affirmative action program.
Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations in the application and interview process please call (828) 227-7218 or email at [email protected]

University Safety:

The Western Carolina University Annual Safety Report is available online at University Annual Safety Report or in hard-copy by request at the office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, 227 HFR Administration Building, Cullowhee, NC 28723 (828-227-7147) or the Office of University Police, 111 Camp Annex, Cullowhee, NC 28723 (828-227-7301). The report, required of all universities participating in Title IV student financial aid programs, discusses crime statistics, procedures for reporting suspicious or criminal activity, security, police authority, crime prevention strategies, university policies on substance abuse and sexual offenses, workplace violence and fire safety.




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Job No:
Posted: 12/1/2020
Application Due: 3/4/2021
Work Type: Full Time