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Director of Communications & Public Relations

Sarah Lawrence College

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Institutional & Business Affairs, Communications & Marketing, Community & Government Relations
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Director of Communications & Public Relations

Job Description
The Director of Communications & Public Relations is a key member of the College's Office of Marketing & Communications, with primary responsibility for developing and maintaining a consistent and coordinated communications strategy both externally and internally. The Director of Communications & Public Relations, leveraging public and media relations strategies and relationships, will play a key role in the College's efforts to increase its visibility on a local and national level.

The successful candidate will be a relationship builder able to develop strong internal and external partnerships, provide first-class service to the College's various constituents, and interact with people at all levels of the College. Strong writing skills and equally strong verbal communication skills are imperative, as is an understanding of the best practices in communications, public/media relations, and social media.

This position reports to the Assistant Vice President of Marketing & Communications, and works closely with the Vice President of Advancement & External Affairs as well as college leadership. This position is located in Bronxville, NY, and while working from home will be an occasional option, it is expected that the selected candidate will primarily work in person on campus in order to form the relationships and understanding of the College necessary to be successful.


Public & Media Relations
  • Work with departmental and college leadership, including the president, to develop a strong institutional position in the press and significantly raise the College's visibility in critical areas; a key goal for this position is to increase awareness of the College, including regional and national exposure
  • Proactively seek media coverage at the local, regional, and national level through news releases, media pitches, and building relationships with members of the media
    • Develop rapport and ongoing relationships with local, regional, and national reporters, editors, and producers to earn regular news coverage
    • Place stories and opinion pieces in local, regional, and national media outlets
    • Actively pitch faculty, staff, and administrators as experts to the media; field requests from the media for such experts; support faculty media activities including editorial assistance as requested for opinion articles and outreach to media for placement; pitch stories on exceptional students and alumni and college programs and initiatives as appropriate
  • Write and distribute press releases to issue college news and to promote college activities, including events
  • Write and self-publish articles for and communications such as the alumni newsletter
  • Serve as first point of contact for all media inquiries, serving as spokesperson for the College when necessary and otherwise referring inquiries to relevant college administrators, staff, or faculty for comment or expertise, consulting on and developing comments as necessary
  • Monitor news coverage and media mentions of Sarah Lawrence College and its people
  • Manages the News & Events section and home page of the public website, posting press releases, writing headlines/blurbs for media mentions, and generally establishing the content strategy for these critical areas of the site

Social Media
  • Develop and implement social media strategies unique to the platforms used by the College
  • Incorporate social media into all communications plans
    • Partner with Creative Services team to integrate social media into relevant creative projects to ensure a unified voice and tone for social posts
  • Grow reach and engagement on the College's main channels
    • Use analytics available on each channel, as well as third-party tools, to measure success and inform growth
  • Partner with colleagues across campus who maintain social media presences for their program or department
    • Wrangle these satellite social presences to tighten up the College's social media ecosystem; this will include supporting and partnering with high-performing social channels, and recommending the sunsetting of morabund or lower-performing channels
    • Work with social media partners across campus to ensure the main channels tell the full Sarah Lawrence story

Community Relations
  • Promote the image and positive presence of the College in the local community
  • Communicate with the local community (Westchester and New York City, primarily) to inform and remind this audience of the benefits of the College to them, such as campus events
  • Advise College administrators as requested or required regarding local issues and opportunities
  • Represent the College at occasional local official and community events

Executive & Internal Communications
  • Partnering with the AVP of Marketing & Communications, support presidential communications by writing letters, speeches, and newsletters, as well as providing talking points for events
    • Learn the president's distinctive written voice and communication style and preferences
  • Proactively anticipate communication needs throughout each academic year and lead or support those efforts
  • Provide writing and messaging support to senior leadership to ensure professional, consistent communication throughout the College
  • Ensure that senior leadership and all relevant staff have consistent messaging and clear talking points in advance of any important communications to students, families, or the public that will impact their areas of operations
    • Ensure that messaging sent to students and families is also shared with the internal community and, as appropriate, the alumni community, in the interest of transparency

Crisis Management
  • Participate in and lend expertise to crisis management efforts as needed, as part of a crisis response team
  • Proactively develop and maintain an integrated crisis response plan including talking points, media statement, FAQs, internal updates, social media response plans, etc.
  • Liaise with outside experts as needed

Competencies & Requirements
  • Bachelor's degree in relevant field
  • Solid track record of progressive experience in communications, marketing, journalism, public relations, or relevant field
  • Demonstrable writing skills that reflect an understanding of writing for different media (writing samples will be requested of all candidates selected for an interview)
  • Ability to condense complex messages into consistent, easy to understand messaging, along with the ability to vary delivery to match audiences and media, as appropriate
  • Ability to cultivate relationships with members of the media, as well as members of the College and local communities
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, and an ability to exercise professionalism, discretion, good judgment, and problem-solving skills
  • Understanding of and experience in creating a wide range of communications materials
  • Knowledge of social media and an understanding and appreciation of its role in public/media relations
  • Strong editing and proofreading skills
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a highly collaborative team, depending on the project at hand
  • Must be comfortable juggling multiple projects and deadlines at once, while remaining cool and collected under pressure

To apply, visit:

Sarah Lawrence College is an Equal Opportunity Employer and has as one of its goals the recruitment and retention of a racially and culturally diverse administration, staff and faculty. To that end, every job opening is seen as an opportunity to increase diversity and every effort will be made to expand the applicant pool in accordance with these goals. For information on Sarah Lawrence College, our curriculum, teaching methods, and philosophy of education, please see our web site at

Essential Duties Summary

Required Qualifications

Preferred Qualifications

Requirements for Employment

Posting Number: S00240P
Open Date:
Close Date:
Open Until Filled:

Special Instructions to Applicants

To apply, visit

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Sarah Lawrence is a prestigious, residential, coeducational liberal arts college. Founded in 1926 and consistently ranked among the leading liberal arts colleges in the country, Sarah Lawrence is known for its pioneering approach to education, rich history of impassioned intellectual and civic engagement, and vibrant, successful alumni. In close proximity to the unparalleled offerings of New York City, our historic campus is home to an inclusive, intellectually curious, and diverse community.

Talented, creative students choose Sarah Lawrence for the opportunity to take charge of their education. In close collaboration with our dedicated, distinguished faculty, students create a rigorous, personalized course of study, conduct independent research, and connect a wide array of disciplines. They graduate knowing how to apply the knowledge, skills, and critical thinking necessary for life after college.

Sarah Lawrence College occupies 44 wooded acres in Yonkers, NY, near the Village of Bronxville—just north of New York City. A 30-minute train ride from the Bronxville station takes students into Midtown Manhattan.

In addition to our round-table classrooms, Sarah Lawrence has outstanding theatres, art and performance studios, and music spaces; modern science labs; state-of-the-art graphic computing equipment; competitive sports facilities; a 60,000-square-foot visual arts center; and recently renovated dining facilities.

Our students are men and women who share an enthusiasm for intellectual rigor, academic risk taking, creativity in all disciplines, and original and interdisciplinary work. We are particularly committed to having our faculty, administration, and student body reflect the social, racial, and economic diversity that characterizes our society. The College’s 1,377 undergraduate students come from nearly every state and from 53 countries; 84 percent of undergrads live on campus.

At Sarah Lawrence, students spend more time one-on-one with award-winning faculty than do students at any other college in the country.

Working At Sarah Lawrence College

As a Sarah Lawrence employee, you will join a warm, challenging, and diverse community that offers both quality of life advantages and tangible, valuable employee benefits.

When you work at Sarah Lawrence, you:

  • Receive outstanding benefits, such as medical, dental, and vision plans that exceed the standard plans offered by many companies and institutions, and an exceptional retirement plan through TIAA-CREF.
  • Have unparalleled educational opportunities, such as tuition benefits on campus for employees, their spouses, and their children; discounted tuition to the College’s renowned nursery school; and tuition benefit programs for dependent children who attend other colleges.
  • Have continuous opportunities for advancement, as it is College policy to fill vacancies by promotion or transfer whenever possible.
  • Enjoy boundless cultural experiences, including readings, lectures, music, theater, film screenings, dance performances, art exhibitions, and a state-of-the-art library, free to employees. · Have free access to the 48,000-square-foot Campbell Sports Center, with a six-lane pool, modern weight/fitness training center, squash courts, gymnasium, indoor track, outdoor tennis courts, and fitness classes, open to employees seven days per week.
  • Have several on-campus options for meals, plus off-campus discounts at local restaurants and stores.
  • Work in a convenient location close to all major highways, easily accessed from the Metro-North Harlem line, and 35 minutes from mid-town Manhattan.
  • Enjoy free parking on campus, a 10% discount at the college bookstore.
Find Us
1 Mead Way
New York
United States
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