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Vice President for Public Relations and Communications

Spelman College
Atlanta, Georgia
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Job Details

Chaloner has partnered with Spelman College on their search for a Vice President for Public Relations and Communications to lead the College’s integrated brand marketing strategy to advance the reputation of Spelman College and its mission and strategic priorities.

This position provides strategic direction, oversight, and resource development to define and enhance the College’s brand position, raise awareness of its unique attributes, and effectively engage stakeholders in support of key strategic and financial goals. The Vice President provides consultation to the president, provost, vice presidents and other senior academic and administrative leaders to identify marketing priorities and achieve key goals. Strong analytical and research skills -- past history of defining competitive landscape and developing detailed plans to measure target market performance.

Leading a team of 9 professionals, the Vice President supervises brand development and implementation, web strategy and communications, interactive marketing and social media, the strategic implementation of print and online publications, media relations, and emergency communications. The incumbent is responsible for design and effective implementation of communications plans to increase enrollment, charitable giving and visibility of the College as well as ensure brand standards are executed consistently across the College.


Branding and Communications

  • Works proactively with the President to position the College and develop and disseminate through multiple means the President’s key messages about the College’s strengths, people, and priorities.
  • Partners across boundaries with the President and senior leaders in all divisions to define and advance the College’s collective strategic communications objectives and strategies.
  • Seeks out opportunities to promote Spelman and its brand in regional and national media outlets. Cultivate relationships and pitch stories to higher education editors and reporters. Manage emergent issues to protect Spelman’s reputation and enhance the Spelman brand.
  • Works with academic departments and College offices to enhance the online and print pieces in accordance with brand guidelines.
  • Leverages content development over a variety of platforms and develop a dashboard of metrics to ensure brand progress.
  • Collaborates with all areas of Institutional Advancement to develop and execute communication strategies that enhance the experience of Spelman alumnae, family, and friends through engaging, impactful, and persuasive messaging. Develop and execute integrated communications strategies for the current post-campaign period, for future comprehensive fundraising campaigns, and for the annual fund.
  • Maintains a strong awareness and familiarity with public opinion on issues relating to the College and craft communications and media placements to ensure public good will towards the College and work collaboratively with leadership to set and implement an overall strategy for the College’s web presence.
  • Works across College departments and use all appropriate media to create innovative campaigns and strategies that inspire engagement among key constituents with the College.
  • Monitors, updates, and establishes the creative and editorial guidelines that define the visual and voice direction for the College, while ensuring creative consistency in communications.
  • Develops and leads effective structures for cross-college marketing integration including managing councils and committees comprised of faculty, staff, students, and potentially external volunteers.
  • Support and marketing eSpelman program assisting and ensuring this program will be well advertised and ensuring its successful launch.

Web Communication

  • Demonstrated experience with higher education or high level corporate marketing
  • Demonstrated experience in managing a successful website redesign
  • Experience in setting up and optimizing Google Adwords campaigns as well as solid knowledge of website analytics tools (in particular Google Analytics). Experience leading and managing SEO/SEM, PPC and paid search strategies.

Media & Public Relations

  • Develops, fosters, and advances effective and collaborative relationships with local, state, and national media, government and community leaders, key stakeholders, and business leaders to drive the College’s brand and positively, influence perceptions, and the decisions of external partners.
  • Leads media relations outreach and provide direct oversight for the College’s media relations strategy.
  • May serve as the College’s official spokesperson by organizing and hosting press conferences and other related events as needed.
  • May develop and guide messaging for College officials when speaking at business, political and civic events, as well as representing the College at these events, as needed.
  • Ensures compelling, relevant, and timely content that features Spelman faculty, students, staff, and alumnae achievements and that showcases the College in new and interesting ways through various communications platforms.
  • Collaborates with the College’s faculty and administrative leadership to develop and execute comprehensive and integrated communications plans and measure success against key quantitative and qualitative goals.
  • Utilizes market and internal data to set strategies and goals for assigned programs, and to monitor progress against them. Research, analyze and prepare reports and performance metrics.

Management and Leadership

  • Provides team management and senior counsel regarding effective marketing and communications strategies.
  • Maintains highly collaborative and effective activity with executives and peers in enrollment management, alumnae affairs, provost council and development and activate the communications team in support of key goals.
  • Provides editorial and creative support to projects as needed.
  • Oversees development and deployment of internal communications strategies.
  • Recommends and enforces policies to ensure a clear, consistent, and powerful message.
  • Manages related communications budget(s) and project budgets funded by other departments.
  • Demonstrated ability to recruit, retain, high quality, diverse staff
  • Demonstrated expertise in integrated communications and public relations
  • Demonstrated experience using data and metrics to drive decision-making
  • Knowledge of social media landscape and experience of building a brand on social media on a variety of platforms
  • Ability to prioritize projects in a high volume/stress, complex, dynamic environment
  • Ability to condense complex messages into consistent, concise, and easy to understand messaging, along with the ability to vary delivery to match audiences, as appropriate

Crisis Management

  • Lead Crisis Management Response teams as needed
  • Regularly develop and update crisis management templates and communication strategies
  • Develop and maintain the College’s Crisis Management and Response plan
  • Proactively develop an integrated crisis response plan including talking points, media statement, FAQs, internal updates, social media response plans, etc.
  • Identify proactive crisis prevention tactics through executive training and collaboration
  • Conduct crisis management trainings with key Spelman College and community members on an annual basis
  • Provide regular reporting on crisis management operations to executive leadership


This position has supervisory responsibilities for one or more professional positions.

Education and/or Experience

A Bachelor’s degree is required, Master’s preferred. A minimum of ten years of editorial and/or project management experience. Overseeing a productive and successful metrics-based marketing engine. An engaged member of established organizations and associations in your field of expertise is preferred. Experience in communications, journalism, public relations, or a related field is required. Supervisory experience preferred.

Experience working with marketing databases, CRM and automation systems. Strong analytical skills and data-driven thinking and results-orientation.

Current with the latest trends and best practices in online marketing and metrics. Comfort in navigating operational strategy and tactical execution, and everything in between.

This position requires consulting leadership at all organizational levels, and exceptional interpersonal, organizational and customer service skills. Strong project management experience, with the ability to multi-task, and manage projects from inception to fulfillment.

The duties of this position require exceptional written and verbal communication skills, with superior editing experience and the ability to develop articles for publications, routine reports, and business correspondence. Must be able to speak effectively in one-on-one and group settings.

To perform this job successfully, an individual must have intermediate to advanced skills using Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint). Must have experience working with communications related software and deep understanding of print management and publication processes.

Interested candidates should apply by using the application form. Chaloner will review all applicants and, upon qualification, contact you to determine next steps.


Working at Spelman College

Spelman College is a prestigious, highly selective historically Black college that prepares women to change the world. Spelman’s holistic liberal arts education empowers women to excel intellectually, think creatively, serve wholeheartedly, act globally, and lead boldly. Located in Atlanta, Spelman College’s multifaceted, person-centered learning community creates lasting bonds of sisterhood and support. Providing an educational experience unlike any other, Spelman embraces a long-standing and life-changing commitment to academic rigor, career development, community involvement, and positive social impact.

Spelman is part of the Atlanta University Center, the largest consortium of historically Black institutions of higher learning in the world. Its partner institutions include Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Morehouse School of Medicine. Spelman shares cross-registration with its undergraduate partners. The AUC institutions also share the newly renovated Robert W. Woodruff Library.

A historic campus of 32 acres, dating back to 1883, Spelman is five minutes west of downtown Atlanta. There are 25 buildings on the lush, well-manicured campus, including a new, silver LEED- certified green residence hall, The Suites, and The Camille O. Hanks Cosby Academic Center, which houses the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art and the state-of-the-art College Archives.

As a result of its dedicated faculty and staff, Spelman College has gained an excellent national reputation and high rankings in the media’s annual college guides. The College ranks among the top 70 Best Liberal Arts Colleges, consistently ranks as a top producer of Fulbright Fellows and Teach For America candidates, and has the distinction of being the leading producer of Black females who go on to earn doctoral degrees in science and engineering.

Spelman College is also home to SpelBots, the first all-women, African-American robotics team to take part in the international RoboCup competition in 2005, long considered the Olympics of Robotics and artificial intelligence. In addition, the Women’s Research and Resource Center, the WISDOM Center and Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, as well as the College’s departments of art and drama and dance, are among the many esteemed programs that showcase the College’s strengths in the humanities, arts and service leadership.

Dedicated, talented, and well-qualified faculty members are a hallmark of Spelman College. Home to 183 full-time faculty members, Spelman boasts an 11:1 student/faculty ratio, providing students with greater opportunities to engage with professors across disciplines. The William and Camille Cosby Endowed Professorship Program, for example, supports professorships in the fine arts, humanities and the social sciences. It is a multidisciplinary initiative designed to enhance the intellectual, cultural and creative life of Spelman College and its surrounding community. Previous Cosby Chairs include former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin; award-winning author and poet Pearl Cleage, C’71; the Rev. Renita Weems; distinguished scholar and economist William Darity, Ph.D.; and Bernice Johnson Reagon, C'70, an internationally known producer, composer and recording artist, and founder of the Grammy Award-nominated a cappella ensemble Sweet Honey and the Rock.

Spelman faculty have a significant impact on the College’s mission to educate students to lead and serve their communities and the world. To this end, Spelman’s iconic representative is the Millenial professor. The College is strengthening its Faculty Development Program to be comprehensive – recruiting and retaining talented individuals who pursue creative, rigorous scholarship and course development within their disciplines and in multidisciplinary ventures. These professors will also lead the way in internationalizing the curriculum.

As part of the College’s strategic plan for 2015, Spelman’s agenda is to strengthen the academic core of the institution. Constituents such as students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumnae, trustees and community partners participate by taking specific actions called GOALS. Spelman’s faculty goals are: global engagement; ongoing professional development; advising students to prepare not only for careers but for lives of success, leadership, and service; leadership through participation in shared governance; and service learning integrated across the curriculum.

The Spelman MILE – My Integrated Learning Experience – forms the foundation of Spelman College’s strategic plan. Symbolizing a transformational journey of learning, the Spelman MILE will ensure key competencies – such as critical thinking, effective communication, quantitative reasoning, and digital literacy – that Millenial students need for personal success. Student GOALS include: global engagement, including at least one meaningful international travel experience; opportunities for undergraduate research and career-related internships; alumnae connections to strengthen our sisterly bonds early on; leadership development focused on individual potential and best practices; and service learning that pairs hands-on community engagement with coursework shared governance.

Each year, the College hosts Research Day in April, as well as Faculty Research Day in October. Both events are designed to showcase excellence in student and faculty research across academic disciplines.

For more information about Spelman, visit

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350 Spelman Lane SW
United States
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