This job has expired

Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications & Public Affairs

The University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS

View more

Executive Administration Jobs
Vice Presidents
Administrative Jobs
Institutional & Business Affairs, Communications & Marketing
Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution
You need to sign in or create an account to save a job.

Job Details

Position OverviewThe University of Kansas seeks an inclusive, collaborative and innovative leader to serve as vice chancellor for strategic communications and public affairs. Reporting directly to Chancellor Douglas A. Girod, this reimagined chief communications and marketing officer role will take the university's storytelling to a new level of inspiration, promote a differentiated brand through carefully constructed campaigns, and increase audience and community engagement. The vice chancellor serves as a key member of the chancellor's leadership team and works closely with the provost and the executive vice chancellor for the Lawrence Campus and the executive vice chancellor for the KU Medical Center developing and carrying out a strategic communications agenda that advances the university's status and aspirations, both internally and externally.

The University of Kansas (KU) is the state’s flagship university, an R1 institution and member of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU). KU has five campuses including the Lawrence campus, the Edwards Campus in Overland Park, and medical branches in Kansas City, Wichita, and Salina. KU’s residential campus is located on beautiful and historic Mt. Oread in Lawrence, Kansas, and offers programs at eight other locations across the state as well as online through Jayhawk Global. Home to nearly 100,000 residents, Lawrence is a vibrant and culturally-rich community and quintessential college town - just 45 minutes west of Kansas City and 30 minutes east of Topeka, the state capital.

The vice chancellor will serve the marketing, communications and public affairs needs of the flagship's comprehensive enterprise with responsibility for primary internal and external communications and the integration of messages across all KU campuses, affiliates and partners. To this end, a key priority is to align university resources and communications strategies supporting and achieving leadership’s objectives at the international, national, state and local levels. The vice chancellor integrates communications, strategic messaging and outreach to enhance coordination among those areas and to elevate the university's reputation and presence across all key constituencies, including the media, alumni, donors, policy makers, opinion leaders, community-based organizations and the business community.

The vice chancellor must be a strategic thinker as well as media-savvy, and have a proven track record of leading an innovative, proactive and effective communications and marketing division that advanced an institution’s or organization’s brand and position in the marketplace. The vice chancellor will have thorough knowledge of marketing and communications best practices, brand and reputation management, public relations, crisis communications, creative development and new program marketing. The ability to communicate effectively with diverse audiences with proven success in developing traditional and digital multi-channel/multi-segmented messaging is essential.

The vice chancellor will be an executive with humility and respect. A courageous and collaborative leader with a record of support and advocacy for individuals from diverse identities, histories, backgrounds and experiences is paramount. A Master's or professional degree is required. Preferably, the vice chancellor will begin the appointment no later than mid-September 2022. For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by Friday, July 8, 2022 Job DescriptionResponsibilities and duties include but are not limited to:
  • Senior adviser to the university's academic and administrative leadership on issues of strategic communications and public affairs.
  • Responsible for the university's state, regional, national and global communications strategy and for raising the university's national profile. This includes creation of relevant metrics and targets to ensure success of strategic communication plan.
  • Develop an understanding of the marketing and communications requirements of all key stakeholders (university, departments and schools) to successfully drive the development of strategic plans that enhance the university's brand reputation and achieve both long and short-term objectives. Areas of emphasis include media and public relations, crisis communications, executive communications, digital engagement, paid media and advertising, content marketing and internal/employee communications.
  • Responsible for leadership, guidance, review and coordination of brand use and publications from all units on all campuses to ensure quality and consistency of messaging and communications.
  • Supervises the offices of Strategic Communications, Marketing and Communications, and Event Management and Protocol.
  • Management of oversight of the budget for the Office of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs to include marking and communications, strategic communications, and event management and protocol.
  • Provide leadership, coaching and active management for the marketing and communications team to increase the capabilities and improve the effectiveness of this group. Evaluate the structure and capabilities of the team and other campus marketing and communications professionals against the goal of providing a unified, proactive, and client-focused resource for the University. Develop a process that allows the team to optimize their partnerships with all stakeholders throughout the University.
  • Develop a coordinated communication plan and partnership with university parties such as KU Endowment, KU Alumni Association, and Kansas Athletics.
  • Develop a robust crisis communications plan that ties to the University’s Enterprise Risk Management and strategies.
  • Responsible for the creation and oversight of developing and maintaining quality university wide, public and private events such as Commencement and University Research Awards.
  • Develop tools and metrics to assess outcomes of strategic communication initiatives and for future visioning initiatives.
  • Other duties as assigned.
The success of University of Kansas is the direct result of the contributions and commitment of its people and outstanding visionary leadership. This starts with the vice chancellor's ability to demonstrate a commitment to KU's vision, mission and values and provide evidence of success in building a thriving, diverse team. The vice chancellor must also possess the following required qualifications:
  • Master's or professional degree in marketing, communications, higher education, law, or related discipline.
  • 10 years of progressively responsible experience in strategic communications for a large organization.
  • Demonstrated experience in leading teams in the areas of strategic communications and/or brand strategy.
  • Demonstrated experience effectively communicating with a diverse group of constituents to include faculty, staff, students, donors, alumni, elected officials, and community members.
  • Evidence of proven success leading public affairs and strategic communication strategies at the executive level.
  • Successful record of accomplishment leading a collaborative process to develop a strategic brand platform.
  • Proven experience and skill in hiring, developing, managing, and supporting a diverse team.
  • Expert communications skills both oral and written.
Preferred QualificationsIn addition, the university seeks a leader with some or all of the following experience and/or competencies:
  • Previous experience in higher education is not a requirement, but individuals must embrace the mission of the university, appreciate its culture and history, and have the ability to understand higher education issues. The successful candidate will desire to become an active member and positive spokesperson for the University of Kansas community.
  • A successful track record of driving integrated marketing strategies and programs that utilize digital and direct marketing, SEO/SEM, social media, content marketing, web presence, mobile, channel selection and optimization, creative direction, and/or public relations to grow and enhance a brand to a global market.
  • Demonstrated acquisition and audience engagement experience with an excellent understanding of how to build relationships between an organization and targeted constituents.
  • A passionate, perceptive, inventive and energetic leader who can initiate and manage change and be a champion for the KU brand.
  • An effective leader who can build relationships with people from diverse areas of the university and inspire/influence those outside their direct sphere of control.
  • A results-oriented leader with the presence to inspire and the ability to develop a collaborative culture.
  • A work history/career demonstrating strategic and creative thinking, entrepreneurial and innovative leadership behind the development of marketing strategies and communications programs that engage a variety of diverse stakeholders.
  • Understands and is engaged in the evolving digital marketing and communications landscape.
  • Knows how to balance short-term objectives with long-term visioning and can work simultaneously with both.
  • Innovative and creative thinker who proactively identifies opportunities and is motivated by challenges.
  • The ability to provide an external perspective by having or gaining an understanding of consumer trends and marketplace demands.
  • Proven experience working with and advising people in high-level positions with public visibility.
  • Excellent team player and individual performer.
  • Good listener and relationship builder who will collaborate cross-functionally and work effectively with various levels of the university.
  • An effective negotiator with vendors and other third-party affiliates to ensure the best use of financial resources plus the ability to hold these entities accountable to exceptional high-performance standards.
  • Confident decision maker and self-starter with high energy/drive.
  • A positive attitude, strong character and integrity.
Additional Candidate InstructionsAll applications, nominations and inquiries are invited. As WittKieffer is assisting the University of Kansas in this search, nominations and inquiries can be directed to:

Melissa Fincher, Bree Liddell and Jenna Brumleve
[email protected]

Applications should include, as separate documents, a resume and a letter of interest addressing the themes in this profile. For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by Friday, July 8, 2022. Preferably, the vice chancellor will begin the appointment no later than mid-September 2022.

Contact Information to ApplicantsNominations and inquiries can be directed to:

Melissa Fincher, Bree Liddell and Jenna Brumleve
[email protected] Advertised Salary Rangecommensurate with experience Application Review Begins08-Jul-2022 Anticipated Start Date19-Sep-2022


Working at the University of Kansas 

Join the University of Kansas, and you’ll become part of a Jayhawk family that spans the globe. Wear your KU shirt in London, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, Nairobi or anywhere else, and you will likely hear a resounding “Rock Chalk!” from a stranger. Of course, the appropriate response is an enthusiastic “Jayhawk!” Because, after all, they’re not really strangers, they’re family.

The Jayhawk community is united by more than 150 years of tradition and by our commitment to pushing the boundaries of knowledge, transforming the academic experience, and creating solutions through innovative research. KU’s mission is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world.  

The University of Kansas is the state’s flagship university and one of just 66 invited members of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU). We consistently earn high rankings for academics and recognition as a premier research university.

KU faculty and staff embrace our role as the state’s flagship university, AAU member and R1 institution that serves the state, nation and world. We celebrate the energy and compassion that infuse the Jayhawk spirit; and, we remain true to KU’s historic values: the elevating force of education, the transformative power of research and the healing power of service.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging 

The University of Kansas is committed to a learning and workplace environment that is representative of our nation and global society, accepts and values everyone, appreciates our common humanity and understands that our multiple differences are the cornerstone of academic preparation, professional excellence and distinction. KU must be a place where all people feel they belong and have access to resources and support that help them attain their educational and professional goals.

We recognize there are inequalities and privileges generated by historical and persistent intersecting differences by race, ethnicity, gender identities, gender expressions, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, abilities, religion, regional background, veteran status, citizenship status and nationality. And we hold ourselves accountable for policies, processes and programs that appreciate these and other differences and create more fair, safe and just learning, working and living environments for KU students, faculty and staff.


KU offers a broad array of undergraduate and graduate study programs, and we fulfill our mission through academic and research programs of international distinction, coupled with outstanding libraries, teaching museums and information technology. These resources enrich the academic experience for students from all 50 states and 112 countries, and provide enrichment resources for KU faculty and staff.


The university attains high levels of research productivity and recognizes that faculty are part of a network of scholars and academicians that shape a discipline as well as teach it. KU staff are integral to our research success, participating in and supporting discoveries that expand knowledge and improve lives.


The university and our employees serve society through research, teaching and the preservation and dissemination of knowledge. KU's academic programs, arts facilities and public programs provide cultural enrichment opportunities for the larger community. And, KU offers educational, research and service programs throughout the state. KU employees are encouraged to participate in and serve the campus and surrounding communities in a way that is meaningful to them.

International Dimension 

KU offers more than 100 programs of international study and cooperative research for KU students and faculty at sites around the world. The university offers teaching and research that draw upon and contribute to the most advanced developments throughout the United States and abroad. At the same time, KU's extensive international ties support economic development in Kansas.


The University of Kansas, our students and employees are committed to excellence. We foster a multicultural, inclusive environment in which the dignity and rights of individuals are respected. Intellectual diversity, integrity and disciplined inquiry in the search for knowledge are of paramount importance.

Our City and State 

KU sits atop Mt. Oread in the center of Lawrence, a town full of natural beauty and culture. In fact, Rolling Stone magazine named Lawrence one of the best college towns in the United States. Lawrence is home to more than 100,000 people, and has a charming, Midwestern friendliness that welcomes visitors and celebrates diversity. In addition to KU, Lawrence is home to Haskell Indian Nations University, the premiere tribal university in the United States.

Lawrence’s historic and thriving downtown features restaurants, nightlife and local shops offering unique finds that you won’t find anywhere else. The town has more than 50 parks, an encompassing mixed-use trail, and quick access to biking/hiking trails along the Kansas River and around Clinton Lake. A five-minute drive from Lawrence, Clinton Lake offers fishing, boating, beaches, camping and other outdoor activities.

Located just 40 minutes west of Kansas City, Lawrence offers the appeal of a mid-size, suburban town with quick access to the amenities of a large city, including an international airport. The Kansas City metro area is home to world-class museums and cultural activities, Jazz clubs and other nightlife venues, expansive shopping options, and exciting professional sports with the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals and Sporting KC.

Kansas is in the center of the country, making it convenient and cost effective to fly or drive to destinations throughout the United States. Far from flat, the Flint Hills, just 90 minutes from Lawrence, offer panoramic vistas that showcase the breathtaking beauty of America.

Making KU Your Home 

Something about Lawrence is magnetic. Long-time residents are never surprised when a KU student or employee from out of state decides to make Lawrence their permanent home. And, even those who do leave often find themselves returning to “the nest” at some point in the future. In fact, Lawrence has been named by several publications as one of the best places to retire.

At the University of Kansas, you’ll join a global Jayhawk family and find a place to call home.

You need to sign in or create an account to save a job.

Get job alerts

Create a job alert and receive personalized job recommendations straight to your inbox.

Create alert