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Executive Director of Strategic Communications

University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA

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Job Details

University of Virginia Division of Student Affairs invites applications for an exciting opportunity within the Division – Executive Director, Strategic Communications. The University’s mission to develop engaged citizen-leaders is the foundation of the Division of Student Affairs work, which is guided by six core values – academic rigor, diversity and inclusion, health and wellness, honor, public service, and student self-governance.

The Division consists of over 200 employees within five units –Student Affairs, Housing and Residence Life, Student Health and Wellness, University Career Center, and the Office of African American Affairs – all working together, for and alongside students, to create the distinctive student experience for which UVA is known. The Division is recruiting an Executive Director, Strategic Communications, a full time, salaried position reporting to the Vice President of Student Affairs.

Position Overview:

The Executive Director of Strategic Communications for the Division of Student Affairs is a senior leadership role responsible for shaping and executing comprehensive communication strategies that advance the division's goals and objectives. This position plays a pivotal role in enhancing the division's visibility, reputation, and engagement with various stakeholders.

Key Responsibilities:

1. Strategic Planning and Leadership:

  • Develop and oversee the division's communication strategic plan, aligning it with the division's overall goals and objectives.
  • Provide visionary leadership and guidance to the communications and team, fostering innovation and collaboration in achieving strategic outcomes.

2. Policy Development and Implementation:

  • Formulate and implement communication policies, ensuring compliance with organizational guidelines and industry standards.
  • Stay informed about emerging trends and best practices in communications and marketing to continuously improve policies and approaches.

3. Supervision and Management:

  • Directly supervise a team of professionals, providing mentorship, guidance, and feedback to enhance performance and growth.
  • Manage project budgets, resources, and operations effectively, ensuring optimal utilization of funds and achieving cost-effectiveness.

4. Coordination and Collaboration:

  • Foster increased coordination between various departments within the division to ensure consistent messaging and branding across all communications and marketing efforts.
  • Collaborate with other divisions and university stakeholders to align strategies and initiatives for a unified institutional image.

5. Brand Management and Development:

  • In coordination with University Communications, oversee the development and maintenance of the division's brand identity, ensuring a strong, cohesive brand presence that resonates with the target audience.
  • Manage crisis communication strategies to protect and enhance the division's reputation during challenging times.

6. Public Relations and Media Engagement:

  • Lead media relations and public relations efforts, building and maintaining positive relationships with relevant media outlets to amplify the division's visibility and positive coverage.
  • Serve as the division's spokesperson when needed and ensure a consistent and unified communication approach.

7. Data Analysis and Performance Measurement:

  • Implement data-driven decision-making processes, leveraging analytics to measure the effectiveness of communication and marketing initiatives.
  • Use insights to make informed adjustments and improvements to strategies, maximizing impact and return on investment.

Qualifications and Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Marketing, Public Relations, or a related field (Master's degree preferred).
  • 8 or more years of proven experience in executive-level communications and/or marketing roles, preferably within higher education or a similar complex organizational structure.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and execute comprehensive communication and marketing strategies that align with organizational goals.
  • Strong leadership, team management, and interpersonal skills with the ability to inspire and motivate a diverse team.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication abilities, including proficiency in crafting compelling narratives and engaging messaging.
  • Understanding of digital marketing, social media, and emerging technologies relevant to communication and marketing efforts.
  • Familiarity with policy development and adherence, as well as crisis communication strategies.

The Executive Director of Strategic Communications for the Division of Student Affairs will play a critical role in enhancing the division's visibility and reputation, driving engagement, and ensuring alignment with the university's strategic objectives. This position requires a strategic thinker, effective leader, and collaborative team player with a deep understanding of communication, marketing, and the higher education landscape.

Compensation and Benefits:

The hiring range for this position is $110,000.00 - $140,000.00 commensurate with qualifications and experience. Employment is contingent on successful completion of a background check. This is an on-Grounds, exempt-level position with UVa benefits. Employees’ benefits package highlights include:

  • 22 days of paid time off, increasing with service; 13+ paid holidays each year, in addition to paid time off
  • Parental and Community Service Leave
  • Health plan with options to meet healthcare and financial needs available immediately.
  • Retirement benefits
  • Tuition and professional development benefits after six months of employment
  • Employee wellness program featuring activities to earn up to $500/year.

About Charlottesville and UVA:

Consider working on the beautiful Grounds of the historic University of Virginia. Located in the thriving and growing city of Charlottesville, Virginia, UVA is a world class institution with nationally ranked schools and programs, diverse and distinguished faculty, a major academic medical center and proud history as a renowned research University. Charlottesville is nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains while also being just 2.5 hours to Washington, DC and 3 hours to the ocean. Charlottesville is home to a seemingly endless array of award-winning restaurants, attractions, schools, and businesses; learn more about all CVille has to offer.

Application Process:

This position will remain open until filled. Preference will be given to applications received by October 23, 2023. This position will not sponsor applicants for work visas. The University will perform background checks on all new hires prior to employment.

To apply, please create an account or log in to Workday and search for Requisition number R0053655. Internal applicants must apply through their UVA Workday profile by searching ‘Find Jobs.’ Upload cover letter and resume materials into the resume submission field, multiple documents can be submitted into this one field. Alternatively, merge all documents into one PDF for submission. Applications that do not contain all required documents will not receive full consideration.

References will be completed via UVA’s standardized process SkillSurvey. A total of five references will be requested via SkillSurvey during the final phase of the interview process. A minimum of three is required. For questions about the application process, please contact Michele Jarman, Academic Recruiter.

Physical Demands:

This primarily sedentary role involves extensive use of desktop computers. The position may require occasional travel to attend meetings and programs.

The University of Virginia, including the UVA Health System which represents the UVA Medical Center, Schools of Medicine and Nursing, UVA Physician’s Group and the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, are fundamentally committed to the diversity of our faculty and staff. We believe diversity is excellence expressing itself through every person's perspectives and lived experiences. We are equal opportunity and affirmative action employers. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, and family medical or genetic information.


In 1819, the University of Virginia established a new model for intellectual exchange and cross-disciplinary collaboration in higher education. Two hundred years later, as a major research institution, we continue to challenge conventions, lead with ingenuity and advance knowledge for the common good.

What began as an innovative idea has become one of the nation’s leading public research universities, with over 21,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UVA also has over 3,000 full-time faculty offering more than 400 degrees.

Each of the University’s eleven schools has its own distinctive mission, working together to garner consistently high rankings—including #2 Best Value Public College (Princeton Review, 2016), #3 Public University in the Nation (U.S. News & World Report, 2016), and #3 Best Value Among Public Colleges (Kiplinger’s, 2016).  

As we invest in and strengthen our research capabilities, UVA seeks new faculty ready to uncover new insights, rewrite old rules and collaborate on intellectual discoveries.


As an R1 institution, the University’s research centers, consortia and laboratories are on the leading edge of discovery and technology, offering collaborative spaces for students and faculty to solve global problems.

Our professors are recognized members of major national scholarly and professional organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Our faculty’s engagement in interdisciplinary research is being facilitated by new research institutes specializing in everything from big data to brain functioning, and by cluster hires across schools.


UVA is also home to a nationally renowned academic medical center and the UVA Health System, which serves a three-part mission to treat patients, conduct translational research and train medical practitioners in a wide variety of disciplines.

Established as the nation’s 10th medical school in 1825, the institution has since grown to include a 612-bed hospital and a Level I trauma center, nationally recognized cancer and heart centers, a Children’s Hospital, and primary and specialty clinics throughout Central Virginia.

The UVA Medical Center is consistently ranked among the nation’s best hospitals by the U.S. News & World Report magazine and has been named among the top 25 percent in seven specialties.


The vast majority of UVA students come from the top 10% of their high school class, as well as from all 50 states, over 142 countries and a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. Despite their diversity, all UVA students share a love of learning and a drive to achieve.

One of the reasons students choose Virginia is our unique residential culture. At UVA, the community of students, faculty and staff personifies the Jeffersonian idea that living and learning are connected. The Academical Village was constructed to support a unique residential experience, with faculty living in the Pavilions, students occupying Lawn rooms and the world-famous Rotunda at its heart. The University’s residential culture continues to support this experience today—strengthened by students, faculty and staff rich in backgrounds, ideas and perspectives. Our unique culture is also paying dividends in innovation:  UVA’s faculty have generated more than 130 patents since 2010.

Perhaps most importantly, faculty come to UVA knowing that instruction is as important as research, and they pride themselves on their many teaching awards.  Our best professors look for ways to encourage, mentor and develop tomorrow’s leaders inside and outside the classroom.


Living in Charlottesville you’ll find sophisticated restaurants, world-renowned wineries and breweries, cosmopolitan arts and music, friendly urban and suburban neighborhoods and a Piedmont landscape that has lured adventurous souls for centuries.  No wonder the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research named Charlottesville the “happiest city in America” in 2014.

In addition to UVA and its health system, several major employers have facilities in Charlottesville, including State Farm, Northrop Grumman, the U.S. Department of Defense, GE and others.  Charlottesville is also becoming a center for innovative start-up businesses.  The University also actively helps spouses and partners of faculty members build their networks and pursue employment opportunities with a wide variety of area employers. 

The University of Virginia is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, qualified individuals with disabilities are protected from discrimination and may be entitled to reasonable accommodations to assist in their pursuit of employment at the University. This includes assistance in completing the online job application as well as reasonable accommodations during the interview process. Please contact the UHR Service Center: 434.982.0123 to request assistance.

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