Vice President of Marketing and Communications

The University of Montana-Missoula (UM), a flagship public doctoral research institution, invites applications for the position of Vice President of Marketing and Communications (VPMC). We seek an innovative and resourceful leader with experience at a major public or private organization in marketing and communications. We welcome applications from interested individuals with diverse perspectives and backgrounds, and higher education experience is not required. We encourage applications from and nominations of women, Native Americans, persons of color, persons with disabilities, veterans, and others from underrepresented groups.

The VPMC will drive UM’s work to develop and implement an integrated, institutional communications strategy supporting UM’s mission, reflecting UM’s vision and advancing UM’s priorities. The VPMC will have a strong desire to partner with and support President Seth Bodnar in demonstrating UM’s five priorities for action : Place student success at the center of all we do; drive excellence and innovation in teaching, learning, and research; embody the principle of “mission first, people always"; partner with place; and proudly tell the UM story.


UM offers one of the richest learning environments in the country. Our liberal arts and sciences tradition and interdisciplinary focus are the foundation of undergraduate, professional, and graduate programs that foster critical thinking and integrative problem solving. A research intensive, associate through doctoral degree-granting institution, UM is an essential part of Missoula: a vibrant college town characterized by scenic beauty, an engaged community, and a healthy economy. The UM acknowledges that we are in the aboriginal territories of the Salish and Kalispel people, a number of whom are our colleagues, students, and friends. Today, we honor the path they have always shown us in caring for this place for the generations to come.

Located in the heart of the northern Rocky Mountains, Missoula offers a stunning natural landscape where five valleys and three major rivers converge. UM’s location provides a strong foundation for world-class programs focused on the environment. UM also excels in fields such as human health and biomedical sciences, business, law, education, and journalism. As a major center for the arts and culture in Montana, UM educates artists, performers, and writers. The Payne Family Native American Center highlights the University’s commitment to the Native American communities of Montana, the largest minority group in Montana and on campus, and houses our outstanding Native American Studies program. The University is committed to meeting societal needs through strong programs in the humanities, sciences, and professions. The Davidson Honors College serves as the symbol of UM’s commitment to excellence in undergraduate education. UM’s fully integrated two-year unit, Missoula College, offers workforce development as well as baccalaureate pathway programs. The University of Montana is an NCAA Division I institution and competes in 15 intercollegiate varsity sports. Today, UM enrolls approximately 10,000 students.

Position Details
  • Position is full-time, 1.0 FTE, MUS Administrator Contract without academic rank and includes a comprehensive and competitive benefits package including insurance package, mandatory retirement plan, partial tuition waiver, and wellness program.
  • Salary for this position is $130,000 per year commensurate with qualifications.

Position Description

The VPMC reports directly to the President and is the senior executive responsible for marketing, communications, public relations and branding for UM. The VPMC serves as the university’s official spokesperson in collaboration with the University President and the executive leadership team. Working collaboratively with the President’s Office and other campus leaders, the VPMC will provide influence to advance UM’s work in recruiting domestic and international students; attracting high-quality faculty and staff; engaging UM’s alumni, parents, and donors; creating opportunities for collaboration with community members, business leaders and the media; and promoting the university’s brand.

The VPMC’s responsibilities include but not limited to:

Management and Leadership:
  • Participate in and contribute to the university’s senior leadership meetings and initiatives to advance UM’s strategic direction and priorities
  • Manage, recruit and cultivate the marketing and communications team at the University of Montana, providing a clear direction, expectations, feedback and suggestions to produce the highest caliber work possible
  • Allocate the marketing and communications sector budget to maximize the impact of marketing, communication, branding and media-relation objectives
  • Assist with and participate in UM Foundation efforts to raise funds to support UM marketing, communications and outreach efforts
  • Support and champion UM’s mission, vision, values and priorities, including advancing UM’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Manage, refine and cultivate the University’s brand through continuous monitoring and research related to constituent perceptions, trends and advances in higher education and other industries and UM’s strategic direction
  • Provide visionary, innovative strategies that create marketing and communication opportunities that advance the UM brand, and increase interest in the University’s programs and offerings
  • Collaborate with UM Academic Officers and college and department leadership to develop, implement and guide strategic communications to ensure brand standards and messaging are consistently maintained
Marketing and Communications:
  • Set a tactical direction for marketing, communication, advertising and promotion efforts to ensure that all messages emanating from the university are accurate, consistent and present a coherent image of the institution and its interests
  • In collaboration with UM colleges and departments, research, create, execute and assess integrated marketing plans to support student and faculty/staff recruitment and alumni and key stakeholder engagement
  • Oversee the creation, execution and distribution of all marketing and communication deliverables
  • Provide counsel and support to the Office of the President with the creation of internal and external communications, videos, print pieces and remarks
  • Oversee the development, execution and refinement of the university’s interactive and social media program and supervise the development and deployment of web/social media sites aimed at enhancing the university’s brand and reputation
  • Manage and provide content oversight for diversified advertising campaigns
  • Manage an internal communications program that ensures that UM faculty, staff and students are informed about University events, updates, goals, objectives and priorities
Media and Public Relations:
  • Develop, foster and advance effective and collaborative relationships with local, state and national media, government and community leaders, key stakeholders, and business and foundation leaders to drive the University’s brand and positively influence perceptions and the decisions of external partners
  • Lead media relations outreach and provide direct oversight for the University’s media relations strategy
  • Create and leverage opportunities to drive public relations strategies and tactics
  • Anticipate and lead University public relations responses to unusual or crisis situations in partnership with the AVP for Campus Operations and Response
  • Serve as the University’s official spokesperson by organizing and hosting press conferences and other related events as needed
  • Develop and guide messaging for University officials when speaking at business, political and civic events, as well as representing the University at these events, when needed

Required Experience and Minimum Qualifications
  • A bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing, business administration, or a related field and eight (8) years of closely related professional experience demonstrating progressive leadership responsibilities at a major public or private organization
    • Any equivalent combination of experience and education that would provide the competencies required to successfully perform the essential duties of this position will be considered
    • Higher education experience is not required
  • A passion for and understanding of the role of public education
  • Highly developed skills and a distinct passion for large-scale leadership efforts that include strategic planning and thinking and an entrepreneurial outlook in constant pursuit of new possibilities for innovation and methods to address emerging challenges
  • Exceptional communication skills and strong public presence, including the ability to effectively communicate complex ideas and maintain transparency with all levels within the University, build and maintain personal and institutional credibility, and establish and maintain productive and effective working relationships with diverse populations (including staff, faculty, administration, students, and other internal and external constituents)
  • A sound ability to track, research, analyze and interpret complex, detailed materials
  • Highly developed problem-solving skills, with an ability to take disparate sets of quantitative and qualitative data and drive innovative solutions
  • Ability to work independently, while also possessing the desire to work collaboratively, building trust-based relationships with colleagues and other constituents in support of the University President and the institution’s mission
  • Leadership skills to prioritize, drive and complete multiple projects and inspire others to do so under stringent deadlines, and respond to changing priorities
  • The ability to effectively supervise the work of staff at a variety of levels, recommending and executing appropriate personnel actions when necessary
  • Learn and develop working knowledge of academic and administrative programs and organizational structures; current issues; trends; and best practices within higher education
  • Demonstrated ability to handle stressful situations while remaining composed, professional, and productive
  • Proficiency in standard office programs including but not limited to Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook) and commonly used office equipment such as computers, multi-line telephones and copy machines

Preferred Qualifications
  • Working knowledge of academic and administrative programs and organizational structures; current issues; trends; and best practices within higher education

How to Apply

Priority Application Date: November 11, 2020

Applications received by this date will be guaranteed consideration. Application review will begin after date above and continue until the position is filled.

Please submit the following application materials via "New Resume/CV" button below.

*Please note: only five (5) attachments are allowed per application. Please combine documents accordingly.

  • Letter of Interest – describing relevant experiences and interest in the position
  • Detailed resume/curriculum vitae listing education and describing work experience
  • Five (5) professional references - Names and contact information with titles, business/home telephone numbers and email addresses

To learn more about the University of Montana, Missoula, and the State of Montana, please visit the links below.

Criminal Background Investigation is required prior to Offer of Employment.

In accordance with University policy, finalists for this position will be subject to criminal background investigations.
ADA/EOE/AA/Veteran's Preference.
Reasonable accommodations are provided in the hiring process for persons with disabilities. For example, this material is available in alternative format upon request. As an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer, we encourage applications from minorities, veterans, and women. Qualified candidates may request veterans’ or disabilities preference in accordance with state law.
References *References not listed on the application materials may be contacted; notice may be provided to the applicant.
Testing Individual hiring departments at UM may elect to administer pre-employment tests, which are relevant to essential job functions.

Employment Eligibility. All New Employees must be eligible and show employment eligibility verification by the first date of employment at UM, as legally required (e.g., Form I-9).

Job Location Missoula, Montana, United States
Position Type Full-Time/Regular
Salary 130,000.00 - 130,000.00 USD

Similar jobs

Similar jobs