Vice President, University Relations

Position Information

University Code 13713 University Title Chief Communications Officer 3 University Job Family Communications ORP Eligible Yes For more information on ORP, visit: Retirement Plans
Recruitment Pool All Applicants Recruitment Type Job Series Scope of Search National Working Title Vice President, University Relations Position Number FA0860 Position Type Staff Job Status Full-Time FLSA Indicator Exempt Employee Group Executive & Senior Level Leadership Department President's Office Organizational Overview

At VCU, we Make it Real through learning, research, creativity, service and discovery — the hallmarks of the VCU experience. A premier, urban, public research university nationally recognized as one of the best employers for diversity, VCU is a great place to work. It’s a place of opportunity, where your success is supported and your career can thrive. VCU offers employees a generous leave package, career paths for advancement, competitive pay, and an opportunity to do mission-driven work.

Position Primary Purpose and General Responsibilities

The Vice President of University Relations is responsible for providing strategic guidance and cultivating collaborative relationships across the various campuses, colleges, and offices. The VP is a brand champion, combining creativity, a growth-oriented mindset, and a comprehensive knowledge of communications strategy to advance the VCU and VCU Health enterprise and its mission and vision. The position drives the performance and results of the Division of University Relations, and it has oversight for all aspects of both internal and external communications for the VCU and VCU Health enterprise. The VP prioritizes, encourages, and is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and engagement in all work, and will invest and elevate the culture needed for the institution and team. The VP has responsibility for implementing decisions with the Board of Visitors and cabinet, which requires ongoing collaboration and partnership to direct the operations and long-term strategies of the University. The position will partner with other leadership throughout the University and Health System to capitalize on the special qualities of VCU and contribute significantly to its success during a time of momentous change in higher education.
The vice president of university relations will perform the following duties as a part of the role:
-Provide leadership and vision for the University’s and Health System’s strategic communications, issues and crisis management, public relations, media relations, internal communications, content and message strategy, digital and social media, advertising and marketing, creative editorial and design services, internal communications, executive communications and special events;
Develop, execute, and oversee programs to tell the University’s and Health System’s stories by weaving them together to create a consistent, unified message in support of the VCU brand and image to all constituents;
-Sharpen and strengthen the overall brand, with the responsibility of positioning the University and Health System in the market, determining target audiences, and displaying the desired reputation;
-Raise VCU’s national prominence, institutional identity, and academic reputation through understanding of national recruitment and public affairs of VCU’s work;
-Keep faculty, staff, students, and their families informed of the University and Health System’s goals and progress;
-Utilize a research-based approach to identify key messages and audiences and develop and execute a comprehensive, long-term, and proactive University and Health System-wide communications strategy consistent with the strategic goals, plans, and aspirations of the University;
-Assess critical communication and public/ media relations needs and identify strong messages, media formats, and comprehensive tactical plans through appropriate research and collaboration with administrative and academic leaders as well as communities across the University and Health System;
-Facilitate a work environment that encourages knowledge of, respect for, and development of skills to engage with those of other cultures or backgrounds; encourage and be committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and engagement in all work and prioritize and actualize these values;
-Build rapport, trust, and partnerships with a campus-wide network of administrative and academic colleagues to inform, shape, guide, and develop innovative and effective strategies of messaging and high-quality public outreach;
-Oversee the development of internal and external correspondence on behalf of the Office of the President for distribution to target audiences, in alignment with the University’s strategic plan;
-Provide leadership, expertise, and guidance to direct and continue building the skills and impact of the university relations division staff and their potential to shape the standing and engagement goals of the University and Health System, including setting clear benchmarks for high performance, leading by example and having insight into best-in-practice work in order to create a vision for comprehensive outreach and investing and elevating the culture needed for the team, cognizant of engagement and morale;
-Set the tone and lead communications professionals across the University in expanding and strengthening strong, productive collaborations with faculty, students, and staff colleagues;
-Anticipate, mitigate, and manage the types of complex, challenging, sensitive and potentially negative situations and issues that can rapidly arise on any campus and how they impact students, faculty, staff, as well as the University’s and Health System’s reputation or the confidence of the campus community;
-Ensure a fiscally sound operation of University Relations by exercising management practices and implementing income-generating activities to result in operations within allocated budgets; and
-Remain competent and current through self-directed professional reading, developing professional contacts with colleagues, attending professional development courses, and attending training and/or courses.

Minimum Hiring Standards

The ideal candidate will bring a distinguished, proven record of success, and must have significant leadership experience appropriate to the size and complexity of VCU and VCU Health. The next VP should possess the following qualities and experiences:
-A degree (or equivalent experience) in a relevant area of study;
-10 – 15 years of relevant professional experience at a large, complex institution or organization;
-Broadness in a hybrid of communications talents and skills, with a track record of success, including strategic and innovative communications planning across platforms; media relations; public relations and national media; marketing; internal communications; issues and crisis management; executive communications; content and message strategy; digital and social media; creative editorial and design services; and special events;
-Ability to understand the current landscape of the above areas in higher education, healthcare and in the national and local landscape;
-Significant experience as an inspirational and visionary leader, developing, and implementing a successful and comprehensive integrated strategic communications program across a decentralized enterprise with multiple constituencies, a wide variety of audiences, and varied priorities;
-Substantial experience evaluating the strengths of existing strategic communications programs and identifying opportunities for improvement and ability to demonstrate effectiveness of programs and initiatives, using data-driven techniques, metrics and benchmarking;
-Demonstrated ability in successfully leading and motivating staff to achieve and sustain excellence, change, and growth and a strong commitment to personal and professional development, and the ability to build a strong, autonomous, and collaborative team;
-Demonstrated commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment at VCU throughout creative work, operations and interpersonal relationships; a commitment to working with multicultural populations and an awareness of issues affecting minorities and ability to develop knowledge of, respect for, and skills to engage with those of other cultures or backgrounds;
-Superior news judgement and outstanding written and oral communications skills and presence at all levels and for all audiences, nationally and internationally; a storyteller who can create a brand and understands the value of telling a powerful story;
-Expertise on the advantages and drawbacks of emerging digital media (websites, social media, etc.) in strategic communication for an institution, conveying information and content in ways that engage and excite constituents, including prospective students and their families, alumni, and the wider public;
-Demonstrated ability preparing, justifying, and presenting business cases, budgets, and plans; and measuring the impact of different strategies and programs. A keen eye for operational efficiency and optimal use of resources; the ability to plan, monitor, and manage a budget;
-A demonstrated leadership style that is collegial, empathetic, and genuine, with superlative interpersonal skills to manage internal and external relationships;
-Comfort dealing effectively, diplomatically, and sensitively with all levels of management and staff across a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences and the demonstration of an honest respect for each individual;
-Demonstrated emotional intelligence and situational awareness with strong influencing skills, demonstrated ability to earn credibility and influence opinion leaders. Intellectual depth, maturity and confidence to garner the trust of the President, Board, faculty, staff, alumni and other constituents;
-Decisive and brave leadership, consultative, with the ability to make decisions to lead the University and division;
-Flexible and resilient, someone who is not consumed by challenges; and
-Strong, personal and professional integrity, with adherence to ethical standards in the communications profession.

Preferred Hiring Standards

-Master’s degree;
-Experience in communications at a higher education institution, large health care system; or with communications, government, federal, or state organizations;
-A deep appreciation for the history, achievements, and aspirations of VCU, and the ability to articulate those to a diverse audience in an effective and eloquent manner;
-General understanding of public safety communications, including crisis communications, Clery Act requirements; and
-Project management skills and effective delegation abilities.

Required Licenses/ Certifications Anticipated Hiring Range Commensurate Application Process/Additional Information

Please direct inquiries, nominations, and application materials to:

Betty Asher, Partner & Vice President

Ann Bailey, Senior Executive Search Consultant

Campus Monroe Park Campus Hours/Week 40+ Normal Work Days/Hours M-F, 8:00 - 5:00PM (some weekends and outside hours expected) Job Open Date 10/13/2020 Posting will close on or before Open Until Filled Yes Job Category Miscellaneous Is this a restricted position? No Is this position eligible to participate in alternative work arrangements? Yes Sensitive Position No Resource Critical Yes Quick Link Posting Specific Questions

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

Optional & Required Documents
Required Documents Optional Documents
  1. Cover Letter/Letter of Application
  2. Other Document
  3. Resume
  4. Reference Letter - 1
  5. Reference Letter - 2
  6. Reference Letter - 3

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