Assistant Vice President for Research, Executive Director for Research Communications

Pennsylvania State University
Pennsylvania, United States
Salary Not specified
Dec 15, 2020
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Assistant Vice President for Research, Executive Director for Research Communications

The Office of the Senior Vice President for Research is seeking an Assistant Vice President for Research and Executive Director for Research Communications, who will strategically and effectively position Penn State Research in ways that build reputation and support among our targeted audiences, including faculty, sponsors, and influencers. This includes developing a strategic communications plan for the Research enterprise and executing against that plan.

The individual will help coordinate and align communication activities being implemented across the entire unit, including the interdisciplinary research institutes, entrepreneurship, the Applied Research Lab, and corporate engagement teams. This position will also coordinate closely with Penn State's Office of Strategic Communications, including through developing proactive media relations and brand messaging.

The communication strategy for research is expected to include aspects such as ensuring continual awareness and appreciation of the breadth, depth, and impact of Penn State research within government, industry, and other stakeholders, communicating the impact of Penn State's multi-disciplinary research strengths, and developing a communication campaign for our profound scholarship to more publicly raise awareness of the world class interdisciplinary research that is ongoing.

The individual must have experience segmenting communications to reach multiple target audiences, including federal sponsors, industry sponsors, foundations, donors, entrepreneurs, faculty, postdocs, grad students, and undergraduate students. The individual should anticipate needs and opportunities and will be expected to forge strong relationships with faculty, staff, and leaders across the Research enterprise and the University, including the Commonwealth Campuses, the interdisciplinary research institutes, Applied Research Lab, and the College of Medicine.

Key priorities for this role include developing a positioning strategy and message matrix that helps increase the University's profile among the targeted audiences, developing a media placement program within discipline-specific media, and coordinating and streamlining research communications within the university for the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research.

Close coordination and partnership with the Office of Strategic Communications is required to help integrate research office priorities into the University's overall marketing and media-based reputation, building campaigns, and aligning with overall university communications protocols and policies. Toward that end, the individual will have a dotted-line relationship with the Office of Strategic Communications. To apply, please visit and submit a cover letter and current curriculum vitae.

Required Experience
  • 10+ years as a leader in communications, having held positions of increasing responsibility and scope at organizations of significant complexity. Previous experience at a university is not required. Previous experience with technical or scientific messaging is a plus.
  • Strong experience with integrated communications and modern messaging methods, encompassing internal communications and leadership positioning, media, marketing, digital, and issues communications.
  • Strategic planning and resource management skills with demonstrated experience working in a complex environment managing multiple objectives and points of view and garnering trust on all levels.
  • An understanding and proficiency with social media and blogging and its application to disparate stakeholders.
  • Self-motivated with exceptional organizational, interpersonal, and oral communication skills, the ability to manage multiple projects, experience with public speaking, and the ability to articulate ideas clearly and succinctly.
  • Bachelor's degree (Master's degree preferred) in communications, public relations, journalism, or equivalent combination of relevant education and experience.

The Pennsylvania State University is committed to and accountable for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of its forms. We embrace individual uniqueness, foster a culture of inclusion that supports both broad and specific diversity initiatives, leverage the educational and institutional benefits of diversity, and engage all individuals to help them thrive. We value inclusion as a core strength and an essential element of our public service mission.

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Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.