Director of Communications

Position Information

University Code 13415 University Title Senior Director 2, Communications University Job Family Communications ORP Eligible Yes For more information on ORP, visit: Retirement Plans
Recruitment Pool All Applicants Recruitment Type Single Title Scope of Search National Working Title Director of Communications Position Number FA2580 Is this employee on a H1B Visa? No Position Type Staff Job Status Full-Time FLSA Indicator Exempt Employee Group Executive & Senior Level Leadership Department Dean'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 Opportunity:
The highly ranked Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts (VCUarts) seeks a dynamic Director of Communications to lead the school’s communications priorities and develop creative strategies to promote the school to both internal and external audiences. Under the direction of the Dean and working closely with the Dean’s leadership team, the Director will oversee the flow of news and information that informs the public and ensures that the communications office is focusing on the projects that have the greatest and most immediate impact on the reputation of the school and university. The Director will be charged with the creation and execution of a strategic communications plan that leverages the School’s national reputation and rankings. The Director will be a partner to all departments and units across the school including the development team. The university is planning for the launch of the next capital campaign and the Director of Communications will be a key player in supporting the Dean and Lead Development Officer in the messaging and strategic direction of the next campaign, the most aggressive in the school’s history. The Director will ensure that all internal and external communications exemplify an institutional and school-wide priority to foster a welcoming and appreciative culture, model VCUarts’ commitment to creating an inclusive and open environment, and align with the School’s core values. The Director will bring a high level of energy and enthusiasm to lead and inspire an integrated marketing and communications team around a shared vision for the School’s long-term success. It is expected the Director will provide guidance and leadership to the School’s communications team to ensure a healthy workplace that values experience and new ideas. Major responsibilities will include oversight of the website, print and digital media, design and production, donor and alumni publications, public relations, internal communications, videography, social media and crisis communications.

The new Director of Communications will have the opportunity to join a highly energetic, engaged and talented faculty, staff and student population. The school, with a graduate arts program that has the highest U.S. News & World Report ranking ever achieved by a public university arts and design school, has established itself as a creative force, locally, nationally and internationally. The school encompasses a wide spectrum of disciplines whose distinctiveness fosters opportunities for premier collaborations and synergies within the school, across the university and around the globe. The faculty, students, staff and community set high aspirations for themselves, individually and as a school, and will expect the same from the new Director of Communications.

The School of the Arts educates approximately 3,000 undergraduates and more than 100 graduate students through programs both in Richmond and in Doha, Qatar. In Richmond, students are taught by over 175 full-time teaching and research faculty members and more than 175 others who bring direct artistic experience into the classroom on a part-time basis, as well as over 50 staff members that assist in daily processes. The school is organized into groups, offering 18 bachelor’s degrees, six master’s degrees and one doctoral degree. The School of the Arts has an annual budget of $38 million and an endowment of more than $13.5 million.

The School of the Arts is a catalyst for innovative collaborations across campus and the community. VCU is one of only 54 universities and only 19 public universities nationwide to achieve both “Community Engaged” and “Highest Research Activity” designations by the Carnegie Foundation. It is the recipient of the prestigious Peter McGrath Award for University Community Partnerships from the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities. Within this dynamic university, the School of the Arts adds significantly to, and is supported by, the vitality of Richmond — a thriving capital city marked by innovative expression in art, theatre, design, dance, film, architecture and more. Ultimately, the work of the School of the Arts extends globally and across the humanities, health care and business.

Virginia Commonwealth University: An Overview
Virginia Commonwealth University is a Carnegie I Research University and a designated top 100 Research University by the National Science Foundation. Many of the Universities, Schools and Colleges are among the top 100 in the U.S., including medicine, engineering, the arts and business. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Twenty-two of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges and a robust Division of Student Affairs to support student success and well-being. The VCU Health brand represents the health sciences schools of VCU, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU and MCV Physicians. Today, VCU serves an integral role in the economic health of the city of Richmond and the region by providing the highest quality education for the current and future workforce, advancing research across a broad range of academic disciplines and enhancing the translation of research to serve the needs of the Commonwealth and Nation.. The university and its health system combined contribute more than $6 billion annually to the region’s economy and therefore plays a significant role in regional development and community planning.

As an urban institution of higher learning, VCU and its partners have contributed immeasurably to the development of the fabric of the city of Richmond which has transformed into a center of artistic and cultural growth, business development and social services. In consequence, the city and its leadership in business, industry and cultural affairs have given extraordinary support to the university’s growth, complementing the support of the Commonwealth. Richmond, the capital of Virginia, is a diverse cultural city, surrounded by historic neighborhoods, parks and the scenic James River.

Strategic Plan:
The University is guided by Quest 2025: Together We Transform. VCU is a rare place of both access and excellence. The strategic plan charts the course over the coming years for VCU’s rise as a pre-eminent urban, public research university committed to equitable access to social, economic and health success. The plan addresses significant issues faced by all institutions of higher education, as well as those specific to VCU . The issues include:
• Growing cynicism that public higher education serves the public good and may not be worth the expense to individuals
• The significant challenge of the rising cost of education and providing affordable access and support for timely degree completion regardless of students’ particular demographic or group
• Increased competition in public higher education for students, faculty, government and philanthropic support and national prominence
• Dependence on urban universities to lead in solving vexing societal issues, including health and economic vitality
• A recognition that resourcing the plan’s strategic priorities will require an integrated, pan-university approach and will call for hard choices around resource allocation

Richmond became the Commonwealth of Virginia’s capital in 1779. The Richmond Region is a vibrant, diverse and growing community of nearly 1.3 million people and is the ideal combination of small town feel with intimate neighborhoods and local businesses and big city offerings that include myriad theaters, galleries, music events, festivals, sports attractions and more. The city borders the James River and offers more than 550 acres of parks making it the perfect place for outdoor recreation. Richmond’s location in the middle of the state allows for day or weekend trips to the beach, the mountains or Washington, DC. Travel + Leisure magazine recently named the Richmond region as one of five top wine regions to visit. The metropolitan area is also home to seven Fortune 500 companies and ten Fortune 1000 companies, a broad base of financial companies, hospitals and media firms, high-tech manufacturing companies, as well as state and local government agencies. The city is home to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Art and additional cultural institutions that add deep enrichment opportunities.
For more information on the city of Richmond, please visit:

Minimum Hiring Standards

The Director of Communications must have:
• Demonstrated success managing multiple significant and successful communications initiatives.
• Experience in training, managing, and mentoring a staff with a variety of skill sets and the ability to build, develop, supervise and energize a team of communications professionals.
•. The highest level of integrity, accountability, and trustworthiness.
• A desire to foster an empowered, inspired, and positive culture for staff.
• A creative approach to problem solving and the ability to take advantage of emerging opportunities.
• Outstanding interpersonal skills and political savvy, with the ability to navigate a complex environment and understand and relate effectively with diverse constituents.
• Ability to function at peak in a high expectation environment is essential.
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills and the ability to communicate in a clear, consistent, and transparent manner to create shared goals and understanding.
• Master’s degree in a related field required, and/or training and professional experience that equates to a graduate degree.
• Significant number of years of experience with a complex organization engaged in marketing, communications and/or advertising and public relations preferably in a higher education environment.
• Understanding of issues, controversies, and trends affecting higher education.
• Proven superior strategic and tactical communication skills, instincts, and message development.
• Significant and progressive experience in leadership roles to design and implement strategic communications plans incorporating clear definition of goals and target audiences aligned with institutional priorities.
• Demonstrated experience working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff, and student environment or commitment to do so as a faculty member at VCU .
• Demonstrated expertise in writing, editing, public relations, marketing, and/or design.
• An understanding of creative processes associated with print, web design and social media.
• Background in publications/printing; website design, architecture, navigation, user experience; social media; digital and print advertising.
• Precise attention to detail and the ability to understand and adhere to the policies and procedures of the university.
• Ability to set proactive strategy throughout the year and quickly identify and leverage current events.
• A passion for the arts and a keen understanding of donor audiences specific to the arts.

The Director of Communications must be:
• Creative and ambitious yet flexible in order to thrive in a fast paced, academic environment while juggling numerous projects and simultaneously responding to numerous constituencies with ease.
• A natural at telling stories with words and images.
• Highly motivated and flexible with compelling leadership skills that are collaborative and inclusive.
• Able to demonstrate successful and engaging writing and editing and use written language accurately and creatively.
• Adept at aligning all communications to the School’s shared purpose while being open to constructive feedback from a variety of stakeholders with varying viewpoints and priorities.
• Able to quickly determine the appropriate venues for information (public relations pitch, newsletter story, events site, social media, etc.)
• Decisive and possess a solid grasp on priorities by working with Dean’s leadership team in establishing those priorities.
• Able to work well under pressure on a variety of projects simultaneously.
• Champion the University’s strategic plan (Quest 2025) including advancing its diversity and inclusion goals and integrating inclusive practices into all work.

Preferred Hiring Standards

• Successful history of pitching stories to the national media.
• Familiarity with WordPress, Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, project management systems, and digital asset management systems such as Resource Space.
• Experience with a major art school, university recruitment and/or an arts organization or creative enterprise.

Required Licenses/ Certifications Anticipated Hiring Range $90,000-$115,000 Application Process/Additional Information

Procedure for Candidacy:

Review of applications begins immediately and will continue until the position is filled. For full consideration, applications are due by April 5, 2021. Candidates should complete the basic personal and demographic application through the VCU job site at VCU eJobs: Candidates should provide a resume, cover letter, a diversity statement*, and the names and contact information of three references. References will not be contacted without prior knowledge and approval of candidates.

*Virginia Commonwealth University is committed to organizational diversity, equity and inclusion – an environment where all can thrive in their pursuit of excellence. Applicants are requested to submit a Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion providing your career aspirations and contributions toward promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. For additional guidance on writing a Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

For more information on VCUarts, please visit Virginia Commonwealth University, please visit and

Virginia Commonwealth University is committed to providing accessible and equitable living, learning and working environments free from discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex (including pregnancy), political affiliation, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or disability.

Campus Monroe Park Campus Hours/Week 40 Normal Work Days/Hours Monday-Friday/8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Job Open Date 02/24/2021 Posting will close on or before Open Until Filled Yes Job Category 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
  1. Cover Letter/Letter of Application
  2. Resume
  3. Diversity Statement (Required for all Faculty)
Optional Documents

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