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Vice President of Communications

Lewis & Clark College
Portland, Oregon
Commensurate with experience
Posted Date
Oct 14, 2022
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Lewis & Clark College seeks a Vice President of Communications
Click here to view position profile:
Location: Portland, Oregon

The Position:
The Vice President of Communications (VP) is a new position at Lewis & Clark. The VP will be integral to the development and presentation of Lewis & Clark’s vision for the future and brand under the leadership of President Holmes-Sullivan. The VP will join a team that is driving notable successes in the realms of student recruitment, fund-raising, and the institution’s reputation and standing as a national and regional leader with a great mission of educating for the public good.

The VP will be a member of the Executive Council and will provide vision and institutional leadership for Lewis & Clark’s external and internal communication initiatives as they are expressed in a wide variety of channels, including public, community and media relations; issues and crisis management; executive communications; the web; social media; video; and digital and print marketing. The VP leads Lewis & Clark's efforts to create a consistent institution-wide, mission-centered image, brand, and identity.

The VP will collaborate actively with the President and senior leadership colleagues to develop and execute institution-wide strategy, initiatives, policies, and messages. This position plays an integral role at the institutional level and is relied on for strategic thinking and communications strategy on both a routine, day-to-day basis and when crises arise.


  • Partner with the President and Executive Council members to provide vision and leadership for Lewis & Clark's communications operation.
  • Develop and execute a comprehensive and initiative-taking college-wide marketing, communication and branding strategy that supports the strategic goals and plans of the College.
  • Lead crisis and issues management planning and rapid response messaging to deal with critical events as they arise.
  • Oversee community and public relations, in collaboration with the President, Chief of Staff, and others.
  • Set strategy for marketing, communications, and advertising to ensure that all messages from the College are accurate, consistent, and present a coherent image of the institution and its interests.
  • Lead a diverse team of marketing professionals, web producers, project managers, writers, media specialists and videographers. Provide mentorship to staff, both in terms of departmental strategy and professional development.
  • Manage the budget, staffing and infrastructure of the Office of Communications.
  • Build and promote a culture of collaboration within the Office of Communications that values learning, a commitment to quality work and customer service.
  • Cultivate strong working relationships with staff, faculty, and students across the institution.
  • Enhance name recognition and reputation of the College and be able to differentiate the perspectives of individual College audiences.
  • Analyze and act upon opportunities that develop and promote core messages in the College’s growing reputation.
  • Function as an official spokesperson for Lewis & Clark College, at the President’s designation.


  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field required. Master’s degree from a regionally or nationally accredited institution in an area appropriate to the responsibilities of the position preferred.
  • At least ten years of relevant experience required, executive level experience in higher education preferred.
  • Strong leadership skills and a proven track record of developing and executing comprehensive communication strategies and plans, advising leadership, and serving as an official spokesperson.
  • Strong teamwork skills, including the ability to work collaboratively with peers to address multiple interests while advancing the overall goals and missions of the institution.
  • Superb written and oral communication skills and exceptional attention to detail.
  • Demonstrated versatility in writing for all media platforms.
  • Successful track record of developing and implementing multi-faceted communication strategies in a complex environment.
  • Ability to efficiently develop media relations strategies and crisis communications to quickly respond to changing circumstances.
  • Advanced knowledge of the strategies and best practices for communication, including sophisticated and creative use of social media and other forms of digital communication. Proven success at developing online and social media strategies to enhance visibility, engagement, and loyalty.
  • Collegial and collaborative management style that builds bridges and consensus among individuals and units across the College.
  • The ability to articulate a new President’s vision effectively and eloquently to diverse audiences.
  • Proven leadership mentoring an experienced marketing and communication team.
  • Excellent judgment and creative problem-solving skills including negotiation and conflict resolution.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • A sense of urgency, humor, and dedication with the ability to position communication discussions at both the strategic and practical levels.
  • Presence and confidence to project credibility to strategic stakeholders.

About the Institution:
Lewis & Clark College, a private higher education institution with a public conscience and global reach, seeks a new Vice President of Communications. Lewis & Clark has long embodied a spirit of curiosity and adventure no doubt linked to its location in the Pacific Northwest. The College’s study of and commitment to sustainability and the natural environment is intrinsically linked to its unique place in the world. Its commitment to providing students with international experiences prepares them to be active, responsible, and confident citizens of the world. Its pursuits of innovation and leadership are outgrowths of a desire to venture beyond the status quo. In preparing students to be global citizens, Lewis & Clark helps them develop the tools and habits necessary to engage others with civility and respect. The College’s people – its energetic students, distinguished faculty, talented administrators and staff, and outstanding graduates - live committed, purposeful lives as global citizens.

Lewis & Clark serves over 3,600 students in three schools: the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Education and Counseling, and the Law School. The combination of outstanding liberal arts programs and top-ranked, high-quality professional programs, along with the College’s location in a major city that provides a lab for learning and engagement, makes Lewis & Clark unique. Lewis & Clark is one of the top ten producers of Fulbright scholars in the country and is nationally known for its academic programs, teaching excellence, global engagement, environmental leadership, and strong sense of civic responsibility. Lewis & Clark is located on three adjacent campuses nestled among towering trees and trillium-lined creeks, just six miles from downtown Portland, Oregon. The College’s campus is regularly recognized as one of the most beautiful in the country.

Energized by its new president, Dr. Robin Holmes-Sullivan, and led by a cohesive and talented senior administrative team, the positive momentum of the College is palpable. The College is making strong progress toward meeting the goals of its strategic plan, Exploring for the Global Good, its ambitious comprehensive philanthropic campaign has raised much of its campaign goal, and it has achieved significant enrollment growth in recent admission cycles.

The College is governed by a Board of Trustees of approximately 30 members. The Trustees are elected for overlapping three-year terms by a majority vote of the incumbent Board. Terms expire in the spring and new members are appointed to the Board in May. The Board has responsibility for the general educational, financial, and operating policies of the College and the duty to pursue the financial and community support necessary to implement those policies.

The President appoints and evaluates the performance of key employees of the College, including the three academic deans, six vice presidents, and the Dean of Equity and Inclusion. The President, vice presidents, and deans are members of the Executive Council of the College, which meets regularly in furtherance of the administrative management of the College.

President Robin Holmes-Sullivan
Dr. Robin Holmes-Sullivan is Lewis & Clark’s 26th president, and the first female and person of color to serve in this role in the institution’s 155-year history. She took the helm in July 2022, after three years serving as L&C’s vice president for student life and dean of students. Holmes-Sullivan has been credited for her pivotal role during the COVID-19 pandemic in devising creative approaches that helped keep students safe and progressing toward their degrees. Her leadership in campus engagement efforts to enhance the student experience at L&C has resulted in a $17 million capital project commitment to renovate and expand the Templeton Campus Center and secured funding to support the First-Year Experience effort to strengthen and enhance students’ success as they enter college. Holmes-Sullivan also played a key role in the development of the new Center for Social Change and Community Involvement.

Holmes-Sullivan came to Lewis & Clark in 2019 from the University of California, where she served as vice president for student affairs overseeing the undergraduate admissions process and other student-related issues for the 10-campus, 200,000-student system. Prior to her time at the University of California, Holmes-Sullivan spent 25 years at the University of Oregon, working her way up from a position as a clinical coordinator in the counseling center to become vice president of student life.

Several of the key goals President Holmes-Sullivan has articulated are focused on communication and external relations:

  • Strengthen the commitment of Lewis & Clark to be a community of care that is known for its unwavering service to constituents regardless of where or how they engage the institution.
  • Strengthen the College’s relationships with and ties to civic and government leaders and the greater Portland community.
  • Successfully conclude the College’s comprehensive $155 million philanthropic campaign, Exploring for the Global Good, ahead of schedule and move immediately into planning for the College’s next philanthropic initiatives.
  • Excel at telling others about the College’s areas of excellence, persuading the finest students, faculty, and staff to join our ranks.
  • Improve our rankings and reputation by retaining a higher percentage of students, improving alumni giving, strengthening recruitment programs, and ensuring we are better known by peers.
  • Build on our progress toward meeting our diversity, equity and inclusion goals and serve as a model for the nation on how to talk through differences.
  • Reward and retain our loyal faculty and staff with competitive compensation and open our doors to new and diverse faculty and staff.

To Apply:
Confidential review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled; parties who apply by November 27, 2022 will be given first consideration. Please submit a PDF version of your CV/resume and a letter of interest explaining your suitability for this position. To apply online, go to

For more information or to offer recommendations:
Andrea Martinez, MEd
Senior Consultant
Summit Search Solutions, Inc.
Direct: 919-357-8766

Lewis & Clark explicitly acknowledges and affirms its conviction that diversity with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, socio-economic background, religious orientation or spirituality, physical or sensory disability, gender, and sexual orientation on the Lewis & Clark campus provides an educational benefit for all students that can be realized only if students and education professionals from diverse backgrounds are present in significant numbers within our learning community. In creating and sustaining such a community, we engage, to the extent possible, in practices that will ensure a high degree of diversity on our campus, simultaneously meeting the highest standards of academic excellence of which we are capable.

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