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Vice President for Communications

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Florida, United States
Salary Not Specified
Date posted
Nov 16, 2023
Job Description

About Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University:

At Embry-Riddle, we take pride in our position as the world's largest and most comprehensive university dedicated to aviation and aerospace. Located in Daytona Beach, Florida, and Prescott, Arizona, our esteemed residential campuses offer a prestigious educational experience. However, our commitment to education knows no borders as our Worldwide campus expands our reach globally, providing a world-class education online and at approximately 110 locations across the United States, Asia, Europe, and Central and South America. This breadth of reach ensures that students can access our exceptional programs without geographical limitations.

With a history spanning nearly a century, we have continually adapted to the dynamic needs of the industries we support. In the Academic Year 2022-23, we welcomed over 11,100 students to our residential campuses and over 19,000 students at our worldwide campus.

Join our global community and embark on a journey of academic excellence and limitless possibilities. Employees working more than 30 hours a week can enjoy medical, dental and vision benefits, an amazing retirement plan with immediate vesting that includes a 6% gift and up to 4% match, free tuition for employees and their immediate family members, and a generous personal leave program. To find out more about our benefits and why ERAU has been named a “Great College to Work For” for 13 consecutive years, visit our careers page .

The Opportunity:

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s leading aviation and aerospace university, seeks an innovative, results-oriented strategic communications professional with higher education experience; a proven record for working effectively with journalists; and a high level of skill in identifying and writing externally newsworthy stories, to include science and technology-focused content. By generating earned media placements with influential outlets, the Vice President for Communications plays a primary role in advancing the university’s overall brand visibility and reputation. Through accurate, well-written external news stories, events, and one-on-one interviews, the Vice President elevates Embry-Riddle’s status as an aviation, aerospace, science and engineering powerhouse, and supports goals related to enrollment, industry partnerships, philanthropy, and more. The Vice President further keeps the university community informed and engaged through internal channels. In a crisis, the Vice President serves as the university’s designated spokesperson, responsible for swiftly developing, vetting, and deploying appropriate responses.

Under the auspices of University Administration, the Vice President for Communications supervises a team of senior writers, including those focused on external news stories, internal messaging, and executive communications. The team’s focus is to generate external media placements; keep the university community abreast of Embry-Riddle news, events, policies, and more; and support communication by the President as well as other members of Core Leadership Team. In addition, the Vice President collaborates extensively with colleagues across the university’s Enrollment Marketing, College Brand Management, Multimedia, and Social Media teams to deliver and amplify strategic messages in a coordinated fashion, in keeping with the university’s Strategic Plan.

The Communications team generates compelling, diverse news content that is propagated across the university’s website and through an array of external channels. The Vice President develops comprehensive communication plans to ensure the successful deployment of promising university news stories. Content to be generated by the Vice President and the Communications team should be newsworthy, first and foremost, but also consistent with Embry-Riddle’s strategic goals and messages related to enrollment, student success, research and innovation, global strategy, and philanthropy. Media placements generated by the Vice President, in concert with a talented consortia of Communications as well as Marketing colleagues, are intended to help to increase the value of degrees that students are earning, while also elevating Embry-Riddle’s reputation as a thought leader in higher education and applied research.

The successful candidate will work collegially in a team environment to position Embry-Riddle as the go-to source of innovative solutions for industry, and as a high-value university where students can successfully pursue their most ambitious goals. Leveraging written and multimedia storytelling platforms, the Vice President will develop media stories and propose them to journalists; efficiently handle incoming media queries; and take the lead in managing crisis communication situations, at the direction of the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Further, the Vice President will assist university leadership in crafting top-level messages to students, faculty, staff, and parents, as needed; and counsel colleagues regarding their internal communication needs.

Taking direction from University Administration, the Vice President will serve three different campuses – Daytona Beach, Florida, Prescott, Arizona, and Worldwide. The Vice President will develop strategies that leverage traditional as well as digital and multimedia assets to raise visibility and reputation among all stakeholders, from students and their families, to donors, industry partners, and alumni.

Nature and Scope:

The Vice President for Communications will increase awareness of Embry-Riddle as a premier teaching and applied research institution, and as journalists’ go-to source for authoritative, objective information on key aviation and aerospace topics. The Vice President will place particular emphasis on ferreting out, developing, and distributing externally newsworthy stories university-wide, and therefore must have exceptional writing skills. Through all such efforts, the Vice President will strive to generate positive-sentiment earned media, consistent with the institution’s strategic goals and messages. The Communications team further produces op-ed articles, speeches, testimony, letters, and other materials for the President. Providing essential communications support for university leadership, the Vice President will also guide internal communications and collaborate effectively with creative professionals across multiple departments.


This position will report to, and be a key advisor for the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and President, while working in partnership with all university and academic leadership.


Minimum Qualifications:
  • Master's degree in communications, journalism, or a similar field
  • 10+years of professional experience in communications, with significant experience specifically in a higher education setting
  • Exceptional ability to write accurate, compelling news stories, to include complex science and technology-related articles
  • Ability to appropriately, effectively serve as the designated University Spokesperson, as needed, particularly during crisis communication situations
  • Proven track record for providing timely, appropriate responses to media queries and maintaining positive rapport with news media
  • Demonstrated ability to pitch and place news stories (i.e., earned media)
  • Ability to collaborate with other diverse creative professionals to develop multimedia and digital assets that support story-telling, and to fulfill media requests
  • Ability to collect, interpret and leverage media-placement analytics (training on the Cision platform to be provided)
  • Demonstrated ability to initiate and oversee team projects
  • Outstanding professionalism and interpersonal skills
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Terminal degree in communications, journalism, or similar field
  • Outstanding writing skills across a broad range of topics and genres, including research news, for different audiences
  • 15-20 years communications experience, to include higher education experience, with substantial experience as a supervisor
  • Exceptional public speaking and on-camera skills (i.e., ability to handle TV interview requests)
  • Ability to work effectively with many diverse colleagues and external constituents at all levels, from senior management and academic leadership, to faculty, staff, students, industry partners, and donors
  • Proven record of responding swiftly, appropriately, and effectively to crisis communications challenges
  • Knowledge of aviation and aerospace sectors will be a plus
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

Exceptionally skilled at writing and copy editing, across all categories of content, for a variety of purposes and audiences

Broad knowledge of a wide array of current story-telling tools and tactics

Strong interpersonal skills to support effective teamwork with diverse colleagues, from staff members to faculty, to executive leadership and external stakeholders.

Effective, fair, seasoned leader who establishes high standards and clear expectations, and works to maintain superior team morale, productivity, and effectiveness, and to support employee retention.

Ability to calmly, effectively handle a variety of different projects and tasks, often under tight deadlines.

Hours / Location

The Vice President will be located at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus. This is a full-time, on-site position. The Vice President will work on-site during normal business hours. Further, as the university’s primary crisis communicator, the Vice President will be expected to be available at other times, in case of emergencies.

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