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Director of Strategic Communications

Seattle University
Washington, United States
Salary Not specified
Posted Date
Apr 12, 2022

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Position Type
Administrative, Business & Administrative Affairs, Public Relations & Marketing (Campus)
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time
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Director of Strategic Communications

FLSA Status: Exempt

Months Per Year: 12

Employment Status: Full-Time

Competitive compensation and benefits package. Salary based on experience; minimum starting salary is $90,300.

Seattle University will be one of the most innovative and progressive Jesuit and Catholic universities in the world, educating with excellence at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels. We embrace an intersectional framework for defining diversity in its broadest sense, including differences in gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, generational history, culture, socioeconomic class, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship status, political perspectives, geographic origin and physical ability. Seattle University strives to be a welcome, open and safe campus climate for all who learn, live and work at Seattle University.

Benefits at a Glance

Consistent with its fundamental Jesuits value, Seattle University offers a wide range of benefits designed to care for the whole person. Choose from three different medical plans, a dental, and vision insurance programs. Protect your income with life, short & long-term disability coverage, and plan for your future with an 8% employer contribution for retirement benefits. You may also take advantage of 100% paid tuition benefits for the employee and dependents, a subsidized transportation benefit, a wellness program with an onsite fitness facility, and a wide variety of campus events. Enjoy a generous holiday schedule, including a paid Holiday break closure in December, vacation and paid sick leave, and paid community service leave.For more information explore the Benefits website at:

Position Description:

The Director of Strategic Communications is a highly experienced, seasoned communicator serving in a key leadership position within Seattle University's Marketing Communications Division. The position reports to the Vice President for University Affairs (VP), the university's chief brand and communications officer. Working in close partnership with other areas of the university on SU's communications, news, media and storytelling priorities, the position oversees strategic communications, issue management, media relations and crisis communications.

The position plays a critical role in supporting and working with the president, VP and other leaders in proactively shaping and sharing Seattle University's story across earned, owned and shared media, and in leading communications planning, elevating the university's profile, managing reputational issues and responding to crisis situations.

Strategic Communications, Media Relations, Issues Management, Crisis Communications – 60%

Develops and implements proactive communication plans centered on topics critical to Seattle University's mission, Strategic Directions and brand positioning.

Seeks and maintains awareness of campus, local/regional, national and international developments, happenings and news that interrelate with SU's mission and Strategic Directions in order to advise the VP and university leaders of communication opportunities, thought leadership and supportive information and resources.

Develops and implements communication strategies that raise the profile of the university's academic reputation and highlight the impact of SU's faculty, staff, students, alumni and research.

Supports and drives consistent messaging across stakeholder initiatives and materials.

Creates and maintains proactive plans for anticipated and known reputational issues including background information, risk evaluation, communication options and key messages.

Develops communication plans for issues management and crisis situations to include relevant background information, goals and options, strategies and tactics, key messages, talking points, media statements and outcomes metrics.

Serves as a university spokesperson. Oversees one media relations staff position that supports day-to-day media outreach, pitches and inquiries.

Oversight and Management of Strategic Communications Functions – 30%

Advise president, VP and other university leaders on key communication opportunities and strategies.

Serve as a strategic partner to peers within the division and across the university, working in close collaboration with VP, university advancement and external affairs staff to ensure alignment of communication priorities.

Oversee the evolution of SU's news and storytelling operation, including the optimization of all owned media (e.g., print, publications, social media, website, email, events).

Consult and work closely in partnership with Athletics, integrating student athletes and their achievements and impact across the work of the department.

Continually evaluate the effectiveness of existing and proposed communication strategies and vehicles. Establish defined goals, objectives and metrics for all communications activities and monitor progress toward fulfillment.

Supervise staff of three to four.

Develops and maintains relationships with outside consultants and firms to support strategic communications, issues management and crisis response as needed.

Emergency Communications – 10%

Represents department on Emergency Management Team.

In emergency situations, works out of Emergency Operations Center to help coordinate and align planning, strategies, and communications.

Partners with and supports the Department of Campus Public Safety and other areas as needed.

Works with colleagues to update and maintain crisis/emergency response process/protocol, and lead implementation of communications protocol when situations emerge.



Bachelor's degree in communications, journalism, public relations or related field.

10+ years of experience.

Minimum 7 years experience serving in leadership roles in strategic communications, public relations, media relations, journalism or related fields.

Minimum 3 years of experience as a spokesperson.

Demonstrated experience working on complex communication issues with an organization's leadership (i.e., presidents/CEOs, vice presidents).

Demonstrated experience building strong relationships with key individuals in the community across non-profits, city/county/state government, neighborhood groups and educational institutions.

Demonstrated ability to understand complex issues and convey them publicly in clear, concise and compelling communications.

Proven ability to work in close collaboration with a diverse group of stakeholders to generate great ideas, and gather and incorporate feedback from across the organization.

Demonstrated knowledge of computer applications, including Microsoft Office.

Demonstrated ability leveraging social media and digital communications for reputation building, engaging influencers and delivering key messages.

Strong interpersonal, oral, written and management skills.


Master's degree or equivalent work experience in a complex organization.

Higher education experience.

Experience working for an agency that specializes in public and media relations.

Application Instructions

Please attach a cover letter with your resume when applying. Job postings are open until filled, unless otherwise specified.

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