Communications Specialist

12 Jan, 2021


Communications Specialist

American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS)
New York, NY

ACLS Mission and Overview

Formed a century ago, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is a nonprofit federation of 75 scholarly organizations. As the leading representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences, ACLS holds a core belief that knowledge is a public good. As such, ACLS strives to promote the circulation of humanistic knowledge throughout society. In addition to stewarding and representing its member organizations, ACLS employs its $140 million endowment and $35 million annual operating budget to support scholarship in the humanities and social sciences and to advocate for the centrality of the humanities in the modern world.

This year, ACLS issued its first-ever strategic plan, which outlines four strategic priorities: encouraging scholars and scholarship responsive to diverse audiences; strengthening relationships among our core constituencies within the academy and our partners beyond the academy; lifting the public profile of humanistic knowledge; and empowering staff and partners to work responsibly and inclusively.

Job Summary

As ACLS embarks on its second century, it will begin implementation that calls for the organization to take a lead role in increasing the appeal and lift the public profile of scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. This will involve identifying and undertaking strategic opportunities to articulate and amplify the value of humanistic study and in collaboration with scientists and activists in response to the world’s most pressing challenges. It will also involve efforts to promote ACLS as an effective advocate for knowledge for the public good, supporting and improving humanistic study and scholarship, as well as promoting the importance of diversity and inclusion within the Academy.

Reporting to the Director of Communications and working closely with program, fundraising, and leadership staff across the organization, the Communications Specialist will assist in the development and implementation of strategic communication that serve our various constituencies, advance scholarship in new directions, and raise awareness and support for the field and the work being done.


Content Development and Storytelling

  • Work with teams across the organization to identify stories of impact
  • Draft compelling stories of impact that are SEO optimized, highlighting programs, scholarship, people and institutional efforts that serve as examples of the benefits and impact of the ACLS mission, values, and strategic priorities
  • Develop multi-media content highlighting the work of past awardees and events
  • Manage content calendar to share and call for contributions from colleagues in fundraising and program teams

Media Outreach

  • Develop and pitch stories around thought leadership, innovative programs and partnerships, and other key ACLS initiatives
  • Research, build and manage media lists using Cision media database
  • Build media relationships across channels
  • Coordinate interviews and follow up as needed
  • Track media coverage, add to website and social media channels, share across organization and among key audiences, compile reporting

Social Media

  • Build and manage ACLS social media profiles and presence, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, with organic and paid content, as well as additional channels that may be in use and relevant
  • Proactively coordinate with teams across the organization in developing and scheduling social media content that highlights ACLS programs, thought leadership, member institutions, mission, and values
  • Monitor social media networks for news and trend developments related to ACLS mission and programs
  • Create sharable content to drive engagement, spread our content, and mission
  • Collect and present performance analytics to help shape future campaigns and strategies

Marketing and Communications Support

  • Manage and create reports using impact measurement tools including Google Analytics
  • Assist in the development and management of an organization-wide communications calendar, including large email drops, web content, and social media campaigns
  • Collaborate with Director of Communications in managing external email communications including organizational and program announcements and e-newsletters
  • Assist Director of Communications in coordinating the development of website and printed materials, and ongoing external communications materials
  • Assist in managing digital content assets libraries, including story bank, photos, videos, logos, graphics, and digital publications
  • Perform other related duties as assigned


  • A minimum of 3-5 years of experience in a similar position, preferably with a nonprofit and/or community/business development organization
  • Strong written and oral communication skills, with experience in developing stories and developing compelling content for a wide variety of channels and audiences
  • Experience in media outreach and placement
  • Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of commonly accepted communications, marketing, and public relations principles and practices
  • Understanding of web and social media analytics tools and awareness of and ability to integrate practices around the latest social media trends
  • Proactive self-starter, highly organized, and detail-oriented, with ability to multi-task and prioritize long-term projects and short-term assignments
  • Creative thinker and problem solver
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with a track record of working effectively with colleagues at varying levels of seniority
  • Proficient in all MS Office applications, Canva, content management software, and email marketing platforms; familiarity with Adobe Creative Suite a plus
  • Familiarity with Kentico web platform and/or HTML a plus
  • Experience with DSLR cameras and basic photo editing a plus
  • Interest or experience in issues and challenges facing the humanities and humanistic social sciences

Commitment to diversity

ACLS is committed to creating an inclusive environment for our employees and embedding attention to equity and inclusion in all our practices. We welcome applications from all individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, parental status, or military service.

How to Apply

Please submit a cover letter and resume here.

Job posted: 2021-01-12