Deputy Vice President for Strategic Communications

07 May, 2022


Deputy Vice President for Strategic Communications

Columbia University
New York, NY


Reporting to the Executive Vice President for Alumni and Development (EVP), the Deputy Vice President for Strategic Communications (DVP) will develop and implement internal and external communications strategies with a “digital-first” orientation to support fundraising and alumni relations efforts within Columbia University’s Office of Alumni and Development (OAD). This is a highly collaborative, service-oriented position working with senior leadership in OAD and with colleagues across Columbia’s campuses, schools, and units. The DVP will lead a team of professionals responsible for content creation, creative design, video production, public relations, alumni magazine publication, and internal communications.

The Columbia brand is among the nation’s and the world’s most respected names in higher education and research. The Office of Alumni and Development leverages and extends that brand to accomplish key strategic fundraising and engagement goals. The DVP will be responsible for overall brand management within OAD, including the Columbia Alumni Association and its component programs, and fundraising initiatives such as Columbia Giving Day, capital campaigns, and sub-campaigns.

The DVP will be a leader in developing appropriate online content solutions in close collaboration with colleagues in Annual Fund Programs, Donor Relations, Columbia Magazine, and the Columbia Alumni Association. This will include oversight and management of key digital properties such as the University giving website, Columbia Magazine website, and the Columbia Alumni Association website.

Working closely with the University’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs and President’s Office, the DVP will manage alumni and development public relations, gift publicity, and crisis communications and provide framing and talking points for frontline staff who deal with alumni and donors.

Working closely with the EVP and the President’s Office, the DVP will be responsible for establishing a strategy for presidential communications to donors and the broader alumni audience. This will include drafting language for presidential communications and drawing from non-development presidential communications for use in alumni and development work.

Columbia Magazine is a University-wide alumni communications channel historically focused on print editions and more recently enhancing its digital presence and content. The DVP will develop and lead a long-range strategy for magazine content creation and reader engagement to maximize content reach and reception while working within constrained printing and postage costs and minimizing environmental impact.

The DVP will lead internal communications within OAD and often across the University-wide alumni and development community. The incumbent will create an internal communications strategy to guide executive communications to staff, develop and manage a forward-looking calendar of communication opportunities, and work directly with the EVP to develop appropriate messages and channels, both digital and in-person. The incumbent will provide communications counsel and support to fundraisers and alumni officers to better communicate Columbia’s overall vision, strategy and capabilities to wide variety of audiences. The DVP will participate in the planning and execution of all-staff meetings, and collaborate with Administration and IT partners to leverage and drive improvements to the OAD intranet, LionsDen, as an internal communications channel.

The DVP will lead a matrixed community of writers and content producers across OAD units to develop and leverage creative skills and career paths across OAD. This will include proactively aligning creative and writing work among this community of content creators.


Responsibilities include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Provide leadership, vision, and strategic direction for the Office of Alumni and Development communications staff and programs, with a firm and visible commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and to our Core Values of Respect, Partnership, Ownership, and Integrity.
  • Develop and implement overall integrated communications plan for University-wide fundraising initiatives, leveraging and supporting colleagues in a wide array of units and schools.
  • Ensure integration of core messaging architecture across media, channels, and organizational units.
  • Employ sophisticated segmentation strategies to align messages and media to reach diverse audiences.
  • Craft and contribute to communications from University leadership, including the President and Provost.
  • Leverage a University-wide network of development communication leaders to ensure strategic coordination and collaboration across schools and units.
  • Collaborate closely with the senior leadership of the University’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs relative to matters of publicity, public relations and crisis management.
  • Manage, supervise and develop a high performing communications team through rigorous goal-setting and performance management, including coaching and career guidance as needed.


Bachelor’s degree required. Minimum 10 years related experience in higher education, advertising, or marketing. Strong verbal and written communicator. Talented writer and communicator: demonstrated success in translating specialized material for a general audience and presenting complex ideas in clear, lively ways. Demonstrated understanding of the power of visual storytelling. Strong orientation to priority setting, effective project management, and measurement. Possesses a high level of integrity exhibiting strong core and partnership values. Strategic communicator who possesses the aptitude to motivate and lead by example.


Advanced degree preferred. Familiarity with Columbia University past and present. Understanding of Columbia’s brand and the appropriate way to market it. Proven understanding of importance and possibilities for online and social media. Strong manager and developer of talent.


Demonstrates nuanced understanding of academic environment. Proactive planner and decision maker. Demonstrated skill in developing integrated marketing that incorporates messages, design, images, and new media. Deft in juggling competing priorities to serve a complex organization. Collaborative yet able to work independently with equal effectiveness. Comfortable reaching out to and interacting with high-profile individuals.


Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran

Columbia University is committed to the hiring of qualified local residents.

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Job posted: 2022-05-07