Director of Public Relations

25 Mar, 2019


Director of Public Relations

Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education
Harrisburg, PA



As the State System continues efforts to redesign itself for the future, the Office of the Chancellor is seeking a Director of Public Relations to advance the System’s public outreach activities and programs. The individual in this role with serve as the press and media relations officer for the State System of Higher Education.  This is a key role in the public affairs unit, and in support of the System’s mission and strategic priorities.

The “System Redesign” effort is focused on three strategic priorities that have been established by the Board of Governors:

  1. Ensuring student success
  2. Leveraging university strengths
  3. Transforming the governance/leadership structure

To continue forward momentum on the System Redesign, the Board named Dr. Dan Greenstein to serve as chancellor beginning September 2018. Most recently, he led the Postsecondary Success Strategy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for six years and previously was a senior administrator in the University of California system. Dr. Greenstein is nationally recognized as a transformative leader in higher education, focused on student success. (Learn more about the System Redesign and Dr. Greenstein at The Director of Public Relations will report to the Chief Strategic Relations Officer and serve as an adviser to the State System’s Leadership Team.


  • Develop and implement comprehensive external communications plans for the State System and the Office of the Chancellor;
  • Prepare and distribute news releases, feature articles, opinion-editorial (op-ed) pieces and letters to the editor on behalf of the State System, the Office of the Chancellor and the Board of Governors;
  • Act as press secretary for the Chancellor and Board of Governors, responding to media inquiries, scheduling interviews and editorial board visits and assisting in the preparation required for all such activities;
  • Serve as chief spokesperson for the State System on systemwide issues, either responding directly to media inquiries or preparing statements on behalf of System officials and/or the Board;
  • Serve as liaison to and coordinate media responses with campus public relations offices, including presiding over monthly meetings/conference calls with the group and providing direct assistance in area of crisis communications as required;
  • Develop and maintain a working relationship with local, regional, statewide and national news media, as well as campus publications and radio and television broadcast stations;
  • Assist other State System officers and staff in areas concerning media relations, including preparing for media interviews and planning for and conducting news conferences;
  • Track media coverage of the System by reviewing daily news clippings, campus news releases and other publications;
  • Prepare remarks for the Chancellor, Board chair or Board members for presentation at a variety of venues, including but not limited to conferences, university commencement programs, and presentations to civic and other organizations;
  • Assist with written testimony for State System officials appearing before legislative committees on behalf of the System;
  • Assist with governmental relations and other advocacy efforts;
  • Prepare a variety of publications in support of System advocacy efforts, including annual appropriations request booklet;
  • Assist in the development and maintenance of the State System website content, making regular updates, including posting news releases, providing copy for featured pages (i.e., budget advocacy) and ensuring university “landing pages” remain current;
  • Assist with development of cross-functional new media strategies;
  • Serve as a member of committees as assigned;
  • Assist in providing oversight and direction for the annual State System Collegiate Media Summit, a professional development conference for campus media;
  • Manage staff or external contractors as necessary

Minimum Qualifications

  • A bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, or closely related field
  • Five Years of progressively responsible professional experience in media relations, strategic communications, or agency public relations, or an equivalent combination of experience and training

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Ability to work well under pressure, with multiple projects and tight deadlines
  • Highly-developed writing ability, with experience writing for a variety distribution formats and audiences
  • Experience with executive communications, especially in the public policy realm
  • Familiarity with, and experience in, digital and new media content development
  • Thorough understanding of the Pennsylvania media landscape, and existing relationships with statewide and local reporters
  • Knowledge of the Pennsylvania political environment and government, including the General Assembly, Governor’s Office, and executive agencies
  • Thorough understanding of, and appreciation for, public higher education
  • Experience and training equivalencies will be assessed.
  • Preference will be given to candidates with higher education experience.

Find out more and apply here.

Job posted: 2019-03-25