Vice President & Chief Communications Officer – Office of Communications

25 Nov, 2019


Vice President & Chief Communications Officer – Office of Communications

Howard University
Washington, DC

Howard University Mission
Howard University is a comprehensive, research-oriented, historically Black private university providing an educational experience of exceptional quality to students of high academic potential with particular emphasis upon the provision of educational opportunities to promising Black students. Further, the University is dedicated to attracting and sustaining a cadre of faculty who are, through their teaching and research, committed to the development of distinguished and compassionate graduates and to the quest for solutions to human and social problems in the United States and throughout the world.
Position Compensation

Salary Commensurate With Qualifications, Education & University Guidelines.

Position Information

Basic Function

The Vice President & Chief Communications Officer is responsible for overall communications, research-based messaging, marketing, and branding activity for the University. The Vice President serves as the University’s chief marketing and communications officer and is a key member of the University’s leadership team. The Vice President represents and promotes the University, increasing its visibility in support of the institution’s mission, vision, and goals. The Vice President leads the development and implementation of the University’s brand vision, strategy, and public relations campaigns to attract the best students, motivate alumni and donors, and recruit high quality faculty and staff. The Vice President oversees the areas of University Communications, Publications, Photographic Services, Web and New Media, and Athletics Communications. In addition to leading the University’s central team of marketing and communications professionals, the Vice President provides strategic direction and coordinates communications produced by other academic and administrative units and ensures key university activities are captured in Executive Management communications materials. In addition, the Vice President is responsible for developing correspondence to internal and external audiences on behalf of the Office of the President as necessary. The incumbent will also research issues that may impact the University and provide recommendations for strategic communications messaging.

Supervisory Accountability

Has overall responsibility for providing direction and guidance in the area of Communication Management. Plans, assigns, and evaluates the work of professional and support staff for effective operation and results and is responsible for making recommendations in the areas of compensation, staff selection, disciplinary action, complaints, staff performance appraisal, and similar supervisory duties.

Nature And Scope

Internal contacts include a variety of persons including Members of the Board of Trustees and the Cabinet, Faculty, Administrators, Staff and Students. External contacts include radio, television and print media as well as the general public as it relates to speaking and interview opportunities for the Howard University President and the distribution of public relations information.

Principal Accountabilities

  • Provides leadership and vision for the University’s strategic and integrated marketing and communications functions.
  • Leads and directs the marketing, communications and public relations staff and coordinates at the strategic and tactical levels with all University departments.
  • Prepares internal and external correspondence on behalf of the Office of the President for distribution to target audiences using both print and electronic vehicles.
  • Researches and develops communications materials for the Office of the President including speeches, talking points and background information for media interviews and speaking engagements as designated.
  • Develops and executes a comprehensive, long-term and proactive University-wide communications, marketing, and branding strategy consistent with the strategic goals, plans, and aspirations of the University.
  • Designs marketing and branding, online engagement, and other social media presence, press/media relations and team development and management strategies that enhance Howard’s institutional identity, academic reputation, and goals for enrollment of students, fundraising and community involvement.
  • Creates a collegial, team-building work environment, motivating staff, and cultivating productive, collaborative relationships with all constituent groups.
  • Utilizes a research-based approach to identify key messages and audiences, works consistently to tell the University’s stories by weaving them together to create a consistent, unified message in support of the Howard University brand, and articulates the University’s image and brand in the delivery of the University’s message to all constituents.
  • Oversees the University’s brand manager, with the responsibility of positioning the University in the market, determining target audiences, and maintaining the desired reputation.Organizes and facilitates marketing committee representing stakeholders for campus-wide collaboration and participation.
  • Identifies situations needing immediate media and/or public response and responsible for crisis communication planning, serving as University spokesperson as necessary.
  • Plans and oversees the design and production of all marketing, public relations, and advertising products.
  • Ensures effective and efficient operation of the major units in University Relations (University Communications, Publications, Web and New Media, Photographic Services, and Athletics Communications) by coordinating unit plans, goals, and objectives, designing systems of effective controls to guide work toward expected outcomes, and evaluating progress towards their accomplishment. Coordinates synergies between print material, web presence and social media.
  • Develops, executes, and oversees programs necessary to communicate the University’s mission and performance to the public. Develops related policies and procedures for timely and effective execution of initiatives.
  • Communicates the University’s position and policies on a variety of issues to specific media and to various University constituencies, which includes serving as the University spokesperson with the media as appropriate.
  • Ensures a fiscally sound operation of Marketing and University Relations by exercising management practices and implementing income-generating activities, which result in operations within allocated budgets.
  • Ensures continuity within the units of Marketing and University Relations by developing media relations policies, writing stories and scripts, initiating special publications, writing articles for publications, and performing other related hands-on functions. Edits communications materials for distribution internally and externally to print and electronic media.
  • Facilitates a work environment that encourages knowledge of, respect for, and development of skills to engage with those of other cultures or backgrounds.
  • Remains competent and current through self-directed professional reading, developing professional contacts with colleagues, attending professional development courses, and attending training and/or courses as required by the President.
  • Contributes to the overall success of the University by performing all other duties as assigned.

Core Competencies

  • Knowledge of the principles, practices and methodologies of communications, public/media relations and speech writing.
  • Strong ability to write speeches and/or articles of interest to a wide variety of publics for consumption by local and national as well as international print and electronic media.
  • Ability to effectively interpret speaking opportunities related to positioning the University and the preparation of speeches and talking points to meet these objectives.
  • Expertise in making presentations and negotiating with the media.
  • Ability to think critically and secure information needed to develop communications materials for the Office of the President.
  • Knowledge of computer technology including word processing, spreadsheet, database, display software and other user-friendly software.
  • Knowledge of research techniques with ability to think critically and secure information needed to develop communications materials for the Office of the President.
  • Knowledge of and adherence to policy and procedures, with ability to recommend changes and develop alternatives when and if necessary.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills including expertise in writing and editing an assortment of communications materials.
  • Demonstrated skill in negotiation, as well as in making oral and computerized presentations.
  • Excellent leadership skills with ability to perform duties with tact, decorum and diplomacy.
  • Excellent decision making skills with ability to think conceptually, analytically and to remain focused on goals and objectives.
  • Ability to develop and implement strategic communications and research-based marketing plans.
  • Ability to be flexible, responsive to change, use good judgment, makes sound decisions that demonstrate ability to forecast issues and use good problem solving skills.
  • Ability to write effective, persuasive speeches containing accurate, appealing information.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective and harmonious work relations with students, faculty, staff, University officials and the general public.
  • A commitment to working with multi-cultural populations and an awareness of issues affecting minorities and ability to develop knowledge of, respect for, and skills to engage with those of other cultures or backgrounds.

Minimum Requirements

  • Master’s degree in Journalism, Communications, Public/Media Relations, English or closely related field and seven years of experience in professional writing and editing. In lieu of a Master’s degree, a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, Communications, Public/Media Relations, English or closely related field and ten years of experience in professional writing and editing; or the equivalent combination of 12 years of professional work experience relating to the essential job duties and broad knowledge of the principles and practices in executive speechwriting.
  • A record of success in progressively responsible positions is required.
  • At least four years of management experience is required, as is experience in one or more of these areas: marketing, public relations, media relations, news and information, video production, photography, publications, or athletics communications.

Note: This position description should not be construed to imply that these requirements are the exclusive standards of the position. Incumbents will follow any other instructions, and perform any other related duties, as may be required. The university has the right to revise this position description at any time. This position description is not be construed as a contract for employment.
Equal Employment Opportunity
The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, sex, marital status, religion, or disability. Veteran status and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Inquiries regarding provisions for persons with disabilities, equal employment opportunity and Title IX should be directed to the Office of Employee Relations and Equal Employment Opportunity at (202) 202-806-1280.

Learn more here

Job posted: 2019-11-25