Director of Communications and Engagement

The University of Chicago

About Us:

The University of Chicago is an urban research university that has driven new ways of thinking since 1890. Our commitment to free and open inquiry draws inspired scholars to our global campuses, where ideas are born that challenge and change the world.

We empower individuals to challenge conventional thinking in pursuit of original ideas. Students in the College develop critical, analytic, and writing skills in our rigorous, interdisciplinary core curriculum. Through graduate programs, students test their ideas with UChicago scholars, and become the next generation of leaders in academia, industry, nonprofits, and government.


PSD Institute for Mathematical and Statistical Innovation: Administration and Staff.

About the Department:

The Institute for Mathematical and Statistical Innovation (IMSI) is an NSF-funded mathematical sciences research institute housed in the Physical Sciences Division at the University of Chicago, Hyde Park Campus. IMSI is operated in partnership with Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. IMSI hosts and facilitates research, education outreach, public engagement, and workforce development programs in the mathematical sciences. Participants in IMSI activities come from the international scientific and technology community. Research at IMSI is focused primarily on applications in defined thematic areas, currently including: climate science, data & information, health care & medicine, materials science, quantum computing & information, and quantifying uncertainty.

Position Details

Director of Communications and Engagement
Chicago Illinois
Chicago, IL

Communications is one of IMSI’s three strategic pillars (Science, Communications, Broadening Participation) and will be key to building an audience for IMSI research and among IMSI researchers and their colleagues, translating IMSI science for broad audiences, and lowering the barriers to participation in the mathematical science and in IMSI activities among scientists from groups historically underrepresented in the sciences. Reporting to the Executive Director, IMSI seeks a Director of Communications and Engagement (DCE) who will play a leadership role in developing and carrying out IMSI’s comprehensive communications and public engagement plan. An essential element of the DCE’s responsibilities will be communications training for IMSI participants; and developing, implementing, and disseminating evidence-based leading practices in science communications. The DCE will be an essential partner in building an inclusive culture in IMSI activities by facilitating engagement between IMSI participants, UChicago’s local, regional, and global community, and by partnering with local universities, K-12 schools, and non-profits in public engagement programs.


  • Develop and carry out a public-facing communications and engagement plan, in partnership with IMSI colleagues 
  • Develop and conduct communications training for participants in IMSI scientific activities 
  • Develop and carry out public engagement and outreach strategies focused on broadening participation in the mathematical sciences, perhaps in partnership with other groups 
  • Work with IMSI sub-awardees and other partners on public engagement and education outreach programs 
  • Work with the Director and Executive Director in identifying opportunities for innovative communications and public engagement programs 
  • Work with the Director and Executive Director on identifying and raising funds for innovative program ideas 
  • Draft summaries of IMSI scientific activities, designed for dissemination across many media & channels, for a range of defined audiences 
  • Assists with the development and implementation of education outreach programs. May collaborate with teachers on implementing curriculum in the classroom. 
  • May assist with fundraising efforts, including writing grant proposals. 
  • Under the direction of senior leadership, develops programs and relationships to advance program initiatives 
  • Uses knowledge of the divisional vision and values to assess, evaluate, and recommends opportunities for collaboration with partners. 
  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications:


  • Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Work Experience:

  • Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 5-7 years of work experience in a related job discipline.

Preferred Qualifications:


  • Bachelor’s degree, in a STEM field preferred; or journalism, communications, or other relevant subject. 
  • Graduate degree, training, or work experience in some relevant combination of the following: STEM, science journalism, science communications, informal science education, science outreach, science museum/center, theater, edutainment, performance, TV, video/film – accumulating to 5-7 years of experience related to the DCE position 


  • Demonstrated strengths and accomplishments in writing, speaking, performance, or other public communications 
  • Familiarity with the science communications, public engagement, and informal science education literature and leading practices 
  • Demonstrated creativity in relevant program development and execution 
  • A commitment to broadening participation in the mathematical sciences through socially just and inclusive practices

Preferred Competencies:

  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills 
  • Demonstrated administrative and organization skills 
  • Ability to work with a broad range of partners including, students, faculty, staff, leaders & staff from partner organizations 
  • Attention to detail and timeliness 
  • Creative problem solving 
  • Enthusiasm for being in front of an audience, ranging from business and academic leaders, faculty and researchers, university coworkers, outside colleagues, students, children, and families. 
  • Ability to read an audience and modify communications strategy and style accordingly 
  • Thrives on change, ambiguity, and thinking on their feet 
  • Diplomatic approach to partnerships and other IMSI relationships

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