Senior Director Campus Communications

Columbia College Chicago

Columbia College Chicago is an acclaimed undergraduate and graduate institution that provides a comprehensive education in the arts, communications and public relations. We constantly aim to reach our full potential as an educational innovator, incubator of new creative practice and generator of real-world success for young creatives. We are located in the heart of Chicago, across the street from historic Grant Park, and housed in some of the most iconic buildings in the South Loop.

Columbia College Chicago a private urban institution of over 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students, four-year College offering a distinctive curriculum that blends liberal arts, creative and media arts and business is currently searching for a Senior Director of Campus Communications.

Position Details

Senior Director Campus Communications
Chicago Illinois
Chicago, IL


Under the direction of the Associate Vice President of Strategic Communications and External Relations (SCER), the Senior Director of Campus Communications is responsible for directing the Campus Communication group. This position is responsible for a broad range of external and internal strategic and tactical activities across Columbia College Chicago to meet the institution’s strategic goals of increasing student recruitment and retention, enhancing reputation, and promoting alumni and community engagement. The Senior Director will guide and implement digital content strategy with direct reports and in collaboration with the SCER team. This includes marketing content for prospective students, both web, email, and printed materials; social media and earned media; identifying regular and opportunistic publicity of Columbia’s students, faculty, programs, activities, and events. The Senior Director will also assist in managing crisis communications, and will conceive and execute news releases, media relations initiatives and social media outreach and other strategic communications efforts to build awareness of the college. The position involves collaboration with Offices of Alumni Relations and Development, Admissions and Enrollment staff, as well as, executive administration and college-wide departments and centers.


  • Supervise a core team of content managers and help curate engaging material for the Columbia website, printed materials, email campaigns and other communications for prospective students and alumni. 
  • Develop and implement strategic media and public relations plans that support Columbia's initiatives and objectives to broaden awareness and raise the profile of the College and its work. 
  • Oversee and provide direction on the development of social media campaigns, increase engagement, and broaden relationships with online influencers for Columbia’s social platforms including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. 
  • Build strong, positive working relationships with college administrators, faculty and staff that will lead to a long-term and sustainable infrastructure for strategic media relations. 
  • Oversee the content and production of weekly newsletter with distribution to faculty, staff and parents. 
  • Partner with the Office of the Development and Alumni Relations in the promotion of major initiatives and campaigns where strong media presence is key to achieving program objectives and fundraising efforts. 
  • Lead and perform hands-on public/media relations work in an entrepreneurial department environment in collaboration with the other team members, including but not limited to: implementing plans, responding to direct media inquiries, researching college facts and resources, identifying college news sources, proactively communicating with journalists across media outlets to advance the mission of the college, and managing external consultants 
  • Develop, review, edit and direct production of communication materials such as op-eds, news releases, fact sheets, web content, media kits and other related materials that support the college's communications. 
  • Strengthen internal, public and media relations infrastructure and operations; provide direction and oversight on policies, procedures, and systems for managing workflow, providing timely updates to the AVP, measuring success, and communicating success to various constituents. 
  • Ensure efficient procedures and systems are in place for decentralized communicators across the college to elevate the internal standard of media awareness and management. 
  • Liaise with academic departments, offices, and campus cultural units like galleries, centers, and museums to proactively identify relevant, compelling, newsworthy stories to promote institutional achievements and increase positive coverage of the college. 
  • Collaborate with colleagues to ensure consistency of institutional communication efforts. 
  • Direct staff responsible for developing pitches, news releases, articles, public service announcements, photo captions, and other publicity-related materials for potential media coverage. 
  • Identify targeted lists and supervise distribution and delivery. 
  • Oversee and manage daily news coverage; ensure that senior leaders are notified of any sensitive public issues and coordinate response; track/archive relevant coverage; evaluate/recommend media monitoring resources (blogs and mainstream media). 
  • Serve as secondary media contact when crisis communication plan is in effect. 
  • Direct operations of Campus Communications staff, including planning and managing department budget. Directly supervise assigned staff, freelancers, and other external resources; assess and manage performance. Provide training as needed. 
  • Write remarks, serve on committees, assist with events and institutional initiatives and projects for the President and other senior administrators, as assigned. 
  • Perform other duties and/or responsibilities, as required
  • Bachelor's Degree required. 
  • At least 7 years of experience in communications, news, or media relations is required. 
  • At least 3 years of previous supervisory experience. 
  • Higher education and/or major-market agency background is a plus, as is experience in an environment with multiple constituents, including news, donors, clients, and the broader public. 
  • Strong working knowledge of media relations best practices, strategies, systems, and techniques for obtaining positive news coverage and strategically positioning an organization while enhancing reputation and awareness level. 
  • Balance of traditional and new media relations experience. 
  • Experience crafting crisis/issues management communication and coordinating spokesperson media prep. 
  • Interest in the visual, performing, media and communication arts and experience working with diverse cultures and communities desired. 
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, e-mail, and Internet use; experience with web-based, Communications Management Systems desirable. 
  • Understanding of Google Analytics to make data driven decision to impact user behavior online. 
  • Track record of developing and executing strategic written public/media relations plans with implementation strategies, metrics, timelines, and budgets, while simultaneously managing daily media relations activities. 
  • Demonstrated success in obtaining positive media coverage and the ability to measure and communicate successful results effectively to senior management. 
  • Outstanding oral and written communication and interpersonal skills, and demonstrated ability to build strong, positive relationships across departments and levels while effectively navigating protocols requiring finesse and flexibility. 
  • Possess stature and confidence to quickly establish credibility through knowledge and experience. 
  • Act as a trusted advisor to senior leadership. 
  • Excellent judgment and strong decision-making and follow-through skills essential, as is the ability to lead and work effectively as a key member of a small team. 
  • Knowledge of current trends in journalism, news gathering and dissemination, the emerging role of social media, and current working knowledge of multiple media channels. 
  • Ability to manage department budget, work with internal departments on requisition and purchase order processes as well as outside vendors. 
  • Ability to make thoughtful, timely decisions using sound judgment and knowledge of organizational goals while involving appropriate individuals and keeping supervisor informed. 
  • Ability to manage complex relationships with diplomacy and offer consultative advice to reach mutual agreements.

At Columbia, we offer a rewarding work environment for our faculty and staff. We take pride in offering competitive benefits with affordable health, dental and vision coverage; flexible spending accounts; commuter benefit program, life and accidental, death & dismemberment coverage; paid and unpaid leave options; work/life benefits; educational assistance programs; and retirement and financial planning benefits.

We invite you to join our talented faculty and staff and become part of our collective aspiration to ensure Columbia prepares students for success in their creative fields through innovation, engagement and real-world experiences.

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