Director of Strategic Communications

  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Claremont, CA, USA
  • Jun 12, 2024
Full time Communications/Journalism/Film/TV Deans & Directors

Job Description

Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Statement                                    

In addition to its commitment to a harassment-free educational and working environment, the College is an equal employment opportunity employer. The College is committed to a policy of equal employment opportunities for all applicants and employees and complies with all applicable state and federal laws on the matter. The College does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including gender, pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), gender identity, gender expression, national origin, ancestry, age, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition or medical leave, marital status, sexual orientation, or any other category protected by law. The College also prohibits the harassment of any employee on any of these bases.

Location:

Claremont, CA

Job Posting Title:

Director of Strategic Communications

Job Details and Requirement:

BASIC FUNCTION:

The Director of Strategic Communications is responsible for the development and execution of external CMC and brand communications in line with the College’s strategy including proactive reputation management, stakeholder engagement, thought leadership, executive visible leadership, issues and crisis management, media relations, and sustainability initiatives. The role will work across the College helping to integrate the mission and amplify the accomplishments of the College, faculty and students. The Director of Strategic Communications proactively establishes CMC and its leaders and faculty as thought leaders with external stakeholders, key opinion leaders, and NGOs, and works closely with the TCCS for crisis and issues response. The Director of Strategic Communications will also play a role in driving the global reputation agenda.

The Director of Strategic Communications must be an experienced strategic initiatives and communications leader with strong project management, communications, interpersonal and judgment skills, and have an advanced understanding of the mission and strategies of the College including student journalism within a university environment, as well as extensive experience working with a range of partners and stakeholders including students, donors, alumni, parents, faculty, professional staff, and senior leaders. This is a critical role in advancing strategic priorities, ensuring proactive planning and implementation of communication strategies as an integral part of divisional initiatives. The Director of Strategic Communications will exercise considerable discretion and judgment while serving as the key strategist, connector, integrator and “air traffic controller” for the AVP and leadership team, connecting diverse work streams across the College to advance projects, and seeking to reduce silos with external partners. 

We are interested in candidates who have demonstrated experience engaging with diversity through activities such as fostering an inclusive environment, working with students and staff from diverse backgrounds, or incorporating diverse perspectives in their work.

Reports to the Associate Vice President/Chief Strategic Communications Officer.

DESCRIPTION OF DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS:

  • Drive the long- and short-term external communications strategy, objectives and programs to further our mission – including enhancing the reputation, elevating positioning, leading external communications, providing strategic counsel, leading media strategy, directing story development, establishing a proactive news bureau, conducting community outreach, and partnering with external organizations and partners.

  • Oversee strategic communications to multiple audiences and constituencies for long-term initiatives, often in collaboration and coordination with other College departments to ensure alignment and coherence of messaging.

  • Lead crisis/issues communication strategy to minimize situations that can be threatening and or financially damaging to the College, overseeing divisional crisis communications for both immediate, emergency responses and longer-term postvention needs.

  • Anticipate problems, critical issues, and opportunities as they arise and advise the AVP accordingly.

  • Oversee large, often cross-functional, College-wide projects or initiatives, bringing together important stakeholders and helping to drive decisions according to the College’s priorities. Ensure timely and effective completion of projects and initiatives.

  • Oversee the central data and survey functions for the department, including liaison with the Office of Institutional Research. Provide data to the AVP and other leaders to support communications.

  • Work collaboratively with Advancement’s fundraising objectives and serve as the primary liaison with Advancement for all fundraising initiatives. Establish best practices across all external Strategic Communications efforts working in close collaboration with key internal and external partners.

  • Develop and drive effective and engaging media strategy and develop strategic relationships with top tier media, key opinion leaders and other stakeholders.

  • Play an active role in the external communications community, providing perspective and engagement on national issues and reputation building.

  • Lead communications strategy and execution to support the College’s sustainability initiatives.

  • Conduct media training for all College spokespersons and expert commentators including select faculty.

  • Function and the point of contact and lead the partnerships with external stakeholders with the goal of advancing the college’s Thought leadership.

  • Fill critical role as College spokesperson with diverse external audiences.

  • Serve as a partner to the TCCS and crisis teams.

  • Drive the strategic direction of PR and communications agencies as needed, including identifying and recommending preferred agency partners, providing clear direction and expectations to agencies and managing and measuring their performance tied to business objectives.

  • Establish and maintain relationships with key external stakeholders (consumer and professional organizations, community leaders and government officials, trade groups, non-profits/NGOs and advocacy groups) in an effort to enhance and protect the College’s reputation.

  • On 24-hour call representing CMC to:1) minimize situations that can be threatening and or financially damaging to the College; and 2) take advantage of opportunities to positively position CMC.

  • Assume AVP of Strategic Communications & Marketing responsibilities during his/her absence as necessary.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS:

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing, journalism or associated profession or combination of education and experience.

EXPERIENCE: Minimum 5 years relevant professional experience in related work or corporate communications is required, or the equivalent combination of education, training and experience.

LICENSES: Possess and maintain a valid driver's license and driving record acceptable to the College's automobile insurance carrier.

REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, and ABILITIES: 

  • Excellent writing, communication and interpersonal skills that include a combination of sound judgement, tactfulness, and good rapport in a variety of situations.

  • Demonstrated ability to discern a strategy to move forward and make or escalate decisions as appropriate.

  • Advanced understanding of the communications role in complex institutions. Demonstrated excellence in editing, writing, analyzing and synthesizing complex materials and communicating with diverse audiences.

  • Experience leading through influence and diplomacy in situations where formal authority may be lacking.

  • Ability to manage confidential tasks or situations requiring sensitivity and discretion.

  • Demonstrated success in managing projects and processes, often involving cross-functional and/or organization-wide initiatives. Strong record of effectiveness in managing challenging and stressful situations, with changing priorities. Ability to adjust thinking in emergency situations and apply administrative policies to novel situations.

  • Superior organizational skills, with an ability to work independently, meet deadlines, exercise considerable judgment, discretion, and initiative in coordinating and overseeing the work of others, and in managing multiple projects to completion

  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in a complex organization and ability to apply core DEI concepts to project planning and communications.

  • Ability to research, report and facilitate discussion on complex subjects. Able to present data in a manner that enables clear understanding of interests and options for improved decision making.

  • Demonstrated leadership, supervisory, planning and change management skills.

  • Proven success in leading communications across multiple brands and functions

  • Skilled crisis leaders with proven judgement and issues management experience

  • Experience in thought leadership, leading high-profile keynotes and engagements at conferences, and stakeholder mapping and engagement is required

  • Proficient with Meltwater, Cision, Muckrack or other media systems, including the ability to generate data and analysis-driven media reports

  • Proven success in building effective and engaged teams

  • Knowledge of AI and its impact on communications a plus

  • Advanced degree preferred

  • Experience as a spokesperson required

  • Agency experience a plus

  • Experience leading sustainability communications and programming is a plus

  • Ability to travel

REQUIRED HOURS: The regular hours for this full-time position are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday - Friday. Regular hours may vary due to the needs of the College or division. Some evening and/or weekend work may be required to support campus programs and activities. Occasional requirements to work outside of standard business hours may be required to ensure timely responsiveness to our college community.

CLASSIFICATION AND STATUS: 

This is a full-time, 12-month year-round, exempt level, benefits-eligible position.

APPROXIMATE PAY RANGE:

$115,000 - $120,000 PER YEAR

Supervisor – AB1825: Yes

Mandatory Reporter – CA Penal Code: Yes

Responsible Employee – Title IX: Yes

Campus Security Authority – The Clery Act:   Yes

A CSA is a key partner in helping the College comply with the requirements of the federal Clery Act, the goal of which is to provide information about safety and crimes on campus.  Because crimes are often reported to employees who are not law enforcement or campus safety officers, the Clery Act obligates the College to identify who on our campus is likely to receive such reports and inform them of this role and responsibility and train them on what to do with that information.   As a result of this designation, upon hire, and periodically thereafter, you are required to take the Clery Act training course.  Such online course will be assigned to you and will need to be completed within the first six months of your employment.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: Normal physical job functions performed within a standard office environment and include reaching, fingering, grasping, talking, hearing, seeing and repetitive motions. May occasionally lift/push/pull items up to 20 lbs.       
 

SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITY: Yes

GROOMING AND APPEARANCE:  The Claremont Colleges seek to maintain a neat and professional image at all times. 

BACKGROUND CHECK:  The successful candidate will be required to undergo a full consumer background check.  Certain positions will require the successful completion of a post-offer physical agility test.  Employment is contingent on the satisfactory results of the aforementioned, in addition to compliance with the requirements cited in this job description.

ADA/OSHA:  This job description defines the essential or fundamental job duties of this position.  It is assumed that employees hired for this position can perform the essential functions of this job without imposing the risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of themselves or others.  It may also include marginal functions, generally defined within Title 1 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  Reasonable accommodations will be provided for qualified applicants with disabilities who self-disclose. 

DISCLAIMER: This job description has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by employees within this classification.  It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities and qualifications required of employees assigned to this position.  Duties and responsibilities can change and develop over time, accordingly the College reviews job description on a periodic basis and may make changes of business necessity.

AT-WILL EMPLOYMENT:  Employment with the College is “at-will” meaning that the terms of employment may be changed with or without notice, with or without cause, including, but not limited to termination, demotion, promotion, transfer, compensation, benefits, duties, and location of work.  There is no agreement express or implied between the College and you for continuing or long-term employment. While the College has every hope that employment relationships will be mutually beneficial and rewarding, employees and the College retain the right to terminate the employment relationship at will, at any time, with or without cause.  The President is the only person who can modify or alter the at-will employment relationship.

Claremont McKenna College hires and promotes individuals on the basis of their qualifications, consistent with applicable state and federal laws, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, breastfeeding or related medical condition, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, marital status, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic characteristic or information, military and veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law.  Inquiries may be directed to the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, 528 N. Mills Avenue, Claremont, California 91711-4015, (909) 621-8490.  All applicants must complete and submit an online application to be considered for an open position.

Employment is contingent upon new employee providing documents verifying U.S. citizenship or, for aliens, documents verifying legal permission to work in the United States, applicant's acceptability for positions requiring use of a college vehicle is contingent upon a driving record acceptable to the College's automobile liability insurance. Promotion from within is encouraged whenever qualified employees of Claremont McKenna College are available. Interested employees of the College are urged to contact the Office of Human Resources if qualified for any open position. Please do not contact departments directly.

DISABILITY ACCOMODATIONS:                                                                                   

In compliance with applicable laws ensuring equal opportunities to qualified individuals with a disability, CMC will make reasonable accommodations for the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual (applicant or employee) with a disability if the disability affects the performance of essential job functions, unless the accommodation results in an undue hardship for the College. Employment decisions are based on the merit and not an individual’s disability.         

      

An applicant or employee who requires an accommodation should contact the immediate supervisor and the Human Resources Office. If multiple accommodations are identified that do not pose an undue hardship for the College, the selection of an accommodation will be at CMC’s discretion. To request disability accommodation for any part of the application or hiring process, please contact Human Resources at (909) 621-8490 or hr@cmc.edu for assistance.

Claremont McKenna College hires and promotes individuals on the basis of their qualifications, consistent with applicable state and federal laws, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, breastfeeding or related medical condition, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, marital status, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic characteristic or information, military and veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law.  Inquiries may be directed to the Director for Human Resources, 528 N. Mills Avenue, Claremont, California 91711-4015, (909) 621-8490.  All applicants must complete and submit an online application to be considered for an open position.

Employment is contingent upon new employee providing documents verifying U.S. citizenship or, for aliens, documents verifying legal permission to work in the United States, applicant's acceptability for positions requiring use of a college vehicle is contingent upon a driving record acceptable to the College's automobile liability insurance. Promotion from within is encouraged whenever qualified employees of Claremont McKenna College are available. Interested employees of the College are urged to contact the Office of Human Resources if qualified for any open position. Please do not contact departments directly.

Disability Accommodations                                                                                    

In compliance with applicable laws ensuring equal opportunities to qualified individuals with a disability, CMC will make reasonable accommodations for the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual (applicant or employee) with a disability if the disability affects the performance of essential job functions, unless the accommodation results in an undue hardship for the College. Employment decisions are based on the merit and not an individual’s disability.               

An applicant or employee who requires an accommodation should contact the immediate supervisor and the Human Resources Office. If multiple accommodations are identified that do not pose an undue hardship for the College, the selection of an accommodation will be at CMC’s discretion. To request disability accommodation for any part of the application or hiring process, please contact Human Resources at (909) 621-8490 or hr@cmc.edu for assistance.

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