Director, Communications & Public Relations

  • Adler University
  • Chicago, IL, USA
  • Apr 02, 2021
Full time Deans & Directors External Relations, PR, Marketing

Job Description



Adler University is currently seeking an experienced Director of Communications & Public Relations. Reporting to the VP, Communications, the Director of Communications & Public Relations is a key member of Adler University's communications team and plays a lead role in advancing the University's strategic goals, visibility, and national reputation. In addition to telling the University's story externally through PR and media relations initiatives, this position is responsible for developing and executing the University's communications strategy, including public relations, media relations, crisis communications (issues management), internal communications, reputation management, and social media.  Instrumental to this role is directing the university's issues management program, drawing on polished leadership and exceptional communications skills to implement best practices, forecast and triage potential issues, and execute appropriate internal and external communication strategies as needed.

The Director, Communications & Public Relations provides thought-leadership to the university while leveraging industry knowledge and best practices to promote the mission and vision of the institution. Supports culture development and management efforts.



  • Bachelor's degree in public relations, communications, journalism, or a related discipline required. Master's degree in similar/same disciplines preferred.
  • Minimum of seven (7) years' experience in PR, media relations required with industry preference in an agency setting, non-profit institution and/or higher education. Of the minimum seven (7) years, at least four (4) years required overseeing human capital.


  • Strong demonstration of alignment with Adler's social justice mission and vision
  • Documented experience developing effective communications and public relations plans
  • Strong writing background and broad communications experience in a variety of disciplines including public relations, media relations, crisis communications, internal communications, editorial content development, reputation management, and social media
  • Excellent communication skills and extensive writing, editing, and copy-editing experience across various audience groups and channels
  • Demonstrated success working with and writing for senior leadership of an organization
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including a positive and professional attitude; leadership and teamwork skills
  • Documented experience managing agencies and staff in a fast-paced environment
  • Strong budget and project management skills to effectively manage resources and the execution of multiple projects on time and within budget
  • Experience working within dynamic environments with internal and external stakeholders as well as the ability to leverage influence to drive change and influence stakeholders
  • Ability to consistently identify opportunities for improvement and make recommendations based on observations
  • Strong critical thinking, problem-solving and visioning acumen
  • Ability to proactively identify challenges and barriers to stated objective and employ assistance in addressing these
  • Strong collaboration acumen and abilities
  • Demonstration of Emotional Intelligence and professional maturity
  • Proficient and functional knowledge of MS Office (Work, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook)
  • Strong research acumen and abilities

Principal Responsibilities

Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

Public Relations

  • Leads and advances the strategy and voice for executive communications, including speaking engagements, media interviews, media preparation, and internal communications
  • Establishes a robust media relations function, focusing on delivering exceptional results that effectively position the University with appropriate media and key external stakeholders
  • Develops and maintains excellent relationships with external PR partners (agencies), journalists, and other key influencers
  • Establishes and leads an effective thought leadership program, including training and media prep for various spokespersons
  • Supports the execution of executive media engagement programs and speaking engagements; review/draft/approve supporting materials such as talking points and Q&A
  • Leads a regular cadence of outreach and education to media and key external stakeholders


  • Clearly articulates the University's value proposition, developing narratives/messaging pillars and activate them throughout communications initiatives
  • Aligns communications strategy with the University's goals
  • Collaborates cross-functionally across the organization to deliver on communications strategy
  • Builds relationships and serve as a trusted advisor to key leaders in the organization
  • Provides communications counsel and support (writing/editing) to key leaders in the organization
  • Leads long term planning for media engagement strategies to get ahead of issues and take advantage of opportunities as they arise
  • Leads crisis communications efforts, including integrated communications response to crisis and issues management situations
  • Develops data reporting and analysis to determine the success of communications initiatives and determine actionable insights
  • Owns and manages communication agency partner relationships
  • Builds, trains, and retains an exceptional team of communications professionals
  • Other duties as assigned and/or required


Adler U Benefits: 
Our institution provides a comprehensive benefit package for full time staff/ faculty which includes health, dental, vision, supplemental life insurance, EAP, STD/LTD and a 403b retirement plan. Vacation and sick time with 13 paid holidays off included in our PTO compensation package. We embrace and encourage continued education through our Tuition Reimbursement / Professional Development Benefit Program.

COVID-19 considerations: The health and safety of our staff/faculty and their families, as well as our stakeholders, potential candidates, and the communities we serve, are of the utmost importance. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this role will temporarily be performed remotely. The successful candidate will train and work from home occasionally until such time as it is determined that role will return to the campus full-time.


  • Applicants should electronically submit a complete application including: a cover letter addressing qualifications and interests, as well as a resume.
  • Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position has been filled.


Equal Opportunity Employer

It is the policy of Adler University that all persons are entitled to Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) protection. The University does not discriminate against any individual for employment because of age, religion, race, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, marital status, physical or mental disability, military status (including unfavorable discharge from the military), or any other category protected by federal, state, or local law. As part of the Adler's equal employment opportunity policy, Adler will also take affirmative action to ensure that minority group individuals, females, disabled veterans, recently separated veterans, other protected veterans, Armed Forces service medal veterans, and qualified disabled persons are introduced into our workforce and considered for promotional opportunities




Application Details

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