The Associate Director of Communications is a key position within the central IT division and works in partnership with leaders in other University departments and other external partners to develop and deliver a broad, campus-wide communications program that promotes, supports, and aligns with the Northwestern’s goals. The incumbent directs, and is accountable for, a comprehensive, cohesive, and effective communications and marketing strategy, delivered via web, print, video, digital, and social media, as well as accessibility services, all in support of an exceptional service delivery standard. Reporting to the Associate Vice President of IT Services and Support, the incumbent directs the day-to-day administration of the central IT communications function and staff.
Partnership and Alignment : Coordinates initiatives designed to promote the organization and its services. Creates and sustains a supportive and collaborative partnership with key University Offices and other external partners to develop and deliver a broad, campus-wide communications program that promotes, supports, and aligns with the organization’s goals. Acts as an advisor to operating managers and assists in developing major project support materials, such as briefing documents, talking points, brochures, FAQs, fact sheets, organizational charts, and web site content.
Strategic Communications and Marketing Planning : Develops, implements, and maintains a comprehensive, cohesive, and effective communications and marketing strategy for Northwestern IT, including the development of short- and long-term goals. Conducts reviews of the communications function to identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities and to evaluate operational effectiveness and continually assesses emerging communications technologies and seeks new ways of using existing communications technologies to promote NUIT
Administration Management : Directs the day-to-day central IT internal and external marketing, communications, social media, and Web site activities. Writes, edits, and reviews electronic and print materials that effectively communicate IT systems and services, including but not limited to: website content, customer support materials, internal staff communications, feature stories and articles for multiple venues, press releases, brochures and other collateral materials, digital media, and presentation slide shows. Establishes an ongoing process to ensure continuous improvements in and updates to the website, maintaining a customer-focused perspective.
Project Management : Provides project management support for Communications initiatives, including strategic communications planning, timeline and milestone development, and tracking of deliverables needed for successful communications. Vets and approves communications strategies and materials for these and other central IT projects prior to distribution.
Accessibility and Compliance : Ensures adherence to communications, branding, and accessibility divisional standards across central IT and encourage colleagues to engage in advance planning and coordinated review for communications needs. Assesses all communications media for compliance with accessibility standards. Represent central IT on accessibility committees and project teams, develops training and documentation, and functions as the expert primary contact for accessibility standard inquiries and updates.
Staff Management : Supervises and coordinates the work activities of subordinates and staff, makes recommendations for evaluation, hiring, firing or administration of discipline. Establishes goals and performance objectives. Coaches and counsels staff members relative to performance improvement, training and development, team effectives, cross-training, etc.
Performs other duties as assigned : Pursue professional development opportunities including presenting at and attending appropriate conferences and training.
- Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree; OR appropriate combination of education and experience.
- Ten years of progressively responsible experience in strategic communications, public relations, media relations, marketing or related areas, preferably within a large scale, complex organization.
- Five years demonstrated experience working strategically with the Web, social media and email, and using appropriate tools and metrics to measure their effectiveness.
- Five years of direct team leadership experience.
- Senior level experience in developing strategic and comprehensive communications plans and related content, and executing against those plans to achieve goals and objectives on schedule.
- Experience building effective partnerships at the senior level of the organization and collaborating with high-level executives in an intense, dynamic environment.
- Exemplary written and verbal communication skills with an audience¿based, results-driven approach to strategic communications, marked by the ability to: rapidly develop concise, compelling, creative, and effective messages and statements; smoothly translate technically oriented concepts into customer-friendly content; and adroitly adopt multiple writing styles for various communication vehicles.
- Experienced advisor with gravitas, persistency, and the ability to deal with ambiguity.
- A proactive individual with strong personal impact and solid influencing and negotiation skills in an environment where resources may not be in direct control of this role.
- Political savvy - ability to maneuver through complex political situations effectively and quietly.
- Proven stakeholder management skills and power to influence and challenge both internally and externally.
- Ability to instill confidence in the business and demonstrate the business value of IT.
- Excellent analytical, strategic conceptual thinking, strategic planning and execution skills, with demonstrated ability to analyze problems from multiple points of view, lead consensus building within groups with differing views, and translate consensus into planned action.
- Credentials as a thought leader and enthusiastic practitioner who follows trends and shares best practices in communications.
- Strong knowledge of web and digital design technology tools and strategies, including Internet communications, web-based applications, social media, and trends in mobile devices.
- Proven ability to maintain a “big picture” view while recognizing the importance of a close attention to detail.
- Excellent leadership skills with experience in full management responsibilities, including: staff selection and hiring; clear programs of staff development through training and mentoring; clear expression of expectations, goals, and timelines; appropriate delegation and monitoring of staff progress, and justifiable disciplinary actions, including discharge.
- Knowledge of social media and public relations strategy.
- Ability to work effectively and collaboratively with a range of responsible parties on many levels throughout the University, either as a project leader or as a team member, to advance projects to timely and successful completion.
- Ability to act on own initiative to further organizational and University goals.
- Demonstrated ability to exercise exemplary judgment and ensure the utmost discretion and confidentiality in all matters.
- Ability to give and receive constructive criticism.
- Master’s Degree.
- Experience in information technology and/or an academic institution highly desirable.
- Experience in highly-decentralized corporate or academic environment is desirable, with career emphasis on planning and implementation of large, multi-divisional communication initiatives.
- Extensive executive management experience related to organizational strategy, change management, and service excellence initiatives.
As per Northwestern University policy, this position requires a criminal background check. Successful applicants will need to submit to a criminal background check prior to employment.
Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes including veterans and individuals with disabilities.