Executive Director of Communications

Executive Director of Communications
Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts

The Opportunity:

The Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts (VCUarts) seeks an Executive Director of Communications to lead communications, marketing and public relations activities that promote the school to both external and internal audiences.

The Executive Director of Communications manages the strategies, personnel, budget, projects, deliverables and day-to-day operations of a robust unit with the School of the Arts. This also includes designing and directing media campaigns, representing VCUarts at media events, coordinating with the school’s development and brand strategy teams, faculty and student affairs, the communications office at VCUarts Qatar, and VCU’s University Relations office. The successful candidate brings experience and energy to lead and inspire an integrated communications team around a shared vision for the school’s long-term success.

Reporting to the dean of the School of the Arts, the Executive Director of Communications will direct print and digital media (design and production), donor and alumni publications, website content and management, public relations, internal communications, photography and videography, social media and crisis communications. The ideal candidate will have significant and demonstrated experience in writing, editing, design and marketing, and will have a vital role in developing and executing a communications strategy that both furthers the Dean’s vision and priorities, and leverages the school’s national and international prominence.

Ranked by US News & World Report as a top-five arts and design school, VCUarts (arts.vcu.edu) includes over 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students with nationally recognized programs in design, visual and performing arts. Students are taught by over 175 full-time teaching and research faculty members, and the school is supported by over 50 staff members that assist in daily processes. The School of the Arts includes two campuses, one in Richmond and one in Doha, Qatar. The Richmond campus is located on the university’s 75-acre Monroe Park campus situated in the city’s historic Fan District

Skills and Qualifications

A successful Executive Director of Communications has excellent written, verbal and digital skills as well as problem-solving capabilities. The Executive Director also must possess managerial talent to build and guide a team of communications staff. Other notable skills include:
  • Leading and motivating staff to produce high-level, brand-driven content.
  • Utilizing analytical, creative and organizational skills to address challenges and increase the school’s media presence and quality of presentation.
  • Working effectively in a fast-paced environment, meeting tight deadlines, managing multiple projects and assignments simultaneously, and managing competing priorities.

  • Direct and manage the school’s dynamic communications office, and empower, lead and coach its team to achieve objectives.
  • Provide executive-level development, delivery and maintenance of print and digital communications, photography, social media, videography, and other internal and external communication resources.
  • Lead communication projects by defining and documenting project goals and timelines; tracking and confirming project milestones; and coordinating project resources.
  • Create and oversee communication that reflects the Dean’s vison and design aesthetic. This includes writing and editing “talking points”, speeches, visual presentations, social media, and video scripts.
  • Develop and manage yearly budgets for the Office of Communications.
  • Analyze, improve, and streamline communications and marketing procedures, processes, and technologies. Analyze and report on ROI and adjust strategy and spending as necessary.
  • Monitor major issues that impact the school and its community and create crisis-response content in collaboration with the Dean and VCU’s University Relations.
  • Develop a cohesive, senior-level communications and outreach strategy including building and managing a comprehensive forward-looking plan that supports/promotes the school’s faculty, students, staff and programming.
  • Collaborate with the school’s development team to create events and generate promotional material for related academic affairs, alumni, donors and others VCUarts supporters.
  • Ensure compliance with University policies and School of the Arts procedures, and serve as the official communications liaison between the school and other communication units on campus.
  • Identify, establish and manage meaningful engagement opportunities to promote VCUarts at a national and international level. This includes partnering with University Relations constituents as well as partners external to VCU.
  • Serve as the key spokesperson and media contact for VCUarts, when necessary.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications and Experience:

The Executive Director of Communications must have:
  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field.
  • A minimum of five years job experience in a complex organization engaged in marketing, communications, advertising and/or public relations preferably in a higher education or cultural environment.
  • Experience writing, designing and implementing annual communications plans with a clear definition of goals that align with school and institutional priorities.
  • Ability to develop compelling, creative, and effective messages and statements.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Project management skills with ability to lead substantial marketing and communication projects in a variety of media to completion.
  • Excellent supervisory and managerial experience in building, leading, developing, and motivating high-performing teams.
  • A significant understanding of issues, controversies, and trends affecting higher education.
  • Broad and in-depth knowledge of publishing methods and writing and editing techniques.
  • Demonstrated commitment to working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff, and student environment.
  • Experience building effective partnerships at the senior level of an organization and collaborating with executives in an intense, dynamic environment.
  • Possess outstanding interpersonal skills with the ability to navigate complex environments with diverse constituents.

Preferred Qualifications and Experience:
  • Experience with a major art school, university recruitment and/or an arts organization or creative industry.
  • Successful history of pitching stories to the national media.
  • Proficiency with WordPress, Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, project management systems, and digital asset management systems such as Resource Space.
  • A passion for the arts and a keen understanding of audiences specific to the arts.

Procedure for Candidacy:

· Candidates should complete the basic personal and demographic application through the VCU job site.
· Candidates should provide a cover letter, diversity statement*, resume, and the names and contact information of five professional references. References will not be contacted without permission from the candidate.
· Review of applications will begin the week of October 10, 2022 and will continue until the position is filled.

*Virginia Commonwealth University is committed to organizational diversity, equity and inclusion – an environment where all can thrive in their pursuit of excellence. Applicants are requested to submit a Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion providing your career aspirations and contributions toward promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. For additional guidance on writing a Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: https://provost.vcu.edu/faculty/prospective/.

For more information on VCUarts, please visit arts.vcu.edu. Virginia Commonwealth University, please visit vcu.edu and https://www.vcu.edu/about-vcu/facts-and-rankings/.

Virginia Commonwealth University is committed to providing accessible and equitable living, learning and working environments free from discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex (including pregnancy), political affiliation, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or disability.