Associate Vice President Public Relations and Chief Communications Officer

Washtenaw Community College

Position Description

Outstanding opportunity to be a part of a diverse, engaged, and student-centered community. Washtenaw Community College (WCC) strives to make a positive difference in people’s lives through accessible and excellent educational programs and services.

Washtenaw Community College (WCC) is in beautiful Ann Arbor, MI. WCC offers excellent compensation including an outstanding benefit package.
• Comprehensive Health, Dental, Life and Vision Insurance provided at a low premium cost
• Generous Paid Time Off
• Paid Tuition to any college or university
• Top Tier Retirement Plan with up to a 12% college contribution
• Health Savings Account (HSA)

Position Summary
This position is responsible for the College’s overall strategy as it relates to the College’s reputation, internal and external communications. The AVP must understand the attitudes and concerns of prospective students, the community, residents, students, special interest groups, corporate and business organization and public officials – then use that information to help the College position itself as a quality, comprehensive community college that is meeting the needs of citizens and business and industry in the county, state and nation. The AVP is responsible for positioning the college as an educational leader in local, state, national and international publications and media outlets. The AVP works collaboratively with the Chief of Staff and is responsible for presentations, speeches and targeted correspondence from the President’s Office as well as representing the college to the media and public.

Essential Job Duties and Responsibilities
• Serve as chief communication officer and liaison for both internal and external issues, and run events to enhance positive interactions and strong relationships with the college service area and with the regional, state, national and international constituencies.
• Serve as spokesperson for the college.
• Assist with the development and management of crisis communications plans as well as implementation. Working with the Chief of Public Safety and Emergency Management, Campus Safety and Security, and designated executive team members, assist in communicating campus emergencies by determining the best practice for disseminating information that needs to be conveyed, maintaining discretion and privacy when necessary and taking steps to avoid the harmful impact of incorrect or misplaced information. Coordinate press conferences as needed.
• Lead the College’s communication strategies and activities to ensure the best possible image of the institution.
• Ensure the utilization of the most effective communication tools including public and media relations, marketing, digital media and print publications strategically targeted to specific audiences to maximize results.
• In collaboration with the Associate Vice President of College Advancement, create and direct the College’s public information/education efforts in connection with bond proposals and other funding initiatives.
• Oversees the management of events as it relates to the President and the President’s Office.
• Represent the College, upon the request of the President, to officials connected with civic, community and governmental agencies and provide information concerning College plans, programs and activities. Initiate and maintain productive relationships with local, state and national officials.
• Advise the President on matters affecting College direction, image, communication, government and community relations, and issues affecting reputation, quality and service.
• Write speeches, articles and develop presentations on behalf of the College President.
• Provide daily management and oversight of public relations personnel, operations, activities, and budget.
• Develop a strategic communications plan to achieve the goals of the college.
• Development and tracking of Communications key performance indicators.
• Lead the College’s branding campaign and guides communication of the College through multimedia including but not limited to radio, TV, billboards, direct mail/print, podcasts, video, web and social media.
• The ability to think strategically and develop and implement proactive communication plans with a clear vision for the advancement of higher education.
• The experience and ability to embrace disruption and communicate effectively during a crisis.
• Ability to exhibit leadership, initiative, enthusiasm, teamwork, and collaboration with faculty, staff and with external constituents in the execution of the responsibilities of the position.
• Proven excellent interpersonal skills for effective regular contact and communication with diverse internal and external individuals and groups.
• Ability to communicate and maintain positive, proactive relationships with government officials on the local, state and national level.
• Ability to lead creative communications and branding campaigns.
• Utilizes audience sensitivity when developing communication strategies and responses.
• Build, lead and inspire an exceptional Communications team by setting high standards and demanding superior customer service.
• Represent the Office of the President in the planning, development and distribution of College publications (On The Record, Launch, Annual Report, etc.).
• Remain current on industry trends related to communications, search engines, email, display ad banners, landing pages, linking strategies, website and online tracking tools, social media and other emerging approaches.
• Regular attendance on campus is required for this position. Travel may also be required.
• Other duties as assigned.

This position reports to the College President.

Minimum Qualifications

Minimum Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

• Bachelor’s degree from accredited university, desired in public relations or communications.
• At least seven (7) years of progressive, successful C-Suite experience in the role of public relations and communications supporting the CEO of a large organization. Experience in higher education is desirable.
• Excellent media relations, verbal and written skills with the proven ability to write speeches and communications to position the CEO and organization for success.
• Familiarity with media tracking and monitoring tools.
• Knowledge of social media management and listening programs.
• Understanding of SEM and SEO.
• Comfortability placing and analyzing results from digital ads.
• Ability to build relationships and pitch key reporters and knowledge of the media landscape.
• Proficiency in Adobe design tools: InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Premiere.
• Advanced writing and editing skills

Preferred Qualifications

Additional Preferred Qualifications
• Master’s degree.

Special Instructions to Applicants

Please complete all sections of the application and submit required documents.

Washtenaw Community College seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitment to serve our diverse community and to build on the success of our students faculty & staff. Washtenaw Community College is committed to creating an inclusive, welcoming environment.

Washtenaw Community College is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

Salary/Hourly Rate

Minimum starting salary $110,000

Salary Comments

Current Washtenaw Community College Employees Salary is determined by BOT Policy 5005***
An Administrative Group employee whose job has been reclassified or who is promoted to a new position shall have his/her salary set at the new salary range minimum or at 10% above current salary, whichever is greater. Starting rate/salary is determined based on education and work history listed on application.

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