Columbia College Chicago, a 125-year-old institution whose South Loop campus is home to nearly 7,500 undergraduates and graduate students, is a private, nonprofit College that trains creators, communicators, marketers and content developers through a curriculum emphasizing arts, media, and communications in a Liberal Arts setting.
We believe a solid foundation in business, technology, and the Liberal Arts and Sciences is essential to any creative career. That is why every undergraduate must complete the requirements of the Liberal Arts and Sciences Core, and why Columbia is embedding courses like business, marketing, and technology into the core and into all its majors. More than one third of Columbia's student body is African-American, Latino, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, or multiracial, reflecting Columbia's solid commitment to empowering students from all backgrounds through education.
Vice President for Strategic Communications and External Relations
Columbia College Chicago educates students who will communicate creatively, shape the public's perceptions of issues and events, and will author the culture of their times. Columbia College Chicago seeks a new Vice President for Strategic Communications and External Relations who will do that very thing: Communicate creatively, shape the public's perception of Columbia and help author the Columbia story. The Vice President must proactively and convincingly articulate, to both external and internal audiences, how Columbia brings its mission to life, to the benefit of its students as well as the culture and economy of its region and beyond.
The Vice President will report directly to the President and serve as a member of his cabinet. This is an exciting opportunity where the Vice President's proven leadership will oversee all aspects of marketing, communications, community relations and government relations to build awareness of and support for the College, the breadth and depth of its faculty and strong academic programs, and the contributions and achievements of its students and faculty at local, national, and international levels.
The Vice President will build on a recent rebranding effort and continue to improve student recruitment outcomes. A major priority will be to bring a proven track record to Columbia to successfully translate this new brand for multiple audiences, including prospective and current students and their families, employees, other education institutions, employers, opinion-shapers and potential funders. Another top priority is capturing and conveying the strong progress under the College's strategic plan, especially the significant academic outcome improvements it has brought.
Through their leadership, the Vice President will leverage the expertise and perspectives of students, faculty, colleagues, trustees, and alumni alike to ensure that Columbia's brand and messages are effective and reflective of Columbia's distinctive persona, coordinating especially closely with academic units, student affairs, alumni relations, development, and human resources to build close, collaborative, and collegial relationships that highlight and advance the work of those entities.
Highlighted Areas of Responsibilities • Conceive of, and implement, an innovative and strategic external and internal plan for Columbia College Chicago that results in a brand identity and corresponding messages and which progressively and proactively build awareness of the College and appropriately support and reflect its goals and objectives. • Guide and support the President in his role as chief spokesperson for the College, serving as a co-strategist on messaging and outreach approach. Ensure that the President is well briefed and that his time spent in communications-related activities is highly productive. Support and position the Board as thought leaders, validators and advocates for the College. Similarly guide and support senior staff, faculty, and other community members in their capacity as formal Columbia representatives. • Build and manage an outstanding strategic marketing and communications program that incorporates all traditional and digital channels and media, and which can be considered best-in-class compared to its peers across higher education. • Participate in crisis management planning, including establishing crisis communication policies and procedures. Offer real-time crisis management guidance and support. • Promote excellence through well-defined and measurable goals; inspire and motivate staff through the free flow of information; and continually frame staff work and projects within the context of Columbia's strategic priorities and mission. Provide professional development opportunities as appropriate, and encourage staff to set personal growth targets.
Qualifications include, but not limited to: • Effectively demonstrate a deep appreciation for the history, achievements, and aspirations of Columbia College Chicago, and the ability to effectively articulate the institution's vision to a diverse audience including students, parents, alumni, friends, and the local, national, and international community. • Seven to ten years' experience envisioning, developing, and implementing a successful and comprehensive external relations program across an enterprise with multiple constituencies and a wide variety of audiences. • Broad experience in external and internal relations, including marketing; strategic communications; community affairs and government relations; digital and social communications; and crisis management as well as successful experience dealing with local, state and national media. • Superior writing as well as interpersonal communication and presentation skills and the ability to connect with a variety of audiences, including a refined and nuanced ability to craft and disseminate messages in ways that reflect, engage and enhance various complex cultural perspectives. • Working knowledge of Chicago and working relationships with key Chicago leaders and organizations is preferred. • Experience in higher education is not essential; the ability to work collaboratively with established subject-matter experts and articulate the complexity and meaningfulness of their work is. • Strong personal integrity and work ethic. • Undergraduate degree required; an advanced degree is preferred.
Additional Information To ensure consideration, please include a cover letter, salary requirements,and three professional references in your submission. To view the complete job description, please follow the apply link. This is anon-union position and subject to a background check.
EEO Statement Columbia College Chicago is an EEO Employer. Columbia College Chicago encourages qualified female, LGBTQ, disabled, and minority individuals to apply for all positions.
At Columbia, we offer a rewarding work environment for our faculty and staff. We take pride in offering competitive benefits with affordable health, dental and vision coverage; flexible spending accounts; commuter benefit program, life and accidental, death & dismemberment coverage; paid and unpaid leave options; work/life benefits; educational assistance programs; and retirement and financial planning benefits. We invite you to join our talented faculty and staff and become part of our collective aspiration to ensure Columbia prepares students for success in their creative fields through innovation, engagement and real-world experiences.