The Office of University Life was created in 2015 to develop and enhance the student experience at Columbia University. Working in collaboration with students, faculty and staff throughout the schools, we focus on strengthening resources, policies and conversations, and building community outside of the classroom. The Office has significant reach: its primary audience of 30,000 includes Columbia students (graduate and undergraduate across all schools and colleges), with secondary audiences that include faculty, staff, researchers and University leadership.
The Director of Communications will report to the Chief of Staff for University Life, and will partner to build and lead the team responsible for the Office's communications and marketing work, including its robust web presence, social media and marketing strategies that collectively amplify a portfolio of ongoing events and initiatives across Columbia University and provide critical resources to students. The Director will collaborate closely with a variety of stakeholders, including the Student Life leadership team, communications professionals across Public Affairs, other central administrative offices and the University's 16 schools. The Director will work closely with the Chief of Staff to develop and refine the office's communication strategy, and will lead a team in implementing the strategy set out by the Office's leadership team.
In partnership with the Chief of Staff, develop a communications strategy for the Office of University Life, including evaluating current practices against best practices to identify areas for growth and innovation. The Director will lead and implement the development and regular updating of a refreshed digital communications strategy that fosters student engagement and advances the values and work of the Office, setting, tracking and reporting out on Key Performance Indicators.
Drive the planning, content development, data collection strategies and processes for all of the Office's communication channels, which currently include weekly email blasts to students, periodic communications with staff and faculty, social media feeds (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube), two major websites and the University Life App. On key strategic priorities, the Director will create content and execute strategy.
Hire, onboard and successfully manage a small team that includes full-time, temporary and student staff. The Director will also manage vendors and freelancers as necessary to support the work of the Office, creating systems and processes for a smooth and efficient flow of work within the team.
Write, edit, and/or review a wide range of communications including crisis response, press releases, speeches, talking points, annual reports, program collateral, email newsletters, social media copy and blog posts. In addition, the Director will provide high-level executive communications support for the Executive Vice President of University Life, the Vice President of Student Life and the Associate Vice President of Student Life, and coordinate the team to provide written product as well.
Ensure accuracy, quality and appropriate tone for all communications from the Office.
Create and lead promotion and awareness campaigns for University Life and Student Life initiatives including overseeing creative design for marketing collateral, establishing and ensuring strong distribution plans for critical initiatives across all offices within the University Life Division (Student Conduct and Community Standards, Religious Life and Community Impact).
Oversee coordination with campus partners on the Office's social media, web platforms and email newsletters.
Additional duties as assigned.
Bachelor's degree or equivalent experience required
5-7 years of experience
Ability to be available as needed during off-hours for rapid responses/crisis communications
Passion for the Office of University Life's mission and values
Demonstrated experience managing collaborative teams in a rapid and complex environment
Strong preference for candidates who have served in editorial director capacities in other organizations or with print and newsroom backgrounds
Experience with and understanding of best practices for web-based content production
Management of communications function in a networked, regional or educational organization
An understanding of how to leverage social media to meet communications objectives
New York City location preferred, but remote locations will be considered
The successful candidate will bring a passion for detail, innovation and an ability to listen carefully and build lasting relationships with internal clients, partners and team members, driven by an overarching goal of ensuring consistent excellence across the Office's content channels. The candidate will be capable of coordinating multiple responsibilities and projects in a fast-paced environment. Client service orientation and ability to maintain a sense of humor are essential.
Additionally, the ideal candidate will:
Have exemplary verbal and written communications skills and attention to detail
Have a strong understanding of workflows, processes and systems to keep the work organized and prioritized
Have strong computer skills including mastery of Google products
Bring a deep understanding of the communications landscape and track record of success marketing and communications
Be an effective people manager
Excel in stakeholder management, networking, and relationship building
Use sound judgment to drive communications initiatives and campaigns
Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran
Columbia University is committed to the hiring of qualified local residents.
Internal Number: 512272
About Columbia University
Columbia University is one of the world's most important centers of research and at the same time a distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students in many scholarly and professional fields. The University recognizes the importance of its location in New York City and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis. It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions. It expects all areas of the university to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.