Reporting to the Executive Director of Public Affairs in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs, the Director of Science and Technology Communications promotes Columbia University's academic initiatives, research breakthroughs, intellectual expertise, breaking news, and special events related to science and technology to internal audiences, outside influencers, and the news media based on strategic communications priorities at the university level. This includes working with the Office of Research Initiatives, the Office of Development, and communications officers across the university to conceive of long-term communications strategies to expand public awareness of the university's major initiatives in such areas as climate science, neuroscience, precision medicine, data science, and the research of faculty in the basic, natural, and applied sciences.
To accomplish this, the director will draft and produce content and promote stories to internal and external audiences, including the news media and influencers, that advance these communications' agenda. This content will be disseminated via EurekAlert and on Columbia's news page, e-newsletters, and social media. The director will also help the Executive Director of Public Affairs, the Office of Research Initiatives, and the School of Engineering and Applied Science supervise a Science Communications Manager working on the Columbia Quantum Initiative.
Pitches science and technology stories to reporters, editors, and influencers.
Writes or produces and promotes science and technology Columbia University news articles and social media content.
Establishes and nurtures effective working relationships with influencers and journalists.
Serves as a frontline media contact, fields incoming media requests, and to help facilitate faculty and staff interviews. Coordinates videography and photography by news outlets and by in-house teams.
Develops public relations initiatives and communication plans on behalf of Columbia's schools, centers, departments, and programs consistent with the university's umbrella messages and strategic priorities.
Collaborates with public affairs colleagues from across the university as well as deans, department chairs, administrators, and faculty members to proactively develop strategic long term communications plans.
Organizes supporting materials such as social media kits, background memos, talking points, and Q&As. Develops and updates media lists and performs related tasks as required.
Attends selected university events, conducts media check-in and monitors media as needed. Occasionally, these events take place in the evenings and on weekends.
Works with the Office of Research Initiatives, the Office of Development to promote strategic university goals.
Contributes ideas and engages with colleagues to improve and strengthen the office's professional environment. Works closely with public affairs teammates to support media outreach campaigns that enhance the university's visibility.
Develops and maintains a university-wide Columbia Research & Discovery news site, gathering information from around the university in relevant areas; collaborates with the Sites team to streamline Columbia-related science and research content, works with the Executive Director of Public Affairs to identify priority areas, content development ideas, and promotional strategies.
Helps produce and execute social media strategy in support of science and technology initiatives.
Aids in supervising a Science Communications Manager working on the Columbia Quantum Initiative.
Bachelor's degree required and at least eight to ten years of journalism and/or progressive public relations experience. A knowledge of science is a must, as is strong verbal, writing, and editing skills and basic PC computer skills (Word, email, Internet, social media, etc.).
Successful Directors of Science and Technology Communications are fast writers with a careful attention to detail. To thrive the individual possesses the ability to accurately translate specialized, technical, and academic jargon into lay language for general audiences. Other helpful attributes include an organized work ethic, a sense of calm under pressure, a belief in team spirit, respect for deadlines, and ability to multitask. Successful directors have excellent phone, interpersonal, and social media skills.
Specific knowledge and experience working with the news media is highly preferred. An advanced degree and foreign language abilities are welcomed. Experience with video and media-related services and software - EurekAlert, Meltwater, SalesForce, Muck Rack, Excel, Photoshop - is a plus.
Experience developing and managing strategic communications initiatives on behalf of high-profile institutions.
Significant experience working with international, national, and local print and broadcast reporters and producers.
Demonstrated ability to master complex scientific concepts and put them in context for lay readers.
Skilled translator of technical jargon into language suitable for the general public.
Sophisticated judgment about the relative newsworthiness of scientific developments and sensitivity to the broad political context framing science news.
Collaborative, energetic, supportive, and enthusiastic work style.
Strong writing and verbal communications skills.
Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran
Columbia University is committed to the hiring of qualified local residents.
Internal Number: 513370
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.