Communications lead. Initiates develop, and oversees communications priorities, goals, and strategies; manages school communications staff; manages drafting, editing, and approval processes for internal and external communications. Issues management. Manages and monitors issues that impact school programs and operations, including identifying trends and concerns as they become apparent; following up with issue owners to ensure progress is being made towards resolution; serving as point person for ongoing issues by maintaining a firm grasp of relevant details, particulars, and developments which may span several offices or divisions; providing status reports to the Director; ensuring timely, appropriate internal and external communications. Crisis communications and public relations. Serves a key role in the school’s Emergency Management Team, partnering with the Director and others to ensure proper prioritization of tasks in response to crises that affect the school’s various constituencies, and taking the lead on relevant internal and external communications. Communications partner across administrative departments. Partners with directors of other departments (including Admission and Financial Aid, Alumni Relations and Development, Finance and Operations), advising and supporting internal and external communications, serving a key role in administrative team meetings, and providing a central view as to whether departmental goals and initiatives are complementary.
Develops strategies, messaging, and tactics for both internal and external communications, using a wide array of media and channels to ensure that Lab attracts and retains the people and resources to achieve its mission and goals. Ensure that school-wide communications are unified and consistent. Uses communications to tell Lab’s story to build external and internal audience engagement with and pride in the institution.
Provides effective support to the Director, serving as a thought partner and contributing a centralized viewpoint with respect to programmatic, administrative, and operational issues and initiatives, helping to ensure the timely identification of issues and their efficient resolution, anticipating and initiating intermediate steps, drafting and editing key communications.
Collaborates and partners with colleagues across administrative, academic, and operational departments. Helps ensure that all components of school operations and programs are in alignment with school-wide priorities by forging connections and providing communications guidance to key teams across the schools. Supports major communications with families and employees (i.e., email, web, and in-person presentations) by the Director and senior leaders, particularly around high-stakes issues and concerns.
Manages communications staff, including supporting and monitoring goal-setting, performance, and morale, evaluating and furthering projects, and managing human and financial resources.
Monitors emerging concerns and prevailing sentiments among different school constituencies (employees, students, parents, and alumni) via direct connections, social media, constituent meetings and gatherings, and other sources of information. Use qualitative and qualitative research skills to gather data and draw insights that inform school decisions.
Partners with Human Resources to ensure effective onboarding of new colleagues at the director and assistant director level.
Serves as a key resource to the Director in responding to crises or urgent issues, formulating key communication strategies for internal and external constituencies. Partners with Safety and Security at Lab and the University to advise the Director on the appropriate timing and content for emergency communications and community alerts. Plays a leadership role in crisis management planning, including establishing crisis communications policies and procedures, and providing real-time crisis leadership, counsel, and support.
Serves as an ambassador for the schools with all constituencies. Represents the Schools with excellence to University and external audiences to champion its mission and program.
Manages, plans, and oversees professional staff in the development of communications policies and programs.
Maintains the media interface, including writing press releases, planning and organizing media coverage for major events, and may respond to requests on sensitive or controversial issues.
Performs other related work as needed.
Master’s degree in a relevant field.
Prior experience in communications, preferably in an academic leadership environment.
Outstanding communications skills, written and oral.
Excellent cultural competency demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and commitment to positive personal identity development and awareness.
Demonstrated ability to take the initiative, lead within a collaborative partnership framework, and stay on top of multiple ongoing priorities.
Excellent supervisory and interpersonal skills, with a demonstrated record of effective mentorship and management of a team.
Outstanding analytical and quantitative skills, with budget and project management experience.
Skilled in a complex organization, building partnerships with diverse groups of individuals, navigating complicated situations, pulling together disparate thoughts, ideas, and activities to create unique solutions and move the organization to action.
Independence of thinking and excellent judgment.
Tact and discretion when dealing with confidential or sensitive information and situations.
Demonstrated commitment to the highest standards of integrity.
Maintain a high degree of accuracy and maintain attention to detail in a fast-paced environment; ability to effectively prioritize multiple tasks and meet deadlines.
Cover Letter (required)
Professional References Contact Information (3)(required)
The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools provide one of the world's most outstanding pre-collegiate educational experiences. Because Lab is part of the University of Chicago, the importance of intellectual life—of thought and exploration—infuses all aspects of our curriculum, and students in every grade benefit from outstanding UChicago academicians and access to unmatched resources. John Dewey—one of the great minds in education—established the Schools in 1896 as a place to explore and implement his theories on childhood education. Today’s students still benefit from his vision, and today’s Lab faculty are recognized as experienced leaders in their field.
Families who choose Lab care deeply about curiosity, inquiry, and creativity. Approximately 60 percent of Lab families are affiliated with the University, half live in Hyde Park, and the rest come from across Chicago, the suburbs, and northern Indiana. Lab’s student body reflects the diversity that is deeply valued by the Schools and its community; approximately half of our 2,000 students are people of color and families report speaking nearly 40 different languages in their homes.
The Laboratory Schools seek the fine...st employees—people who wish to inspire a love of learning in our students and join a vibrant learning community. We employ people with a wide range of skills and training, in many different disciplines. At Lab, we value learning experientially, exhibiting kindness, and honoring diversity. We seek employees who share a similar commitment to these values. Lab people are engaged and excited by our mission of igniting and nurturing an enduring spirit of scholarship, curiosity, creativity, and confidence in the youngest members of the University of Chicago’s academic community.
The Laboratory Schools is a great place to work and our connection to the University provides our faculty and staff with opportunities that would be nearly impossible to match in any other environment.
Interested candidates should apply via our website at: http://www.ucls.uchicago.edu/about-lab/employment
The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.
Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-834-1841 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org with their request.