The President’s Office at Whittier College seeks an Executive Director.
The Executive Director of Communications and Community Relations and Special Assistant to the President serves as the chief communications executive of the College. The Executive Director directs the communications vision and strategy, serves as a senior spokesperson with the news media and press, and implements the College’s strategic communications initiatives. The Executive Director also manages the College’s external facing community and government relations functions, and works on special projects as directed by the President. The Executive Director is responsible for developing and implementing an integrated, comprehensive communications program to enhance Whittier College’s visibility nationally and regionally; ensuring clear and consistent delivery of key messaging among all constituency groups (internal and external); and identifying and developing opportunities through multiple forms of media to support and enhance the programs and mission of Whittier College. The Executive Director will oversee publication of The Rock, College social media, media relations, and other campus print and digital publications. The Executive Director advises and counsels the President and other senior leaders on critical matters related to image and reputation, including institutional priorities, fundraising, and crisis communications. As a member of the leadership team, the Executive Director will work closely with all members of the College community to build and sustain the College's reputation for academic excellence and strengthen its visibility.
Hours: Monday – Friday, 40 hours per week
Exempt/Non-Exempt Status: Exempt
Full Time/Part Time status: Full Time
Salary Range: $115,000-$135,000 annually; Salary will commensurate with experience, skills, and knowledge.
Reports To: President
Supervision Given To: Students and Communications consultants. Indirect coordination of all communications on campus.
Location/Department: Whittier College (Main Campus) / Advancement
This position is considered a Campus Security Authority.
Position Duties and Responsibilities
- Responsible for the overall communications and branding efforts for the College.
- Develop and manage the execution of strategic communications campaigns for the College. Utilize innovative best practices.
- Advise College president, the Board of Trustees, and senior staff members on institutional public relations strategy and execution. Provides media training to senior staff, faculty, and students for the purpose of promoting College programs and activities.
- Serve as one of the College’s primary public information officers, responding to a variety of public and media inquiries; work closely with program managers, faculty, and student agencies to ensure strong internal information flow across campus.
- Serve as one of the College's primary communications writers, responsible for identifying and developing story concepts, interviewing subjects, and writing articles for multiple media, including print publications and web. Assist in the development of senior leadership communications pieces.
- Serve as editor for The Rock magazine, a biannual alumni magazine production and draft/produce/edit other key institutional print marketing projects for external audiences, as needed.
- Work closely with other College staff on print informational and promotional projects, either coordinating production, providing editorial direction and support, or supplying tactical guidance. Maintain institutional branding program via print and web Template Suites and established style guides, developing and delivering implementation workshop materials and training sessions.
- Provide strategic and operational support for College website and social media channels.
- Provide guidance and shared supervision for department-specific communication effots, incluidng those carried out by the Shannon Center, Library, Athletics Department, and Broadoaks School, among others.
- Lead the ongoing development of a comprehensive Media-Crisis Response Plan, which includes drafting media response guidelines for major scenarios, securing press location and logistics information, and drafting press release templates for use in a crisis situation. Serve as a member of safety and crisis management committees; participate in meetings and tabletop exercises, as needed. When appropriate, serve as the primary Public Information Officer in a crisis situation. Work with outside agencies and governmental/civic organizations as needed to ensure consistent messaging, identify and train appropriate spokesperson/s, and manage as much as possible external information flow with respect to preservation of institutional reputation.
- Define and maintain a media relations strategy for the College locally and regionally. Lead or assist in the development of messaging for pro-active/re-active news stories and crises. Lead or assist in the College’s response to media queries and news opportunities, recruiting "experts" and spokespeople on specific subjects to field questions and provide important content. Lead or assist in the development of strategic media story pitches, drafts points for editorials or letters to the editor for senior administrators, and provide media training, as needed. Provide guidance/work with senior administrators or key faculty in matters regarding news value, media relations, and tactical direction.
- Direct and execute strategy to enhance College's approach to communications with current and prospective parents and alumni.
- Provide support in the development and execution of a student-focused strategic communications plan.
- Oversee day-to-day activities of the Communications Office including staff hiring and supervision, performance appraisals, work study, and make recommendation on staffing structure, promotions and salary levels. Develop and manage departmental budgets, track events, alumni correspondence, and inquiries.
- Develop and implement plans for extending Whittier College’s presence in the local community of Whittier and Los Angeles County. Serve as the College’s representative with community groups and government entities.
- Support the President in special projects as assigned.
- Related duties as assigned.
Non-Essential Functions of the Job
None identified at this time.
Position Specifications and Requirements
Previous Experience: At least ten years of related experience in communications, public relations, and alumni relations programs, preferably in industry and higher education. Experience as a print journalist is highly recommended. Minimum of 5 years' related experience in a senior leadership role with a hands-on collaborative style with cross-disciplinary direct reports and/or team.
Knowledge and Education: Bachelor's degree in communications, journalism, marketing, or related field required. Masters degree preferred. Requires superior management, organization and planning skills; superb writing and communication skills; demonstrated initiative, strong interpersonal skills, sound judgment, and ability to work independently as well as in a team; experience in higher education environment required. Must have strong knowledge of local, national, and international media, as well as standard journalistic practices; demonstrated, successful news placement. Established relationships with educational journalists preferred. Ability to conduct meetings and lead discussions successfully, as well as manage the work of contributing freelance, faculty, and student writers. Ability to keep deadlines and manage the editorial development of various publications, including web. Must be deadline and results oriented; creative; team oriented; adaptable and able to keep information confidential as required. Requires ability to handle multiple assignments with minimum supervision. Candidate should have significant abilities recruiting, guiding and motivating volunteers individually and in groups; ability to establish cooperative, effective working relationships with volunteers, donors, faculty and staff. Demonstrated ability to work independently and entrepreneurially; experience creating, developing and implementing new initiatives. Excellent judgment and creative problem-solving skills, including negotiation, mediation, and conflict resolution skills.
Machines, Tools, Equipment, Electronic Devices and Software: Normal office equipment and office software programs. Must be familiar with social media platforms and tools, and basic print and graphic design software (e.g., InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator). Candidates with experience using Drupal, Wordpress, or other open-sourced CMS-based systems, as well e-mail marketing tools, preferred.
License(s) and Certificate(s)
Physical Activity/Effort: Position involves normal physical activity, such as sitting for extended period, operating a computer.
Environmental Conditions: Position works in a typical office environment.
Contact with Students: Moderate contact with students.
Contact with Faculty and/or Staff: Frequent contact with faculty and staff.
Contact with Community and Vendors: Frequent contact with community and vendors.
Confidentiality: Required to maintain confidentiality of all information entrusted to this position.