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Senior Associate Vice President for Communications

Please see Special Instructions for more details.

For more information please contact: The Ward Group Please reference "Syracuse" in the subject line of your email.

Posting Details

Posting Details

Job # 034358
Department Code 24000-9905
Department Marketing & Communications
Job Title Senior Associate Vice President for Communications
Location Syracuse, NY
Pay Range Commensurate with experience
Salary Grade S7
FLSA Status Exempt

8:30am -5:00pm (academic year)
8:00am – 4:30pm (summer)

Hours may vary based on operational needs.

Job Type Full-time
Campus Syracuse, NY
Unionized Position Code Not Applicable
Job Description

This is a tremendous opportunity for a talented communications leader: a “builder” who can take an “outside-in” view in re-imagining the communications capability for a respected top-tier university that has all the ingredients to take a significant leap forward. The University’s dynamic new leadership team has a clear mission and vision and the Communications leader will have the necessary support to elevate Syracuse University’s profile as a top-tier global research university.

This role reports to the Senior VP, Chief Communications Officer.


Bachelor’s Degree required; Master’s degree preferably in communications, journalism or a related field.

Innovative strategic communications leader with a successful track record of progressive experience in directing an organization’s public and media relations and/or internal communications efforts, including digital media. Expressed commitment to the mission of education, scholarship, and research is very important.

Job Specific Qualifications

Must have excellent oral and written communication skills.

Successful track record as a compelling senior leader, manager, and strategist. Must be able to lead and effect change in a large, decentralized and complex organizational environment.

Must have the proven ability to advise senior leaders effectively, and the capability to understand and navigate the higher education environment.

Experience with responding to and managing communications crises. Deadline-driven.

Demonstrated savvy and contemporary media relations skills and experience; adeptness at coordinating press for large events is mandatory; will have portfolio of demonstrated success with the press and other promotional initiatives. Experience at providing media training to c-suite and/or faculty.

Proven effectiveness in employing digital communications and social media; able to develop communications plans that fully leverage new technologies.

Proven track record of moving projects forward while anticipating future demands and opportunities. Must be able to coordinate multiple programs simultaneously and to develop and implement forward-thinking and creative strategies.

A straight forward and direct leader who is comfortable advancing new and different ideas that challenge the norm, while remaining publicly loyal to leadership.

Skilled in leading, motivating and developing a diverse team of strategic communications professionals. A role model who demonstrates respectful behavior with multiple stakeholders.

Confident decision-maker; self-starter with high energy/drive. Solution-oriented. Sense of humor.

Superior interpersonal and organizational skills are needed, along with a demonstrated ability to think strategically and critically.

Must be able to consistently exercise sound judgment and possess strong skills in the areas of leadership, persuasion, negotiation, and people and fiscal management.

Experienced in managing outside resources to deliver meaningful results on time and on budget.


Lead and inspire a 10+ person team of communications professionals charged with promoting and protecting the Syracuse University brand and advance its strategic goals and objectives while broadening its impact and enriching its reputation. You will not only develop an integrated communications strategy but also the operational capability to ensure consistent efficient and effective University communications. You will be responsible for providing fresh leadership to the communications team and develop an elite capability in media relations, as well as establishing a progressive internal communications function for the University’s 5,000 team members.

Work with the Chief Communications Officer and senior leadership to create a formal integrated communications program that will provide a consistent, clear and compelling image for the University. In particular, create a vision for pro-active communications that highlights the University’s unique global offerings.

Spearhead media relations, particularly in the area of crisis communications when immediate and strategic media communication is needed in response to issues. Work very closely with the Chief Communications Officer, Chancellor and Provost to develop a strategic approach to media messaging.

Serve as senior communications counselor to University leaders (including media training) as they assess, monitor, manage and respond to issues that put the University System in the public eye. Create an environment where opportunities for positive public relations are generated and aggressively pursued.

Take a proactive approach to media relations and social media efforts to ensure that Syracuse University messages and stories reach key target audiences and have impact.

Proactively advance Syracuse’s positioning and relevance and expand its reach and impact with a variety of key audiences, including thought leaders, journalists and other influencers.

Act as a chief spokesperson for the University on various issues and press coverage; communicate with both internal and external audiences, including news media and local officials in the Syracuse community.

Develop a vison and framework for internal communications efforts that provides a clear and concise positioning of Syracuse University for internal constituents (students, faculty, staff, and trustees).

Contribute to the development of a compelling and effective digital presence resulting in vibrant and responsive online communications to effectively position the University and advance priority objectives and initiatives. Partner with the content and social teams to ensure that there is integration across all communications channels.

Develop strong relationships with communications leaders across Syracuse’s 13 schools/colleges, sharing the value of the University’s integrated communications strategy and how each school can participate.

Serve as the editor in chief for all University communications ensuring consistency in messaging and quality. Serves as an executive writer as needed.

Physical Requirements




Application Instructions

About Syracuse University

Syracuse University is a private research university of extraordinary academics, distinctive offerings and an undeniable spirit. With a gorgeous campus in the heart of New York State, a global footprint and a history that dates to 1870, we embrace diverse backgrounds and viewpoints.

Our student population includes nearly 15,000 undergraduates and 5,000 graduate students, representing all 50 U.S. states and 123 countries. Our proud commitment to veterans and their families is unrivaled in higher education. Home to 11 schools and colleges, Syracuse University blends the foundational power of the liberal arts with the intense focus of professional programs. We offer undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in Architecture, Arts and Sciences, Education, Engineering and Computer Science, Sport and Human Dynamics, Information Studies, Law, Management, Citizenship and Public Affairs, Public Communications, and Visual and Performing Arts.

A medium-sized city situated in the geographic center of the state, Syracuse, N.Y., is approximately a four-hour drive from New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Toronto and Montreal. With a metropolitan population of 700,000, Syracuse is a center for cultural, recreational and artistic events, including the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse Stage, Symphoria, Destiny Mall, multiple sporting events, and festivals including Jazz Fest and Winterfest. The outdoor enthusiast will enjoy having the Adirondack Mountains, the Finger Lakes, Lake Ontario, and the Thousands Islands Region within easy driving distance of the Syracuse campus.


Syracuse University is an equal-opportunity, affirmative-action institution. The University prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race, color, creed, religion, sex, gender, national origin, citizenship, ethnicity, marital status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable law to the extent prohibited by law. This nondiscrimination policy covers admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in University programs, services, and activities.

Commitment to Supporting and Hiring Veterans

Syracuse University has a long history of engaging veterans and the military-connected community through its educational programs, community outreach, and employment programs. After World War II, Syracuse University welcomed more than 10,000 returning veterans to our campus, and those veterans literally transformed Syracuse University into the national research institution it is today. The University’s contemporary commitment to veterans builds on this historical legacy, and extends to both class-leading initiatives focused on making an SU degree accessible and affordable to the post-9/11 generation of veterans, and also programs designed to position Syracuse University as the employer of choice for military veterans, members of the Guard and Reserve, and military family members.

Commitment to a Diverse and Inclusive Campus Community

Syracuse University maintains an inclusive learning environment in which students, faculty, administrators, staff, curriculum, social activities, governance, and all other aspects of campus life reflect a diverse, multi-cultural, and international worldview. The University community recognizes and values the many similarities and differences among individuals and groups. At Syracuse, we are committed to preparing students to understand, live among, appreciate, and work in an inherently diverse country and world made up of people with different ethnic and racial backgrounds, military backgrounds, religious beliefs, socio-economic status, cultural traditions, abilities, sexual orientations and gender identities. To do so, we commit ourselves to promoting a community that celebrates and models the principles of diversity and inclusivity.

Job Posting Date 03/06/2018
Application Deadline
Full Consideration By
Job Category Staff
Message to Applicants

For more information please contact:
The Ward Group

Please reference “Syracuse” in the subject line of your email.

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