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Executive Writer

Posting Details

Posting Details

Job # 034093
Department Code 24000-9905
Department Marketing & Communications
Job Title Executive Writer
Location Syracuse, NY
Pay Range commensurate with experience
Salary Grade S5
FLSA Status Exempt

Standard University business hours:

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

Hours may vary based on operational needs.

Ability to work night and weekend hours, on a regular basis

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

The Syracuse University Chancellor regularly addresses a diverse array of audiences on and off campus and through various mediums. Through speeches, correspondence, social media, web content and more, the Chancellor and other senior leaders communicate with students, faculty, staff, alumni, business and civic groups, the Board of Trustees and national conferences. The Executive Writer will assist with as needed, researching and crafting communications, including correspondence, formal speeches, reports, presentations, opeds and collateral materials primarily for the Chancellor and other senior university officials as directed.

In addition, the Executive Writer participates actively in processes of editing or providing feedback on chancellor/board communications drafted by others at the University. The person in this position will work closely with the Chancellor and the chancellor’s office staff to ensure mutual alignment with institutional messages, themes, and priorities. This position reports to the Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer.


• Bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 7-10 years of professional writing experience, preferably in an academic environment.
• Experience collaborating directly with senior-level administrators or executives.
• Extensive experience researching, writing, and editing of communications content in a higher education institution, public relations agency or closely related field.
• Proven research and writing skills under pressure and demonstrated ability to meet deadlines.

Preferred Qualifications:
Degree in English, journalism, communications, marketing or a closely related field.
•Experience in policy and higher education is an asset, as is specific experience working with executive communications.
• Understands brand stewardship principles. Works to bring the brand to life through storytelling and writing.

Job Specific Qualifications

• Excellence in writing, editing and project management.
• Ability to work independently and collaboratively, make decisions, and multi-task to balance multiple priorities and communicate proactively with stakeholders about project risks or uncertainties.
• Track record in collaborating successfully across complex systems of stakeholders and subject matter experts.
• Demonstrated prior full-time professional experience writing concisely, effectively and persuasively in a variety of styles for specific audiences under sometimes-extreme time constraints.
• Demonstrated prior full-time professional experience interfacing with executive level staff to identify, leverage and synthesize information into meaningful communications messages for a variety of target audiences.
• Demonstrated organizational skills.
• Knowledge of interview techniques and the ability to define and deliver media messages. Must be able to interview subjects, identify key points, and distill the information in an engaging way for a variety of audiences.
• Knowledge of current Associate Press style or Chicago Manual of Style.
• Excellent computer skills and ability to utilize a variety of programs, including Microsoft Office suite including PowerPoint and other presentation tools.
• Demonstrated ability to keep abreast of campus events and subject matter expertise in relation to current events to identify and capitalize on media opportunities that will promote the college and increase positive media coverage. Working knowledge of copyright and other applicable laws pertaining to publications and the media.
• Strong story development and journalistic writing skills, as well as advanced editorial skills.
• Ability to produce error-free texts, thorough fact-checked documents and to work well independently or as a member of a team.
• Exceptional interpersonal skills, including strong public speaking, listening and interpretive skills.
• Demonstrated flexibility and adaptability, including a willingness to undertake both mundane and high profile tasks with enthusiasm and energy.
• Ability to work night and weekend hours, on a regular basis.


Currently reporting to the Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, the Executive Writer will work very closely with the chancellor and other university leadership to provide counsel on communication messages and strategies and align executive communications with Syracuse University’s mission. The executive writer will work closely with them marketing and communication division to ensure that executive communications are clear and consistent and reflect the Chancellor’s values and vision through the following activities:
• Work discreetly on sensitive or confidential assignments, exercise sound editorial judgment, and maintain the trust and confidence of the Chancellor, senior executives, and colleagues across campus.
• Prepare the chancellor for videos and speeches.
• Work closely with the Chancellor and relevant subject matter experts or stakeholders to establish major message themes/topics; research and write speeches for public appearances and campus events; write and/or edit remarks from outside writers in Chancellor’s voice, when necessary; develop an institutional voice consistent with the aspirations and priorities of the Chancellor and University; proofread and fact-check to ensure that information is accurate; and provide final set of eyes on all written communication from the Office of the Chancellor
• Research and draft columns, correspondence, announcements, presentations, speeches, and other materials to support the communication priorities of the Chancellor; work with the Chancellor, subject matter experts, communications leaders, and other stakeholders to gather and synthesize feedback and finalize drafts; Work closely with the Chancellor and other senior leaders to craft institutional responses to various incidents and to work proactively on anticipated campus issues.
• Maintain or oversee the maintenance the Office of the Chancellor’s web and digital content; maintain current biographies for the chancellor and leadership team and ensure that the Chancellor’s website and website assets, including photography, video, messages, and archive of writings are kept up to date.
• In collaboration with the social media strategy team, contribute occasional content for social media posts about or made on behalf of the chancellor.
• Build and maintain productive working relationships with colleagues throughout the University to facilitate the sharing of content across various channels and platforms.
• Create and manage communications plans about specific efforts or initiatives for the chancellor or the Board of Trustees that may include web content, email, speeches, promotional materials, or news; collaborate with the advancement and external affairs division as appropriate to ensure Chancellor’s development communications are appropriate.
• Coordinate closely with the Chancellor’s Chief of Staff, office staff, senior vice presidents, and other University staff to stay abreast of emerging topics, issues, events, and opportunities for messages on behalf of the chancellor or the Board of Trustees leadership.
• Contribute to the planning and implementation of major announcements sent by the chancellor or board; and work with other offices to gather information necessary to respond to inquiries.
• Maintain and distribute an active style guide reflecting the Chancellor’s preferences for voice, tone, forms of address, and related guidance.
• Contribute ideas for topics, themes, and message points based on an understanding of institutional priorities, issues, and opportunities, and based on understanding of current affairs locally, nationally, or in higher education; and attend meetings and take notes—often using those notes to develop various written communications.
• In collaboration with the other departments and offices that drive portions of chancellery communications, develop, maintain, and share as appropriate a master trigger calendar outlining major communications deadlines and time lines for completion.
• Participate in other department planning meetings and contribute ideas to strengthen the University’s internal and external communications; and work with other areas to develop high-impact content to inform and engage the University’s many audiences.
• Develop and demonstrate a multicultural awareness and contribute to cultivating an inclusive, diverse and respectful University community; demonstrate civil and inclusive behavior when interacting with staff, faculty, students and visitors to the University; and promote a flexible, collaborative and inclusive work and living environment and engage in educational opportunities to increase awareness and understanding of diversity and inclusion.

Physical Requirements

Not Applicable


Not Applicable

Application Instructions

In addition to completing an online application, please submit a resume and cover letter.

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 03/09/2018
Application Deadline
Full Consideration By
Job Category Staff
Message to Applicants

Applicant Documents

Required Documents
  1. Resume/CV
  2. Cover Letter
Optional Documents

Supplemental Questions

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

  1. * Please let us know how you heard of this position.
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    • Diverse Issues in Higher Education
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    • Syracuse Post Standard - newspaper
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    • Colleague recommendation
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    • Other
  2. * If "other",please let us know how you heard about this position. (or enter N/A)

    (Open Ended Question)