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Assistant Vice President for Communications & Media (9851)

Date: Oct 6, 2021

Location: Washington, DC, US, 20016

Company: American University


The Assistant Vice President for Communications & Media Relations develops, implements, and manages strategic communications initiatives to support AU's institutional priorities and brand/reputation goals. The AVP serves as a public spokesperson for the University, and works with school, college, and unit leadership and communications teams to coordinate activities. Leading the Communications team within UCM, the AVP has four direct reports (three Senior Public Relations Managers and one PR Coordinator). The AVP establishes and executes strategies for media engagement, develops strong relationships with key reporters; trains faculty, staff, and administrators for media and public engagement; manages administrative functions of the communications team; and conducts measurement of media activities. 

Essential Functions

  1. Develop, implement, and measure media relations and communications strategies and programs that support university goals and priorities, including the AU Strategic Plan, the Challenge Acceped brand campaign, the Change Can’t Wait fundraising campaign. Manage the university's engagement with media, draft statements and releases, coordinate internal review processes, and report on outcomes. Foster and maintain strong relationships with key reporters and outlets to facilitate solid and responsible coverage of university messages, events, and programs.
  2. Support university-wide reputation efforts, developing impactful narratives about University priorities (e.g. leadership, dynamic student experiences, faculty research, and community impact, etc.). Produce ongoing stories for external audiences and internal communications channels.
  3. Respond to media inquiries regarding university policies, positions, programs, events, faculty, staff, and students. Support issues management activity and crisis communications in partnership with the Chief Communications Officer, Assistant Vice President for Communtiy and Internal Communications, and other university officials.
  4. Manage the University Communications team. Drive a service model where UCM provides strategic communications counsel and tactical support to the schools, colleges, and administrative units that advances university priorities and constituent-specific goals. Ensure coordination of communications efforts and promote adherence to university messages and priorities.
  5. Counsel university officials, including the President, on media opportunities. Develop and maintain strong relationships with university leadership to cultivate stories and promote key messages.

Supervisory Responsibility

  • 4 direct reports

Position Type/Expected Hours of Work

  • Full time 
  • Function Leader A 
  • Non-Exempt 

Salary Range

  • Commensurate with experience 

Required Education and Experience

  • Bachelor's degree
  • 10+ years of relevant experience

Preferred Education and Experience

  • Master's degree

Additional Eligibility Qualifications

  • Superior written and oral communication skills with attention to detail and accuracy.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and execute communication plans with measurable impact.
  • Demonstrated experience writing various communications modalities, such as briefings, news releases, talking points, scripts, and general correspondence concerning the organizations initiatives, strategies, goals, and performance.
  • Extensive relationships with key reporters and publications.
  • Discretion and management experience working with executive stakeholders and handling confidential information and sensitive matters.
  • Ability to manage projects and programs, which includes planning, developing timelines, determining resource requirements, evaluating progress, and reporting results.
  • Hiring offers for this position are contingent on successful completion of a background check.
  • To ensure the health and safety of our community AU requires COVID-19 vaccinations for faculty and staff. Click here to learn more about our health and safety directive.


  • Click here to learn about American University's unique benefit options


Current American University Employees:

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Contact Us:

For more information or assistance with the American University careers site, email


American University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution that operates in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The university does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, veteran status, an individual’s genetic information or any other bases under federal or local laws (collectively "Protected Bases") in its programs and activities.

Nearest Major Market: Washington DC