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Assistant Vice President for Communications & Media (9851)

Date: Sep 22, 2022

Location: Washington, DC, US, 20016

Company: American University

Get to Know American University

At American University we value open and honest inquiry, servant leadership, and the affirmation of the human dignity of all. We envision a thriving AU community where individuals of all identities and experiences are understood, appreciated, and fully included, and where equitable treatment, opportunities, and outcomes prevail. 


Our diverse community of students, faculty, and staff represent every state and more than 150 countries. Our internationally recognized faculty are today's thought leaders in the areas of public policy, law, the arts, communications, international development, and more. Our staff are innovative, service-oriented, and dedicated to moving the university towards achieving its strategic goals. We are committed to an excellent experience for all of our students, faculty and staff and share a passion for creating change through our knowledge and our work. 


Learn more about American University by clicking here.  

About the Department/Unit

American University and its community of changemakers are an incredible story, and it's our job to tell it. The UCM team integrates many creative strategies and skills - communications, marketing, publications - to share the AU experience to our community and the broader world. We deliver outstanding expertise and exceptional content that showcases the university's world-class scholarship, experiential learning, and dynamic community.”


The Assistant Vice President for Communications & Media Relations develops, implements, and assesses comprehensive communications initiatives to support American University’s strategic priorities and 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 Associate Directors and one PR Specialist). The AVP creates and executes strategies for media engagement, develops strong relationships with key reporters; engages university stakeholders to understand key concepts, trains faculty, staff, and administrators for media and public engagement; manages administrative functions of the communications team; and conducts measurements 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 Accepted brand campaign, the Change Can’t Wait fundraising campaign, student enrollment/retention, faculty research, and other priorities across scholarship, learning, and community. Manage the university's engagement with reporters and media outlets, draft statements and releases, coordinate internal review processes with stakeholders to ensure accuracy and message alignment, and report on outcomes.
  2. Support university-wide reputation efforts, developing impactful narratives (e.g., leadership, dynamic student experiences, faculty research, 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 Community 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. 
  5. Build strong relationships with academic leaders, faculty, administrative unit leaders, and other campus stakeholders to develop deep understanding of core issues and priorities. Utilize relationships to inform communications efforts and support priorities of university schools, colleges, and administrative units.

Supervisory Responsibility

  • 4 direct reports

Position Type/Expected Hours of Work

  • Full Time - 35 hours/week.
  • 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
  • 10+ years of relevant experience

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.


  • Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.


AU offers a competitive benefits package including a 200% matching retirement plan, tuition benefits for full-time staff and their families, several leadership development certificates, and has been recognized by the American Heart Association as a fit-friendly worksite. Click here to learn about American University's unique benefit options.


Current American University Employees

If you are a current employee at American University, please log into AsuccessfulU through the myAU portal. Once in AsuccessfulU, please select the Careers tile which will take you to our internal career page. 


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