Senior Director for Communications and Public Affairs

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), the leading national higher education organization committed to improving the quality of undergraduate education, seeks an experienced, self-motivated, and creative leader for the position of Senior Director for Communications and Public Affairs. The Senior Director will report to the Associate Vice President for Quality, Advocacy, and LEAP Initiatives and will provide strategic leadership for all aspects of AAC&U communications with internal and external audiences. Specifically, this position oversees media relations, marketing, AAC&U’s web site, member communications, and publications development and production.  This includes AAC&U’s three quarterly journals:  Liberal Education, Peer Review, and Diversity and Democracy.  In addition to communications skills and experiences, the ideal candidate will also possess in-depth knowledge of trends and challenges in higher education today and will have had opportunities on a college and university campus to lead change in ways associated with AAC&U’s mission.

In addition to overseeing AAC&U’s Communications Office, the Senior Director will also serve as a key contributor to senior leadership within the Association.  As new initiatives are developed and launched, the Senior Director will play a crucial, collaborative role ensuring that communications are leveraged in strategic ways that further the goals of projects. In this way, the Senior Director will ultimately shape core aspects of how AAC&U achieves its mission.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • In close collaboration with the President and senior leadership, develop messages and communications strategies to advance AAC&U’s vision, priorities, and activities to both internal and external audiences;
  • Coordinate all aspects of the Communications Office and the implementation of communications strategies, including all media outreach;
  • Collaborate with staff across the organization to strategize and coordinate communications and marketing related to AAC&U’s projects and initiatives, ongoing programs (such as conferences and institutes), and special programs;
  • Provide leadership and oversight for media relations and marketing; as needed, develop special media and outreach efforts related to the release of data or results from initiatives or other important activities of the association;
  • Develop and implement an annual communications plan, including processes to measure the effectiveness of communications strategies and activities;
  • Oversee budgets for publications, quarterlies, marketing, website, and media relations;
  • Supervise the communications department staff (eight direct reports);
  • Contribute to Association efforts to secure sponsors for events, publications, etc.;
  • Travel occasionally to conferences and events; and
  • Speak publicly and write about AAC&U’s vision, priorities, and activities.

Required Qualifications:

  • Outstanding communication skills, including editing, writing, and public speaking;
  • Depth of knowledge regarding higher education and its contemporary issues;
  • Commitment to AAC&U’s mission to advance liberal education and inclusive excellence;
  • Strong track record as an implementer who thrives on managing a variety of key initiatives concurrently;
  • High energy, maturity, and leadership with the ability to position communications discussions at both the strategic and practical levels;
  • Self-starter who is able to work independently while also serving as a unifying and supportive leader for staff;
  • An active listener with a sincere commitment to working collaboratively;
  • Training and/or experience in the communications field; and
  • Master’s degree

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience on a college or university campus implementing aspects of AAC&U’s mission in real-world settings;
  • Ph.D. in a discipline that directly contributes to current knowledge of higher education’s policies, practices, and issues; and
  • A scholarly agenda that addresses aspects of contemporary issues in higher education.

Please submit a resume (with contact information for three references) and a cover letter as a single PDF file, as well as salary requirements, to  Your application should describe relevant work and educational experiences and include a brief statement regarding what you see as higher education’s greatest challenges today. Review of applications will begin on Monday, July 23, 2018.  

AAC&U believes that a broadly diverse staff is critical to achieving excellence as a national higher education association. We seek to recruit, develop, and retain the most talented people from a diverse candidate pool. We are fully committed to equal employment opportunity and compliance with the full range of fair employment practices and non-discrimination laws.