Associate Vice President for Public Affairs Middlebury College
Posting Number: S01394
Position Summary: The associate vice president for public affairs advances and protects the interests of Middlebury and all its entitiesCollege, Institute, Language Schools, Schools Abroad, Bread Loaf School of English and Writer's Conferences, and School of the Environmentwith responsibility for proactive and reactive public affairs activities at the institutional level. Working closely with the vice president for communications and marketing; colleagues in the division; and regularly with the president, the cabinet, senior administrative leaders, and potentially trustees, the associate vice president works to position Middlebury and its people as relevant, impactful contributors to the teaching, research, and engagement of disciplines and issues in higher education and in the world outside the academy. As difficulties and emergencies arise, the associate vice president works to protect the institution and its people by developing clear and effective strategies and communications. Ongoing, the associate vice president devotes time and effortpartnering with the vice president for communications and marketing and colleagues in the division and across the institutionto building trust among all stakeholders by creating and implementing strategies and communications that promote healthy, respectful, and robust dialog.
The associate vice president will serve as Middlebury's primary spokesperson.
The associate vice president provides leadership and support in planning, coordinating, executing, writing, and evaluating the effectiveness of communications in areas including but not limited to public affairs, crisis communications, internal communications, media relations, executive communications, brand positioning, and potentially marketing. The associate vice president might advise executive staff about communications policy and will initially manage two direct reports who oversee media, social media, and news services.
Essential Functions: Offer is contingent upon successful completion of a criminal background check.
Create and sustain first-rate crisis communications plans and policies and direct Middleburys response during emergency situations that have reputational or personal impact. Create and sustain effective internal communications plans and policies in partnership or in consultation with staff, faculty, and students. Create and sustain imaginative and effective media plans in partnership with division colleagues. Provide strategic counsel on reputation management and potentially other issues to Middlebury senior leadership. Advise senior leaders on reputational risks and public relations implications of current events, higher education trends, institutional issues, and actions contemplated by the institution. Develop and sustain productive relationships with colleagues across the greater institution to continually assess the effectiveness of internal communications vehicles, content, and tone. Develop and sustain productive relationships with local, regional, national, and international press organizations and journalistsin both horizontal and vertical media. Work with the media director (and other colleagues as required) to respond to media inquiries. Research requested information and develop responses and talking points in coordination with campus units and subject matter experts. Collaborating with other institutional units and media relations colleagues, manage day-to-day media inquiries. In collaboration with the media director, prepare experts and campus spokespersons as needed. In collaboration with the media director, provide media relations training and best practices for campus-wide communications practitioners. Research and write briefing materials, holding statements, talking points, press releases, and statements to the community. Research and write executive-level communications as needed, including speeches, remarks, op-eds, and other statements to the community or the public.
General Responsibilities: Other duties may also be assigned.
Qualifcation Education: Bachelors degree in journalism, communications, or related field, and a minimum of 15 years of relevant experience in public affairs (including public relations, media relations, crisis communications, and internal communications) in a complex organization.
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities: Superior strategic, analytic, and tactical abilities. Expertise in advising senior leadership through crises, emergencies, media and social media tumult, and other complicated and difficult situations. Outstanding management and planning skills, including the ability to handle multiple projects effectively in a collaborative environment. Proven ability to manage large and complex issues exhibiting diverse and competing interests. Superb researching, writing, and editing skills. Excellent interpersonal and relationship-building skills. Ability to work in fast-paced, high-pressure environment while exercising diplomacy and tact. Superior judgment and news judgment. Proven management skills and experience. Ability to develop and maintain close relationships with journalists (local, national, international) and faculty, students, staff, and alum colleagues. A self-starteraction-oriented, resourceful, and groundedwho can take a project or program from start to completion. Thrives in an environment with public exposure and diverse range of personalities and opinions. Presence, thinks on the fly, can balance personality and professional perspective with objectives and priorities of the institution and the issues at hand. Strong presentation capabilities, internally to colleagues and externally to the press and public. Demonstrated ability to earn credibility and influence opinion leaders.
Experience: Deep understanding of higher education communications and marketing as well as the issues and forces affecting the field. Depth of experience and sensitivity required of a strategic leadership position. Experience in all realms of media, especially new media including but not limited to managing influencer strategies and relationships. Experience in working in a highly decentralized environment is desirable.
From its proud history spanning more than two centuries, Middlebury College has emerged as one of a handful of the most highly regarded liberal arts colleges. Middlebury is unique among these schools in being a classic liberal arts college that also offers graduate and specialized programs operating around the world.