Cornell Universityis a remarkable community of scholars, educators, students, staff, and alumni who are deeply influenced by proud traditions and a set of cherished founding principles. Unique among its Ivy League peers, Cornell is a private university with a land-grant mission. It is a world- class research institution known for the breadth and rigor of its curricula, and an academy dedicated to preparing young people to be well-educated and well-rounded citizens of the world. Cornell's faculty, staff, and students believe in the critical importance of knowledge --both theoretical and applied--as a means of improving the human condition and solving the world's problems. It embraces traditional liberal arts education, practical applications of knowledge, and interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to research and teaching. It champions free and open intellectual inquiry and expression, treats all individuals with dignity and respect, celebrates difference and diversity, fostering a sense of belonging, and remains open and accessible to all who meet its high academic standards.
The University consists of 15 schools and colleges, four of which receive support from New York State as part of Cornell's land-grant mission. At the Ithaca campus, the Weill Cornell Medicine campuses in New York City and Qatar, and the new Cornell Tech campus in New York City, the University enrolls nearly 15,000 undergraduates andover 8,000 graduate and professional school students. Cornell employs approximately 8,100 staff and 1,600 professorial faculty members in Ithaca and at Cornell Tech, and an additional 5,000 staff and 1,700 faculty members at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. The University is governed by a 64-member board of trustees, which includes representatives from the faculty, students, staff, alumni, and New York State.
REPORTS TO: Vice President, University Relations
The Associate Vice President (AVP) for Communications is responsible for promoting and raising the visibility of Cornell University to internal and external audiences. The principal strategist and advisor to the Vice President for University Relations (VPUR) on communications, will serve as a lead member of the division management team, overseeing the division's three communications units (Strategic Communications, Media Relations and News, Brand Communications), supervising the Senior Directors of Strategic Communications and Brand Communications and the Directors of Media Relations and News, and driving proactive, sophisticated, creative and integrated communications approaches and considerations by all of the division's units as well as each of the university's academic and administrative units.
The AVP will: provide vision and leadership in directing, developing, promoting and implementing an integrated strategic communications plan to advance the university's communications objectives while enhancing and protecting Cornell's reputation, brand and identity; proactively champion a broad range of public relations activities to implement strategies and policies established by the university's senior leadership; develop creative and leading edge strategies to drive broader awareness and appreciation of the university among key audiences; leverage the vehicles and tools (print, web, social, event and media/news) to meet division and university goals; identify opportunities, challenges and emerging issues and partner with the VPUR and the division's senior management team to identify, develop and implement solutions; promote a professional culture of high quality, efficiency and continuous improvement; mentor and develop staff for internal professional growth opportunities; develop and analyze metrics that demonstrate the impact of communications to meet the university's and University Relation's strategic needs; and represent the VPUR at internal and external meetings as needed.
The AVP will be the primary steward of the critical relationships and partnerships between University Relations and multiple communications leads in academic units across the university. The AVP will utilize people skills, expertise and engagement with these communications leads to advance a collaborative culture and coordinated communications ecosystem throughout Cornell.
Craft and implement overall communications strategy for the university to advance the university's communications objectives while enhancing and protecting Cornell's reputation, brand and identity. Develop creative leading-edge approaches to communicating the university's priorities to internal and external stakeholders. Leverage vehicles and communications efforts to raise awareness of Cornell through external (traditional and new) media, events and other third-party vehicles as appropriate.
Guide, inspire and direct University Relations' three communications units -- Strategic Communications, Media Relations and News, and Brand Communications - in the ongoing creation and implementation of proactive communications strategies to connect the mission, goals, priorities and accomplishments of the university to both internal and external audiences. Lead communications planning process for the division to ensure disciplined execution of each year's plan. Develop short- and long-term plans and budgets for the division's communications activities, monitor progress, assure adherence and evaluate performance.
Facilitate the strategic planning, execution, and maintenance of effective communication efforts across the division.
Regularly engage and coordinate with communications leads from each of the university's academic units to advance a culture of collaboration, integrate unit initiatives and strategies with university division goals, and elevate communications outcomes across university. Support the Senior Director of Strategic Communications' efforts to engage and coordinate with communications leads in the university's administrative units.
Partner with key leadership in University-wide development, direction and implementation of strategic communications priorities; identify unique requirements for major University-wide projects and ensure stakeholder needs are met from multiple areas of the university. Act as internal expert and lead on matters related University-wide communications and public relations.
Provide operational direction for University Relations' communications units. Collaborate with the VPUR, senior leadership, and the Director of Finance, Administration University Licensing to analyze needs and implement initiatives. Oversee hiring process for positions across the division's communications units. Identify areas for continuous improvement and outline operational strategies for achieving new benchmarks. Mentor and develop staff for internal professional growth opportunities.
Represent the division in university-wide issues including actively participating on university- wide committees. Provide leadership in, and be responsible for, the oversight and coordination of division-wide or university-wide initiatives and special projects.
Provide real-time strategic counsel and advice to the VPUR on a myriad of reputational challenges and opportunities facing Cornell.
Meet regularly with the division's senior leaders to ensure a unified understanding of goals, objectives and tactics for the division. Collaborate with the team to leverage their expertise in on-going strategic development and implementation. Serve as a delegate to senior leadership on behalf of the VPUR as needed. Represent the division and the VPUR in person and in communications with external organizations.
Represent VPUR at internal and external meetings as needed.
Bachelor's degree in communications, public relations, journalism or related field, at least 10 years of experience as a communications manager in a complex organization with multiple internal and external stakeholders or equivalent, preferably in higher education or major non-profit organizations. Knowledge of research university climate highly desirable.
Public speaking, media writing, video or other emerging technology experience. Deep understanding of media relations experience garnering attention for an institution's priorities and protecting an institution's public reputation.
Professional demeanor and excellent communication and organizational skills are essential. Ability maintain strict confidentiality.
Proven track record of deep collaboration, motivation, and consensus building to leverage new ideas and best practices. Ability to energize, inspire, and function effectively with senior staff and other unit leadership to ensure targeted goals are met.
Excellent supervisory experience, leadership skills, and ability motivate others. Experience coaching senior staff and driving successful projects. Commitment and ability to foster a culture of professional growth and development, and inclusiveness among staff while holding individuals accountable.
Ability to work in a team-oriented environment as well as independently, with excellent judgment. Must be a self-directed strategic thinker with exceptional writing, editorial, interpersonal, and qualitative and quantitative research skills. Must have the ability to complete multiple tasks efficiently and accurately, and to develop good working relationships with diverse internal and external audiences.
Experience with emergency and crisis communications.
Experience in strategic planning and implementation. Experience in facilitating in the creative direction and development of multimedia products including video, animation, digital, and social media, including knowledge of current trends, best practices and technological tools/software solutions.
Self-starter, motivated seasoned leader. Brings analytical depth, including budget oversight and understanding. Flexible, creative. Demonstrated understanding of the role of branding and messaging in higher education.
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For more information and to be considered, please contact Heyman Associates:
Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.
University Job Title:
Assoc Vice President
No Grade - Annual
Pay Rate Type:
Number of Openings:
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About Cornell University
In 1865, Ezra Cornell founded an institution "where any person can find instruction in any study." From the beginning, all students were welcome, regardless of race, gender, ideology, or socioeconomic status. Today, we invite you to join our talented and diverse students and accessible faculty who, together, form a living and learning community unmatched in its breadth of opportunities.Cornell University's college, schools, and other academic units offer more than 4,000 courses, 70 undergraduate majors, 93 graduate fields of study, undergraduate and advanced degrees, and continuing education and outreach programs.