Job Posting

Chief Communications Officer, University of the Arts

November 26, 2019
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Position Overview

This innovative, creative and forward-thinking Chief Communications Officer (“CCO”) is responsible for leading and enhancing a long-term communications strategy to increase brand reach, enhance perception and strengthen University of the Arts (“UArts”) as a unique leader.   Working closely with the President and leadership team, this individual will act as story teller in chief of university culture, values and beliefs.  S/he will work tirelessly to ensure these beliefs are visible and consistent across external marketing channels as well as internally within the UArts community.   The individual will navigate, collaborate and lead effectively in a broad, emergent field and successfully manage organizational relationships.

External Communications Strategy

Internal and Executive Communications

Crisis and issues Management

Brand Strategy and Media Relations

Under Presidents Yager’s leadership of nearly four years, the environment is one of innovation, boldness and excitement.  President Yager has built a senior leadership team that the COO will be joining.  A recent strategic planning process lead to the new aspirational mission statement, to advance human creativity, which has given clarity, purpose and contagious momentum to the university.  The CCO reports to the University President & CEO and is part of high functioning collaborative team.  The success of this role is contingent upon your ability to work closely and cohesively with this team.

 Position Responsibilities

  • Develops and implements a comprehensive, long term communications strategy and plan to advance the mission and brand of the University in collaboration with the Office of the Provost, Enrollment Marketing Division and the Office of the President
  • Serves as a resource across the University to ensure the alignment of key messages across schools and functions
  • Ensures that all institutional communications effectively reflect and advance the culture, values and beliefs of the University
  • Develops a proactive public relations strategy and plan using all available communication tools and channels while working closely with the leadership team and local content
  • Develops and nurtures strong press and community relations. Responds to media inquiries and serves as spokesperson for the University
  • Works closely with the University President to write presidential speeches and remarks
  • Advises senior leaders of the University on effective communication strategies
  • Creates and maintains strong relationships with all University stakeholder groups, including students, trustees, alumni and faculty
  • In coordination with senior staff, serves as a leader of all crisis communications efforts as needed, coordination across university leaders and functions as necessary. Serves on the University Crisis Committee
  • Develops and maintains oversight and production of strategic and advancement-related communication projects, including special public relations campaigns related to critical University events
  • Serves as editor of Edge, the twice-yearly Advancement magazine
  • Writes and disseminates university-wide announcements, including University alerts for local media
  • Reviews, edits and directs newsletters, including the weekly This Week at UArts, and monthly Verge
  • Ensures University brand guidelines are followed
  • Establishes and oversees annual budget for communications function

 Position Requirements

  •  Eight plus years of proven experience in doing and managing complex, ambitious communications projects
  • Ability to work as an effective team player and collaborator
  • Exceptional critical thinking skills. Ability to engage in systems-level analysis and problem-solving
  • Demonstrated ability to build strong, sustainable relationships across diverse groups of stakeholders
  • Excellent business acumen. Strong experience developing and managing budgets
  • Exceptional communications skills. Demonstrated mastery of nuances in both oral and written communications and presentations
  • Strong knowledge and experience in social media and other emerging communications tools and technologies
  • Bachelor’s degree required. Relevant Master’s degree preferred

Key Attributes and Characteristics

  • Excellent story teller, writer, copywriter and editor
  • Driven by curiosity, with a rapid learning curve of new subjects / topics
  • Committed to diverse perspectives, ideas and people
  • Good sense of humor
  • Ambitious and proactive
  • Ability to work collaboratively, leas through influence, and establish trust and rapport among colleagues
  • Able to maintain confidence relative to sensitive or breaking news/ information
  • Can easily pivot between big picture and granular details
  • Ability to connect disparate content
  • Familiarity with niche media channels in the arts is helpful, but not essential

 The Organization                                                                                                                   

UArts’ mission is simple: to advance human creativity.  Established in 1876, UArts believes creativity is the most essential skill for success in today’s society, and has educated generations of innovated artist, performers, designers and creative leaders for more than 141 years.  After being granted university status in 1987, UArts became the largest institution of its kind in the nations, offering programs in design, fine arts, media arts, crafts, music, dance, theater and writing. It now features 30 undergraduate arts majors, 15 graduate programs and the nations’ first PhD program in Creativity. UArts is also home to innovative centers across disciplines, including the Philadelphia Art Alliance, Rosenwald -Wolf Gallery, and the new Center for Immersive Media.


Occasional travel may be required


Competitive compensation package, including base salary and an outstanding benefits package will correspond to the experience level, credentials, and personal characteristics of the candidate.


UArts firmly supports the principle and philosophy of equal opportunity for all individuals, regardless of age, race, gender, creed, national origin, disability, veteran status or any other protected category pursuant to applicable federal, state or local law.