In the heart of downtown Denver, CU Denver combines innovative research and accessible education with the advantages that only a dynamic urban environment can provide. On our campus where all are welcome, we offer the quality education that the University of Colorado is known for at an exceptional value. For nearly 50 years, we have helped 100,000+ graduates achieve their goals.

University Communications advances the mission of the university, as well as its reputation and identity as a leading academic and research institution. We are looking an Assistant Vice Chancellor of Strategic Communications with deep experience in reputation management, public relations, crisis and issues management, leadership communications, internal communications, editorial storytelling, and social media.

In this role, you will manage a team of communicators to advance the reputation of CU Denver through strategic communications, messaging, storytelling, earned media, and community engagement. The successful candidate will have deep and varied experience leading communications for complex organizations with multiple stakeholders. The candidate will demonstrate a commitment to equity and consistently uphold other university values.

This role reports to the Vice Chancellor for University Communications.


The Assistant Vice Chancellor (AVC) of Strategic Communications will supervise a team of at least five strategic communications, leadership communications, media relations, campus news, and writing professionals to advance the reputation of CU Denver through messaging, storytelling, earned media, and community engagement.

The AVC will develop and oversee the execution of strategic communications plans, messaging platforms, and content strategies that effectively reach and engage target audiences.

The successful candidate for this role will have experience covering a range of communications disciplines, including executive communications, public relations, crisis and issues management, content marketing/distribution, and social media with demonstrable experience in strategic plan development, original content creation/writing/editing and managing people. The candidate will operate as a member of the University Communications leadership team and report to the vice chancellor. Collaboration with members of the University Communications team and stakeholders from across CU Denver, the Auraria Campus partners, and university system is a necessity.

Day-to-Day Team Management

Leadership Communications

  • This position will be responsible for helping to oversee executive-level multi-channeled communications strategy and execution, including strategies, messaging, and earned media approaches.

Media Relations

  • Guide team in refining media relations strategy and outcomes. Provide consultation, expertise, and mentorship in areas of growth for team, particularly around major campuswide campaigns and announcements. Encourage and advise on outreach efforts with members of top-tier media outlets and higher ed publications. Serve as campus spokesperson for proactive and reactive communications situations.

News and Content

  • Direct the development and execution of a content strategy that supports the university's strategic plan and priorities and that advances the reputation and enrollment needs of CU Denver. Oversee the creation of strategy, plans, quality assurance practices, and engagement metrics and reporting for content marketing/distribution activities.
  • Lead the strategy of major campus announcements including development of communications plans, involving key stakeholders and managing the execution of the plan.

In addition to supervising a team of communications professionals, the AVC will also be responsible for:

Campus Operations Communications

  • Oversee the creation, vetting, and operationalization of key policies and practices that govern internal and external communications at CU Denver, including crisis, media relations, and social media.

Issues Management and Crisis Response

  • With the vice chancellor, lead the response and advise on proactive and reactive communications needs arising at the most senior levels of the university, including message development and drafting of statements or communiques. Serve on the University Crisis Leadership Team (UCLT) with campus executives and emergency management officials.

Social Media Strategy

  • Provide ongoing counsel on the social media strategy for university leadership and university channels. Contribute to content strategy to support messaging.

 Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree in communications, English, journalism, public relations, or the equivalent.
  • 12+ years of experience in communications, journalism, public relations, content marketing, or a related field.
  • Experience managing people and units in strategic communications capacities for at least 5 years.

Required: Applicants must meet minimum qualifications at the time of hire.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • 15+ years of experience in communications, journalism, public relations, content marketing, or a related field.
  • Deep and varied experience leading strategic communications for a complex organization with multiple stakeholders.
  • Deep crisis and issues management experience.
  • Strong experience counseling executive leaders and making strategic recommendations.
  • Experience in social media management and hands-on execution.
  • Experience serving as an organizational spokesperson.
  • Previous experience in higher education or non-profit organization.
  • Experience handling high-visibility projects with success in implementing sound internal and external communications strategies while navigating a complex organization.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Strong strategic communications experience.
  • Ability to provide communications and strategic counsel to university leadership.
  • Deep understanding of and experience in issues management with a proactive approach and demonstrated ability to build and implement crisis/issues management communications plans.
  • Ability to write for a variety of audiences using various forms of storytelling across an array of channels and mediums, especially digital and social platforms.
  • Superior news judgement, persuasive verbal and written communication and presentation skills.
  • Capacity to independently and effectively prioritize and manage multiple projects at a time in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. Ability to remain calm and decisive under pressure.
  • Willingness and ability to work outside of normal business.

The salary range (or hiring range) for this position has been established at $95,000 to $130,000.   

Applications are accepted electronically ONLY at  See Job Number 21540 for full job description and instructions to apply.

**Applications will be accepted until finalists are identified, but preference will be given to complete applications received by June 16, 2021. Those who do not apply by this date may or may not be considered.

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