Vice President of Strategic Communications

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Overview

The Vice President of Strategic Communications is the most senior communications executive at Louisiana State University. The Vice President must be experienced, dynamic, and charismatic to guide and drive the communications of the central and unit functions, as well as connect with external stakeholders to protect and enhance LSU’s reputation in ways that advance the university’s strategic objectives locally, nationally and internationally.

The Role of the Vice President:

The Vice President of Strategic Communications reports directly to the President, and oversees the communication of the flagship institution. Communications effort includes internal and external communications, including communications strategy and policy, message development, media relations, issues and crisis management, university-level internal communications with enrolled students, current parents, faculty and staff, brand stewardship, marketing, and design / production services.

The Vice President of Strategic Communications also provides consultation and guidance to all of the campuses of LSU. Communications functions at LSU institutions other than the flagship are led by the Chancellor or equivalent.  Campus leadership, however, rely on the Vice President to give perspective and assistance at times. The Vice President may use some or all of communication resources available across the LSU enterprise to promote the collective statewide operation.

The Vice President is accountable for providing the vision and direction for strategic, collaborative communications plans / programs that further LSU’s reputation as a leading higher education institution among diverse internal and external audiences; uncovering and shaping stories from all corners of LSU that support the university’s strategic objectives and bring to life its spirit and breakthrough academic contributions; developing long-term, positive relationships with all LSU constituents; working with LSU leadership to set communications and marketing policy; collaborating effectively across the complex university institution as a consultant, guide, partner to unit-based staff; developing and implementing issues and crisis planning; leading the university’s digital communications and social media engagement; and directing LSU’s video, photography and web services.

Responsibilities:

  • Manage university-wide marketing and communications, including media relations, issues and crisis management, university-level internal communications, digital communications and social media, brand stewardship, marketing, and design / production services.
  • Set communications policy / standards and a high-level messaging framework for campus and college communications teams to work within successfully.
  • Work with senior university leaders to shape and communicate key messages supporting LSU’s strategic priorities.
  • Create and implement strategic, integrated communications plans that will function in a large, complex organization with varied priorities and stakeholders.
  • Collaborate in setting common goals and act as a partner with the various units of LSU (e.g. College Deans, Government Relations, Enrollment Management, the LSU Foundation, and the LSU Athletics Department). 
  • Provide visionary leadership and representation of the Division of Strategic Communications, as well as communications broadly across the campus.
  • Cultivate strategies and opportunities for the University to contribute to appropriate national and international-level discourse.
  • Serve as chief communications counselor to the university President, Board of Supervisors, and other university leaders on all internal and external strategic communications, branding and marketing.
  • Coordinate crisis management efforts involving both the university as a whole and its individual units.
  • Handle media spokesperson duties and conducts media interviews for the university when appropriate.

 

The University

LSU was founded by the Louisiana General Assembly in 1853 under the name Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy and was located near Pineville, La., with the first session beginning on Jan. 2, 1860. Since that time, LSU has served the people of Louisiana, the region, the nation, and the world through extensive, multipurpose programs encompassing instruction, research, and public service. The University brings in more than $150 million annually in outside research grants and contracts, a significant factor for the Louisiana economy.

LSU is located on more than 2,000 acres and is known for the 1,200 large oak trees that reside on its campus. The campus landscaping was called “a botanical joy” in its listing among the 20 best campuses in America in Thomas Gaines’s The Campus as a Work of Art. LSU homes two Indian Mounds that were created by Native Americans more than 5,000 years ago and functioned as territorial markers or symbols of group identity. In 1999, the mounds were placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

LSU represents the largest institution of higher education in the state of Louisiana and is the only public university in the state to be designated a Carnegie Research University with Very High Research Activity. Among a handful of distinguished universities to enjoy land, sea, and space grant status, LSU offers vital research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students as it transforms new technology into enterprise and lends expertise to solving endemic problems. Among institutions of higher education, LSU is uniquely situated to provide a rich educational experience. The University’s success as the Flagship campus has been attained not only by harnessing the intellectual capital of its faculty and students, but also by exploiting the geographic and cultural capital found only in Louisiana. The University is guided by LSU Strategic Plan 2025, which identified six strategic opportunities for the institution over the coming years:

  • Advancing arts and culture
  • Bridging the coast, energy, and environment
  • Fostering research and catalyzing economic development
  • Improving health and wellbeing
  • Transforming education
  • Developing leaders

 

The Community

Situated on the Mississippi River, Baton Rouge represents the best of Louisiana's vibrant culture. The state capital is a thriving city that is home to both LSU and Southern University, numerous businesses, and industrial facilities. Known for its great people, its unique food, and its lively music, the “Red Stick” has something for everyone. The Baton Rouge area offers an excellent selection of both public schools, including five of the top ten public school districts in the state, and private schools, including several of the top ones in the country.  Choose Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce, and Visit Baton Rouge, are fantastic resources for all things Baton Rouge.

The State of Louisiana has received numerous accolades in recent years, including:

  • Ranking No. 2 in the nation for private sector job growth in the South based on data from the US Bureau of Labor in 2015
  • Ranking No.6 for low student loan debt following graduation in 2017 according to U.S. News
  • Being named No. 7 in the nation for best living environment in the 2014 ranking of Best & Worst States for Business by Chief Executive magazine
  • Ranking No. 1 nationwide in ACT score gains in 2015, according to Greater Baton Rouge Business Report
  • The Southwest Louisiana’s Creole Nature Trail, a 180-mile scenic byway, receiving an All-American Road designation

 

Qualifications & Attributes:

Education level: Bachelors required; Masters or greater preferred

Specific degree: No degree from a specific field is required but it is likely that incumbent may have a degree in public relations, mass communications, journalism, marketing, or other related field.

Years of experience: 10-15 years

  • Experience as a senior communications and marketing executive in large, complex, and dynamic organizations
  • Executive presence and ability to deliver strategic counsel to university leadership
  • Experience managing highly productive and collaborative teams
  • Excellent strategic thinking, leadership, management, verbal and written communication, and interpersonal skills
  • Skilled at building coalitions, fostering a team approach to problem-solving and creating effective collaboration across matrixed organizations
  • Ability to respectfully challenge institutional norms by identifying new communications opportunities and practices to advance strategic objectives
  • Experience developing and leveraging research and data analytics to inform and evaluate programs, campaigns and resource deployment
  • A track record of leading innovation in digital communications and marketing technologies
  • Deep expertise in directing media strategy across local, regional, national, and international media
  • Experience in crisis communications and internal communication
  • Experience working for a higher education institution is not essential, but the successful candidate will demonstrate a thorough understanding of the issues impacting higher education and research. They will also be attuned to the intricacies of Louisiana’s societal, cultural and political landscape.

 

Nomination and Application Process

The search committee will begin reviewing applications immediately and continue to accept applications and nominations until the position is filled.  However, in order to assure the fullest consideration, candidates are encouraged to have complete applications submitted by May 28, 2019 through the link on the LSU Careers website (https://lsu.wd1.myworkdayjobs.com/LSU/job/LSU---Baton-Rouge/Vice-President-of-Strategic-Communications_R00033502). Requested application materials include a letter of interest; curriculum vitae; and the names, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses of at least five professional references.  Within the letter of interest, please include an example of experience tailoring communications to multiple audiences, and an example of crisis communications.

All applications, nominations, and inquiries will remain confidential to the extent allowed under Louisiana law. References will not be contacted until after the first screening of applications and then only after the applicant has given explicit permission. All application materials must be submitted electronically in Microsoft Word or PDF format. Please direct all applications, nominations, and inquiries for the position to Katie Bankston, Senior Talent Acquisition Partner/Executive Recruiter, LSU Office of Human Resource Management, at kroberson1@lsu.edu.

 

 

Louisiana State University is an exceptional university committed to serving its state, the nation, and the world through education, research, and public service. Located in one of America’s most beautiful and unique locations, LSU is a community of scholars and professionals committed to opportunity without restrictions that are based on race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, mental or physical disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

 


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