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Director of School of Medicine Communications


Director of School of Medicine Communications

  • req2740
  • Richmond, Virginia, United States, 23284
  • SOM Dean's Office
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine is a premier academic medical center located in the heart of Richmond. Accounting for almost half of VCU’s sponsored research, the School of Medicine is internationally recognized for patient care and education. All full-time university staff are eligible for VCU’s generous benefits package that includes: competitive health benefits, paid annual and holiday leave, retirement planning and savings options, tax-deferred annuity and cash match programs, Virginia Retirement System (VRS), professional development & certifications, tuition waiver, parental leave, caregiving leave and community service leave. Learn more about VCU’s benefits here: https://hr.vcu.edu/careers-at-vcu/why-work-at-vcu/

Virginia Commonwealth University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action university providing access to education and employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, political affiliation, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or disability.

Position Summary:

The Communications Director is responsible for the day-to-day leadership, management and operations of the communications activities in the VCU School of Medicine. Reporting to the SOM Chief of Staff, the communications director will collaborate with direct reports, peers and senior leadership to drive the long-range strategic planning and implementation of SOM internal, executive and external communications. This position requires a comprehensive knowledge of the medical school and its missions of education, research and patient care to advance its strategic goals through innovative new practices. Excellent integrated communications planning is critical to the success of this position.

This position will supervise a small team that will deliver high-quality internal and external communications, including a lead writer and content strategist, graphic designer / photography, and web developers. This position is highly collaborative and will work closely with the chief of staff, an IT project manager and web team in asset development.

Typical Duties:

1. Strategic Communications (50%-60%):
  • Manage and implement a comprehensive communications plan for the School of Medicine for both internal and external communications
  • Ensure clear and consistent messaging for the School of Medicine that accurately reflects the school’s mission and strategic direction
  • Plan and implement a yearly editorial calendar
  • Ensure regular and appropriate content for current communications channels, and identify opportunities to develop new channels
  • Lead and motivate creative team (i.e., content strategist, graphic designer, web developer) to produce high-quality content that advances the school’s strategic goals”
  • Write diverse assignments to advance School of Medicine communication goals and strategic initiatives
  • Monitor major issues that impact the School of Medicine and its community, and creates crisis-response content in collaboration with the Dean’s Office and University Relations
  • Lead collaborations with other communicators and units across the health system and university, including but not limited to the Med-Health Philanthropy, OVPRI, major research centers, health sciences schools and college
  • Ensure compliance with relevant VCU policies, and serve as the primary communications liaison between the school and other communication units at VCU
  • Manage, develop, and disseminate routine communications (e.g. newsletters, updates, blogs, fact sheets, briefing documents, and intranet content).
  • Create and customize effective written and oral (i.e. memos, and presentations) communication and web (inter and intra) content across internal and external audiences, i.e. the university, including faculty, staff, and students in the School of Medicine
  • Customize messages for university audiences, including current and faculty, staff, students, medical residents, government, civic, corporate, cultural and academic leaders; professional associations.
  • Produce multimedia content in support of the SOM goals and initiatives
  • Work closely with VCU Health Enterprise and Executive Communications to coordinate physician communications

2. External Communications (20%-30%)
  • Elevate the reputation of the medical school through reporting on general SOM news with the University Relations and Medical Philanthropy teams
  • Work closely with University Relations, the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation and various SOM centers and institutes to develop and leverage content related to research and scientific news

3. Team Management (10%-20%):
  • Provide strategic leadership and management of small team of communications professionals.
  • Create an atmosphere that promotes teamwork, respect and collaboration
  • Complete hiring, on-boarding, performance evaluations, annual evaluations and other related human resources tasks as needed for direct reports
  • Provide continuous constructive feedback and ideas for improvement and/or support to both individuals and teams in a respectful and ethical manner
  • Promote behaviors and/or practices that support a collegial environment and diversity, equity and inclusion

Minimum Hiring Standards:
  • Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Public Affairs, Mass Communications or related field. Extensive work experience is required as a substitute for education
  • 7+ years as a communications professional
  • Demonstrated leadership skills, superior organizational skills, superior verbal/written communication skills
  • Must have a demonstrated commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion in past experiences, or a commitment to do so as a staff member at VCU

Preferred Hiring Standards:
  • Master’s degree in communications or related field preferred
  • 10+ years as a communications professional with experience as a manager with preference for work in a university or academic medical center
  • Some experience with research and science communications

The School of Medicine continuously strives for our workplace and learning environment to reflect the demographic and social milieu of the communities we serve. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply.

Position will remain open until filled.


Each agency within the Commonwealth of Virginia is dedicated to recruiting, supporting, and maintaining a competent and diverse work force. Equal Opportunity Employer

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