A Commonwealth of Virginia Website
Virginia Mountain View

Executive Director of Strategic Communications

Executive Director of Strategic Communications

  • R0042613
  • United States
  • Communications
  • The University of Virginia
The University of Virginia School of Engineering & Applied Science seeks an accomplished communications and marketing professional with a record of innovative and collaborative leadership. The Executive Director of Strategic Communications will develop and execute the school’s overall communications strategy, with an emphasis on supporting the priorities and key initiatives of the school and advancing the school’s mission, vision and core values.

The Executive Director serves as a member of the senior leadership team, reporting to Dean Jennifer West , and works with all key audiences, including faculty, staff, students, prospective students, alumni, and other members of the University community.

The Executive Director will develop and lead the school’s dynamic team of professional communicators as a collaborative, action-oriented, and enterprise-focused team that delivers cross-school services. The team’s portfolio includes strategic communications planning for the school and its departments and programs; brand positioning and reputation-building; and enabling core capabilities such as content creation and dissemination, market research, marketing and creative services, media relations, executive and crisis communications.

UVA Engineering Communications is guided by four strategic communications goals:

Demonstrate UVA Engineering’s unique contributions to educating the next generation of engineering leaders.

Position UVA Engineering as preeminent in multidisciplinary discovery aimed at important areas of societal need. Strengthen outreach to diverse audiences to support UVA Engineering’s goals for recruiting diverse students and faculty. Inspire and empower brand ambassadors who will support UVA Engineering and share our story.

The school’s goals directly align with the ambitious goals of UVA’s 2030 strategic plan ( a lso known as The Great and Good Plan), which provides a roadmap for the future of UVA focusing on strengthening our foundation, cultivating the most vibrant community in higher education, enabling discoveries that enrich and improve lives, and making UVA synonymous with service.

It is an exciting time for UVA’s School of Engineering and the Executive Director leads a talented team of communicators who tell the stories of how the school is making the world a better place. This individual will also work with a community of communication professionals across Grounds to continue to elevate the school, and University, as one of the top institutions in the country for engineering research and education.


As part of the top-ranked, comprehensive University of Virginia, UVA Engineering is one of the nation’s oldest and most respected engineering schools. Our mission is to make the world a better place by creating and disseminating knowledge and by preparing future engineering leaders. Outstanding students and faculty from around the world choose UVA Engineering because of our growing and internationally recognized education and research programs.

UVA is the No. 1 public engineering school in the country for the percentage of women graduates, among schools with at least 75-degree earners; among the top engineering schools in the United States for the four-year graduation rate of undergraduate students; and among the top-growing public engineering schools in the country for the rate of Ph.D. enrollment growth. Our research program has grown by 95% since 2016. Learn more at engineering.virginia.edu .


Focusing on expanding the mission, vision and brand of the school, the Executive Director of Strategic Communications will develop, oversee, and drive a high-performance communications operation for UVA Engineering. The Executive Director will be a proven communications professional, an energetic and thoughtful administrator, and a strong advocate for higher education.


  • Strategy & Planning: Develop, implement, oversee, evaluate, and drive a strategic communications operation. Work closely with school leadership and outside agencies to continue to enhance the UVA Engineering brand and identity. Create a strategic plan including goals, metrics, budgets, and forecasts to drive the office forward. Consistently review operational plans and refine, as needed, to ensure that results are achieved.

  • Communications, Marketing, and Brand: Oversee all internal and external communications strategy. Oversee the marketing strategy, including establishing the value proposition and differentiators. Own the UVA Engineering brand, including the continued curation of brand standards within the University’s brand system. Oversee and maintain the school’s visual asset inventory. Oversee the website and online presence. Cultivate faculty, staff, students, and alumni as brand ambassadors.

  • Advising: Serve as a key member of the school’s leadership team, advising school leadership on a myriad of marketing and communications opportunities and challenges. Work closely with departments and centers within the school to ensure alignment with the brand and mission and advise and support communications strategies.

  • Office Operations: Oversee the day-to-day operations of the Office of Communications. Lead a talented and growing team; manage successful and highly productive relationships with agencies, vendors, freelancers, and others, as needed, to achieve goals. Ensure efficiency in all processes, using technology, utilizing data-driven decision making and focusing on meeting and exceeding outcomes and expectations.


The Executive Director will be an experienced and collaborative leader who embraces forward-thinking strategies to anticipate the needs of the school. The successful candidate must demonstrate the ability to develop and lead a strategic communications division that serves a diverse population and identify trends to meet the changing needs of the school.

The successful candidate will demonstrate a track record of progressively responsible experience in communications in higher education, business, or a non-profit environment. A bachelor’s degree is required , master’s degree preferred.

Additional qualifications include the following:
  • Collaborative leadership experience, integrity, and a sense of vision
  • A high degree of initiative, judgment, discretion, and decision-making and an ability to analyze situations accurately and take effective action as needed
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Proven ability to lead with direct authority and through influence
  • Ability to inspire trust and work collegially with staff, faculty, campus partners, administrators, students, and alums
  • Proven attention to detail in managing multiple initiatives and priorities and implementing projects across multiple timeframes
  • Experience managing teams, including hiring, developing, evaluating, and retaining high-performing professional teams Exceptional written and presentation skills, including the ability to shape communications in the Dean’s tone and style

To Apply or Nominate

The University of Virginia is eager to build a diverse pool of talented individuals. The search committee is working with UVA Executive Search Group, an internal executive search firm in the Office of the President. Confidential inquiries, nominations, and questions can be directed to Susan Gaines, Senior Search Consultant and Recruiting Manager, at sht2n@virginia.edu .

To apply, submit a letter of interest and resume at WORKDAY link . The search will be carried out with full confidentiality. More information about the opportunity can be found here https://executivesearch.virginia.edu/searches .

The University of Virginia is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

This position will remain open until filled. This is an Exempt level, benefited position. This position will not sponsor applicants for work visas. The University will perform background checks on all new hires prior to employment.


Education: Bachelor's degree
Experience: At least eight years, or Master's degree with at least six years, of journalism or public relations experience.


This is primarily a sedentary job involving extensive use of desktop computers. The job does occasionally require traveling some distance to attend meetings, and programs.

COVID Vaccination Requirement and Guidelines

Please visitthe UVA COVID-19 Job Requirements and Guidelines webpageprior to applying for current information regarding vaccination requirementsandguidelines for employment at UVA.

The University of Virginia, i ncluding the UVA Health System which represents the UVA Medical Center, Schools of Medicine and Nursing, UVA Physician’s Group and the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, are fundamentally committed to the diversity of our faculty and staff. We believe diversity is excellence expressing itself through every person's perspectives and lived experiences. We are equal opportunity and affirmative action employers. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, and family medical or genetic information.


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

Sign up for job alerts

Not You?

Thank you

Share this job

Not You?

Thank you for sharing this job

Similar Jobs

Apply Now

Not You?

Thank you