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Director, Communications

Job Details

Headquarters - Washington, DC
Full Time
4 Year Degree
Nonprofit - Social Services



The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is the collective voice of 350 public colleges, universities, and systems that hold students and community at the heart of their mission. The association works to expand student access, success, and opportunity, promote world-class teaching and experiential learning tied to career advancement, and support applied research and service that advances economic development and quality of life in communities across the country.


The Division of Communications and Public Relations directs and executes the public relations, media relations, e-mail marketing, digital, social media, publications, and branding functions for the association. The division communicates the value of AASCU and regional comprehensive universities to key external stakeholders, including the media and federal policymakers and works strategically to raise AASCUs public profile and visibility through various communication channels.


Supports the organizations mission, vision and values by exhibiting the following behaviors: commitment to diversity and equity, excellence and competence, collaboration, innovation, accountability, ownership, and adherence to policies and procedures.



The Director of Communications oversees a broad range of communications functions, which include directing the divisions extensive suite of editorial products and services, managing and implementing a robust social media strategy, developing marketing/communications plans for signature events and initiatives, and along with the Vice President implementing a communications strategy that raises the associations national profile with key external audiences, including the media, policymakers, and foundations. The position reports to the Vice President for Communications and Public Relations and will be part of a four-person comms team and have supervisor responsibilities.



The Director will report directly to the Vice President and will work across the organization. The Director will oversee the Digital Marketing Manager.


Editorial Services

  • Directs the divisions editorial services. Serves as senior writer and/or managing editor for the association's major print and digital publications, including, but not limited to, monthly e-newsletter, e-mail marketing, news releases, statements, fact sheets, meeting programs, speaker bios, policy and research papers, reports, issue briefs, data briefs, membership collateral, blogs, infographics, and scripts for special video projects.

  • Writes for the website and collaborates with Creative Director for Print and Digital Media to ensure content is dynamic and maintains a consistent brand.

  • Counsels AASCU staff regarding editorial development and association style; maintains and updates the AASCU Editorial Style Guide.

  • Acts as the primary proofreader for communications and marketing deliverables, ensuring error-free content.

  • Directs and oversees the external copy editor for editorial work that is outsourced.

  • Collaborates with other divisions to assist them in developing print and electronic communication.

  • Directs production timelines for projects/signature publications, with responsibility for monitoring schedules and effectively communicating deadlines to colleagues.

  • Develops and creates compelling subject lines for email marketing campaigns in collaboration with digital marketing manager.

Social Media

  • Develops and executes a robust social media strategy. Directs and manages the associations primary social media accounts (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), produces dynamic, engaging content that promotes engagement and raises the associations visibility.
  • Counsels staff who lead affinity social media accounts on compelling content.
  • Creates and executes comprehensive social media plans for signature AASCU conferences and key leadership development programs.
  • Executes strategic social media campaigns that demonstrate the value of AASCU and its members.
  • Creates and manages social media editorial calendar.
  • Travels to 1-2 signature AASCU events annually to execute social media strategy.
  • Monitors social media analytics, engagement, and growth to inform strategy.
  • Provides counsel to colleagues who manage affinity social media channels (e.g., ADP, MLI, GRC, and ELP) as needed.
  • Prepares quarterly social media reports for the Vice President.

Media Relations

  • Develops, implements, and directs media relations program that is strategically designed to raise the national profile of AASCU and its members.
  • Initiates and/or oversees development of news releases, media advisories, and statements.
  • Oversees coverage tracking, evaluation, and earned/paid media.
  • Builds and regularly updates media lists, tracking journalists movement and identifying new media outlets for placement opportunities.
  • Proactively pitches stories to the media.
  • Compiles and distributes Daily Digital Digest of relevant higher ed headlines to AASCU leadership and staff.
  • Prepares quarterly media coverage reports for the Vice President.

Marketing/Communications Planning

  • Directs and manages special association public relations and marketing projects.
  • Writes and creates marketing and communications plans for signature events and initiatives.
  • Directs onsite photographer at select AASCU events.
  • Strategizes with the Vice President on planning and implementation of future podcast series.

Public Relations Assistance to AASCU Members

  • Serves as a resource for member institutions, other associations, and agencies and responds to inquiries from communications officers at AASCU member institutions and/or directs them to appropriate resources.
  • Identifies Featured Members and Member Spotlights for the website.
  • Provides additional support to the Vice President with staffing the AASCU Chief Communications Officer Advisory Council.
  • Partners with the Vice President with management of Distinguished Alumnus Award.


  • In consultation with the Vice President, prioritizes and supports the strategic direction of the team.

  • Leads planning and execution of team deliverables including ensuring timely delivery and quality control.

  • Brings an entrepreneurial spirit, an adaptive mindset, and a collaborative approach in creating a collegial work environment.

  • Understands a variety of perspectives, manages priorities, and decisively meets expectations.

  • Embraces diverse and inclusive perspectives and disciplines across the organization and joins with partners at all levels toward a common vision and the realization of transformational change.

  • Stays up to date with the higher education industry with a communications focus.

  • Other duties as assigned.



  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Exceptional writing, editing, and proofreading skills.
  • Proven success producing error-free content.
  • Critical attention to detail skills.
  • Strong problem-solving, analytical, and critical thinking skills
  • Demonstrated strong project management skills.
  • Demonstrated strong time management skills.
  • Strong analytical, problem solving, and critical thinking skills with a strong interest in innovation, user experience.
  • Proficiency with a variety of technological platforms and software, including social media, media monitoring (i.e., Cision), and graphic design tools (i.e., Canva).
  • Effective interpersonal skills and ability to interact with a variety of work and communication styles to accomplish division and association goals while building trust and productive relationships.
  • Solicits feedback regularly and accepts constructive criticism.
  • Offers recognition of, and respect for, the contributions of all collaborators.
  • Plans proactively and seeks out appropriate resources to achieve results.
  • Acts in a way that demonstrates integrity and serves as a positive example to encourage others to act with a high degree of integrity.
  • Ability to summarize and clearly convey information to varying audiences.
  • Resourceful team player, who also works well independently.
  • Demonstrated ability to work well in a fast-paced, diverse, and inclusive team setting, remaining flexible and proactive.



  • Bachelors degree in communications, public relations, journalism, or related field required.
  • Minimum 8 years of progressive professional experience in communications, public relations, and email marketing, including extensive experience writing and editing print and digital communications. Experience working in communications for a higher education organization, or the nonprofit sector preferred.
  • Proficiency in executing social media strategies and tactics with proven results.
  • Experience successfully managing and prioritizing multiple projects with tight and competing deadlines, collaborating with both internal and external stakeholders.



Please submit a resume and cover letter. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered.



Compensation is competitive and commensurate with experience. Generous benefits package that includes medical, dental, vision insurance; 15 paid holidays plus additional annual leave; above market contribution to company sponsored 403(b) retirement plan; tuition assistance, on-site fitness facility, 24/7 building security, secured bike storage and more. Additionally, available underground public parking is accessible for all employees at their own expense.

This is a full-time position located at AASCUs headquarters in Washington, D.C.AASCU staff are currently required to be in the office in a hybrid schedule of 2 days in the office and 3 days optional remote. All AASCU staff are required to be fully vaccinated including boosters as recommended by the CDC schedule.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and only those selected for an interview will be contacted.



The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodation may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions, if applicable.

  • Must be able to remain in a stationary position for extended periods of time.
  • Constantly operates a computer or laptop; however, some standing and walking may be required when attending in-office meetings or events.
  • The person in this position frequently communicates with team members via email, phone, or virtual meeting room and must be able to exchange accurate information in these situations.
  • Lift and carry a minimum of 10 lbs. occasionally.
  • Occasional travel to an office/conference event.



AASCU is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.



AASCU is committed to creating and maintaining a workplace in which all employees have an opportunity to participate and contribute to the success of the business and are valued for their skills, experience, and unique perspectives. This commitment is embodied in all Association policies and the way we do business at AASCU.