Careers at UMass Amherst

Director of Executive Communications

Apply now Job no: 518371
Work type: Staff Full Time
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: University Relations
Union: Non-Unit Exempt
Categories: Public Relations, Marketing, Communications

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.


Job Summary

The Director of Executive Communications (DEC) serves as the primary writer for the chancellor and as editorial liaison on collaborative written communications for the Office of the Chancellor. The DEC will have a deep understanding of how to strategically use internal and external communication platforms to articulate university goals and initiatives in a clear manner to a wide and diverse audience. As a member of the University Relations team, this position works in close partnership with the Office of the Chancellor to execute aligned messaging for key initiatives and strategic priorities. 


Essential Functions

  • Writes, edits, and produces compelling content for speeches, talking points, presentations, keynote addresses, emails, video scripts, and other high-level communications that execute the overall messaging strategy for the chancellor and university.
  • Ensures all prepared remarks and other public statements, including those prepared by other offices, are accurate, fact-checked, and proofread. Provides supporting references for data, quotes and other citations used in communications.
  • Develops communications with the appropriate voice, cadence, and style for the chancellor, factoring in audience, intent, and occasion.
  • Works closely with University Relations senior leadership to identify projects, share resources, and ensure consistency of messaging and that key initiatives meet defined objectives and expectations.
  • Transforms complex concepts into clear and meaningful communications for speeches and remarks.
  • Collaborates on a regular basis with senior university leadership and campus partners, fostering cohesion across functional teams to align executive level communications with university priorities and strategies, and advance and support relevant campus messaging. 
  • Builds and maintains a library of subject-specific speaking points, collaborating with subject-matter experts and content owners to keep speaking points current, accurate, and strategically aligned.
  • Stays familiar with university-generated reports and publications from Institutional Research, Admissions, Research and Engagement and other source materials to ensure current and accurate messaging.
  • Receives and incorporates feedback from the chancellor on remarks.
  • Employs sound editorial judgment and works discreetly on confidential or sensitive assignments and maintains the trust and confidence of the chancellor.
  • Reviews, revises, and approves communications sent under the chancellor’s signature by other campus partners, including but not limited to Academic Affairs; Advancement; Student Affairs and Campus Life; and Administration and Finance
  • Partners with the Office of News and Media Relations and the Marketing and Communications Office on social media to ensure an aligned voice for the chancellor’s social media channels, and collaborates in curating the chancellor’s website.
  • Drafts executive level correspondence, as requested by the Office of the Chancellor and other campus partners.
  • Stays abreast of latest and emerging news and information relevant to the campus and higher education community that may inform messages and strategy.
  • Works in a deadline-driven writing environment with multiple projects and quick turnarounds.


Other Functions

Performs other duties as assigned.


Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Bachelor's degree in English, Journalism, Communications, or relevant field.
  • 5-7 years of relevant experience. 
  • Must have thorough knowledge of the fundamentals of writing, grammar, syntax, style, and punctuation and appropriate editorial style and publication guidelines.
  • Demonstrated ability to appropriately represent senior leadership through communications for a wide range of audiences and occasions.  
  • Must have thorough research and fact verification skills.
  • Experience working for and working with senior level leadership.
  • Ability to independently juggle multiple assignments, meet strict deadlines, and handle sensitive, confidential information with utmost discretion.
  • A strong commitment to promoting and enhancing diversity and social justice.
  • Ability to initiate and complete tasks with minimal supervision.
  • Must have a high level of integrity, credibility, respect, and team collaboration.


Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Master's degree.
  • Experience as a high-level speechwriter.
  • Institutional knowledge of higher education, particularly research universities.


Work Schedule

40 hours per week, Monday-Friday.


Salary Information

Level 30

Exempt Hiring Ranges


Special Instructions to Applicants

Along with the application, please submit a resume, cover letter and contact information for three (3) professional references. The search will remain open until filled.


UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.  To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.  It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.


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