Vice president of university relations
About the position
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) seeks an exceptionally innovative, creative, and transformational vice president (VP) of university relations to join a dedicated staff and leadership team at one of the nation’s premier student-centered, public research universities and health systems. This cabinet-level position will be charged with further invigorating a university relations program, which is already poised to accelerate and expand its impact. The VP serves as the university and health system’s chief communications officer and represents and promotes the university and health system, increasing the institution’s visibility in support of its mission, vision, and goals. President Michael Rao’s investment in communications is a top priority for VCU and VCU Health, and he is looking for someone with whom he can work especially closely and effectively.
The ideal candidate will bring a distinguished, proven record of success, and must have significant leadership experience appropriate to the size and complexity of VCU and VCU Health. The next VP should possess the following qualities and experiences:
- A degree (or equivalent experience) in a relevant area of study;
- 10 – 15 years of relevant professional experience at a large, complex institution or organization;
- Broadness in a hybrid of communications talents and skills, with a track record of success, including strategic and innovative communications planning across platforms; media relations; public relations and national media; marketing; internal communications; issues and crisis management; executive communications; content and message strategy; digital and social media; creative editorial and design services; and special events;
- Ability to understand the current landscape of the above areas in higher education, healthcare and in the national and local landscape;
- Significant experience as an inspirational and visionary leader, developing, and implementing a successful and comprehensive integrated strategic communications program across a decentralized enterprise with multiple constituencies, a wide variety of audiences, and varied priorities;
- Substantial experience evaluating the strengths of existing strategic communications programs and identifying opportunities for improvement and ability to demonstrate effectiveness of programs and initiatives, using data-driven techniques, metrics and benchmarking;
- Demonstrated ability in successfully leading and motivating staff to achieve and sustain excellence, change, and growth and a strong commitment to personal and professional development, and the ability to build a strong, autonomous, and collaborative team;
- Demonstrated commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment at VCU throughout creative work, operations and interpersonal relationships; a commitment to working with multicultural populations and an awareness of issues affecting minorities and ability to develop knowledge of, respect for, and skills to engage with those of other cultures or backgrounds;
- Superior news judgement and outstanding written and oral communications skills and presence at all levels and for all audiences, nationally and internationally; a storyteller who can create a brand and understands the value of telling a powerful story;
- Expertise on the advantages and drawbacks of emerging digital media (websites, social media, etc.) in strategic communication for an institution, conveying information and content in ways that engage and excite constituents, including prospective students and their families, alumni, and the wider public;
- Demonstrated ability preparing, justifying, and presenting business cases, budgets, and plans; and measuring the impact of different strategies and programs. A keen eye for operational efficiency and optimal use of resources; the ability to plan, monitor, and manage a budget;
- A demonstrated leadership style that is collegial, empathetic, and genuine, with superlative interpersonal skills to manage internal and external relationships;
- Comfort dealing effectively, diplomatically, and sensitively with all levels of management and staff across a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences and the demonstration of an honest respect for each individual;
- Demonstrated emotional intelligence and situational awareness with strong influencing skills, demonstrated ability to earn credibility and influence opinion leaders. Intellectual depth, maturity and confidence to garner the trust of the President, Board, faculty, staff, alumni and other constituents;
- Decisive and brave leadership, consultative, with the ability to make decisions to lead the University and division;
- Flexible and resilient, someone who is not consumed by challenges; and
- Strong, personal and professional integrity, with adherence to ethical standards in the communications profession.
- Master’s degree;
- Experience in communications at a higher education institution, large health care system; or with communications, government, federal, or state organizations;
- A deep appreciation for the history, achievements, and aspirations of VCU, and the ability to articulate those to a diverse audience in an effective and eloquent manner;
- General understanding of public safety communications, including crisis communications, Clery Act requirements; and
- Project management skills and effective delegation abilities.
Salary will be competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.
How to apply
Greenwood/Asher & Associates, Inc. is assisting Virginia Commonwealth University in this search. Applications and nominations are now being accepted. Confidential inquiries, nominations, and application materials should be directed to Greenwood/Asher & Associates. For a full application package, please provide a cover letter, CV, and list of five references. Submission of application materials as PDF attachments is strongly encouraged. The search will be conducted with a commitment of confidentiality for candidates until finalists are selected. Initial screening of applications will begin immediately and will continue until an appointment is made.
Application materials should be submitted to the VCU eJobs portal located at the link below and to Greenwood/Asher & Associates by email.
VCU eJobs portal: http://www.vcujobs.com/postings/101134
Please direct inquiries, nominations, and application materials to:
Betty Asher, Partner & Vice President
Ann Bailey, Senior Executive Search Consultant
With a total student population of more than 31,000, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is a public research university located in the capital city of Richmond, VA. The VCU Health System is an urban teaching hospital and is home to VCU Medical Center, the #1 ranked medical center in the Richmond metropolitan area with the only Level I trauma center in central Virginia. Together they make VCU the largest employer in the city of Richmond (22,888 including VCU and VCU Health employees).
Founded in 1838 and currently belonging to the elite group of R1 – Doctoral Universities with Highest Research Activity by Carnegie Classification, VCU enrolls students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 108 countries. Students choose from 59 undergraduate, 69 master’s, 42 doctoral programs, three first-professional programs and 44 certificate programs offered by 11 schools and three colleges. With two main campuses on 173 acres in the historic downtown area, as well as satellite campuses located across the state and internationally, VCU boasts a diverse campus community, including approximately 43 percent of the student body identifying as minority, as well as an 18:1 student-faculty ratio, and more than 500 student clubs and organizations.
One of the largest academic health centers in the nation with a 52-acre footprint one block from Capitol Square, VCU Health System also maintains over 2.5 million square feet of facilities in satellite locations surrounding the city, including research space at the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park. In addition to VCU Medical Center, the $3.2 billion health system includes Community Memorial Hospital, the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, the Virginia Premier Health Plan (a 220,000-member non-profit Managed Care Organization), and the MCV Physicians (a faculty practice plan with more than 700 members and 770 residents and fellows).
Peter Buckley, dean of school of medicine and executive vice president for medical affairs
Tomikia LeGrande, vice president of strategy, enrollment management, and student success
Matt Conrad, executive director of government and board relations
Jay Davenport, vice president of development and alumni relations
Pamela El, VCU board of visitors
Carolina Espinal, VCU board of visitors
Karol Gray, senior vice president and chief financial officer
Ed Grier, dean, VCU school of business
Marcos Irigary, chief of communications and marketing, VCU Health System
Chuck Klink, senior vice provost for VCU student affairs
Ed McLaughlin, vice president and director, VCU athletics
- Elisa Maurice, student, VCU school of business
- Brian McNeill, senior public relations specialist, university relations
- Marcus Messner, director and professor of journalism, college of humanities and sciences, robertson school
Aashir Nasim, vice president institutional equity, effectiveness and success and director of iCubed
Suzanne Silitch, executive director for strategic communications, VCU arts
Meredith Weiss, vice president of VCU administration