Director of Communications
Columbia University - New York, NY

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Director of Communications for Interdisciplinary Science,
Technology, and Entrepreneurship Initiatives

Reporting to the Vice President for Public Affairs and working closely with communications office staff and other key administrators and communicators throughout the University, the Director will support efforts to communicate and promote key interdisciplinary science, technology, and entrepreneurship initiatives. This includes managing long-term communications strategies to expand public awareness of the University’s major initiatives in such areas as neuroscience, data science, climate science, and also with respect to the entrepreneurial activity made possible through translational research and applied science. The Director will help develop the editorial content for digital and print materials used to advance this communications agenda, and will draft and promote story ideas for dissemination in University publications, e-mails, and social media. The Director also will develop and maintain positive relationships with the New York and national news media covering scientific advances and the impact of those discoveries on society.

Success in this position will be determined by a changed and heightened understanding of Columbia’s key interdisciplinary science, technology, and entrepreneurship initiatives among our central audiences including the general public, New York City opinion leaders, and the University community of students, faculty, alumni, and staff.

Responsibilities include:

  • forging working relationships with a full range of faculty and senior administrators leading the

University’s key science initiatives, including those at the helm of the Mortimer B. Zuckerman
Mind Brain Behavior Institute, Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering, and Columbia
University Earth Institute, as well as other colleagues throughout the University who are
responsible for science communications;

  • working in close partnership with public affairs officers (colleagues in the Office of

Communications and Public Affairs) who are responsible for related subject areas in order to
advance the University’s institutional goals;

  • collaborating with communications staff across the University, at each of the schools, institutes,

and centers relevant to the major interdisciplinary science, technology, and entrepreneurship
initiatives, as well as deans, department chairs, and faculty members;

  • participating in the planning and shaping of selected University events, keeping them focused on

core themes and data points;

  • writing news releases and advisories for national and local media on the University’s key science

initiatives, including fielding incoming media requests and facilitating interviews with faculty and senior University administrators.

  • writing occasional articles on significant developments within areas of responsibility for the

University’s newspaper, The Record, and for online reporting on the University’s website.

Minimum qualifications for grade:

  • Bachelor’s degree required and at least 7 years of progressive public relations experience

Additional position-specific requirements:

  • experience developing and managing strategic communications initiatives on behalf of

institutions with a significant public profile

  • significant experience and a high comfort level working with print and broadcast reporters
  • demonstrated ability to master complex scientific issues
  • expertise in making arcane scientific research discoveries understandable for a lay audience;

skilled translator of specialized and technical jargon into language suitable for the general public

  • sophisticated judgment about the relative newsworthiness of scientific developments and

sensitivity to the broad political context framing science news

  • collaborative, energetic, supportive, and enthusiastic work style
  • strong writing and verbal communications skills
  • discretion and the ability to keep confidences
  • accountability for one’s work product and a demonstrated ability to carry projects through to

successful completion

Preferred qualifications:

  • experience working at a university or college
  • experience conducting communications advocacy in a competitive media environment, or similar

experience providing communications guidance to a corporation or nonprofit with a high public

Apply for this position at:
Columbia University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.

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