Loyola University Chicago (LUC) invites nominations and applications for its next assistant vice president of communications. The university seeks a mission-driven, creative, and strategic leader to join a dedicated staff and leadership team. This on-site role is eligible for the university’s flexible work schedule program. The anticipated start date is September/October 2023.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE POSITION
Reporting to the vice president for university marketing and communication, the assistant vice president of communications (AVP) directs the team responsible for internal, external, and executive communication strategies and initiatives, including proactive and reactive media relations focusing on brand reputation and enhancement. The AVP serves on the university marketing communication division’s senior leadership team and manages all crisis communications and issues. As a member of the divisional leadership team, the AVP will collaborate on and lead the university’s integrated, multi-channel efforts to ensure a unified institutional voice and compelling, results-oriented creative campaigns and collateral. This senior leader advises on all issues and crisis communications on behalf of the university, including strategy, messaging, distribution, and responding to media.
The AVP oversees a team of four full-time professionals who serve as communications counselors, media champions, and brand ambassadors to others at the university. This group works closely with other divisional colleagues to create compelling narratives and messaging, maintain quality control of internal communications tools and deployment across the university, and ensure collaboration and a cross-functional approach to plans and initiatives to achieve maximum impact and measurable outcomes. The AVP also ensures strategic partnerships with schools and divisions to develop public relations strategies that help raise awareness of Loyola University Chicago and its various schools, centers, and departments.
QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATE
A bachelor’s degree with a minimum of seven years of progressive experience in public or media relations, strategic communications, or marketing is required; an advanced degree is preferred.
Loyola University Chicago is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse, mission-driven workforce and enabling a culture of inclusiveness in an environment that values service excellence, stewardship, personal well-being, and professional development for all employees. The search committee particularly encourages applications from candidates who are strategic leaders, adept at identifying and implementing best practices, and dedicated to developing and supporting a creative and resourceful team within the context of Loyola’s Jesuit, Catholic mission.
In addition to the qualifications stated above, key stakeholders indicated that the successful candidate should be someone who:
- Is a strong writer and confident communicator.
- Demonstrates a proactive style of leadership.
- Is a seasoned strategist.
- Consistently exhibits grace under pressure with diplomacy and emotional intelligence.
- Has a strong sense of the universe of journalists.
- Stays abreast of industry trends and leads a best-in-class program based on benchmarks and best practices.
- Is committed to an integrated marketing-communications approach to protecting and enhancing Loyola’s brand and reputation.
- Is highly collaborative, asks the right questions, and leads productive meetings and conversations.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE
In transitioning to Loyola University Chicago, the assistant vice president of communications will encounter the following opportunities, priorities, and challenges, as shared by key campus stakeholders:
- The assistant vice president of communications role is a highly strategic, sought-out, and engaged role within the university. The next AVP must quickly earn the confidence of university leadership outside of the division, especially related to crisis and sensitive issues management. At the same time, the AVP will need to thoughtfully manage expectations and work demands for the strategic communications team.
- With the exception of the director of executive communications, the three other roles on the communications team have evolved and are filled with team members ranging in experience from junior to mid-level. The new AVP will lead an audit and review process to ensure that each position on the team represents the proper role and responsibilities individually and in partnership with the other roles across the communications and broader UMC team.
- A university messaging rubric is currently being developed. The new AVP will lead the process of refining and formally adopting the rubric.
- The crafting of a strategic communications plan is one of the most critical needs at LUC, especially in the context of President Reed’s vision.
- LUC has elements of a crisis communication plan in place, and stakeholders indicated a strong desire for a comprehensive crisis communication book that can provide clear yet flexible guidance on university response. The new AVP will build out the existing document with detailed scenarios, vetted statements, and appropriate owners and spokespeople.
- University marketing and communication (UMC) aspires to be a model for strategic communications functions within higher education, especially in relation to its Jesuit, Catholic peers. The AVP will assess the current landscape among this peer group, identify and communicate appropriate benchmarks, and develop a plan to elevate the work of the strategic communications team.
- UMC has recently launched a biweekly internal newsletter, Loyola News, and executive leadership would ultimately like to see it published every week. While an intake process for content submission is in place, a content calendar that is coordinated with other partners is in development. The AVP will be charged with developing the strategy to drive the content calendar creation that will feed the Loyola News website and newsletter while also being integrated with other marketing and communications plans.
- UMC has also recently launched a biweekly newsletter, Inside Loyola, for faculty and staff. The new AVP will assess its content and performance and help build out Loyola’s internal communications plans to ensure that the “Loyola experience” bolsters and amplifies the university’s brand promise.
- As part of Loyola’s focus on enhancing its brand and reputation, the new AVP will identify, media train, and promote Loyola experts in various fields through owned and earned channels.
- The new AVP will help design meetings and structures to facilitate coordinated intake and distribution of communications with UMC leaders, central team members, and embedded marketing communication personnel.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
The items listed below will define the new assistant vice president’s success throughout the first year of employment:
- The AVP is contributing consistently and at a high level to the UMC senior leadership team.
- The AVP has built strong, trusting relationships with key leaders across the university, particularly the executive leadership team.
- The AVP has gained the confidence of President Reed and is a valued partner in communicating the president’s vision and priorities.
- The AVP has ensured a high-performing team is in place and working against strategic priorities efficiently and effectively.
- The announcement of LUC’s next provost has been planned and executed successfully.
- A university messaging rubric with attending scenarios and vetted messages has been crafted, pressure-tested, and adopted.
- A communications editorial calendar has been developed that centers LUC’s brand and thought leadership work.
UMC strives to uphold and advance Loyola’s identity and mission and create a shared community among prospective and current students, alumni, parents, faculty, and staff through strategic marketing and communications. Key priorities of the division include the following:
- Strategic messaging and branding to establish one voice for Loyola University Chicago and reinforce the university’s unique Jesuit identity, vision, values, and mission.
- Specialized expertise to help schools, departments, and the university achieve marketing and communication objectives.
- Loyola news and initiatives, coordinating interviews and connections between university experts and the media, and training faculty and staff in effectively engaging with the media.
- Tactical marketing support, services, and best practices to help departments and schools promote events, programs, and partnerships.
- Serving as the news hub for Loyola events, activities, calendars, and information and managing all communication tools and channels, including websites, social media, and print and electronic communications.
- Publications that connect and engage alumni and others who have moved beyond campus with the Loyola community and mission.
Jeremy Langford, Vice President for University Marketing and Communication
Jeremy Langford has been vice president for university marketing and communication at Loyola University Chicago since 2018. As a member of the university leadership council, he works closely with the president, provost, deans, faculty, trustees, and Loyola leaders to protect and enhance the university’s brand and reputation in service of recruitment, retention, and relationships across a wide range of audiences from prospective students to alumni and benefactors. Langford leads a dynamic team that includes school-based marketing communications managers and provides vision and direction for the university-wide integrated marketing and communication program to maximize engagement with internal and external audiences across all media, focusing on enrollment and advancement.
Before joining Loyola, he served as vice president of advancement and communications for the Midwest Province of the Jesuits. A University of Notre Dame graduate with advanced studies in theology and a distinguished track record as a publisher and author, he is the founder of JesuitPrayer.org and assisted Fr. Stephen Katsouros, S.J., founding dean and former executive director of Arrupe College, on his book Come to Believe: How the Jesuits Are Reinventing Education (Again).
Founded in 1870, Loyola University Chicago is one of the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic universities, with nearly 17,500 students and 15 colleges, schools, and institutes. LUC has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy, as well as course locations in Vernon Hills, Illinois (Cuneo Mansion and Gardens) and a Retreat and Ecology Campus in Woodstock, Illinois. Ranked a top national university by U.S. News & World Report, Loyola is also among a select group of universities recognized for community service and engagement by prestigious national organizations, including AmeriCorps and the Carnegie Foundation.
LUC is in the midst of a particularly exciting and transformative period in its history. The university welcomed Mark C. Reed as its 25th president in October 2022 and enrolled its largest and most diverse first-year class in fall 2022. It has recently established the School of Environmental Sustainability, the Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health, and the Institute for Racial Justice, continuing the university’s legacy of leadership in addressing society’s most pressing issues.
Recognized by Forbes as a Best Employer for Diversity, Best Employer for Women, and Best Midsize Employer in 2022, LUC strives for a diverse work environment that values service excellence, stewardship, personal well-being, and professional development.
The Student Body (Fall 2022 Data)
Total enrollment: 16,899
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Loyola University Chicago strives to be the modern Jesuit, Catholic university—free from unjust barriers, where the lived experiences of all Ramblers are valued, and their sense of belonging fuels a lifetime of success in service of the greater good.
Mark C. Reed, President
Mark C. Reed, EdD, was elected unanimously by the Board of Trustees as the 25th president of Loyola University Chicago in May of 2022.
Reed joined LUC after seven years as the first non-Jesuit president at Saint Joseph’s University and before that, 15 years in senior leadership roles at Fairfield University. His career has focused on strengthening the institutions he has served, particularly in the areas of expanded academic programs, strategic partnerships, university finances and endowment, student formation, and advancement of the Jesuit, Catholic mission.
At Loyola, he will lead the implementation of a new strategic plan that builds on LUC’s legacy as one of the world’s leading Catholic universities. A student-centered leader, Reed knows the life of any university depends on the experience of its students. Whether in the classroom teaching calculus or statistics, on retreats and service trips, or attending sports events and artistic performances, he is committed to being an active participant in the academic, spiritual, and social life of the university.
Reed is a lifelong product of Jesuit, Catholic education beginning with his time in high school at St. Joseph’s Prep. He earned his BS in mathematics and MBA from Fairfield University, as well as an MEd in secondary educational administration from Boston College. He earned his EdD in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.
SALARY AND BENEFITS OVERVIEW
Loyola University Chicago supports its employees and retirees with a wide array of benefits centered around health and wellness, financial security, and work-life balance. For information on the benefits offered, see here.
The anticipated hiring range for the assistant vice president is $130,000-140,000 annually, commensurate with education and experience.
Loyola University Chicago has retained the services of Spelman Johnson, a leading national executive search firm, to assist with leading this search. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter.
Nominations for this position and questions about the status of the search may be emailed to Michel R. Frendian, senior consultant, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.
The anticipated hiring salary range is $130,000-$140,000, commensurate with experience.
Visit the Loyola University Chicago website at www.luc.edu.
Loyola University Chicago is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer with a strong commitment to hiring for our mission and diversifying our faculty and staff. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion (except where religion is a bona fide occupational qualification for the job), national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, protected veteran status, or any other factor protected by law.