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Assistant VP, Issues Management

Apply now Job no: 499538
College / VP Area: Communication & Marketing
Work type: Staff
Location: Newark/Hybrid
Categories: Communications & Public Relations, Full Time

The Office of Communications and Marketing (OCM) is dedicated to developing strategies that will continue to elevate the University of Delaware as a premier research institution.

The Assistant VP, Issues Management anticipates emerging issues and coordinates University of Delaware’s communications planning and response in connection with sensitive matters that have the potential to impact UD relationships and trust with important constituents. Reporting to the Vice President for the Office of Communications and Marketing, the AVP is responsible for coordinating internal and external communication during a crisis, ensuring a high degree of integrity, transparency, and consistency in the University’s response to crises and ongoing issues. The AVP leads and provides high-level staffing and administrative support for the University’s Incident Response Team and horizon-scanning process to identify and prioritize potential issues and reputational risks and proactively develop an institutional response. This role also supports and coordinates with other relevant University groups and processes, such as Emergency Management and formal processes for investigating misconduct.

 Major Responsibilities:

  • Monitors and reports on emerging and ongoing issues through social media, online research and interaction with students, campus colleagues and external stakeholders. Monitors national trends in higher education issues and how these could affect the University. Reviews accuracy of stories covering University issues. Issues regular reports on potential and current issues.
  • Serves as a senior member of and provides expert staffing support to the University’s Incident Response Team, a small group of leaders that convenes in response to significant issues that have the potential to create immediate and/or long-term harm to the University’s reputation and its trusting relationships with important stakeholders. Organizes meeting agendas and tracks follow-up for assigned tasks.
  • Serves as a senior member of and provides expert staffing support to the University’s formal and informal horizon-scanning processes to identify and prioritize potential and emerging issues and risks. Organizes meeting agendas and tracks follow-up for assigned tasks. Assembles background resources and works closely with other disciplinary experts with OCM to develop communications materials, including media statements, talking points, social media content, and FAQs, related to identified issues.
  • Coordinates internal and external communication during a crisis, including internal communication that specific leaders need to engage their operational response. Plans strategic responses to issues and trending stories, including content for social media channels. Maintains protocols for responding to different kinds of issues.
  • Serves as an issues-communications adviser for colleges and schools across campus. Works closely with representatives and leaders of colleges and schools to anticipate and respond to issues and trending stories. Advises on monitoring and planning for media response in close coordination with the OCM media relations team. This includes working with this team to offer media training and issues management advice to representatives from the colleges and schools.
  • This role may serve as media contact for University Communications on crisis and issues-related topics, working with OCM media relations to prep University spokespeople for interaction with local, regional, national, and international news media during a crisis. This may also involve coordination of media access to key University administrators, ensuring timely assembly of accurate data for reporters in connection with issues and crises.
  • Serves as the OCM representative to the University’s emergency response team and EOC. Contributes as needed on communications team for acute emergencies and less intensive crises such as weather closings. Trains with other key staff in best practices for emergency communications.
  • Provides support for and coordinates with other relevant University groups and processes, such as Public Safety, Title IX, Student Conduct, and other formal processes for investigating misconduct.
  • Perform other job-related duties as assigned

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree, with a minimum of 10 years’ experience in communications-related field, working on deadline, with experience writing media statements and working closely with news reporters.
  • Ability to work both independently at times and collaboratively with colleagues spread across multiple departments.
  • Excellent judgment and organizational savvy, with strong writing, editing and verbal communications skills.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects at once while delivering on deadlines.
  • Demonstrates an understanding and consideration of the differing needs and concerns of individuals with varying identities, cultures, and backgrounds.
  • Committed to fostering a workplace culture of belonging, where diversity is celebrated, and equity is a core value.
  • Experience working with senior leadership with earned respect to be a critical and collaborative driver of productive outcomes
  • Equivalent combination of relevant education and experience may be substituted as appropriate.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience working on crisis communication and issues management in a deadline environment. Experience working on communications for higher education.
  • Experience speaking with media on the record.
  • Experience in translating technical content for a general audience.
  • Experience crafting and executing social media campaigns.
  • Ability to interact in a professional manner with UD leaders, faculty, staff, students, and media.


Special Requirements

  • Availability to work nights, weekends, and holidays and/or on call, as needed.

Notice of Non-Discrimination, Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
The University of Delaware does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, marital status, disability, religion, age, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by applicable law in its employment, educational programs and activities, admissions policies, and scholarship and loan programs as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other applicable statutes and University policies. The University of Delaware also prohibits unlawful harassment including sexual harassment and sexual violence.

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