Senior Director of Communications & External Relations
Council for Christian Colleges & Universities
Location: Washington, D.C.
Type: Full Time
Available Immediately Full-Time, Exempt Washington, DC
The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) seeks an experienced, strategic communications professional to lead a small communications team and envision and organize the overall communications strategy of the organization. Reporting to the President, this position will work collaboratively with senior leadership of each department to develop and implement communication strategies to add positive value to the brand of Christian higher education and the organization, broaden the impact of CCCU’s programs, and oversee organizational messaging and constituent services.
A successful candidate must have a strong faith commitment and appreciation of Christian mission. The individual must be able to effectively work with a diverse membership constituency, have exceptional interpersonal skills especially in relation to building and maintaining media contacts, strong written and oral communication skills, and be an effective team leader. Candidate should be excellent at project management and experience managing a department budget. Policy and or Christian higher education experience a plus.
COVID-19 and Work Note: The CCCU DC Headquarters is open 5 days a week. Staff can work up to 2 days remotely with approval of their supervisor. Candidates must be able to work and lead effectively in both an in-person and virtual environment.
CCCU employees are required to adhere and agree to follow certain guidelines and procedures to ensure a safe and healthy environment. Candidates must understand the nuances of the vaccination debate. Vaccinations are not mandated at the CCCU but strongly encouraged.
Overall responsibility for the strategic direction of the marketing, communications, and public affairs activity of the Council and GlobalEd.
Develop and manage Communications department and website budget.
Actively engage, cultivate, and manage external relationships to ensure media and PR coverage surrounding CCCU policy items, special events, public announcements, and other projects.
Collaborate with President, Cabinet, and senior leadership to develop communications strategies that will broaden policy reach and deepen impact of policy initiatives and member programs and services.
Develop, implement, and evaluate the annual and quarterly communications plan across the varied audiences in collaboration with the CCCU team and constituents.
Develop the CCCU’s communication plan for the Strategic Vision & Plan, once finalized and approved by the Board and work annually to update any graphics.
Put communications vehicles in place to create momentum and awareness, as well as to test the effectiveness of communications activities.
Design and implement communications plan led by the CCCU, in partnership with members and allies, designed to promote the value of Christian higher education and to counter negative narratives surrounding Christian higher education on topics such as accreditation, religious freedom, the liberal arts, the cost of college, the benefit to the Church and society broadly of a Christian college graduate, etc. This project should work with people of both parties, all faiths and no faith, as well as members and church leaders.
Leadership, Media Relations & Executive Support
Serve as member of President’s Cabinet, as applicable, to advise, develop, and/or execute initiatives which meet the strategic goals of the CCCU.
Serve as strategic partner and advisor to senior leaders and the President.
Coach, train, and support executive staff and other staff that may be identified as spokespersons, on public communication for media outlets and CCCU press releases.
Exercise judgment to prioritize media opportunities, and prepare talking points, speeches, presentations, and other supporting material for the President, Cabinet members, and other identified staff members if and as needed.
Develop and manage a team of communications staff to achieve ambitious goals, follow through on plans, and sharpen their own skills.
Represent the interests of the CCCU with higher education associations, government agencies and congressional staff.
Bring together networks of people for the benefit of the CCCU across denominations, faith traditions, and political orientations. This effort should have as a goal the result of at least one quarterly print piece in a national publication with commensurate local, social, and public media redistribution.
Content, Messaging Creation & Editing:
Oversee the generation of digital media content that engages audience segments and leads to measurable action.
Develop and refine the CCCU’s "core" messages to ensure organizational consistency.
Strategize and collaborate with the Director of Marketing who creates and oversees the marketing and communication efforts for conferences, events, research, professional development, and other member service activities through print, online, and e-communication in collaboration with appropriate teams.
Oversee the development, distribution, and maintenance of all external communication including both print and electronic collateral including, but not limited to, newsletters, brochures, magazine, programs, and CCCU website.
Serve as executive editor for the organization's website.
Management & Administration
Responsible for vendor/consultant/third-party contracts and relationships related to CCCU and GlobalEd communication efforts which may include delegation of relationship management upon execution of contract.
Build relationships with media to advance the CCCU’s brand and messaging opportunities of the CCCU.
Galvanize data and research that proves the value of Christian colleges in their areas and distribute and publish data in support of our schools. This could also require commissioning new research and liaising with those researchers.
Serve as staff liaison for the Commission for Innovative Enrollment & Marketing and the Commission for Strategic Communications & Public Affairs.
As a data driven organization, all staff are responsible for maintaining and updating CCCU database records so that the database records are as current and accurate as possible.
Other duties as assigned by supervisor.
Persons applying for the position should:
Have a strong appreciation for the Christian mission and purpose of the CCCU and its GlobalEd programs.
Affirm the Nicene Creed.
Have significant communications experience that includes a blend of advocacy and media relations (at least 5 years in a similar role).
Have excellent writing/editing and verbal communication skills.
Have experience managing others both in-person and remotely as well as working with contractors.
Be articulate, have a professional demeanor with strong self-confidence, initiative, and leadership skills.
Have a focus on keeping projects and people organized and moving towards a common goal/deadline while also maintaining standards and best practices and keeping key stakeholders informed.
Have a strong track record of positioning an organization to achieve tangible outcomes in a national communications environment.
Can coach and support senior leaders as spokespersons.
Can take knowledge and transform it into exciting and useful messages, and disseminate it to the right audiences through the best distribution channels.
Have a strong track record as an implementer who thrives on managing a variety of key initiatives concurrently.
Be a relationship builder with the flexibility and finesse to "manage by influence".
Be an experienced department budget manager.
Can work under the pressure of multiple deadlines and conflicting priorities; and demonstrate good judgment.
Possess knowledge and understanding of Christian institutions of higher education, helpful but not required.
Experience working in databases; iMIS experience preferred
Experience working at an association or nonprofit a plus
Applicants should apply online through this posting. Applicants must include the below requested items. Applications that do not include all the materials below will not be considered. Applications are due by no later than Friday, October 22. No paper applications or phone calls please.
Application must include:
Resume/CV including a list of 4 references who can speak to the areas of your faith, character, and professional experience. We will not contact without your prior approval. Note: Reference list should include phone and email and note their relationship to you.
A statement of your Christian faith
Writing sample of a press release or other short form news/policy related item
Writing sample of a memo, white paper, or long form item
About Council for Christian Colleges & Universities
The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities is a higher education association of more than 185 Christian institutions around the world. Since 1976, the CCCU has served as the leading national voice of Christian higher education. With campuses across the globe, including more than 150 in the U.S. and Canada and more than 30 from an additional 19 countries, CCCU institutions are accredited, comprehensive colleges and universities whose missions are Christ-centered and rooted in the historic Christian faith. Most also have curricula rooted in the arts and sciences. The CCCU’s mission is to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help our institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth. For more information about our organization, visit our website: www.cccu.org. Learn more about our GlobalEd programs at: www.cccuglobaled.com