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Senior Communications Specialist, Strategic Communications, VP (University Relations)

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Job ID: 13580

Updated: October 2, 2017

Location: Main Campus

Position Overview

Strategic Communications within the VP University Relations is currently seeking two (2) Full-time Regular Senior Communications Specialists.

One Senior Communication Specialist will support the VP Finance & Services, and reports to the Manager, Finance & Services Communications; the second will support Institutional Communications, and reports to the Manager, Institutional Communications. These roles are expected to help ensure the university is positioned with important stakeholders in ways that accurately reflect the University of Calgary's values and positions, leading to greater community engagement, understanding and support for the university's long-term goals and objectives.

A Senior Communications Specialist leads the development and implementation of both long and short-term communications plans to build and protect the reputation of the University of Calgary, employing the full range of communications tactics, from media relations, digital communications and social media, to writing for publications, speeches and face-to-face communications. This often involves an integrated approach, working closely with colleagues in Marketing, Community Engagement, Government Relations, Alumni Relations and Strategic Communications, as well as cross-functionally with partners across faculties and administrative units.

Position Description

Summary of Key Responsibilities (job functions include but are not limited to):

  • Develops comprehensive and robust communications plans that identify objectives, audiences, key messages, communications channels and tactics, evaluation metrics and communications processes
  • Works with University Relations on the development and implementation of strategic, internal and external communication plans. Plans reflect institutional key messages and brand to support the university’s strategic objectives
  • Writes communications materials to inform, engage and seek feedback from university stakeholders
  • Identifies, researches, writes and proactively pitches stories for media and other university channels
  • Writes media plans, news releases, media advisories and website stories. Organizes news conferences and co-ordinates interactions with media as required
  • Frequently acts as a first point of contact for media seeking information or writing stories related to portfolio areas they are managing
  • Coaching and educating faculty on communications best practices
  • Helps develop comprehensive databases of university expertise for the purpose of quickly handling media requests and to identify opportunities to provide proactive expert commentary opportunities
  • Effectively manages projects on time, on budget and aligned with strategic communication goals
  • Assists with the management of issues and crises, working with the Strategic Communications team
  • Delivers training for new communications staff and backfills for colleagues as required
  • Effective multi-tasking skills are used to juggle and prioritize multiple projects
  • Results oriented. Takes initiative to identify areas for improvement and potential solutions
  • Proactively develops and maintains excellent relationships with clients, team members, students, faculty, staff, visitors, guests and other target audiences as required

Qualifications / Requirements:

  • A related university degree
  • Five to seven years of experience in the communications or public relations fields. Communications experience in a large and complex organizations is a strong asset
  • Candidates with an equivalent combination of education and experience will be considered
  • Demonstrated excellence creating and executing effective communication plans and programs aimed at various internal and external audiences
  • Experience in internal communications, media relations, public relations, social media, digital communications, publications management and news and feature writing
  • Demonstrated success planning and implementing strategic communications plans and programs
  • Experience with effective creation and execution of large-scale projects and campaigns aimed at targeted audiences, with measurable objectives tied to business goals
  • Demonstrated relationships with local and national media, including understanding of relationship building for both traditional and new media platforms
  • Excellent writing, editing and proofreading skills
  • Ability to speak and write clearly and succinctly in a variety of settings and styles; ability to distill complex information, listen effectively and to deliver messages that have the desired effect
  • Understanding of communications metrics, digital analytics and measurement best practices
  • Confidence to lead initiatives and provide counsel to senior leaders and to work collaboratively with others
  • Copy writing experience and advance knowledge of Canadian Press style guidelines
  • Ability to provide leadership to junior roles
  • Excellent project management skills with demonstrated success in planning, organizing and managing projects. Experience with project management systems/tools is strong asset
  • Strong ability to work under pressure with competing deadlines and to handle numerous priorities at once
  • Excellent research and interviewing skills
  • Excellent consultation, collaboration and influencing skills; proven ability to build and maintain relationships
  • Knowledge of post-secondary educational issues is an asset
  • Strong attention to detail

Application Deadline:  August 25, 2017

We would like to thank all applicants in advance for submitting their resumes. Please note, only those candidates chosen to continue on through the selection process will be contacted.

Additional Information

This position is part of the AUPE bargaining unit, and falls under the Specialist/Advisor Job Family, Phase III.

To find out more about management and staff opportunities at the University of Calgary and all we have to offer, view our Management and Staff Careers website

About the University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is Canada’s leading next-generation university – a living, growing and youthful institution that embraces change and opportunity with a can-do attitude. Located in the nation’s most enterprising city, the university is making tremendous progress on its Eyes High journey to be recognized as one of Canada’s top five research universities, grounded in innovative learning and teaching and fully integrated with the community it both serves and leads. The University of Calgary inspires and supports discovery, creativity and innovation across all disciplines. For more information, visit

The University of Calgary recognizes that a diverse staff/faculty benefits and enriches the work, learning and research experiences of the entire campus and greater community. We are committed to removing barriers that have been historically encountered by some people in our society. We strive to recruit individuals who will further enhance our diversity and will support their professional success while they are here. We encourage all qualified applicants to apply, however preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.


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