9 days old

Director of Public Affairs (15914)

American University in Washington, D.C
Washington, District of Columbia 20016
  • Job Type
  • Job Status
    Full Time

This position manages the university's issues management function, working in close conjunction with the VP/Chief Communications Officer, Assistant VP for Communications, and other university leaders/experts to drive public engagement on key proactive and reactive matters. The director supports strategic priorities by developing effective processes that manage crises, facilitating positive relationships with stakeholders, and providing communications strategy and support to university partners.



The main responsibilities of this position include:

  • Create, implement, measure, and constantly refine a crisis management plan, including but not limited to protocols, messages, and tools
  • Provide messaging, preparation, and logistical support for media interviews and events
  • Identify, establish, and expand relationships with a wide range of reporters at print, broadcast and online outlets to ensure the university gains quality coverage in stories
  • Write talking points, response to questions, press releases, media alerts, advisories, and pitches to gain quality media coverage and social media activity of the university’s initiatives and expertise 
  • Working with the UCM digital team, utilize social media to engage and inform AU’s audiences, enhance relationships with reporters, and track coverage of university issues
  • Evaluate and measure the effectiveness of issues management activities. Prepare situational, weekly, monthly and yearly reports
  • Create and execute a comprehensive strategy for supporting university priorities in relation to issues that either challenge the university’s reputation or present opportunities to advance key messages
  • Manage responses to internal and external matters related to university operations, staff, students, alumni, etc.
  • Assess the local, national, and international landscape for higher education and other key issues, monitor story trends, and develop new approaches for AU engagement as appropriate
  • Serve as UCM representative for key university priorities, including but not limited to participating in the 2021 campus plan process, supporting the university’s community and government relations function and team, and contributing to the university’s Plan for Inclusive Excellence. Support key elements of AU’s Strategic Plan, Changemakers for a Changing World
  • Work with key stakeholders, provide strategic communications counsel, and execute communications activities to advance shared goals
  • Manage and update emergency communications processes and protocols, and serve as spokesperson for university-wide statements during a crisis, as needed
  • Develop and advance positive relationships with key university stakeholders and partners and work seamlessly with these groups and other constituents in response to issues and for proactive engagement
  • Serve on Enterprise Risk Management Team and task forces associated with specific areas of reputational risk, as the representative of the division
Work Environment
  • Normally performs their job indoors in an office environment
  • This position requires frequent early morning, evening and weekend work to respond to breaking news, issues and crises
Position Type/Expected Hours of Work
  • 35-Exempt
Salary Range
  • Commensurate with experience
Required Education and Experience
  • Bachelor's Degree in Communication, Journalism and Public Affairs; or closely related field
  • 8-10 years of full-time issues management and crisis communications experience
  • A client-service approach to communications and excellent writing, verbal, and interpersonal skills
  • Mastery of social media best practices and monitoring tools, media relations and news distribution tools, web publishing/content management systems, and common office computer software programs (Outlook, Powerpoint, Excel, Word)
  • Experience and ability to work well and meet deadlines under pressure while handling multiple projects and issues
  • Excellent organizational and record keeping skills
  • Ability to research and understand the legal and political aspects of issues
  • Must work with urgency, accuracy and attention to detail, and demonstrate mature judgment and professionalism with a variety of internal and external stakeholders in a knowledgeable, persuasive, and timely manner
  • Must be able to communicate with tact and diplomacy
Preferred Education and Experience
  • Completion of crisis or reputation management training, certificate or advanced coursework
  • Advocacy communications, campaign, and/or PR agency experience
Additional Eligibility Qualifications
  • Hiring offers for this position are contingent on successful completion of a background check


Current American University Employees:

If you are a current full-time or part-time staff member at American University, please log into AsuccessfulU through the myAU portal. Once in AsuccessfulU, please select the Careers tile which will take you to our internal career page. 


Contact Us:

For more information or assistance with the American University careers site, email theworkline@american.edu.


American University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution that operates in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The university does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, veteran status, an individual’s genetic information or any other bases under federal or local laws (collectively "Protected Bases") in its programs and activities.

Posted: 2019-08-07 Expires: 2019-09-06

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Director of Public Affairs (15914)

American University in Washington, D.C
Washington, District of Columbia 20016

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