Position Information

Director of Strategic Communications
In this highly visible role help communicate the needs, goals, and strategies to transform the Massachusetts higher education system to serve all students, particularly Black, Latinx, and other students who have been historically excluded. The position is responsible for creating and executing an equity-minded strategic communications plan intended to heighten awareness about the importance of higher education for achieving racial equity and increasing social mobility and to build support for transformative change. The Director is also responsible for DHE’s media relations and direct contact with the higher education community and key external stakeholders.

The Director is in charge of developing and writing a variety of communication pieces aimed at multiple audiences to ensure the Department’s messaging is accurately, effectively, and consistently conveyed to key audiences, through direct outreach, as well as through local, state, and national media. The Director will work in close collaboration with subject-matter experts within the Department, as well as thought partners in state government and at higher education institutions, in carrying out these responsibilities. As a member of the Office of External Affairs within the Commissioner’s Office, the Director of Strategic Communications is a key facilitator in communicating the work of the Department.

The Massachusetts Public Higher Education System

The Massachusetts System of Public Higher Education (“System”) enrolls approximately 260,000 students in credit-bearing programs annually. The System consists of 15 community colleges, nine state universities and five University of Massachusetts (UMass) campuses. The Board of Higher Education (BHE) has coordination and oversight responsibilities for the entire System, and the BHE together with each respective Board of Trustees, expects all students, faculty, and staff to be held to exacting standards in the performance of their roles and responsibilities.

The BHE is staffed by its executive agency, the Department of Higher Education, which is run by Commissioner Santiago.

Essential Job Functions
 
  • Develop and implement an equity-minded strategic communications plan designed to heighten awareness of the importance of higher education for achieving racial equity and increasing social mobility and to build support for transformative change.
  • Ensure the delivery of accurate and useful information regarding the activities, programs, and policies of the Department and Board of Higher Education internally and to stakeholders, including the executive and legislative branches of government, public and private higher education institutions, the non-profit sector, the business and industry sector, students and families, and other key stakeholders.
  • Author and/or provide editorial oversight for important reports and publications produced by DHE staff.
  • Build community and develop relationships internally and externally with key stakeholders and community members to effectively convey the Department’s core mission and work.
  • Partner with the Director of Trustee Relations and Legislative Affairs in the Office of the External Affairs to ensure consistent communications to members of the legislature and members of campus boards of trustees.
  • Partner with the Assistant Commissioner for Analytics and Digital Services and internal subject-matter experts to provide content for the DHE website and digital communications, and to ensure their use as effective communications tools for the organization.
  • Partner with the Director of Educational Equity and Justice in the development and execution of a strategic communications plan for the Equity Agenda.
  • Handle all inquiries from the media and manage the Department’s responses.
  • Lead and coordinate DHE’s use of social media.
  • Other related and appropriate duties as assigned by the Chief of Staff.
Position: Director of Strategic Communications
Organization: Massachusetts Department of Higher Education
Location: Boston,  MA 
United States
Salary: $70,000 - $90,000
Posting Start Date: 11/29/2021
Date Posted: 11/29/2021
Requirements Education Qualifications and Experience:
 
  • Bachelor’s Degree in related field (public policy, communications, etc.) desirable. Demonstrated, relevant workplace experience may be substituted for completion of degree. Graduate degree preferred.
  • At least five (5) years of experience in a position of similar responsibility, either in the public or private sector.
  • Proven ability to lead an organization’s strategic communications.
  • Knowledge of the BHE’s Equity Agenda, as well as the DHE’s initiatives to address social and racial justice.
  • Experience and demonstrated success with project management.
  • Familiarity with the current issues in Massachusetts state government, and especially with issues related to public higher education.

Skills and Attributes:
 
  • Commitment to equity, intentionality, teamwork, accountability, community, and empowerment.
  • Command of written and oral communication skills and various forms of media, as well as strong organizational skills.
  • Ability to take initiative, assist in decisions, help resolve problems in a collegial manner with all levels of staff and constituents.
  • Ability to build and sustain authentic, productive working relationships with colleagues across teams, levels, and social identities.
  • Ability to identify and understand the needs and motivations of different audiences and communities.
  • Ability to review and interpret data and research on higher education trends.
  • Ability to exercise judgment, discretion and handle confidential information.
  • Exhibit a proactive approach to learning and eagerness to acquire new skills.
  • Adaptive capacity toward varying and changing circumstances to meet emerging or changing needs as determined by the Chief of Staff and Commissioner.
  • Ability and willingness to work in a hybrid (mixed, face-to-face and remote) setting.
  • Some travel to in-person meetings and events will be required.
Status: This listing expires on: 1/28/2022
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Organization Information
Name:
Massachusetts Department of Higher Education
Address:
1 Ashburton Place
Room 1401
Boston,  MA 02108
United States
Email:
equiroz@dhe.mass.edu
Phone:
(617) 418-0700
Fax:
Contact:
Elena Quiroz-Livanis

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