Director of Communications Strategy

  • Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • Temporarily Remote
  • UChicago Impact

Launched in 2011 as a not-for-profit organization, UChicago Impact is one of four units that comprise the University of Chicago's Urban Education Institute (UEI). The other units include: the UChicago Charter School, the UChicago Consortium on School Research and the Urban Teacher Education Program (UTEP). UEI’s academic home is in the School of Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice (CFS) at the University of Chicago.

UChicago Impact Stands Apart From Others In The Market For The Following Reasons

Research continues to show that many of America's schools fail to prepare students of color and students from low-income families to succeed in college and beyond. Many view these problems as intractable. UChicago Impact does not. UChicago Impact uses proven research to create scalable evidence-based tools and supports designed to improve academic outcomes.

         ●    It is embedded in The University of Chicago
         ●    Its work is grounded in rigorous research
         ●    It establishes long-term partnerships with schools and districts
         ●    Its partners achieve results

UChicago Impact currently has partners and clients in more than 60 cities and 35 states — including some of the highest performing school systems and charter management organizations nationwide (e.g., Achievement First, KIPP, Uncommon Schools).

Role Description:

The Director of Communications Strategy will report to the UChicago Impact CoCEOs. The successful candidate will have experience collaborating and communicating with stakeholders and have proven project management skills. They will be able to communicate complex ideas clearly and build and maintain positive, productive relationships with key internal and external partners. The Director of Communications Strategy needs to have a proven track-record for successful management of multi-faceted, multi-year projects. They will support the adoption of UChicago Impact’s tools and professional learning at scale, and further the overarching goal of disseminating knowledge, tools, and practices to preK-12 education leaders, policymakers, and practitioners nationwide. The Director will be expected to develop and implement creative and measurable communications and marketing plans that encompass relevant channels such as: advertising, public relations, market research, publications, digital/social media, events, media relations and other aspects of strategic marketing in order to raise the visibility of UChicago Impact’s work.

Other typical work-related activities will include:

●   Support and collaborate with UChicago Impact leadership
●   Creative and strategic application of digital and social media technologies
●   Evaluate existing communications channels and apply those insights towards the development of
updated and/or enhanced alternatives that reflect communications best practices
●   Develop and implement results-driven internal communications strategies that align with
business goals and measure their effectiveness.
●   Identify and gather appropriate metrics to monitor the success and impact of comms strategies
so as to continuously improve communications; take the pulse of staff, and keep leadership informed
●   Review, revise and align internal communications processes and channels to support seamless,
company-wide employee communications and engagement.
     ○   Distribute effective, consistent and timely UChicago Impact internal messaging
●   Provide continuity in the voice and visual branding of internal communications deliverables,
ensuring a cohesive look and feel as well as a strategic purpose
●   Research, write, edit, and proofread internal communications (incl. talking points,
presentations, etc).
●   Maintain, update and create a cohesive set of UChicago Impact collateral, including but not
limited to:
     ○   Video vignettes illuminating the value of UChicago Impact’s core products, case studies,
infographics, on-demand webinar content, FAQ sheets, New Knowledge Briefings
●    Oversee UChicago Impact’s regular newsletters (internal and external)
●    Manage the website
●    Create work project plans, update and communicate changes
●    Maintain regular status meetings with CoCEOs and Unit Directors

Required Qualifications:

●    Bachelor’s degree in Communications. English, or Marketing.
●   At least 8 years of related experience, with a proven track record in project management of
digital and/or print-media campaigns.
      ○    Minimum 5 years of experience leading a communications function and coordinating  individual  
●    Deeply knowledgeable about the STEP Assessment, 5Essentials and/or Cultivate.
●    Broad understanding of K-8 education issues.
●   Proven ability to collect, track, and reflect upon data and key performance metrics.
●    Excellent communication skills, verbal and written.
      ○    Writing samples should be made available upon request.
●    Ability to create estimates, contracts, manage budgets.
●    Understanding of PK-8 public education issues.
●   A passion for supporting schools in their work to continuously improve student outcomes.
●  Ability to travel, as needed, to support implementations and/or to represent STEP.
●   Ability to interact with remote personnel.

Preferred Qualifications:

●   Experience working in a progressive educational environment.
●   At least 10 years of relevant professional experience.
●   Advanced degree in communications, journalism, marketing/PR, etc.
●   Evidence of analytical thinking, with focus on connections between data and practice.
●   Ability to speak Spanish at a conversational level.
●   Directly related work experience in higher education, policy and advocacy
●   Experience with internal communications platforms, software, and graphic design programs, such
as SharePoint, Yammer, Adobe, etc.

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