Director of Strategic Communications

Southern Methodist University Published: March 12, 2019
Job Type


The Director of Strategic Communications reports to the AVP for Marketing & Communications and is responsible for developing plans and strategies related to short- and long-term issues that can substantially affect the University.

Specifically, this person advises SMU leadership on sensitive and emergency issues that may affect areas ranging from brand reputation and freedom of speech to on-campus outages and events.

In addition to guiding messaging during emergency situations, the Director oversees a small team in the creation of strategic and executive communications such as presentations, speeches, reports and correspondence.

Essential Functions:


  • Collaborates with SMU administrators, legal, SMU Police, Student Affairs, and Office of Risk Management in responding to sensitive situations and inquiries, rapidly creating and distributing pertinent information to stakeholders. Monitors and guides the social media team’s posts/responses to support positive messaging and manage SMU’s reputation in event of an emergency or negative news situation. Collaborates with the Media Relations and Social Media in maintaining SMU’s reputation, including planning and executing of crisis communications and media training/coaching.
  • Advises and supports administrative leaders on strategic internal communications, channels and delivery style, creating content on important issues to the University. Leads the internal communications efforts on behalf of the Marketing & Communications team, which will include advising administrative leaders on strategic internal communications such as Cleary Report, cultural intelligence initiative, Title IX, strategic plan report, etc.
  • Oversees the preparation of speeches, reports, presentations, videos, statements, articles, correspondence, and other materials, as needed for the President. In addition, oversees the preparation of content for the President and VP of DEA that is delivered at the DEA Committee, Board of Trustees, and executive board meetings.
  • Continually enhances the team’s Crisis Preparedness and Response playbook by identifying best practices and improving proactive, disciplined crisis preparedness, which includes pre-planned activities, communications, roles and responsibilities and training to prepare the University to respond quickly, transparently and on-point to the issue occurring.
  • Monitor and guide the social media team’s posts/responses to support positive messaging and manage SMU’s reputation in event of an emergency or negative news situation.
  • Position requires some evening and weekend work




Education and Experience:

  Bachelor’s degree is required. Masters is preferred. A degree in Journalism or Communications field is strongly preferred.

A minimum of five years of professional work experience in communications (e.g. public relations, news media, corporate communications) is required.

Experience leading and supervising a team in the field of communications is preferred. Experience leading teams through crises is highly desirable. Experience in higher education and/or medical/hospital industry is preferred.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  The ideal candidate must possess strong interpersonal and verbal communication skills, with the ability to communicate broadly across the University and cultivate and sustain collegial relationships.

Candidate must demonstrate strong written communication skills with ability to disseminate information into precise and effective written communications. Must also possess the ability to copy, edit and proofread, as well as write in a range of styles appropriate to target audience. A strong focus on attention to detail is essential.

Candidate must possess strong time management, organizational and planning skills with the ability to manage concurrent projects. Must also possess strong problem-solving and critical thinking skills with the ability to be resourceful, proactive, and seek assistance as needed. Strong project management skills are essential.

Candidate must be a self-starter with the ability to work independently with minimal supervision. Demonstrated ability to work in a high pressure, fast-moving office setting is essential.

Candidate must possess a strong understanding and experience in using social media to respond to reactions to crises. Demonstrated experience with strategic planning and messaging strategy is essential.

Candidate must have a strong working knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite (e.g. Word, Outlook, Powerpoint). Experience managing social media communications (e.g. Facebook and Twitter) in a professional role is strongly preferred.

Physical/Environmental Demands:


  • Sit for long periods of time
  • Stand
  • Walk for long distance

Deadline to Apply:

  The position is open until filled

  SMU will not discriminate in any program or activity on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. The Executive Director for Access and Equity/Title IX Coordinator is designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies and may be reached at the Perkins Administration Building, Room 204, 6425 Boaz Lane, Dallas, TX 75205, 214-768-3601,

Related Jobs

March 20, 2019
March 20, 2019
Marketing Intern - Part Time   Allen, TX new
March 18, 2019