Associate Director 1, Public Affairs and Alumni/ae Relations

at SMU (view profile)
Location Dallas
Date Posted July 21, 2021
Category General
Job Type Full-time


Job Summary:

Southern Methodist University (SMU), a nationally ranked private university located near the heart of Dallas, seeks an energetic and creative professional to serve as its next Associate Director of Public Affairs and Alumni/ae Relations. This position requires an experienced public affairs practitioner with a knowledge of The United Methodist Church, and she or he must possess wide-ranging communication skills, as well as have a commitment to Perkins’s role in the University, church, and world.

A nationally ranked private university with seven degree-granting schools, SMU is a distinguished center for teaching and research located near the heart of Dallas. SMU's 11,600 students benefit from small classes, research opportunities, leadership development, international study and innovative programs. The University is strengthened by its partnership with the Dallas region, a global center of commerce and culture. SMU students, faculty and alumni are changing the world through their chosen fields, civic engagement and service to society. SMU’s progress in the last 20 years includes a near tripling of applications, an increase of more than 165 points in the student SAT average scores, an increase in underrepresented student population enrollment to 25 percent, and a more than doubling of the University endowment, currently valued at $1.5 billion.

About Perkins:

Perkins School of Theology is one of the 13 seminaries of The United Methodist Church and one of only five university-related United Methodist theological schools, located in the heart of Dallas, Texas, with an extension program in Houston/Galveston. The faculty and staff of Perkins are committed to their mission of preparing women and men for faithful leadership in Christian ministry. Students study with a faculty, diverse both culturally and in theological perspective, in the school's graduate degree and certificate studies programs. Practical internships integrate classroom learning with hands-on ministry, and the world-renowned Bridwell Library offers students and scholars theological resources for pastors and scholars unrivaled in the United States. Faculty and practicing clergy also work together to offer continuing education for clergy and laity, as well as other programs such as the United Methodist Church's Course of Study school for local pastors.

About the Position:

The Associate Director of Public Affairs and Alumni Relations is responsible for strategizing with the director on the planning, directing, and execution of the daily logistical aspects of Public Affairs and Alumni/ae Relations programs, projects, and events.

The person in this position will counsel the director on strategizing for the implementation and effectiveness of media relations and communications, marketing objectives, and print and electronic publications.

The position is also responsible for writing, design support, and project management for various print and digital publications and resources.

Requires interaction with internal and external constituencies, including Perkins-SMU faculty/staff/students, centers and programs, denominational and secular media, alumni/ae, donors, friends of the School and advisory boards.

Essential Functions:

  • Writing, design support, oversight, and working with external vendors as needed for various print and electronic publications or resources, including (but not limited to): Perspective Online e-newsletter (monthly), Perspective  print magazine, press releases, reports, promotional materials, website, display advertising, and other communication materials in support of events/programs.
  • Management of Perkins digital marketing and social media, both ongoing/institutional and event and/or department-related.  Responsible for creation and maintenance of Perkins social media calendar, daily monitoring/engagement, and providing regular analyses.
  • Media Relations and Communications: expand and maintain comprehensive list of secular, denominational, and ecumenical press, media, and community communication mediums. Generate and promote news and feature story ideas to media outlets highlighting faculty, students, courses, programming, events, and institutional objectives.
  • Interaction with alumni/ae, donors, friends of the School, and advisory boards.
  • This position includes attendance at/responsibility for occasional evening and/or weekend events (required).
  • Some seasonal travel during May-July of each year, with periodic travel during the remaining months.




Education and Experience:

Bachelor’s degree is required.  Masters is preferred.

A minimum of three years of professional work experience in public relations or media relations and communications is preferred.

Experience monitoring financial transactions and providing project accounting is preferred. Experience maintaining a central departmental project calendar is a plus. Experience in managing social media accounts for an organization is desirable.

Knowledge of The United Methodist Church 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. A strong customer service orientation is essential.

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.

Required: Ability to work independently to solve problems and demonstrate initiative; ability to prioritize duties with exceptional attention to detail; ability to monitor financial transactions and provide project accounting; knowledge of The United Methodist Church. Preferred: photography skills.  Proficiency with Google AdWords and Facebook sponsored post campaigns, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn.

Microsoft Office (Word, Excel; required); MS Outlook and experience with database software systems (preferred); Mail Chimp  (or other e-newsletter software, preferred);   Website content management system (particularly Site Core) experience  (preferred);  In Design (preferred);  Photoshop (preferred);  Hootsuite (preferred).


Strong social media skills preferred. Ability to interpret and follow complex oral and written instructions. Must be able to work in high-pressure, fast-moving office setting. Strong organizational and administrative skills, particularly related to management of concurrent projects and maintaining central departmental project calendar preferred.

Physical/Environmental Demands:

  • Carry/lift 25 lbs.
  • Sit for long periods of time
  • Push/Pull
  • Stand

Deadline to Apply:


EEO Statement:

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,
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