University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — Director of Communications and Marketing, Gillings School of Global Public Health

The director of communications and marketing reports to the dean of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and works closely with the UNC-Chapel Hill vice chancellor of university communications to align mission and strategy.

Role: Director of communications and marketing leads the School’s integrated, comprehensive communications and marketing program which includes both inward-facing and outward-facing communications. He/she directs full-time communications and marketing staff members and contractors who complete specific tasks/projects. He/she also organizes communications efforts across the School to achieve synergy and coordinates with UNC’s vice-chancellor for communications.

The director is an innovative, visionary, seasoned professional prepared to lead the top public school of public health’s communications and marketing initiatives. He/she will use communications and marketing to tell our story and communicate the impact of our research, practice and education, recruit top students, facilitate the School’s advancement efforts and strengthen communications within the School. The director’s efforts contribute to the School’s reputation as one of the premier schools of public health and our top rankings from U.S. News & World Report. The totality of the communications and marketing efforts should promote the School’s mission, brand and advancement efforts in the context of a rapidly-changing communications landscape.

Key elements of position: The director works with the dean and vice dean, School’s leadership, including department chairs, assistant and associate deans, students and others at the Gillings School, UNC and beyond to provide an exceptional communications and marketing program for the School. In our decentralized School and University, many voices must be heard.

The director creates and leads an integrated, comprehensive, engaging and effective approach to communications and marketing, articulated in a plan, based in the science and best practices of communications and marketing, incorporating multiple platforms which are mutually reinforcing. With input, the director defines, delivers and monitors messages, strategies and media appropriate for different audiences, above all, prospective students, with substantial input from and engagement with key audiences, including students. Working collaboratively with Gillings leaders, he/she is the chief leader and architect for these platforms, which include our website as a central strategy, digital media and a strong web-based presence, including social media combined with influential print, broadcast and other media.

Using qualitative and quantitative data, data from a variety of external sources, and engagement with highest priority audiences, he/she identifies and prioritizes needs/preferences of key audiences, including students and prospective students, faculty and staff, alumni, donors and potential donors and key opinion leaders. He/she leads efforts to obtain feedback from these audiences on a regular basis and uses and shares Google and other analytics to understand audience needs, preferences and values in the spirit of continuous improvement. The director must be attuned to changes in the communication landscape, regularly scanning and determining where our efforts should be directed most efficiently and effectively.

While the director of communications and marketing must be a creative, innovative visionary, he/she also must be an outstanding, communicative manager who can inspire, guide and mentor staff while delegating assignments as needed to meet critical deadlines, even while assuring the accuracy, quality and integrity of our communication and marketing products. The director is the chief liaison between School leadership, faculty, staff and students and communications leaders and organizations across the University and beyond.

The director must be curious, quick, innovative, proactive but responsive, excited to develop new areas and partner with others to achieve excellence on a budget. He/she must persuade people to follow communication processes and standards even when individuals do not report directly to him/her. The director should model integrity, innovation, adaptability, diversity, inclusion, sustainability, continuous quality improvement and creativity. He/she should be familiar with lean product development and consider how to apply those principles to our work. He/she should take the Gillings School to the next level of visibility, innovation, excellence and authority.

Key Responsibilities

  1. Lead, develop, implement, monitor, evaluate and manage a dynamic, nimble communications and marketing strategic plan and program, including both inward-facing and outward-facing communications, with appropriate objectives, messages, media channels, strategies and evaluation; and serve as the School’s primary champion for the plan and corresponding components with faculty, students, staff and other internal/external groups. The program should support and enhance the School’s voice and brand, facilitate achievement of student recruitment and enrollment goals and promote the School’s research, education and practice. This involves both analytical and creative use of multiple media channels, including digital, print, broadcast, and a range of web media (including internet, social media, and other effective and/or emerging technologies). The plan should integrate branding the School across media platforms; and support, monitor and enhance use of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and other social media to enhance the presence and brand of the School.Oversee Carolina Public Health magazine and other print and electronic materials. Serve as the School’s primary champion for the plan and corresponding components with faculty, students, staff and other internal/external groups.

    Assure that School’s communications and marketing efforts are based upon best practices, remain fresh and position the School for continued leadership; and monitor competitors, trends and relevant products, with an eye toward continuous improvement of the School’s products and portfolio. Develop strategies to engage users in providing regular input and increasing user-generated content among students, especially. Use quality control techniques to assess effectiveness and reach of the School’s communications efforts and adapt and change approaches over time. Assure that core concepts that are a fundamental part of the Gillings brand, like a focus on accelerating solutions and balancing global and local, are conveyed consistently in all our communications products.Identify trends in public health communications strategies and practices, including those from private sector and other public health institutions. Over time, determine what products are needed to enhance the School’s mission and which may no longer be useful. (20%)

  2. Support, evolve and enhance the School’s website, in collaboration with Instructional and Information Systems and others in the School, to retain the School’s position as the top public school of public health, tied for number 2 overall. Collaborate to develop, test, promote, deploy and support new products, such as mobile websites, apps, cloud-based tools, online services, and new social media. (30%)
  3. Direct media relations for the School, e.g., outreach to local, state and national media (including internet media), with an intentional, proactive strategy. Work closely with UNC Office of University Communications to optimize stories and other communications about the Gillings School while supporting the University’s communications efforts. The word “media” is used to convey the full range of media a modern communications office must consider and not only traditional print and broadcast. (20%)
  4. Use analytics and metrics to measure impact of communications tools and strategies across channels and platforms. Adapt plans, strategies and products based on information gathered from metrics. Evaluation also should include active monitoring of where the School is mentioned/cited across platforms and strategies and what is being said about the School. Report regularly to the School’s leadership. The communications operation must reflect best data and practices, grounded in communication science and research. (10%)
  5. Manage communications and marketing operations, including budget, staff, contractors and other resources. (20%)


  • Relevant post-Baccalaureate degree required; for candidates demonstrating comparable background in communications and/or public relations or marketing, will accept a relevant undergraduate degree and 8 or more years of relevant experience in substitution.
  • Demonstrated experience managing a communications and marketing enterprise with substantial web and social media presence is essential
  • Demonstrated experience using and managing a variety of web channels (e.g., website, blogs, Twitter) and monitoring and evaluating the impact of such channels to understand and influence organizational reputation
  • Experienced in brand strategy
  • Exceptional written, digital and oral communication skills, particularly in science/health communications
  • Able to function in a fast-paced, excellent but lean organization
  • Committed to diversity and inclusion
  • Has effective relationships with influential media (print, broadcast, electronic and internet-based)
  • Able to function well in a matrix organization and motivate people across the School to follow communication standards that enhance brand
  • A detail and deadline orientation
  • Familiar with and some training in public health is ideal.

To apply, please upload your CV and cover letter to:

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or status as a protected veteran.