Brown University — Communications Specialist

Job Description:

About Brown:
Brown University is a leading research university distinct for its student-centered learning and deep sense of purpose. Our students, faculty and staff are driven by the idea that their work will have an impact in the world.

Brown University offers a flexible work/life balance; summer hours, winter break and a comprehensive Benefits package including time off, annual paid holidays; benefits offerings including health, dental, vision, tuition assistance, retirement, wellness, employee discounts and more.  To learn about Brown University’s benefits, visit the University Human Resources web page here for further information.

About the Department:
Research Communications works with faculty and students to help translate and amplify their research into articles, social media, and other messages that reach audiences at Brown and beyond. Impact: Research at Brown annual magazine, now in its sixth year of publication, highlights Brown faculty and student research; @BrownUResearch on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook chronicles Brown’s research on social media; and a monthly Research Notes newsletter shares updates and information on current affairs, policies and opportunities related to Brown research. Communications priorities for 2023 include building out a new website for the Office of the Vice President for Research department, and the launch of an online magazine website for IMPACT Research at Brown.

About the Role:
The Communications Specialist in the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) is part of an ecosystem of communicators at Brown dedicated to elevating the profile of research across campus and among the University’s many external constituencies. Reporting to the Research Communications Manager, the incumbent leverages strong written, verbal and interpersonal communications skills to develop and maintain effective communications across a range of platforms, with a focus on web, digital and social media strategies.

The Specialist creates engaging social media posts and provides web content management to OVPR and its stakeholder offices and departments to ensure a vibrant and effective web presence. The incumbent also centralizes and coordinates internal communications efforts to provide timely program updates to faculty, staff, and students, and also publicizes department news, events and activities through various channels, including e-communications, newsletters and presentations.

The Specialist provides support for the day-to-day communications initiatives for several of the subunits within OVPR and assists with the IMPACT: Research at Brown magazine. The incumbent will help work with faculty and staff across Brown to cultivate feature story ideas for the magazine, which is the University’s flagship publication for sharing the impact of Brown’s research and innovation across all academic disciplines. The incumbent assists with writing, editing, and management of photography and visual assets, as well as elements of production and mailing and online posting and digital distribution.

The Specialist supports OVPR’s awards programs and assists with project management for a range of dynamic communications projects geared toward elevating Brown’s research enterprise.

Maintain and update OVPR’s web presence

  • Working with stakeholder offices across OVPR, manage editorial decision-making, content development and navigation of OVPR’s suite of websites.
  • Create new content and update existing pages.
  • Promote the website through related communications to internal and external audiences.
  • Develop content in alignment with the University and OVPR’s messaging priorities and Brown’s policies and protocols relating to visual identity, image use, web hosting, copyright, vendor hiring and accessibility, including regularly assessing web content and any posted documents for ADA compliance.
  • Coordinate with internal campus constituents, including the Office of University Communications, as needed for projects requiring collaboration and input from other University stakeholders.

Support OVPR’s signature publications and other communications projects

  • Support the production of IMPACT Research at Brown magazine, including generating story ideas, writing and editing articles, and overseeing photo and video asset management.
  • Serve as a liaison for print and other vendors, and help manage mailing lists and magazine distribution.
  • Write original research news stories as an occasional contributor to the Brown News Network.
  • Provide copy editing and proofreading for publications and communications projects.
  • Help ensure that the OVPR communications adhere to University communications policies, and attend quarterly Brown Communicators Group meetings.

Manage digital communications and social media content and strategies

  • Develop, design and write content for digital communications and all social media accounts, and manage OVPR newsletters and other digital outreach. Coordinate information flow for newsletters, social media, and other forms of digital content, serving as a liaison to offices across OVPR.
  • Work on production and layout of digital newsletters. Ensure contact lists are maintained accurately and materials are submitted and distributed on time.
  • Execute a social media strategy for OVPR using new and existing channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn). Utilize social media tools to post regularly across all channels, ensuring consistent institutional tone.
  • Amplify research news stories from news writers and communicators from across campus to highlight faculty and student research. Cover events and stories emerging from OVPR, translating them into posts and stories. Identify and/or design creative assets to pair with stories and posts.
  • Monitor activity of all online communities, identifying trends and fielding issues as they arise.
  • Supervise students and interns assigned to create digital content. Assist with directing and administering all duties and responsibilities including coordinating schedules, assigning projects, and evaluating work. Assist with staffing, recruiting, and training students for digital content team.
  • Stay current on social media trends and new digital technologies, incorporating them into the OVPR’s social and digital strategies as appropriate. Regularly assess posted digital content for accessibility. Monitor and adjust strategies related to new technological developments and resources.
  • Pursue professional development to remain knowledgeable about best practices. Attend University-wide social media meetings.

Education and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, marketing, public affairs or a related field
  • 5-7 years related professional experience in planning for marketing, communications, development and outreach, or equivalent combination of education and work experience.
  • Proven experience in social media strategy and execution
  • Prior experience working in web content management systems, such as WordPress or Drupal

Job Competencies

  • Excellent interpersonal skills with a proven ability to work with a diverse population of faculty, staff and students.
  • Demonstrated strong communication and presentation skills with special attention to detail/accuracy and audience.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including strong command of MLA, Chicago and/or AP editorial style.
  • Demonstrated experience with web content management systems and principles for developing content for the web.
  • Demonstrated experience managing Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms for higher education, business, political or other clients.
  • Ability to sustain a high level of productivity and work independently while being part of a collaborative team.
  • Sound judgment, discretion and confidentiality in handling sensitive matters.
  • Flexibility in adjusting to changing demands.
  • Proficiency with Google Drive, MS Office, Google. Experience with Canva, Illustrator, and Mailchimp.
  • Familiarity with Adobe Creative Suite, especially Photoshop, InDesign and Premier, and the capacity to manage design vendors.
  • Demonstrated ability to support a community of diverse perspectives and cultures in an inclusive environment.

All offers of employment are contingent upon a criminal background check and education verification satisfactory to Brown University.

In order to maintain 90% or greater universal vaccination rates on campus, all newly hired employees at Brown University must receive the final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and (once eligible) a booster before they begin work, unless they are approved for a medical or religious exemption. For more information, please visit the Healthy Brown site.

Recruiting Start Date:

Job Posting Title:
Communications Specialist

Office of the Vice President for Research

Grade 10

Worker Type:

Worker Sub-Type:

Time Type:
Full time

Scheduled Weekly Hours:

Position Classification:
Hybrid Eligible

Submission Guidelines:
Please note that in order to be considered an applicant for any staff position at Brown University you must submit an application form for each position for which you believe you are qualified. Applications are not kept on file for future positions. Please include a cover letter and resume with each position application.

Vaccination Requirements:
In order to maintain 90% or greater universal vaccination rates on campus, all newly hired employees at Brown University must receive the final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before they begin work, unless they are approved for a medical or religious exemption. All employees must also receive a COVID-19 booster within thirty (30) days of becoming eligible. For more information, please visit the Healthy Brown site.

Still Have Questions?
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EEO Statement:
Brown University is an E-Verify Employer.

As an EEO/AA employer, Brown University provides equal opportunity and prohibits discrimination, harassment and retaliation based upon a person’s race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other characteristic protected under applicable law, and caste, which is protected by our University policies.

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