Stanford University — Senior Strategy and Communications Officer

Senior Strategy and Communications Officer

Job Summary






The Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs is recruiting for a Senior Strategy and Communications Officer (SSCO) to serve as a key member of the vice provost's leadership team and support structure. This position reports to the vice provost and works in close collaboration with the VP and other senior leaders within VPSA on a wide range of projects and initiatives to advance the mission and impact of the Division of Student Affairs.

The SSCO must be an experienced strategic initiatives and communications leader with strong project management, communications, interpersonal and judgment skills. The SSCO must have an advanced understanding of the mission and strategies of student affairs within a complex university environment, as well as extensive experience working with a range of partners and stakeholders including graduate and undergraduate students, donors, alumni, parents, faculty, professional staff, and senior leaders.

The SSCO will serve a critical role in advancing divisional priorities, ensuring proactive planning and implementation of communication strategies as an integral part of divisional initiatives. The SSCO will exercise considerable discretion and judgment while serving as the key strategist, connector, integrator and “air traffic controller” for the VP and leadership team, connecting diverse work streams across the division to advance projects, and seeking to reduce silos within the division or with external partners. The SSCO will also serve as: the vice provost's proxy on divisional fundraising projects, serving as the divisional liaison with the Office of Development; the central divisional leader for data and survey needs, including liaison with IR&DS; and the overseer of administrative support for the vice provost's core activities.

Inclusion and diversity are integral to Stanford's commitment to excellence. We are interested in candidates who have demonstrated experience engaging with diversity through activities such as fostering an inclusive environment, working with students and staff from diverse backgrounds, or incorporating diverse perspectives in their work.

Your primary responsibilities include:

• Oversee strategic communications to multiple audiences and constituencies for divisional long-term initiatives, often in collaboration and coordination with other university divisions to ensure alignment and coherence of messaging.
• Integrate communications planning into divisional initiatives and ensure that VPSA subdivisions and departments include communications strategies in their planning and implementation.
• Prepare audience-specific talking points and written communications for the vice provost, often working closely with the VPSA Communications team, coordinating the timing and drafting of organizational communications delivered by the VP and members of the VP's leadership team.
• Represent the division in university initiatives and participate in university planning for student-centered communications.
• Oversee divisional crisis communications for both immediate, emergency responses and longer-term postvention needs.
• Oversee internal VPSA staff communications strategies and implementation.
• Oversee divisional communications staff, including hiring, retention, supervision, and professional development.
• Anticipate problems, critical issues, and opportunities as they arise and advise the vice provost and associate vice provosts accordingly.
• Oversee large, often cross-functional, organization-wide projects or initiatives, bringing together important stakeholders and helping to drive decisions according to the vice provost's priorities. Ensure timely and effective completion of projects and initiatives.
• Serve as the senior project manager for divisional initiatives, ensuring connection and integration across VPSA departments and with external stakeholders.
• Supervise the executive assistant to the vice provost.
• Oversee planning for committees, division-wide events, and working groups on behalf of the vice provost. Prepare the VP for upcoming meetings by ensuring the VP has all the information necessary to be productive and engaged. Join key meetings and participate in debrief sessions, assuming responsibility for completion of action items, serving as the VPs delegate and proxy to move projects and initiatives forward.
• Oversee the central data and survey functions for the division, including liaison with the Office of Institutional Research and Decision Support. Provide data to the VP and other divisional leaders to support operations and strategic planning.
• Work collaboratively with associate vice provosts to implement the division's fundraising objectives and serve as the primary liaison with the Office of Development for all pre-award fundraising initiatives.

To be successful in this position, you will bring:

• Minimum of a Bachelor's degree and seven years of relevant experience in strategic project management and communications, or combination of education and relevant experience.
• Minimum five years supervisory experience.
• Excellent writing, communication and interpersonal skills that include a combination of candor, tactfulness, and good rapport in a variety of situations.
• Demonstrated ability to discern a strategy to move forward and make or escalate decisions as appropriate.
• Advanced understanding of the communications role in complex institutions. Demonstrated excellence in editing, writing, analyzing and synthesizing complex materials and communicating with diverse audiences.
• Experience leading through influence and diplomacy in situations where formal authority may be lacking.
• Ability to manage confidential tasks or situations requiring sensitivity and discretion.
• Demonstrated success in managing projects and processes, often involving cross-functional and/or organization-wide initiatives. Strong record of effectiveness in managing challenging and stressful situations, with changing priorities. Ability to adjust thinking in emergency situations and apply administrative policies to novel situations.
• Superior organizational skills, with an ability to work independently, meet deadlines, exercise considerable judgment, discretion, and initiative in coordinating and overseeing the work of others, and in managing multiple projects to completion
• Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in a complex organization and ability to apply core DEI concepts to project planning and communications.
• Ability to research, report and facilitate discussion on complex subjects. Able to present data in a manner that enables clear understanding of interests and options for improved decision making.
• Demonstrated leadership, supervisory, planning and change management skills.

In addition, our preferred requirements include:

• Graduate degree in the liberal arts and sciences, communications, higher education leadership or law.
• Experience working in a student services organization and deep understanding of the goals and priorities of student affairs in the university.
• Broad working knowledge of Stanford.

Working Conditions:

• Able to work evenings and weekends, as needed.
• The university requires all staff to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination prior to their start date unless granted a medical or religious accommodation.
• This is a hybrid position which requires 4 days of on-site work per week.

How to Apply

We invite you to apply for this position by clicking on To be considered, please submit a cover letter and résumé along with your online application.

Why Stanford is for You

Stanford's dedicated 16,000 staff come from diverse educational and career backgrounds. We are a collaborative environment that thrives on innovation and continuous improvement. At Stanford, we seek talent committed to excellence, driven to impact the future of our legacy, and improve lives on a global sphere. We provide competitive salaries, excellent health care and retirement plans, and a generous vacation policy, including additional time off during our winter closure. Our generous perks align with what matters to you:

Freedom to grow. Take advantage of career development programs, tuition reimbursement, or audit a course. Join a Ted Talk, film screening, or listen to a renowned author or leader discuss global issues.

A caring culture. We understand the importance of your personal and family time and provide you access to wellness programs, child-care resources, parent education and consultation, elder care and caregiving support.

A healthier you. We make wellness a priority by providing access to world-class exercise facilities. Climb our rock wall or participate in one of hundreds of health or fitness classes.

Discovery and fun. Visit campus gardens, trails, and museums.

Enviable resources. We offer free commuter programs and ridesharing incentives. Enjoy discounts for computers, cell phones, recreation, travel, entertainment, and more!

The job duties listed are typical examples of work performed by positions in this job classification and are not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, tasks, and responsibilities. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary depending on department or program needs without changing the general nature and scope of the job or level of responsibility. Employees may also perform other duties as assigned.

Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of his or her job.

Stanford is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

To apply: