Job Listings

Director, Media Relations and Communications

Harvard University
Job Location:
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Communications, Marketing, and Public Affairs
University Administration


Job Summary
The Director, Media Relations and Communications, is responsible for developing and leading effective communications strategies and issues management for Harvard University, positioned as a leader within the Harvard Public Affairs and Communications (HPAC) team. The Director provides strategic communications planning, guidance, management and support to senior leaders and units across a broad portfolio of issues and priorities related to the central administration of Harvard University, and in close coordination with Harvard's Schools.
Reporting to the Senior Director of Media Relations and Communications, the Director will serve as a primary communications strategist, managing and collaborating with HPAC staff, as well as leaders and teams across the University's central administration to advance key priorities, initiatives and programs.

Job-Specific Responsibilities
  • Direct a team of communications professionals charged with leading, developing and executing strategies to advance and support the priorities and programs of several units within the University's central administration, including through communications, content, media relations and digital strategies.
  • Work collaboratively with HPAC colleagues, as well as communications teams across Harvard's schools, affiliates, and centers, to implement effective proactive and response strategies related to key priorities and issues.
  • Lead issues and crisis management on key university and central administration matters, including coordinating and collaborating across media relations, digital and content colleagues to develop and implement comprehensive and effective strategies around often complex academic and operational matters.
  • Advise HPAC leadership, both strategically and tactically, in organizing and defining messages, as well as through recommendations that strengthen the University's ability to advance key priorities of the academic and operational units within the central administration.
  • Represent HPAC on various cross-university/cross-central administration committees, working groups, task forces, etc., to advise and lead communications planning and strategy related to various priority topics or initiatives.
  • Develop and lead media relations strategy, including serving as a spokesperson or coordinating with spokesperson colleagues, on topics, issues or initiatives related to the Director's management portfolio.
  • Prepare and edit internal messages, public statements, talking points, FAQs, briefings, press releases, news and feature stories, and other communications relating to University efforts and activities.
  • Analyze and assess the effectiveness of existing and proposed communication strategies and mechanism, leading change efforts as needed. .
  • Given the nature of the 24/7 news and issues cycle, this role requires availability outside of traditional work hours.
  • Other duties as assigned and relevant to executing work within the general scope of the role.
Basic Qualifications
  • Bachelor's degree required. Minimum of 8 years significant experience and proven success at the highest levels of communications work working with highly sensitive information in a complex environment with many stakeholders.
Additional Qualifications and Skills
  • Experienced communications professional and strategic thinker with a demonstrated capacity for skillful management and multi-tasking, with good political judgment, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, proven crisis management abilities, an understanding of complex organizations, and a commitment to the mission of education, scholarship, and research.
  • Experience in higher education, non-profit, government, or a decentralized organization desired. Successful track record as a leader, manager, and strategist in a large and complex organizational environment. Must have the proven ability to advise senior leaders effectively.
  • Must have the ability to innovate, think strategically and conceptually, listen carefully as well as to influence and persuade others. The position requires an extremely high level of professionalism, sound and mature judgment, and collegiality.
  • Must have excellent analytical, verbal, and written communication skills along with a high level of diplomacy, discretion, and problem-solving ability. The selected candidate will have proven success in developing collaborative relationships across diverse constituencies. Strong project management and organizational skills and the ability to manage multiple priorities in a complex, decentralized environment are needed.
Additional Information
Applicants should complete an application and submit a resume and cover letter via the Harvard Careers site.

Recruitment and Hiring During COVID-19: This position will be based on our campus in Cambridge, MA. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this role will begin remotely. The remote nature of this job is only temporary. Once the University and the supervisor determine that it is appropriate, we look forward to welcoming the new hire to campus. At that time, the employee will be required to move work location to the Cambridge campus as a condition of continued employment. Candidates will be provided a laptop and must have the capability to support telework, including internet connection and phone.

Harvard Public Affairs and Communications is committed to diversity and fostering an inclusive workplace. We welcome applicants who bring varied experiences, backgrounds, and expertise to advance the work of the department in service to Harvard's mission.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.

Harvard University Benefits Package

Vacation/Sick/Personal/Holidays: Harvard offers 3 (union roles) - 4 (exempt) weeks paid vacation, a paid holiday break between Christmas and New Year's Day, 12 paid sick days, 11.5 paid holidays, and 3 paid personal days each year.

Medical/Dental/Vision Benefit: Harvard offers a variety of excellent medical, dental, and vision plans which all begin on the first day of employment.

Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with full vesting after 3 years of service.

Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive tuition assistance program, $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and discounted study options through participating Harvard Graduate Schools.

Transportation: Harvard offers a 50% discounted MBTA pass as well as parking options to assist employees in their daily commute to campus.

Wellness Options: Harvard offers programs and classes at little or no cost, including stress management, massages, nutrition, meditation, and complimentary health services. There are also fee-based athletic facility memberships available at various locations around the university for employees.

Job Function

USA - MA - Cambridge

Job Code
322059 Media/Communica Sr Speclst

Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

Time Status

Salary Grade

00 - Non Union, Exempt or Temporary

Pre-Employment Screening
Education, Identity

EEO Statement
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.
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