Northern Illinois University (NIU) is a student-centered, nationally recognized public research university, with expertise that benefits its region and spans the globe in a wide variety of fields, including the sciences, humanities, arts, business, engineering, education, health and law. NIU offers more than 100 courses of study while serving a diverse and international student body of more than 16,000 through its main campus in DeKalb, Illinois, and education centers for students and working professionals in Chicago, Naperville, Oregon and Rockford,
Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging are defining characteristics at NIU. We know that the differences, along with the commonalities, of all who live, study and work here shape and strengthen our Huskie community in meaningful ways. Defined broadly at NIU, our growing diversity is one of our greatest strengths. While we are proud of our diverse Huskie community, we know it is not enough to simply be diverse. We will continue to be vigilant in our efforts to ensure all Huskies feel welcome, included, valued, and that their voices are uplifted. Our commitment, plans and progress for how Huskies are working together for racial and social justice, equity and inclusion are reflected in our mission, vision and core values, and our annual University Goals.
Division Academic Affairs, Diversity and Equity
Our Division of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ADEI) leads the charge in establishing an equity-minded community through its educational programs, resources, partnerships, and collaborative engagement with offices, colleges, and departments throughout campus. Specifically, ADEI oversees each of NIU’s diversity and cultural resource centers- the Asian American Resource Center, Center for Black Studies, Latino Resource Center, Gender and Sexuality Resource Center and, and the Office of Undocumented Student Support – to offer community, support, connection, celebration and conversation. Among its vast offerings, ADEI also provides meaningful trainings, social justice education opportunities and resources for faculty, staff, students and our community. ADEI’s Offices of Prevention Education and Outreach and Social Justice Education have many partners across campus which include but are not limited to the academic diversity centers, the Disability Resource Center, and Military and Veteran Services to provide similar support and connection.
Description of the Position
NIU has created this new position of Director of Communications and Marketing to strategically advance and respond to myriad opportunities to support and advance the university’s goals around equity, diversity, inclusion, and creating a belonging community. The position is responsible for researching, developing and writing news articles; community messaging; speeches; presentations; news releases; social media posts; and other content which include but are not limited to articles, internal messages, newsletters, web content, marketing materials and other content for internal and external audiences.
The director will report to the Vice President of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion/Chief Diversity Officer with a dual-reporting line to the university’s Associate Vice President of Institutional Communications/Chief Communications Strategist to ensure continuity with all university messaging. The Director will develop and advance a communications and marketing strategy for ADEI; lead the division’s public relations, social media and marketing activities; and direct all aspects of creating, producing and distributing print and/or electronic materials for the division. The Director will also serve as a liaison between ADEI and key university units.
Duties and Responsibilities (generally)
This position is responsible for developing and implementing strategic communication plans designed to increase awareness, engagement and action with internal and external stakeholders as they relate to advancing the university’s mission, vision, values and goals. Key activities include:
Working closely with the VP of ADEI/chief diversity officer and the AVP of Institutional Communications/chief communications strategist to create and execute an overall communications and marketing strategy for the Division of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Researching and creating compelling and timely content that is culturally responsive, accurate, authentic, inclusive and accessible. Content will include but is not limited to news articles, community messaging, promotional materials, web copy, news releases, social media content creation and posts for use across multiple channels.
Writing speeches, written communications, key messages, talking points, web copy and presentations for the vice president of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion/chief diversity officer and all departments within ADEI as needed.
Working with each of the centers and offices within ADEI to promote initiatives and events that support student, faculty, staff and community engagement and action, in alignment with the university’s marketing and branding efforts.
Serving as the division liaison to Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications.
Working in partnership with the division’s Advancement officer and the NIU Foundation to support fundraising initiatives and goals through messaging, storytelling and coordinated campaigns.
Supporting revenue-generating opportunities such as workshops and trainings for external constituents with marketing and publicity.
Compiling and managing relevant research and data to inform strategies, initiatives, content and messaging.
Maintaining a database of local, regional and national awards or other opportunities (in higher education or otherwise) that recognize achievements in advancing ADEI’s goals and submit entries/proposals as appropriate.
Minimum Required Qualifications for this position
Successful candidates must have:
A bachelor’s degree in journalism, English, communications or field related to the position.
At least three (3) total years of experience in the field of communications, journalism, marketing, public relations or a field related to the position.
Specific knowledge and understanding of issues and communications relevant to equity, diversity and inclusion; particularly within a large and diverse setting.
Demonstrated experience working with diverse populations and creating content focused on diversity and inclusive issues.
Specialty Factors (Additional Required Qualifications)
Education and Experience Preferred
Strongest consideration will be given to candidates with:
Marketing and communications experience in a university, other educational organization or in a similar not-for-profit setting.
Five (5) years of proven work experience as a journalist or communications/public relations manager with experience in advancing efforts to promote work that supports diversity, equity and inclusion.
Excellent writing, storytelling, editing and verbal skills.
Ability to create compelling, creative and timely content for use on multiple platforms in order to inform audiences and inspire action.
Experience managing sensitive issues and crisis communications.
Excellent interpersonal skills, enthusiastic personality and willingness to build new relationships.
Ability to meet deadlines and be accommodating to emergent projects.
Ability to perform well under pressure and have the ability to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously
List the knowledge, skills, and abilities critical to the performance of this position.
Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Knowledge of recruitment practices.
Knowledge of social media analytics, social media publishing tools, web analytics, and tracking technologies.
Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Knowledge of media production, including social media platforms and efficiency of use, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods.
Knowledge of Microsoft Office, presentation software, spreadsheet software, video creation and editing software, web page creation and editing software, and analytical or scientific software.
Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems.
Skill in producing live social media coverage.
Skill in verbal and written communication.
Skill in identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Skill in time management, organizing work assignments, and responding quickly and effectively to challenges.
Ability to develop and execute marketing, and strategic communications plans to effect outcomes.