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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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Posted: 08/7/2018
Director of Communications

College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

University of Illinois Extension

Director of Communications – 100476

University of Illinois Extension in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) seeks an experienced and innovative Director of Communications to fill a full-time, 12-month (calendar year) academic professional position. The successful candidate will ethically and responsibly lead, manage, assist, and support Extension Administration and Communications staff across the statewide extension network to advance Extension’s research to application mission and administrative goals. The selected candidate will be responsible for the vision, mission, and oversight of Extension Communications, including creative services, publicity and promotions services, and public relations and government affairs services.

The successful candidate provides efficient and effective coordination and management of all communications strategic direction and policy for Extension state and field outreach communications to advance Extension’s research to application mission and administrative goals, including Communications resource and budget planning for Extension. The individual will lead, supervise, manage, and set workflow priorities for Extension Communications initiatives, guiding projects from conceptualization to launch to evaluation by leading Extension Communications managers, specialists, and staff. The Director will coordinate efforts across Extension Communications and College of ACES Communications by meeting at least monthly to harmonize workflow, including communications, marketing, publicity, and promotions, among other Communications activities. The individual works closely with Extension Associate Directors, College of ACES Human Resources, Extension Program Leaders, and Extension Regional Directors to optimize Extension Communications services.

One full time position is available.

Location: Urbana, IL

This is a security-sensitive position. Comprehensive background checks, including but not limited to a criminal conviction information check, a CANTS check, and a review of the Registered Sex Offender list, will be conducted.

Specific responsibilities of the Director of Communications are as follows:

· Provide leadership, assistance, and support to Extension Administration and Communication staff in developing and implementing an Extension Communication strategic plan, including vision and mission, that is consistent with the college and campus strategic plans.

· Provide strategic leadership in the promotion of Extension’s knowledge, research, and program impacts addressing major problems impacting Illinois residents.

· Provide direction in all aspects of program communications by working with Extension Program Leaders, Director of IT, and Director of Program Planning and Assessment, among others.

· Directly supervise the Extension Communication coordinators, managers, and specialists.

· Meet at least monthly with the College of ACES Informational Technology and Communication Services (ITCS) Team, as coordinated with the Assistant Dean of ITCS, to ensure cohesive execution of communications efforts between Extension and College of ACES.

· Interface with the Office of Public Engagement as directed by the Associate Dean and Director of Extension and Outreach to extend understanding and promotion of outreach programming in Illinois and minimize duplication of effort. Initiate Extension reporting to various University units as directed by the Associate Dean and Director of Extension and Outreach to enhance educational opportunities and outreach initiatives.

· Facilitate the development of Communicaion strategies to achieve strategic outcomes with key audiences, the public, and staff.

· Stay informed of and make use of communication industry techniques and methods to advance Extension’s research to application mission and administrative goals.

· Provide direction to Extension Communication staff to appropriate market and brand Extension.

· Compile information for the Associate Dean and Director of Extension and Outreach with key facts relevant to Extension programming, outreach, and evaluation. Develop written and oral communications as needed for use by the Associate Dean and Director of Extension and Outreach.

· Serve as the primary professional communications resource for Extension, providing writing, editorial, and related leadership for Communication initiatives.

· Represent Extension on campus-wide standing and ad-hoc committees related to communications.

· Develop and manage the Extension Communication budget and provide reports for administrative review.

· Comply with all Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity policies and guidelines in all aspects of Extension work; assist Unit staff with data collection for Affirmative Action, Gender, and Targeted reports as needed.

· Personal transportation required; occasional state-wide travel will be required.

· To perform the functions of this position, the employee will be required to perform work both within an office and outside in the communities that are served, and must have the capability to travel from one location to the other in a timely fashion. Employee is responsible for securing personal transportation. A valid driver’s license is preferred. Some work will be required during evenings and/or weekends. When working, the employee may be exposed to a variety of environmental factors to include, but not limited to, hot or cold weather, exposure to noise and allergens, and uneven ground. In performing the functions of this position, the employee may be subjected to various mental and physical demands as well to include, but not limited to, independently traveling to and performing work at different locations, lifting and moving items that may occasionally weigh up to forty (40) pounds and frequently weigh up to twenty (20) pounds, and twisting, pushing and pulling movements. More detailed information regarding the functions of this position (including the physical, mental and environmental requirements of the position) may be obtained from Human Resources for the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) by contacting

Administrative Relationship: The Director of Communications is administratively responsible to the Associate Dean and Director, Extension and Outreach.


  • Required: Master’s degree in communications, marketing, or other relevant field. Candidates with a Master’s degree in progress may be considered for interviews, but degree must be completed by hire date. Minimum of 5 years of professional experience in communications and/or marketing; experience in developing and evaluating the effectiveness of print and digital materials; demonstrated success in the promotion/reporting of educational programs; evidence of the ability to promote creativity, vision, and successful communications efforts; Demonstrated excellent written/oral communication, interpersonal, and teamwork skills are required.
  • Preferred: Public sector communications and marketing; supervision and evaluation of personnel working in creative services, publicity and promotions, public affairs, and/or government relations. Knowledge of issues/best practices for science communications; knowledge of social media best practices, analytics and SEO strategies; demonstrated ability to work with public and private organizations; Mission of University of Illinois Extension, the land-grant system, and University of Illinois policies and procedures.

Additional Information

The position is a full-time, benefits-eligible, non-tenure academic professional position appointed on a 12-month service basis. The expected start date is as soon as possible after the closing date. Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. Generous vacation and sick leave. State Universities Retirement System. Group health, dental, vision and life insurance.

Application Procedure: To apply, go to Log in to your account and upload a cover letter and resume, as well as the names and contact information of three professional references. Resume dates must be in month/year format and employment history, at a minimum, should include all work dating back to the completion of your undergraduate degree. Positions that were less than full-time/100% must be noted as being part-time. Transcripts may be requested at a later date. To receive full consideration, all requested application materials must be submitted via the online system by the close date of September 4, 2018.

For further information about the position please contact James Hazzard at For technical assistance with the online application process, call 217-333-6747 or email

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit To learn more about the University’s commitment to diversity, please visit