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Association of Public & Land-grant Universities
Office of Food, Agriculture & Natural Resources Programs
District Of Columbia
Posted: 03/17/2021
Assistant Vice President, Food Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) Communications and External Partnerships

Title: Assistant Vice President, Food Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) Communications and External Partnerships
Supervisor: Vice President, FANR
Status: Full-Time; Exempt
Location: Washington, DC
Preferred Application Deadline: Applications will be reviewed as received, with preference given to those received by April 1, 2021

APLU’s Board on Agriculture Assembly (BAA) seeks an experienced communications professional to design, implement, oversee, and execute a new strategic marketing and communications plan (BAA Strategic Roadmap, to lead identified initiatives in outreach, and to strengthen external partnerships through relationship building and coalitions. The successful candidate must be a project manager who is able to navigate competing priorities and a high volume of internal communications with stakeholder groups, while also maintaining primary responsibility for content creation and external communications. In doing so, the Assistant Vice President will provide leadership to the BAA in promoting the return on federal investments in research, the Extension System, and education efforts, as well as engage key stakeholders through advocacy communications. The person in this position must also maintain connections and positive working relationships with communicators across the APLU system. A demonstrable commitment to promoting and enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion is expected.

This position is housed within APLU’s Office of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) and will work cooperatively with the APLU Office of Public Affairs by developing overall work plans, engaging in regular consultation regarding strategy and execution, and coordinating consistent messaging. This is a full-time position and is based in Washington, DC. For more information, consult

Background on BAA and APLU
The Board on Agriculture Assembly (BAA) is a unit of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) Commission on Food, Environment, and Renewable Resources (CFERR). The BAA works to promote agriculture in all of its phases (food, environment, agriculture, natural resources, and international) in the state universities and land-grant colleges of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the territories of the Pacific, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Additional information on the BAA and its organizational structure can be found Board on Agriculture Assembly (

APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. With a membership of 244 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations, APLU's agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research, and expanding engagement. Annually, member campuses enroll 5 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.3 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct $49.3 billion in university-based research

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
The successful applicant must have excellent verbal and written communication capabilities and strong software competency skills (e.g., MS Office 365 Suite, especially Word, PowerPoint and Excel.) We seek an individual with professional experience managing social media and internet-based campaigns. The Assistant Vice President must be self-starting, able to problem-solve and manage a wide range of tasks to deliver results, collegial and professional, and skilled in the development and maintenance of interpersonal relationships. APLU seeks an individual with a high level of organization who is able to carry out administrative, financial, and significant project management activities with accuracy and attention to detail.

Primary Responsibilities
The primary responsibilities of the Assistant Vice President, Food Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) Communications and External Partnerships include, but are not limited to, the following:

Outreach and External Partnerships

  • Promotes the brand value of Land-Grant Universities, State Agricultural Experiment Stations, and Cooperative Extension Services.
  • implements, and maintains a strategic communications and marketing plan.
  • Creates a messaging framework to communicate priorities and impacts of federal funding and policy.
  • Writes and edits materials such as op-eds, pitches, and letters to the editor targeted toward the public, the press, and/or policymakers, in coordination with APLU public affairs.
  • Writes and edits materials such as talking points and briefing memos for principles’ use in media interviews.
  • Maintains a press list relevant to APLU BAA’s policy priorities and maintains relationships with editors and reporters, while keeping APLU public affairs apprised.
  • Communicates with allied organizations (e.g., NIFA, FFAR, NCFAR, FACA, NASDA, etc.) and constituent groups (e.g., AHS, ESCOP, ECOP) to promote program impacts and return on investments, announce new initiatives, and strengthen strategic partnerships.
  • Collaborates with partners across multiple external organizations (e.g. federal agencies, national agriculture and related organizations, professional communicators’ organizations, affiliated partnerships, funders, and collaborators) to achieve measurable outcomes.
  • Conducts regular outreach within the Land-grant university (LGU) system College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to prepare presentations, collect and organize LGU agriculture and life sciences stories and accomplishments, and identify data for use in communications and marketing materials.

Project Management and Internal Communications

  • Develops and implements appropriate mechanisms to manage the BAA Strategic Road Map, engaging a network of BAA leaders and maintaining communication with member universities and external partners to meet identified outcomes.
  • Oversees internal timelines for all APLU BAA communications and marketing projects and may manage vendor projects.
  • Manages day-to-day functions, including administrative (e.g., contact lists, report writing, managing logistics), finances (e.g., tracking budget and expenses), and project management (e.g., developing timelines and tracking activities, completing progress reports) in support of identified priorities.
  • Serves as a liaison to boards and committees within APLU BAA and assist BAA leadership in articulating priority areas and developing concepts for future programs and initiatives.
  • Prepares background materials and reports and coordinates activities with the Communications and Marketing Committee.

Website and Social Media

  • In coordination with APLU public affairs, oversees website strategy and content, with an aim toward developing effective, targeted content that works across platforms in support of priority objectives.
  • Develops, executes and oversees social media strategy. Drafts copy and creates graphics and other content as necessary.
  • Tracks and reports on website and social media metrics.

Additional Responsibilities

  • Provide leadership, direction, and management of staff as assigned, including fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment through supervising staff, providing feedback, coaching, support, and training and development opportunities as appropriate.

Perform other duties as requested.

  • In all aspects of the position responsibilities the Assistant Vice President for Food, Agriculture and Natura resources (FANR) Communications and External Partnerships will work closely with the APLU Office of Public Affairs on external messaging and media coordination.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in communications, marketing, or closely related field of study and/or equivalent combination of education and work experience.
  • 10 – 12+ years of experience in communications, marketing and/or media relations, preferably in the higher education, policy, non-profit or other closely related sector.
  • High level of organizational skills, with proven results in performing administrative, financial, and significant project management activities with accuracy and attention to detail.
  • Demonstrated capability to develop and implement a strategic communications plan.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in planning and facilitating meetings.
  • Demonstrated collaborative leadership and managerial experience, including interpersonal, organizational, and communication skills.
  • Proven ability to work effectively and professionally with high-level leaders focused on coalition building.
  • Capability to strategically deploy different communication technologies to engage external audiences.
  • Experience in writing program or policy summaries, executive briefing documents, or similar.
  • Ability to articulate issues of agriculture and related topics in research, Extension, and higher education as a subject matter expert.
  • A demonstrable commitment to promoting and enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Ability to travel domestically as needed.

To Apply

Please send a cover letter and resume to APLU’s Human Resources Department at with the subject line: Assistant Vice President, FANR CEP. Applications will be reviewed as received and continue to be reviewed until the position is filled with preference given to those received prior to April 1, 2021.

Salary is commensurate with experience. APLU provides a generous benefits package. For more information on APLU, please visit

APLU is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer and is committed to recruiting, employing, training, compensating and promoting staff regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. Read more about APLU’s Commitment to Diversity here.