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Association of Public & Land-grant Universities
Office of Public Affairs
Washington, DC
District Of Columbia
Posted: 09/15/2021
Manager, Public Affairs

Title: Manager, Public Affairs

Department: Office of Public Affairs

Supervisor: Executive Vice President

Level: Manager

Status: Full-Time; Exempt

Location: Washington, DC 



The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) seeks a Public Affairs Manager to manage and execute communications strategies for an array of association projects and initiatives, support communications activities around APLU federal advocacy, promote the value of public higher education, assist with developing written content to be used on the website, in press releases, op-eds, blogs, etc., and to assist with media relations work. As part of this work, the incumbent will provide an array of communications support for the NSF INCLUDES Aspire Alliance, an APLU-led initiative to help diversify STEM faculty and foster a more inclusive teaching and mentoring practices in the STEM fields. The successful candidate will be a strong writer, a team player, and a well-organized, creative individual with 3 years of strategic communications experience, an understanding of media and politics, a strong commitment to equity-focused public higher education issues, and a great sense of humor.  This full-time position is based in Washington, DC. For more information about APLU please visit   


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 $49.2 billion in university-based research.  

The Office of Public Affairs is responsible for promoting the work of APLU and its members to a wide array of internal and external audiences.  The office works closely with senior communicators at member institutions to help support their work and coordinate messaging on issues related to public higher education.   


The responsibilities of Public Affairs Manager will include, but not be limited to, the following: 

  • Manage and implement strategic communications work to build awareness and support from university members, the broader higher education community, funders, and other stakeholders for a series of APLU initiatives, with guidance from others in public affairs and project leaders. Tasks may include, but are not limited to, writing/drafting website content, one or two-pagers, op-eds, and blog posts as well as organizing events, etc. Progressively build content knowledge for select APLU initiatives and develop strategies to highlight and promote APLU projects and initiatives. 

  • Provide an array of communications support for the Aspire Alliance – an APLU-led initiative to help diversify STEM faculty and foster a more inclusive teaching and mentoring practices in the STEM fields. 

  • Draft communications materials to support APLU’s Office of Governmental Affairs work to advance the organization’s federal policy priorities in collaboration with others. 

  • Support media relations work by identifying potential targets and story angles. Field/manage inquiries from reporters on certain APLU projects as requested. 

  • Contribute to the development of and/or edit APLU communications pieces – e.g. press releases, newsletters and statements, op-eds, reports, advocacy documents, member communications, grant proposals etc. – on topics outside of direct portfolio, such as APLU award announcements. 

  • Support content development for APLU social media channels. 

  • Approve website content that other APLU staff draft. 

  • Perform other duties as requested. 

Preferred Qualifications 

  • Bachelor’s degree plus 3 years of progressive experience in public affairs, communications and/or related field. Experience in the field of higher education a plus. 

  • Exceptional writing, editing and communications skills in multiple formats (e.g. op-eds, advocacy papers, research papers, project reports, etc.). Able to analyze, synthesize and distill complex, academic information into understandable, thought-provoking and professional publications, op-eds, reports, etc.  

  • Strong verbal communicator who can synthesize complex information succinctly.  

  • Great sense of humor. 

  • High level of organization and ability to prioritize work effectively and adjust to multiple and competing demands. 

  • An effective team member who can work independently, take initiative, exercise discretion, maintain confidentiality, demonstrate sound judgment, cooperate with co-workers and supervisors, and follow through assigned tasks to completion.  

  • Commitment to the mission of APLU, including equity-focused issues related to higher education.  

  • Experience with multiple MS Office software, online video conferencing, and willingness to learn new software packages. 

  • Experience with social media and graphic design a plus.  

  • Did we mention a great sense of humor? 

  • Ability to travel domestically as needed (probably two or three times per year) and as public health circumstances allow. 

To Apply 

Please send a cover letter and resume to APLU’s Human Resources Department at with the subject line: Public Affairs Manager. Cover letter should focus on how the candidate’s education and/or professional background has prepared them to meet the qualifications and perform the job responsibilities described above. 

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