Director for Issues Management (Hybrid Opportunity)

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Work type: Staff Full Time
Campus: UMass Amherst
Department: University Relations
Pay Grade: 28
Categories: Public Relations, Marketing, Communications

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region. 


Job Summary 

The Director for Issues Management assists the Associate Vice Chancellor (AVC) for Issues Management in content creation and developing and coordinating effective communications and measures that support evolving and ongoing priorities related to sensitive matters impacting the University.  


Essential Functions 

  • Works closely with the AVC in establishing, implementing, and assessing strategies and tactics related to issues management, with a particular emphasis on research, writing and content creation. Supports the AVC in the administration of the campus Incident Response Team and horizon-scanning process. 
  • As part of managing sensitive issues, develops communications for the AVC and other senior University leaders and units including internal, campus-wide messages, media statements, social media content, reports, talking points, fact sheets, and FAQs.  Ensures alignment of messaging with specific strategies tailored to audiences and that of the overall University. 
  • At the request of the AVC and in support of the Incident Response Team and horizon-scanning process, gathers background information on relevant University history, policies, data, and past communications. Assembles and maintains a resource library of content relevant to current and past issues. 
  • Tracks news coverage, social media, and other internal and external sources of intelligence to understand the context for issues and forecast what topics may be emerging that are important for the University to be prepared for. 
  • At the direction of the AVC, consults with key communication partners across campus to identify emerging and ongoing projects, shares resources and ensures consistency of messaging and that key initiatives meet defined objectives and expectations. Reviews and edits the work of others preparing materials to go out under AVC’s name, ensuring all communications have the proper tone, are factually correct and adhere to the University’s brand strategy. 
  • Provides project management for the AVC’s priorities and initiatives directing efforts to align with continuously evolving priorities.  Follows through on critical action items ensuring all projects are executed within project timeframe and scope. Stays abreast of the latest and emerging news and information relevant to the campus community that may inform messaging and strategy. Organizes meetings, agendas, minutes and tracks follow up for assigned tasks. 
  • Collaborates closely with the News and Media Relations team to help identify projects, develop strategy, plan social postings and deliver and measure communications.  


Other Functions 

Performs other related duties as assigned. 


Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure) 

  • Bachelor's Degree, preferably in English, Journalism, Communications, or related field.  
  • 7 years’ relevant experience. 
  • Exceedingly strong writing and editing skills. 
  • Experience writing for and working with senior level leadership. 
  • Ability to think quickly and work under pressure. Strong time-management abilities. 
  • Works independently and effectively and manages multiple projects simultaneously in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. 
  • Strong skills in building relationships/coalitions and working in a diverse, collaborative environment. 
  • Social media-related reputation management experience. 
  • Excellent interpersonal skills. 


Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure) 

  • Experience working on crisis communication and issues management in a deadline environment. 
  • Experience in translating technical content for a general audience. 
  • Experience working in higher education. 


Work Schedule 

  • M-F 8:30-5:00.
  • Ability to work after hours and on weekends to meet business needs when appropriate. 
  • This position has the opportunity for a hybrid work schedule, which is defined by the University as an arrangement where an employee’s work is regularly performed at a location other than the campus workspace for a portion of the week. As this position is non-unit, it is subject to the terms and conditions of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees Non-Unit (Professional/or Classified) Employee Personnel Policy.


Salary Information 


Special Instructions to Applicants 

Along with the application, please submit a cover letter, resume, and writing sample. References will be checked at the finalist stage. Please be prepared to provide contact information for three (3) professional references.

Applications will be reviewed on a continuous basis until the position is filled. Early submissions are encouraged.


UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.  To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.  It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

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The University of Massachusetts is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action, Title IX employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, sex, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age over 40, protected veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, marital status, or other protected class.