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Executive Director, Public Relations for the University System of New Hampshire

The Executive Director of Public Relations is responsible for strengthening and protecting UNH’s brand and reputation. Through the development and execution of broad and innovative public affairs, media relations, and issues management strategies, the role promotes a positive institutional image, increases awareness and fosters engagement with target audiences. The Executive Director serves as the university’s primary spokesperson in response to media inquiries and works with executive and department leadership to manage critical and sensitive public affairs issues.

The position will be a leader in UNH’s central Marketing team, responsible for promoting the power of opportunity at UNH by inspiring pride, strengthening reputation, and motivating engagement with the university. The Executive Director will also be a senior leader within the Public Affairs unit, which includes government relations and external engagement, and works to raise awareness of the university’s impact in New Hampshire and beyond.
minimum qualifications
  • Bachelor’s Degree, ideally in communications, public relations, journalism, or related discipline.
  • A minimum of 10 years of related work experience, demonstrating growth, increasing levels of responsibility, and continuous improvement.
  • Entrepreneurial, self-motivated and highly collaborative, with the proven ability to proactively develop strategies and teams to create and seize opportunities leading to improvement and growth in media and public relations outcomes.
  • A highly collaborative work ethic that demonstrates relationship-building, consensus-building, and managing through influencing.
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills with precise attention and an ability to manage sensitive and confidential information.
  • Proximity to Durham and the ability to be physically on campus with limited notice. 24/7 availability in an emergency, with occasional after-hours and weekend work required.
Additional Preferred Qualifications
  • Master’s Degree in a related field
Leadership and Supervision
  • Develop, maintain, and implement comprehensive institutional communications plans and programs, considering the university’s point of difference, brand positioning, target audiences, and strategic priorities.
  • Utilize data to set measurable goals, analyze coverage, monitor performance, and assess outcomes of plans, programs, and strategies to ensure continuous improvement.
  • Lead and supervise a collaborative, transparent, flexible, and growth-minded public relations team, including staff and agency partners.
  • Work with members of the public affairs unit and the broader marketing organization to advance department objectives and marketing plans.
  • Partner with the University System on statewide initiatives. Support best practices and high-quality outcomes to strengthen stakeholder perception of public, four-year higher education.
  • Manage news and visibility tracking and reporting systems. Ensure appropriate dissemination of news coverage, trending stories, and relevant metrics to appropriate internal stakeholders.
Public Relations
  • Maximize the university’s exposure and visibility by designing and implementing external communications strategies that build appreciation and awareness and help priority audiences think, feel and act differently towards the university.
  • Foster strategic relationships with the media, external influencers and other stakeholders to advance identified public relations objectives.
  • Collaborate closely with the integrated marketing and academic communicator units, and cultivate strong relationships with faculty and staff, to develop a deep understanding of the goals and impacts of the university and key client groups and use that understanding and an entrepreneurial mindset to drive regular positive communications and placements.
Media Relations
  • Develop and implement a broad and proactive media strategy to include local, regional, and national news and opinion outlets, as well as influential content creators and niche publications reaching various target audiences via social media, blogs, podcasts and streaming video.
  • Serve as the primary contact and spokesperson for media inquiries. Collect reliable and current information and collaborate with appropriate colleagues in crafting statements and responses.
  • Steward and monitor compliance with the university’s public and media relations policies, protocols, procedures and workflows.
  • Support administration, faculty and staff by creating opportunities for media training, creating campus expert lists and providing assistance in the editing of op-eds and other written content.
Issues Management and Communications
  • Provide counsel and leadership on critical reputation issues. Track trends, anticipate, and prepare for risks to the institution, and craft messaging to effectively manage challenges.
  • Collaborating with university leadership and the police department, develop and maintain a crisis communications plan and create opportunities for periodic training.
Leadership and Internal Communications
  • Provide support for executive leadership communications and other high-profile projects.
  • Understand the priorities of the university’s executive leadership and create opportunities for external thought leadership to promote positive university positioning.
  • Develop and implement a top-level internal communications strategy to support executive communication with UNH students, faculty and staff.

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