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Stanford University is one of the world’s leading research universities. It is known for its entrepreneurial character, drawn from the legacy of its founders, Jane and Leland Stanford, and its relationship to Silicon Valley. Areas of excellence range from the humanities to social sciences to engineering and the sciences. Stanford is located in California’s Bay Area, one of the most intellectually dynamic and culturally diverse areas of the nation.

As a key member of the executive team, the Vice President for University Communications will act as the chief communications officer for one of the world’s leading research universities. The executive in this role reports directly to the Vice President and Chief External Relations Officer and works closely with senior leadership to develop strategies and methods to communicate about Stanford in an open, effective way.

Leading a 52-member organization, the Vice President is responsible for Media Relations, News and Content Production, Brand Management, Digital Media Strategy, Web Communications, and Stanford Video. The position also convenes a network of  more than 150 communications professionals working in various campus units and Stanford’s seven schools.

Communications Strategy, Vision and Leadership

  • Plan, develop, coordinate and implement an integrated strategic communications plan to advance the university’s education, research and service missions and enhance its reputation.
  • Increase the visibility of Stanford programs across key stakeholder audiences including faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, trustees, and community and governmental bodies.
  • Identify challenges and emerging issues; work with the leadership team and staff to recognize communications opportunities and solutions; define and execute appropriate response strategies.
  • Anticipate and manage internal and external crisis communications.
  • Advise campus executives, faculty, staff and students on media strategy.
  • Engage in extensive contact with the Board of Trustees and act for the President in connection with both official university functions and substantive policy matters.

Communications Operations

  • Oversee the production of speeches, presentations, talking points, letters and other materials designed to communicate key messages from the President and senior leaders.
  • Serve as primary university liaison and spokesperson to local and national news media.
  • Prepare key opinion leaders and internal spokespersons to provide perspective and insight to the media.
  • Oversee the day-to-day activities of internal and external communications, media relations, web and digital platforms (including social media), video production, publications (including the Stanford News Service and Stanford Report), photography, and design (including campus visual identity).
  • May supervise work of outside consultants, including public relations agencies.
  • Manage the budget for the communications function.

Team Development/Management

  • Mentor and develop communications staff using a supportive and collaborative approach.
  • Establish and monitor staff performance and development goals, assign accountabilities, set objectives, establish priorities, conduct annual performance appraisals, and administer salary treatment.
  • Ensure that all university compliance and ethics standards are met.


  • Bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, or related field and at least 15 years of relevant experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Advanced degree preferred.

  • Communications leadership experience in a large, complex organization, preferably in higher education.

  • Sound judgment and collaborative style in managing communications of a high-profile organization.

  • Proven forward-looking multi-channel communicator with expertise across digital and social as well as traditional platforms.

  • Strong bias toward action and persevering through challenges; demonstrated ability to manage issues with calm confidence.

  • Experience demonstrating the ability to effectively manage and motivate a team, as well as the conceptual and analytical skills necessary for leading a complex and diverse organization.

  • Excellent relationship management skills; the ability to manage through influence and persuasion at all levels of an organization and to develop solid working relationships with internal and external partners and with the media.

  • Exceptional written, verbal and interpersonal skills.

  • Experience working with a Board of Trustees and as an advisor to senior leadership on communications and media-related issues.


  • Constantly perform desk-based computer tasks.

  • Frequently stand/walk, sit, use a telephone, grasp lightly/fine manipulation, speaking.

  • Occasionally grasp forcefully, writing by hand.

  • Rarely sort/file paperwork.

* - Consistent with its obligations under the law, the university will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of the job.


  • Occasionally work evenings and weekends.


  • Interpersonal Skills: Demonstrates the ability to work well with Stanford colleagues and clients and with external organizations.

  • Promote Culture of Safety: Demonstrates commitment to personal responsibility and value for safety; communicates safety concerns; uses and promotes safe behaviors based on training and lessons learned.

  • Subject to and expected to comply with all applicable university policies and procedures, including but not limited to the personnel policies and other policies found in the university’s Administrative Guide,

Stanford is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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