This job description is a summary describing the general level of work being performed.  It is not intended to be all-inclusive and the duties of this position may change based on business need. The University of Colorado reserves the right to add, delete, or update duties and responsibilities at the discretion of the supervisor and/or appointing authority.

Position Summary

With policy direction provided by the President of the University, the Vice President of Communication coordinates and facilitates internal and external communications for the University of Colorado (CU) and its four campuses (Boulder, Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus, and Colorado Springs). This position plans and directs best communications practices to strategically and effectively tell CU’s success story. Its primary duties include regular communications, executive communications for president (and in selected instances, the university’s governing Board of Regents), issues management, media relations, systemwide marketing initiatives and systemwide brand management. The Vice President oversees a communications office and professional-level staff at the system level responsible for Board of Regents and President’s Office event management, social media, website content and management (cu.edu), and system-wide internal communications (CU Connections). The position also serves as media spokesperson for the president and Board of Regents, in addition to media relations for state and national legislative issues. This position also works closely with each campus’s communications vice chancellors regarding the timely notification of campus issues and coordination of key messaging across the system, in addition to convening and leading regular meetings of the group to address items of common interest.  The Vice President also coordinates with the University of Colorado Foundation’s leadership and communications team related to its communications efforts and issues management.

This position requires a criminal background check for initial appointments, or at any time when determined by the position’s supervisory authority to be in the best interests of the University.

This position reports to the President of the University and is exempt from the State of Colorado Classified Staff System.


Duties and responsibilities of the position include, but are not limited to: 

  • Serves as a member of the President’s executive team to lead the University’s communication, issues management and marketing efforts as they relate to serving CU’s stakeholders and mission;
  • Plans, directs, and executes the overall communications strategy for the President, Board of Regents, and System Administration;
  • Fosters collaborative working relationships with the Regents, campus administrators, faculty, staff and student governance groups to ensure the University maintains the highest level of integrity and transparency;
  • Oversees executive communications, including the President’s monthly electronic newsletter (circulation: 475,000 students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, donors, regents, friends), social media, selected internal communication and speeches;
  • In conjunction with the President, identifies and guides communications related to presidential initiatives and special projects (CU Online, Transformation and Innovation Program, Leaning into the Future Strategic Plan, etc.) to advance the University’s strategic priorities;
  • Provides strategic advice to University leadership;
  • In conjunction with the Senior VP for Strategy and Government Relations, assists in the development of communications strategy with local and state governments and participates in outreach
  •  activities to foster relationships with state and federal stakeholders;
  • Serves in an advisory capacity for various internal and external organizational boards, meetings, constituency groups, and committees;
  • Develops and implements plans to dramatically strengthen ties to in-state and national media that cover CU and higher education and serves as the University’s spokesperson to ensure effective representation in media issues and events; convenes regular call with campus media relations leads;
  • Develops communications teams throughout the system to better share resources and coordinates internal and external communications; coordinates with campus communications vice chancellors and chairs regular meetings of that group;
  • Sets CU’s systemwide marketing and communications vision and establishes priorities to address long term strategy while recognizing diverse functions, processes, and funding sources;
  • Develops and implements an in-state and national marketing effort for CU, including CU’s online efforts, to better tell the CU success story to specific target audiences;
  • Effectively leverages technology, including social media, multimedia and video content, to advance communications goals;
  • Develops and implements crisis communications plans, as necessary;
  • Leads the University’s brand management and chairs the system-wide Brand Identity Standards Board;
  • Manages the System Administration communications office to include oversight of the department’s budget and supervision of professional-level staff;
  • Coordinates with leadership and communication teams in system administration teams.
  • Coordinates with CU Foundation and Advancement leaders and communicators on communications/issues management;
  • Performs other duties and special projects as assigned.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs)

To be successful in this position, candidates will need the following:

  • Knowledge of the business, organizational, audiences and fundraising structures and activities of CU, including its mission, campuses, departments, and colleges and the services they provide.
  • Ability to navigate complex brand strategies.
  • Collaboration skills, including the ability to work with others from different areas and backgrounds to reach a common goal.
  • Oral, written, and listening communication skills, including the ability to accurately interpret what others are saying and convey messages, information, concepts, and details accurately and clearly.
  • Creative skills, including the ability to ask questions, generate new ideas, experiment, make observations, and develop connections between disparate concepts.
  • Employee management, supervision, and team building skills, including the ability to train and coach others, communicate effectively, manage conflict, recognize good behavior, and establish and maintain accountability.
  • Leadership skills, including the ability to effectively manage various personalities and persuade others to take particular courses of action.
  • Ability to consider multiple audiences, often with competing interests.
  • Understanding of landscape and trends in higher education.
  • Research skills, including the ability to utilize a variety of tools to ask questions, gather information, and review, analyze, and interpret data.
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills, including the ability to examine and summarize data and trends in order to resolve issues and produce results.
  • Ability to communicate and work effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and ages.
  • Ability to handle and maintain sensitive and confidential material and information.
  • Ability to navigate a complex political environment.
  • Ability to develop and maintain effective media, public, and stakeholder relations.
  • Ability to develop, write, and implement a variety of marketing and communications strategies and campaigns used to reach a variety of audiences.
  • Ability to develop and reach specific and measurable communications and marketing goals.

Minimum Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education, or equivalent professional experience (professional experience may be substituted for the educational requirement on a year-for-year basis).
  • Fifteen years professional experience in strategic communications, marketing, journalism, and/or public relations, which includes:
  • Building successful internal and external communications, issues management and marketing and communications programs and integrated strategies, as well as overseeing qualitative and qualitative marketing and communications research.
  • Demonstrated written and oral communications skills
  • Ten years experience in a leadership role, which includes directing a large-scale communication, issues management and marketing functions, developing and implementing strategies and initiatives, and managing personnel and finances.
  • Understanding of and experience utilizing social media as a strategic communication tool.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education in communications, marketing, journalism, public relations, or field related to the work performed.
  • Experience in higher education or public sector.
  • Experience with emerging communications technologies.
  • Experience in crisis communications.

Application Process

The Search Committee invites nominations, applications (letter of interest, resume/CV, and the names and contact information of five or more references), or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting the University.  Salary range for this position is $200,000-$275,000.  Review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.  It is preferred, however, that all nominations and applications be submitted to the search firm prior to March 22, 2021


Laurie C. Wilder, President
Porsha Williams, Vice President
770-804-1996 ext. 102 or 109
pwilliams@parkersearch.com | eraines@parkersearch.com



Submit Application

* Indicates required field


Files must be less than 8 MB.
Allowed file types: gif jpg jpeg png pdf doc docx ppt pptx xls xlsx.


Files must be less than 8 MB.
Allowed file types: gif jpg jpeg png pdf doc docx ppt pptx xls xlsx.


Files must be less than 8 MB.
Allowed file types: gif jpg jpeg png pdf doc docx ppt pptx xls xlsx.

Supplemental Materials

Files must be less than 8 MB.
Allowed file types: gif jpg jpeg png pdf doc docx ppt pptx xls xlsx.

Please click the submit button only once.