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The VCU L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs invites applications for a Senior Special Projects and Communications Manager.  Reporting to the Director of Communications and External Relations, this position a key member of the communications team at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs and Dean’s Office.  This creative and multifaceted role leads the production of a variety of responsibilities in the areas of special events project management and external communications. The position requires experienced abilities and interpersonal acumen to interact effectively with Wilder School leadership, government agencies and community partner leaders, including elected officials, and other high profile stakeholders and constituents. Special events responsibilities include leading the planning and execution of the Wilder School’s high-profile scholarship fundraising/awards event, the Excellence in Virginia Government Awards, and other signature events, such as the annual L. Douglas Wilder Symposium.

The Senior Special Projects and Communications Manager will be an expert at external relations communications that establish and strengthen relationships to advance the profile and reputation of the VCU Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.  Duties include authoring compelling stories, script writing, supervising video production and skillfully producing and distributing content for the school’s print and digital channels.

The Wilder School’s mission is to:

  • Engage, teach and inspire students and leaders to understand and solve challenges in our world.
  • Advance research that informs public policy and decision-making to improve our communities.
  • Collaborate with communities through innovative partnerships to enhance the quality of life.

The Wilder School’s vision is to be the premier resource for public policy expertise and social equity in public safety, governance, and economic and community development. The 2022 U.S. News and World Report rankings confirm the Wilder School among the top 15% of graduate schools of public affairs at No. 38 and tied for No.1 in Virginia. The School is also ranked No. 19 in Social Policy, No. 28 in Urban Policy, and No. 34 in Public Management and Leadership. The Wilder School has over 1,500 students and more than 11,000 alumni, with an established environment where diverse perspectives thrive and where a common interest in public service and the betterment of society unites these perspectives together. Our academic excellence attracts the highest quality faculty, staff, and students, and our graduates are leaders in their professions.

Our location in Richmond, the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, combined with our proximity to Washington, DC, provides numerous opportunities for engaged scholarship, teaching and community engagement activities. A creative, interdisciplinary School with both academic programs and training/research centers in the social sciences and professional arenas, we reflect the diversity of the communities we serve, providing students and faculty with the knowledge, skills, opportunities, and experience necessary for success.

For additional information about the Wilder School, please visit our website at

Typical Duties

Event Project Management and Leadership:

  • Providing leadership for event steering committees, including managing budget, nominations, VIP invitations, and communications with honorees for the Excellence in Virginia Government Awards and other key events.
  • Successful project management for sponsored benefit communications for fundraising events in coordination with the Wilder School development office.
  • Writing video scripts and supervising external video production team and dissemination for high-profile events in a timely manner.
  • Supporting strategies related to events communications, development and philanthropy, and constituent engagement.
  • Developing communications strategies and partnerships to increase digital and in-person event attendance and awareness.

Writing and Content Distribution:

  • Consistent authorship of compelling content that promotes the Wilder School, including coverage of newsworthy research, profiles, accomplishments, events, etc., from the school’s faculty, administration, alumni and students.
  • Working closely with the Director of Communications and External Relations to design and implement content production to promote communications that advance the school’s key events, initiatives, research and accomplishments to media and external partners.
  • Producing engaging copy for the school magazine, website, social media, printed publications, press releases and other print and digital collateral as necessary.
  • Developing content distribution strategies through university and external partners and exploring and implementing best practices to successfully amplify communications reach to grow website traffic, social media networks, email subscribers and expand viewership.

Other Duties:

  • Serves as an in-house proofreader for materials for the Communications team and Wilder School Dean’s Office, including but not limited to news stories, press releases, publications, the school magazine, undergraduate and graduate recruitment materials, development materials, talking points, Wilder School website and other media as necessary.
  • Other duties as assigned to support the Communications and External Relations team and the Wilder School Dean’s Office.

Minimum Hiring Standards:

  • Bachelor’s degree, preferably in journalism, mass communications, public relations or related field; or an equivalent combination of education and direct experience.
  • Seven years in an external communications project management, writing, journalism, content strategist or public relations content role (three communications or event-related work samples will be requested).
  • Successful experience in event planning, execution and developing partnerships with community leaders.
  • Demonstrated experience conducting interviews and authoring original stories on behalf of an organization, brand or publication.
  • Demonstrated creativity in sourcing and authoring a consistent and high-quality content pipeline including pitches to media, following leads, and exploring new storytelling ideas.
  • Superior writing and communication skills to suit a range of external audiences and detailed knowledge of external relations and public relations principles.
  • Demonstrated experience collaborating on the scripting and production of professional videos with a videographer.
  • Exceptional project management, organization skills and ability to prioritize multiple deadlines in a fast-paced environment and work occasional after-hours and weekends.
  • Excellent anticipatory skills, willingness and adaptability to take initiative, adapt approaches and work independently and collaboratively.
  • Professional and enthusiastic demeanor, resourceful and solution-oriented with a willingness to learn and grow.
  • Ability to use Google Drive, transcription and other desktop and project management software.
  • Demonstrated experience working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff, and student environment, or commitment to do so as a staff member at VCU.

Preferred Hiring Standards:

  • 10 or more years in an external communications project management, writing, journalism, content strategist or public relations role (writing samples will be requested).
  • Master’s degree, preferably in journalism, mass communications, public relations or a related field; or an equivalent combination of education and direct experience.
  • Demonstrated experience in a public relations agency or in-house shop.
  • Demonstrated experience working in higher education or nonprofit organizations.
  • Existing relationships with local, state and national media and familiarity with local and state government agencies and representatives in Virginia and/or familiarity with Virginia politics communications.
  • Familiarity with search engine optimization and Google Analytics.
  • Familiarity and working design knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite.

Typical Physical and Cognitive Requirements

Physical Demands and Activities (Essential):

  • Light lifting (<20 lbs.)
  • Pushing/pulling
  • Standing
  • Sitting

Emotional Demands (Essential):

  • Fast pace/Average pace
  • Multiple stimuli
  • Frequent change
  • Intense customer interaction

Mental/Sensory Demands (Essential):

  • Memory
  • Reading
  • Reasoning
  • Hearing
  • Logic
  • Analyzing
  • Verbal communication
  • Written Communication

Application Submission/Other Information:

All applications should include a cover letter and a detailed resume with the names and contact information of three professional references. A resume does not take the place of work experiences on the application.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled, with priority review beginning August 26, 2022.

“Virginia Commonwealth University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action university providing access to education and employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, political affiliation, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or disability”.

Salary Range: $70,000 – $80,000

Position Details:

Department: L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Employment Type: UF – University Employee FT
Restricted Status: No
FTE: 100
Exemption Status: Exempt

University Job Title/Family: Administrator 1 (13911)/Communications

Contact Information:

Contact Name: Paula Otto

Contact Email:

Contact Phone: 804-828-1146

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