The Network for College Success (NCS), housed at the UChicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice, ensures college readiness and success for all students by translating research into practice and supporting leaders to organize their schools for improvement. NCS provides professional learning and support to school and district leaders, helping them focus on what matters most for high school students. NCS supports adults within and across schools to build their capacity to lead change, improve instruction, and support student transitions in and out of high school. NCS envisions high schools that continuously cultivate collaboration, powerful learning, and a culture of high achievement to ensure postsecondary success for all students.
About the Department
The Strategic Communications Specialist will build out NCS’s brand identity and brand awareness at the University of Chicago, in the city, and throughout the nation. With an intentional focus on racial equity, NCS is committed to spreading impact and innovation to a greater number of schools and districts in order to significantly improve student outcomes. This work will require the Specialist to develop and implement a comprehensive NCS Communications Strategy that will broaden the organization’s reach. The position will also develop a process for codifying and disseminating promising practices and tools to better serve schools and educators as part of a Gates Foundation grant. The Specialist will coordinate and prepare staff to give presentations to interested stakeholders (funders, educators, policymakers, etc.). The Specialist will facilitate a collaborative process with staff and stakeholders, eliciting diverse perspectives and equitable participation, when designing projects and implementing plans. The Strategic Communications Specialist will report to the NCS Director of Development.
Build out NCS brand identity and awareness as a quality professional development provider and equity leader with a comprehensive Communications Strategy.
Develop, implement, and monitor NCS Communications Strategy with specific goals, tactics, and measurable results.
Ensure consistency of NCS’s message and images across all communications platforms, in accordance with UChicago identity guidelines.
Design effective and appealing marketing materials and professional development tools and resources.
Build a high-quality interactive online presence using various platforms that enables policymakers, funders, and other stakeholders to easily access NCS knowledge and work.
Manage relationships with external partners regarding communications, including website development, graphic design, and photo/video.
Create and disseminate engaging, targeted content for schools and districts.
Develop systems for gathering insights, data, and stories from NCS staff and school partners.
Develop relevant and timely pitches to media outlets based on NCS’s strategic priorities while making connections to the broader education landscape.
Promote key themes and conversations in the education field related to NCS’s work.
Develop promotional materials as needed for contract/fee-for-service programming locally, regionally, and nationally.
Develop a process to codify promising practices for schools and districts in collaboration with program staff. Codifications may include: case studies, toolkits, blogs, etc.
Identify and support NCS staff to present at conferences.
Build capacity of other staff members to present research and effective practice.
Create all preparatory materials when presenting at conferences, speaking to interested stakeholders, including the press.
Coordinate and communicate with University of Chicago staff and represent NCS to stakeholders as needed.
Develops, plans, and disseminates information designed to keep the public informed of the organization's programs, accomplishments, or point of view.
Makes contributions to the media interface, including writing press releases, planning and organizing media coverage for major events, and crafting responses to sensitive or controversial issues.
Performs other related work as needed.
Education:Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.
Bachelor’s degree in Communication or related field.
Experience in strategic communications and various tools needed to implement a strategic communications plan.
Experience in crafting editorial content for external audiences.
Proficiency in written and oral Spanish strongly preferred.
Experience promoting education and/or nonprofit messaging and programming to a broad audience.
Exceptional writing, editing, and proofreading skills.
Experience with crafting editorial content for a newspaper, magazine, blog, or other media outlets strongly preferred.
Proficiency with the Microsoft Office Suite and G-Suite.
Experience in creating and posting engaging content for social media platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Experience working collaboratively with a wide range of stakeholders, including educators, researchers, media outlets, funders, and University staff.
Proficiency in written and oral Spanish strongly preferred.
Demonstrated ability to communicate in a clear and compelling way, both in oral and written English.
A relentless commitment to social justice and public school reform in Chicago.
Ability to effectively collaborate and communicate with colleagues, school participants, and partners.
A commitment to ongoing self-reflection, examination of identity and role in systems of oppression, and challenging inequities.
Willingness to participate in ongoing professional development, team, and self-evaluation.
Ability to integrate and effectively utilize technology for professional productivity.
Ability to respond with flexibility to demands and requirements of the project and to effectively prioritize multiple tasks and meet deadlines.
Capable of exercising sound judgment, tact, courteousness, reliability, and employing sound decision-making skills.
Ability to adjust to ambiguous circumstances and change.
Disposition towards finding and cultivating joy in the work.
Cover Letter (required)
When applying, the document(s) MUST be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.
Scheduled Weekly Hours
Drug Test Required
Health Screen Required
Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required
The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, military or veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University's Notice of Nondiscrimination.
Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.
We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.
All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history. A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment. Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.
The University of Chicago's Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (Report) provides information about University offices and programs that provide safety support, crime and fire statistics, emergency response and communications plans, and other policies and information. The Report can be accessed online at: http://securityreport.uchicago.edu . Paper copies of the Report are available, upon request, from the University of Chicago Police Department, 850 E. 61st Street, Chicago, IL 60637.
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