Calvin University’s mission is to equip students to think deeply, to act justly, and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world. Calvin is an academically rigorous place of discovery, where students are equipped with critical thinking skills, invited to ask bold questions, and encouraged to explore and apply challenging ideas. Faculty and students from across the various disciplines engage in a shared quest for knowledge and truth, approaching some of the most complex issues with curiosity and conviction.
The Vice President for Marketing and Communications is a newly created role and as such will be a vital part of the university’s executive leadership team. This position will report to the President, and serve as a member of the President’s Cabinet. The Vice President will lead a team of dedicated professionals and is charged with providing vision and leadership for university-wide marketing and strategic communications, including public relations and brand strategy. This role is also responsible for the strategic management of the University’s overall public relations, internal communications, and reputation management activities.
The Vice President for Marketing and Communications works collaboratively with all Calvin University entities to fully integrate and advance institutional marketing, branding and communications efforts, both internally and externally. This role also balances central and decentralized communications authority, provides strategic guidance, and cultivates collaborative relationships with leaders across the various schools and colleges and the Enrollment Strategy, Student Life, and Advancement divisions.
Expected to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the key issues facing the University and its various units, this role will be rooted in an audience-centric, data-driven approach with an empathetic understanding of the audiences current and emerging environment and ecosystem, their priorities, motivators and pain points. The Vice President of Marketing and Communications sets appropriate strategies, structures, resource allocation, and staffing to ensure that those issues and audiences are effectively addressed and communicated.
Specifically, the Vice President for Marketing and Communications will bring leadership to the following critical areas:
Provide strategic leadership in marketing, communication and branding activities, ensuring alignment with the strategic goals and vision of the University and advancing the presence and visibility of the University through public relations, advertising, and other stakeholder interactions.
Oversee internal communications and provide public relations counsel and communications support to the entire university.
Oversee media relations efforts to increase positive media coverage, increase shared social media content. and increase web traffic to the University's news site.
Ensure the campus is consistently, accurately, and effectively communicating to its diverse audiences, including prospective and current students, employees, the board of trustees, parents, donors, alumni, strategic partners, the academic community, university neighbors and industry leaders.
Effectively manage crisis communications and protect the University’s reputation during times of crises.
Develop and implement overarching strategies in support of recruitment and fundraising.
Play a primary institutional leadership role in the development and rollout of an innovative marketing and communication strategy for the upcoming sesquicentennial celebration.
In partnership with the vice president of enrollment strategy, 1) lead a cross-functional team dedicated to first-time freshman awareness, lead generation, and conversion to apply and 2) lead a cross-functional team to create an admitted student and parent communication strategy using print, email, social media, text messaging, and other methods to impact the yield rate for first-time freshmen.
Build, develop and lead a team of experts in the areas of public relations and communications, enrollment marketing, university marketing, web services, and user experience.
Leads a team of partners and stakeholders to optimize the University’s digital properties, presence, and tools.
Oversee marketing and communications division budget and lead the management of the annual plan, monitoring of expenses, strategy for strategic investments, and tracking of ROI.
Maintain a strategic balance of in-house capabilities and external expertise to meet the needs and budget available.
The successful candidate will bring senior-level leadership experience that includes overall responsibility for marketing and communications strategy, sustainability and reporting, while also including operational oversight. The ideal candidate will have 10+ years in progressive institutional marketing and communications leadership positions. Possession of a Master’s degree is highly desired. Candidates with experience from outside of higher education, particularly from a corporate context, are also strongly encouraged to apply.
Proven and demonstrated strengths and skills needed for success in this role include:
Executive leadership skills to determine the strategic marketing and communications direction with the President, the Cabinet and the leadership team.
The ability to collaborate effectively, contributing as an effective team member of the president’s cabinet. Also, the ability to win the trust of a committed and engaged staff and faculty that brings in the best of various perspectives together and builds relationships of trust to achieve results.
A strategic focus that brings definitive planning and action to move the organization forward.
A clear ability to analyze, interpret, and effectively leverage data for strategic marketing and communications decisions aligned with the University's strategic plan and mission.
Systems-thinking that centers around operational effectiveness, connection and integration of various disciplines and technologies to improve efficiency and effectiveness, creating “best-in-class” marketing and communications practices.
A high level of professional discipline and personal integrity that inspires confidence to the various leadership, university and community constituents associated with Calvin University.
A love for Christian higher education that includes direct connection with students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, churches and the broader business community surrounding Calvin University.
The ability to move well in a culture that highly values dedication to the integration of faith and learning, appreciation for Reformed, Christian thought and expression.
Demonstrate membership and active participation in a congregation of the CRCNA, a church in ecclesiastical fellowship with the CRCNA, or a Calvin Protestant congregation.
The gift of listening and clear communication with an ability to cast a vision grounded in a calling that supports the ministry of Calvin University as a part of the work of the Kingdom of God.
Demonstrated awareness and commitment to effectively establishing relationships and positive communication across multiple dimensions of diversity including, but not limited to, race, gender, physical limitations, class, and religious perspectives.
FAITH and EDUCATIONAL COMMITMENT
1. Commitment to the educational mission of Calvin as a Christian liberal arts University affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church.
2. A commitment to the Christian faith and to the integration of faith, learning, and student development.
Demonstrated awareness and commitment to effectively establishing relationships and positive communication across multiple dimensions of diversity including, but not limited to, race, gender, physical limitations, class, or religious perspectives.
Founded in 1876, Calvin University is a top-ranked, liberal arts institution that equips its more than 3,200 students from 48 U.S. states, 55 countries, and five Canadian provinces to think deeply, to act justly, and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world. Calvin offers 100+ majors and programs, including a growing portfolio of graduate-level offerings. Calvin students engage in intensive internships, community-based service learning, and significant research that results in publishing and presenting alongside world-class faculty. The university’s 400-acre campus is in the vibrant city of Grand Rapids, Michigan.