Vice President for Communications

Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland (US)
Depends on Qualifications
Jul 25, 2019
Metro Area
Full Time

Vice President for Communications



Johns Hopkins University is one of the world’s leading research universities, with an annual budget that exceeds $4 billion. The University was established in 1876 by Johns Hopkins, Baltimore’s greatest philanthropist who willed his $7 million estate to fund the creation of the University and the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Today, the institution is comprised of approximately 6,500 faculty, 6,200 undergraduate students and 17,600 graduate students across 230 degree programs at the baccalaureate, masters and doctoral levels. The mission of the University is to educate its students and cultivate their capacity for life-long learning, to foster independent and original research, and to bring the benefits of discovery to the world.


While Baltimore is the University’s hometown, there are campuses throughout the Baltimore-Washington D.C. area and international locations, including Bologna, Italy and Nanjing, China. Johns Hopkins is also home to the nation’s largest university affiliated research center, the Applied Physics Laboratory. Faculty and students conduct research on six continents and more than 20 percent of the university’s students come from countries outside of the United States.


The nine academic divisions of the University include: The Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, the Whiting School of Engineering and the School of Education are based at the Homewood campus in northern Baltimore. The School of Medicine, the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the School of Nursing are located in East Baltimore, sharing a campus with The Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Carey Business School and the Peabody Institute for Music are located in downtown Baltimore. The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies is located in Washington, D.C. The Applied Physics Laboratory (“APL”) is located in Laurel, Maryland, on a 400-acre campus with specialized technical facilities for its government R&D activities. For many years, Johns Hopkins has won more federal research and development funding than any other university, including ranking first among universities in grant support from the National Institutes of Health and the National Aeronautics and Space Agency.


The impact of Johns Hopkins reaches into nearly every corner of the globe, conducting research, training, and education at more than 1,300 sites in more than 134 countries. More than 400 undergraduate students study abroad in dozens of countries each year, and more than 193,000 JHU alumni live in 175 countries. Examples of global reach include: the School of Advanced International Studies has campuses on three continents; Jhpiego, a nonprofit health organization affiliated with the university, focuses on improving the health of women and families in more than 155 developing countries; and the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health works to address pressing global health challenges, such as HIV/AIDs and tuberculosis.


Under President Ronald J. Daniels leadership, the university is focusing on four major priorities through the remainder of the decade, collectively referred to as the Ten by Twenty. The four priority areas are: One University, Individual Excellence, Commitment to our Communities and Institution Building.



The Vice President for Communications is the senior-most executive responsible for communications, branding and public relations for Johns Hopkins University, and serves as a member of the President’s cabinet. This role is charged with shaping and advancing the University’s message and brand throughout the University community as well as across local, state, national and global communications. As a dynamic leader and change agent, the Vice President’s goal is to reinforce existing communications strengths and further establish an innovative, substantive and proactive messaging platform.


As a strategic advisor, the Vice President will provide counsel and expertise in communications and marketing to the President, Chief of Staff and senior leadership of the University and work to advance the strategic priorities articulated in the Ten by Twenty. This person will be responsible for setting and communicating the University’s vision and strategic priorities, reflecting the University’s mission and addressing target audiences and key stakeholders, as well as ensuring alignment and consistency of communications across the institution. The Vice President will also cultivate and sustain beneficial and collaborative relationships with internal and external stakeholders to advance the University’s strategic priorities. This position reports directly to the President of the University.




• Provide vision, leadership and counsel for University communications and marketing.


• Establish, communicate and revise, as necessary, the mission, vision and initiatives for the University’s communications units to ensure alignment with the University’s strategic priorities.


• Serve as the President’s senior-most executive for communications, with responsibility for oversight and direction of the University’s central communications units and staff.


• Collaborate across divisions to strengthen, align and guide the University’s overall and unit brands through strategic marketing activities. Ensure brand standards are maintained and consistent throughout the organization.


• Formulate and manage a comprehensive media relations strategy and program at the local, state, national and global levels encompassing print, television and social media outlets.


• Engage with key media outlets, both proactively and reactively, and provide media training to University leaders and faculty.


• Take a research-based approach to identify key messages and audiences, and work consistently to tell University stories, weaving them together to create a consistent, unified message in support of the Johns Hopkins brand to a broad range of targeted, diverse audiences.


• Work with University senior officers, faculty and staff to assess the University’s communications and marketing needs and identify strong messages, compelling stories and key audiences.


• Develop and execute a long-term strategic marketing and communications plan to support the Ten by Twenty and other University goals and priorities, with output from brand research and positioning efforts.


• Collaborate across schools and administrative units – including admissions, government and community relations, development and alumni affairs, economic development, and athletics – to align messages and to promote key initiatives of the University.


• Reinforce a culture of excellence, innovation and creativity, one that is proactive and quick to mobilize around important issues facing the University at the international, national and local levels.


• Anticipate and mitigate issues with the potential to negatively impact the University’s reputation. Oversee crisis communications plans and advise senior leaders in the event of a crisis.


• Lead strategy and provide oversight for internal communications to ensure that faculty, staff and students are kept informed of the University’s goals, objectives and progress.


• Develop benchmark criteria and track and evaluate the effectiveness of the communications strategies on a regular basis.


• Cultivate and sustain collaborative relationships/partnerships with external stakeholders, government and community leaders, businesses, and foundations.


• Support efforts to advance the University’s commitment to diversity and compliance.


• Fulfill all related responsibilities, as requested by University leadership.




• At least 15 years of progressive experience managing communications and/or marketing in a complex, dynamic environment.


• Master’s degree in Communications, Marketing, or a related field, preferred.


• Holistic understanding of all aspects of communications, positioning and messaging, including industry best practices in both traditional and emerging media platforms and experience with state-of-the-art communications technology.


• Significant experience leading communications and marketing in a global environment and working with national and international media outlets and digital media channels.


• Proven ability to lead with direct authority and through influence, including partnering across peer leadership groups and deploying resources to support individual units as well as an enterprise-wide narrative.


• Highly developed collaborative, organizational and communication skills; excellent judgment and critical thinking skills and the ability to manage complex and/or confidential issues involving diverse constituents and stakeholders.


• Demonstrated senior leadership experience designing and executing a strategic communications plan in a large, complex, decentralized organization with varied priorities and stakeholders.


• High degree of initiative, judgment, discretion, and decision-making and an ability to analyze situations accurately and take effective action as needed.


• Ability to inspire trust and work collegially with staff, faculty members, school and campus officers, university administrators, alumni, students, benefactors, and business partners.


• Demonstrated adaptability to meet changing demands. Must be flexible and available to leadership, faculty and staff on an as-needed basis.


• Demonstrated strategic leadership, planning, change management and process improvement skills.


• Proven accuracy and attention to detail in managing multiple initiatives and priorities, along with experience in simultaneously implementing projects and events across multiple time frames (short, mid and long-term).


• Experience managing teams and budgets in a highly complex organization. This includes hiring, developing, evaluating and retaining high-performing professional teams.


• Outstanding management and planning skills, including the ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously in a highly complex and decentralized environment.


• Excellent and nuanced writing ability and range.


• Strong interpersonal skills, persuasive presentation and public speaking skills.


• Ability to travel, as needed.


This position specification is a general statement of required major duties and responsibilities performed on a regular and continuous basis. It does not exclude other duties as assigned.


Johns Hopkins University is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, marital status, pregnancy, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, other legally protected characteristics or any other occupationally irrelevant criteria. The University promotes Affirmative Action for minorities, women, individuals who are disabled, and veterans. Johns Hopkins University is a drug-free, smoke-free workplace.


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