Director of Communications more...
Location:San Francisco, CA
Company:California College of the Arts
First posted:September 29, 2020

Director of Communications

San Francisco

The Director of Communications is a key member of CCA's Marketing and Communications team, an in-house creative and strategic group that partners with colleagues across the college to inform and inspire audiences by sharing compelling stories about CCA's vibrant community of students, faculty, and alumni. Reporting to the Vice President of Marketing and Communications, the Director of Communications leads the editorial and public relations team, working in collaboration with the entire Marketing and Communications team to tell CCA's story and support enrollment, visibility, advancement, and internal communications goals.

In partnership with the Vice President and the Director of Content and Creative Strategy, the Director of Communications creates, implements, and evaluates a multi-year integrated communications plan to inform and raise awareness about CCA and support the institution's strategic plan, mission, vision, and goals. Areas of responsibility include public and media relations, copywriting and editorial, publications, internal communications, and public information.

The Director supervises the department's editorial and media relations staff (Lead Writer and Editor, Media Relations Manager, and part-time Writer) who produce compelling stories and informative communications for the college's internal and external audiences. Internally, the Director creates and implements strategies to communicate to faculty, staff, students, trustees, alumni, and donors to promote awareness of institutional initiatives and happenings, and to help build trust and pride through clear, authentic communications. Externally, the Director proactively communicates with the media and other interested parties to share important developments, institutional initiatives, and other news to maintain an informed, positive image of the college. The Director also oversees the creation of compelling, exciting editorial content and information for the college's website, with a particular focus on prospective-student audiences.

The Director will be an active participant in the department's and the college's efforts to identify and dismantle structural inequities and promote anti-racism, equity, inclusion, and belonging at CCA and in our society. The successful candidate will contribute to the diversity of personal and professional perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences that support these efforts.

In support of the college's goal to unify all campus operations in San Francisco over the next several years, the Director will be a key player in the execution and ongoing refinement of the campus unification communication plan. This position will work closely with the Vice President and the college's senior leadership team to develop communications related to emergent or sensitive issues with the goal of providing transparency and timely, accurate information to the CCA community and the public.

This position is currently remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but will be based in San Francisco when conditions allow us to return to campus. A cover letter required. Please include three samples of your work that demonstrate a range of writing abilities relevant to this position.

The first review of applications is Monday, October 12th.


Editorial - 35%

  • Contribute to the creation, production, and distribution of key publications and communications such as the semi-annual college magazine (Glance), president's newsletter, faculty/staff updates, etc.
  • Co-lead, with the Director of Content and Creative Strategy, the department's weekly “Storytellers” meeting and maintain project list of stories in progress, including ideas, assignments, deadlines, and publication plans
  • Develop and manage editorial calendars for various channels and publications including Glance magazine, the college's homepage and newsroom, and various blogs and newsletters

Internal Communications - 30%

  • Maintain, update, and implement communications plan supporting CCA's unification on a single campus in San Francisco. Strategize use of all communication tools (digital, print, in-person, etc.) in an ongoing, integrated campaign.
  • Work with the Vice President, President, HR, and academic and administrative leadership to plan agendas and develop content for key staff and faculty meetings; develop consistent, broad-based messaging to these groups
  • Support communications related to emergent and sensitive issues (examples include COVID-19, labor union negotiations, budget-reduction measures, and capital projects)
  • Develop opportunities for college leadership to share plans with and hear from representatives of key constituents
  • Serve as liaison with key neighborhood groups and city officials

Public Relations - 25%

  • Work with VP and Media Relations Manager to develop and execute proactive media relations strategy
  • Serve as a spokesperson and a communication lead on media interactions
  • Prioritize media opportunities to obtain significant and impactful coverage that reinforces brand identity
  • Support cultivation and management of press relationships
  • Manage and partner with communication staff and consultants to maximize efforts to shape awareness and understanding of CCA through media coverage and PR
  • With input from Enrollment Management and Admissions, research, prioritize, and develop strategies to improve CCA's institutional rankings and ratings among key online and print sources
  • Collect and maintain a repository of up-to-date facts and figures to ensure accuracy and consistency across all communications. Serve as point person for external inquiries regarding facts and history about the college.
  • Serve as a member of the college's crisis communications team, including serving as spokesperson, conducting briefings, and crafting and conveying statements and alerts to support public safety and protect the institution's reputation

Administration - 10%

  • Supervise and oversee the activities of the editorial and media relations staff, including budgeting, planning, and staff development
  • Coordinate and collaborate at strategic and tactical levels with all departments across the college
  • Coordinate unit plans, goals, and objectives; design effective systems and workflows and evaluate progress toward their accomplishment


  • Bachelor's degree in journalism, communications, public relations, or related field
  • Seven or more years of significant and progressively challenging marketing / communications experience, preferably within an education or cultural setting
  • Experience working with writers of varying skill levels to develop compelling, professional stories for a variety of channels
  • Strong examples of writing for various audiences in multiple formats, such as press releases, news items, feature stories, and informational materials
  • Experience with sensitive communications related to issues management
  • Demonstrated commitment to promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging
  • Experience managing diverse strategic and creative teams
  • Demonstrated skill and comfort in proactively building relationships with top-tier reporters and editors, and in successfully positioning subject matter with the media to achieve high-impact placements
  • Familiarity with Bay Area media outlets, reporters, and editors strongly preferred. Familiarity with media related to art, design, architecture, and/or higher education a plus.
  • Well informed of evolving best practices specific to higher education communications
  • Exceptional organizational skills, with the ability to work on tight deadlines and multitask
  • Experienced manager with track record of maximizing effectiveness of limited resources
  • Ability to work well with a variety of people including staff, faculty, trustees, students, donors, and volunteers
  • Proven record of flexibility and successful teamwork, especially in a fast-paced environment
  • Proficiency with social media, presentation software, Google apps, and media-tracking software

Required skills:

  • Exceptional writing skills; ability to write authentically for different “voices” within the college
  • Proven editorial skills including story development, copyediting, fact checking and proofreading; proficiency using editorial style guides
  • Energetic, resourceful, driven, creative, and detail-oriented
  • Ability to thrive in a changing institutional environment, and excitement at contributing to the transformation of CCA through the unification of its two campuses
  • Strong interest in the arts and design, higher education, and the mission and vision of the college

San Francisco

Additional Locations

Application Instructions

Applicants are required to attach a cover letter and resume. Incomplete applications will not be considered. Recommended document file formats are Word or PDF. If there are multiple attachments, we recommend compressing/zipping your files into a zip format file. There is also a place in the application for you to provide a link to large documents. Please submit an application form for each position for which you believe you are qualified. Applications are not kept on file for future positions.

Application Deadline

For staff positions, screening begins immediately and continues until the position is filled.

EEO Statement

As an educational and cultural institution, California College of the Arts has a responsibility to provide access and opportunities for all people, with special attention to supporting groups historically underrepresented in higher education.

We believe that a culturally diverse campus is integral to academic excellence, and our student, faculty, staff, and trustee bodies should reflect the diverse world in which we live, with attention to race, ethnicity, religious creed, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and ability.

California College of the Arts is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from individuals who will contribute to its diversity.


Please address any questions to (please use the apply button below).

To apply, visit (please use the apply button below).

Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) is an independent art college with 21 undergraduate programs in architecture, design, fine arts, visual studies, and writing. The college also has graduate programs in architecture, comics, curatorial practice, design, design strategy, film, fine arts, visual and critical studies, and writing. Through these programs, the college has created a dynamic and interdisciplinary environment. Diverse cultural perspectives enrich the CCA community and the college believes that continuing to expand the horizons of the students and faculty is essential to achieving its educational objectives. With campuses in Oakland and San Francisco, CCA currently enrolls 1,950 full-time students.

This job position is no longer available.