Do you believe stories matter? Do you have a way with words – and a knack for knowing how to connect with audiences? We want to meet you. We’re the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment, and we’re looking for our Manager of Communications & Content.
Position Purpose: In this new role, you’ll be part of a team that is leading IonE’s internal and external communications, as well as newly charged with building its public-interest communications capability. To help advance this work, we’re looking for a skilled science writer, editor, and communicator, who excels at setting up objectives, strategies, and plans, and then managing their execution, including a significant focus on writing, editing, and other forms of content development.
In this role, you’ll provide editorial direction for our website and other channels, including events, ensuring that our public-facing storytelling efforts are integrated and aligned. You’ll contribute to and oversee the production of a variety of written stories and other forms of content, such as reports or guides. And you’ll support the dissemination of sustainability and environmental research, leadership, and education initiatives.
Position Context: We are a mission-driven unit with big ambition. As a UMN systemwide entity, IonE catalyzes interdisciplinary, community-responsive research; works to cultivate sustainability leaders; and uses storytelling as a tool to scale impact, convene our community, and drive change. In this work, and in our workplace, we are committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Our immediate network includes some 225 affiliates, several dozen staff and post-docs, hundreds of students connected to IonE via our programming, and numerous other collaborators.
Because we have many stakeholders, skill in building relationships will benefit you in this position, along with confidence in your counsel. This role also includes a lot of space for experimentation and creativity – helping us build up and build out our capabilities – so a growth mindset and adaptability are also highly desirable. Finally, we hope you will be excited about science communication – and the role of public research universities in addressing complex challenges such as climate change.
While this position will remain open until filled, we are giving priority to applicants who submitted materials on or before Monday, June 7, 2021. Thank you for your understanding. The starting range is $70,295 – $78,565 DOQ, with comprehensive benefits. To apply, please submit a cover letter; your resume; two writing or work samples; and a document with short answers to the questions below.
Any kind of sample is welcome – from published stories or digital content to communications plans or other internal documents. For the questions, think high-level answers, not essays. We won’t be counting, but we recommend no more than 300 words. We recognize that applying for a position takes effort, and we look forward to reading your materials.
Tell us about a recent communications plan you developed – and your approach to selecting audiences, goal(s), messages, tactics, and/or measurement.
What is one thing you’ve learned in the past year that has changed, to any degree, how you think about or approach your work?
Key Areas of Responsibility
Strategy and Planning (15%)
Collaborate with the director of communications on our overarching strategy, using research and insights to set objectives, prioritize audiences, and develop strategies
Develop and own a yearly content strategy that moves those objectives forward, integrating a variety of channels and content types, including our recurring event series
Write and execute communications plans for significant research; major announcements, milestones, or launches; and other prioritized outputs or outcomes
Editing, Writing, Content Creation (50%)
Provide editorial direction for our website and other channels and platforms, experimenting in how we grow the value of our content ecosystem
Create and manage a storytelling/editorial calendar, managing the flow of stories and content from ideation to publication and dissemination
Serve as our senior science writer on complex, high-profile, or otherwise nuanced stories
Develop, assign, and edit stories and other content (visual, digital, multimedia, etc.), working with a range of contributors including our student staff, a core group of IonE colleagues, University collaborators, and freelancers or contractors
Serve as the managing editor for various IonE publications, collaborating with IonE colleagues and freelance designers on the development and production of projects such as white papers, guidebooks, briefs, explainers, and reports
As needed and time allows, serve as copywriter and/or editor for website pages, marketing collateral, and/or other promotional materials
Supervise and mentor our student content contributors, fact-checkers, and designers
Media Relations & Dissemination (20%)
Lead media relations, coordinating with University Relations and supporting the creation of various tools (such as research briefs or expert alerts)
Field incoming media requests, developing relationships with media professionals – and providing media relations counsel for IonE staff and project collaborators
Serve as the editor and writer of our current external newsletter (monthly), re-developing it over time and as strategy evolves into a platform for thought leadership
Relationship Management and Network Building (15%)
Identifying methods for staying connected to the IonE community (cultivating both story ideas and storytellers) and for regularly sharing storytelling initiatives throughout our network
Manage relationships with a variety of key internal stakeholders, developing methods to manage the range of incoming storytelling opportunities and strategically prioritize them
Advocate across our network for best practices in communications and content strategy – and the role storytelling can play in building relationships and driving outcomes
Qualities of strong candidates are likely to include some of the following:
A strong design sense, with an aptitude for the visual components of storytelling
Experience using various communications platforms and tools, such as Adobe Creative Suite, Mailchimp and/or Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and/or Drupal
An orientation toward teamwork and strong people skills, including knowing how to move projects forward in a collaborative manner
Strong editorial judgment, anchored in your sense of story and knowledge of audiences
Proven ability to express scientific concepts, research findings, or other complex subjects in engaging, accessible language
Professional or personal experience that could lend itself to working in higher education, especially at a public research university
A connection or commitment to sustainability or environmental issues and topics
This is currently a 100% remote position, but is likely to become hybrid, with time split between home and IonE’s offices on the St. Paul side of the Twin Cities campus. We will provide a University-configured laptop and software, but in either scenario you will need to provide a reliable high-speed internet connection. This role very occasionally works in the evenings, because of events and other convenings (<10%), and even more rarely on weekends.
Demonstrated commitment to valuing diversity and equity – and contributing to an inclusive working and learning environment
Excellent writing and editing skills, lending themselves to creating a variety of content
Experience developing and executing integrated communications plans
B.A./B.S. degree with four or more years of experience in a communications role, showing progressively increasing levels of responsibility
Internal Number: 340571
About University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
The University of Minnesota, founded in the belief that all people are enriched by understanding, is dedicated to the advancement of learning and the search for truth; to the sharing of this knowledge through education for a diverse community; and to the application of this knowledge to benefit the people of the state, the nation, and the world.