Vice President for Communications

Barnard College
May 8, 2018
Job Type


Chaloner has partnered with Barnard College, a private liberal arts college with all of the resources of Columbia University on their search for a Vice President for Communications. For the Class of 2022, the College received a record-breaking 8,000 applications for 600 spots. All 50 states and 44 countries are represented, about half identify as women of color, and almost 25% are first generation college students. The New York Times College Access Index ranked Barnard #19 among 171 colleges and universities in 2017.

Barnard is one of the most selective institutions in the U.S. and remains devoted to empowering extraordinary women. With a network of over 35,000 alumni, Barnard’s community includes Pulitzer Prize and National Science Medal winners, CEO’s, scientists, writers and women who have broken new ground with notable achievements, scientific advancements and discoveries. The College’s eminence in the liberal arts, which includes the sciences, is of tremendous importance and about one third of Barnard students are graduating in the sciences. Barnard seeks to change the underrepresentation of women in many of these fields.

With the unparalleled opportunities of their cosmopolitan setting, the strength of their academic programs and their ongoing commitment to diversity, Barnard continues to do what they have done from the beginning with a keen eye to the future.


The Vice President for Communications is a Cabinet level position reporting to Barnard College President and is responsible for developing and executing a sophisticated and ambitious communications strategy that conveys Barnard College’s importance and impact in the world. The Vice President for Communications will pave new roads for Barnard to lead national conversations on women in science, gender equity in the workplace and beyond. The Vice President for Communications leads a team of dynamic and creative professionals who work together to express Barnard’s distinctive identity and tell the College’s story through a range of modern digital and print communication channels. As Barnard’s brand leader, communications officer and spokesperson, the Vice President represents and promotes the College, increasing its visibility and advancing its mission, vision, and strategic priorities. This work includes keeping the Barnard community and stakeholders informed about important developments and creating and implementing communications campaigns to attract the best and brightest applicants, motivate alumnae and donors, recruit high-quality faculty and staff, and further the College’s historic mission of advancing women’s leadership and education. The Office of Communications oversees Creative, Editorial, Media Relations, Strategic Communications, Digital Strategy, and Marketing functions for the College. In addition to leading the College’s central team of communicators, the Vice President collaborates closely with colleagues in Enrollment, Development and Alumnae Relations and provides strategic communications and marketing counsel to all academic and administrative units.

Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Serves as a member of the cabinet and provides strategic counsel to the President, senior leadership team, faculty leaders, and Board of Trustees on all aspects of communications, marketing, and College identity (brand);
  • Develops and implements a strategic, integrated communications and marketing plan to define Barnard’s identity, broaden awareness of its programs and priorities, and increase the visibility of the College across key stakeholder audiences;
  • Leads the Office of Communications, a creative and dynamic team with responsibility for Creative, Editorial, Media Relations, Strategic Communications, Digital Strategy, and Marketing functions, to implement the marketing and communications program across a variety of channels (e.g., print, presentations, video, visual and digital media, media relations, community relations, special events, email, and the web);
  • Builds and manages a robust thought leadership platform for the President and/or other college figureheads. Increase awareness for Barnard leadership with local audiences and with relevant, national media outlets.
  • Oversees and executes high-quality marketing communications, either directly or in close partnership with relevant administrative and academic units, that support:
    • Admissions recruitment and materials for prospective students and their families
    • Messaging and materials that inspire and motivate donors and funding partners
    • Storytelling in all forms that conveys the distinctive contributions and lifelong value of Barnard in the lives of its constituents
    • Digital and print materials and storytelling that convey the impact of Barnard’s scholarship, research, and the activities of academic programs and centers
    • An active media relations program that cultivates relationships with traditional and nontraditional media, pitches stories proactively, and responds to media requests
    • Creative and multimedia content that convey cross-cutting institutional narratives as well as the priority activities of College departments
    • Production of periodicals and digital newsletters, including Barnard Magazine
    • Digital communications including websites, social media, and analytics
    • Speechwriting and messaging for the President and other senior leaders
    • Special events both on and off campus
  • Communicates College priorities, initiatives, and accomplishments to the campus community in a way that fosters commitment to Barnard’s mission and values, builds pride in the College, and ensures that faculty, students, staff, parents, and alumnae are well-informed;
  • Works closely with senior administration to develop marketing and communication strategies for academic and administrative units, and ensures that centrally produced College communications reinforce the units’ strategic objectives;
  • Proactively identifies potential challenges and emerging issues faced by the College, working with leadership teams and staff to support effective decision-making, develop clear messaging, and ensure internal and external stakeholders are appropriately informed;
  • With the Emergency Management team, develops and oversees crisis communications strategy and implementation for the College;
  • Makes use of available market research and recommends when additional research may be needed to understand the competitive landscape and design effective marketing messaging, materials and campaigns;
  • Develops and regularly reports on a set of metrics for measuring the effectiveness of Barnard’s marketing and communications program;
  • Manages the day-to-day activities of the marketing and communications function including budgeting, planning, and staff development;
  • Evaluates and selects external consultants as needed to extend the College’s marketing capacity and expertise and to carry out specific projects;
  • Serves as Barnard’s chief media spokesperson, and represents the College at internal and external events;
  • Serves on and leads College committees as requested by the President;
  • Performs additional duties and responsibilities in support of the President and Board of Trustees, as needed.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

  • Excellent ability to articulate messages clearly, compellingly and quickly.
  • Stellar writing and presentation skills that demonstrate versatility, speed and accuracy.
  • High level of discretion, judgment and professionalism; ability to interact and build relationships with a variety of constituents including media, senior leadership, faculty, administrators, students, alumnae, neighbors and elected officials.
  • An understanding of the marketing and communications needs of faculty scholarship, student recruitment, fundraising, and community relations.
  • Knowledge of effective and contemporary practices in message development, storytelling, media relations, graphic design, video, websites, social media, print publications, and event planning.
  • Proven success deploying digital tools for social media strategy, messaging campaigns and metrics.
  • Proven ability to evaluate marketing research and interpret analytics and data in order to build or adapt communications strategies around such findings.
  • Demonstrated success managing teams, multiple projects and competing priorities.
  • Fiscal acumen and experience in budget development and oversight.


  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field.
  • 10+ years of progressively responsible experience in communications, marketing and/or external affairs, including five years in management at an upper or executive level in a complex organization.
  • Demonstrated ability as a collaborative, flexible, clear-thinking, strategic partner who puts the needs of the institution first and helps colleagues to be more effective in their respective roles.
  • Track record as a skilled manager, mentor and leader that can build, manage and guide high performing teams.
  • Demonstrated track record in brand/identity development and management.
  • Substantial experience in digital and web-based marketing and social media.
  • Demonstrated ability to create and implement successful, large-scale marketing campaigns, lead integrated marketing communications, and build effective media relations.
  • Proven record of people and project management with strong leadership, communications, and interpersonal skills.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in a relevant field.
  • Experience working with New York City’s media market as well as national and international press.
  • Robust understanding of key issues in higher education.
  • Community and/or government relations experience.

This job description is intended as a summary of the primary responsibilities of and qualifications for this position. The job description is not intended as inclusive of all duties an individual in this position might be asked to perform or of all qualifications that may be required either now or in the future.

Interested and qualified candidates should send resumes to Amy Segelin (

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