Director of Communications

University of Michigan, School of Music, Theatre & Dance

TO APPLY: Visit UM Job Boards at A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline your skills and experience that directly relate to this position.

Position Summary: In concert with the School’s Chief Advancement Officer, the Director of Communications will lead all communications strategies for the School of Music, Theatre & Dance to promote SMTD’s leadership in arts education and contributions to the success of the University of Michigan. The goal of the position is to help maximize admissions, donations, and allocations from the University through the creation of communications messaging and collateral that presents the School in cohesive, dynamic and effective formats. The position directs extensive storytelling in multiple formats including print (Michigan Muse magazine, view books, brochures, advertisements), web content, video, and social media.

  • Creating, implementing and measuring the success of a comprehensive marketing, communications and public relations program that helps SMTD achieve its strategic goals.
  • Ensuring that the Marketing and Communications strategy and implementation time line supports the Dean’s priorities and helps the School achieve its overarching strategic goals
  • Overseeing editorial direction, design, production and distribution of electronic and print publications and deliverables, including the Michigan Muse, the School’s bi-annual alumni magazine. Includes content selection; story assignments for guest writers/freelancers; reporting, writing, and editing; assigning photographers and choosing photographs and other graphic elements; and working with outside designers to steer overall design concepts. Hires and supervises freelancers as needed and assigns and supervises Muse workload for communications staff.
  • Cultivating and coordinating media interest in SMTD and ensuring regular contact with target media and appropriate response to media requests
  • Directs/edits and/or writes news updates and feature stories for the SMTD website and other communications vehicles to increase awareness for School’s accomplishments, initiatives, and events. Prioritizes and chooses stories, creates and oversees guidelines for story placement.
  • Acts as primary public relations/media agent for the School, serving as liaison between SMTD and University News Service and as initial media contact for the School. Strategically publicizes SMTD and its events, initiatives, projects, faculty, alumni, students, major successes and other announcements to University publications and outside media through dynamic storytelling. Includes writing press releases and other press materials, setting up media interviews, drafting talking points, providing media training, and sharing media successes with constituents.
  • Supports the work of annual giving appeals, fundraising proposals, presentations, case statements, and related collateral for the Department of Development & External Relations by providing direction, voice and occasional writing.
  • Provides scripting, letters, and other communication vehicles for the Dean, including talking points, speeches, etc.
  • Works collaboratively with U-M Office of Public Affairs to strategize and draft crisis communications and disseminate them to media and internal and external audiences
  • Works collaboratively with University Productions Marketing Specialist to ensure marketing and communications efforts are in unison, effectively promoting main stage productions.


Directly leads and supervises work of support staff that includes videographer, marketing & social media manager, and special events & promotions manager:

  • Strategizes and directs video production, writes video scripts, works closely with videographer to choose video formats, interview subjects, and shooting locations; determines distribution channels and scheduling of video projects.
  • Oversees marketing & social media manager in producing posters, ads, calendar of events, brochures, and other promotional collateral; insures accurate design and use standards of U-M branding campaign; supervises social media messaging and strategy across all available and evolving platforms; insures quality and frequency of communications.
  • Leads communications team in providing creative content of all kinds to promote all areas of the School, including Admissions; Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; EXCEL Lab; Engagement & Outreach; the Office of the Dean; and individual academic departments. Provides ancillary supervision, as needed, to University Productions marketing and communications efforts.
  • At the University level, builds relationships with other marketing, communication and external relations officers to develop mutually beneficial messages and to ensure that SMTD is consistently and effectively represented.
  • Identifies, prepares, and promotes positive messages about the impact of SMTD activity on the University mission.

  • Demonstrated strategic leadership of a marketing organization, knowledge and experience in the design, execution and management of marketing, communications and public relations activities.
  • Ability to lead a team of professionals toward a strategic vision.
  • A strategic mindset with the ability to understand the big picture as well as the details.
  • The ability to form strong partnerships with a diverse set of individuals and groups.
  • Stellar communication, presentation and change management skills.
  • A proven track-record of accomplishing goals and delivering products on-time and within budget.
  • Commitment to establishing and maintaining a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for all members of our community.
  • A bachelor’s degree in journalism, English, communications, public relations or related field. A master’s degree is preferred.
  • A minimum of 8+ years of professional experience in a related field.
  • Familiarity with higher education, university policies as well as familiarity with performing arts, a plus.
  • Demonstrated supervisory experience.
  • Ability to motivate employees to achieve a high level of performance and professionalism.
  • Superb written, editorial and oral communication skills required.
  • Experience writing and editing web content; particularly for news articles or event promotional material.
  • Demonstrate creativity and familiarity with a variety of marketing concepts, practices and procedures.
  • Knowledge of graphic design principles and practices.
  • Ability to keep on top of emerging social media trends; ability to promote all forms of media.
  • Ability to organize and prioritize responsibilities.
  • Ability to maintain collegial relationships within SMTD as well as across campus.
  • Ability to adapt to a changing landscape of academic offerings and organizational change.

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