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State of Massachusetts Director of Strategic Communications in Boston, Massachusetts

The Education Secretariat is committed to equity and valuing the unique and diverse characteristics and experiences of every member of its workforce. We encourage an authentic workplace where colleagues show up as their full selves, where collaboration, innovation, and connections are key to realizing our mission that all children, youth, and families thrive socially, academically, and economically. We seek teammates who are committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive work environment, where everyone is valued and engaged. We encourage you to apply and identify your strengths in these areas _Position Overview_ The Director of Strategic Communications serves as internal consultant for stakeholder communications for the Department of Higher Education (Department), empowering and amplifying efforts to advance key agency objectives through expert and strategic stakeholder engagement. The Director will coordinate the efforts of the Department to communicate the need, goals, and strategies to transform the Massachusetts higher education system to serve all students, particularly Black, Latinx, and other students who have been historically excluded. The position is responsible for creating and executing an equity-minded strategic communications plan intended to heighten awareness about the importance of higher education for achieving equity and increasing social mobility and to build support for transformative change. The Director is also responsible for the Department’s media relations and direct contact with the higher education community and key external stakeholders. The Director is in charge of developing and writing a variety of communication pieces aimed at multiple audiences to ensure the Department’s messaging is accurately, effectively, and consistently conveyed to key audiences, through direct outreach as well as through local, state, and national media. The Director will work in close collaboration with subject-matter experts within the Department, as well as thought partners in state government and at higher education institutions, in carrying out these responsibilities. As a member of the Office of External Affairs within the Commissioner’s Office, the Director of Strategic Communications is a key facilitator in communicating the work of the Department. The Massachusetts Public Higher Education System The Massachusetts System of Public Higher Education (“System”) enrolls approximately 260,000 students in credit-bearing programs annually. The System consists of 15 community colleges, 9 state universities and 5 University of Massachusetts (“UMass”) campuses. Each community college and state universityhasits own Board of Trustees, while the 5 UMass campuses are overseen by the UMass Board of Trustees. The Board of Higher Education ("Board”) has coordination and oversight responsibilities for the entire System, and the BHE together with each respective Board of Trustees, expects all students, faculty, and staff to be held to exacting standards in the performance of their roles and responsibilities. In addition, the Board is the state authorizing higher education agency for all public and private higher education institutions within the Commonwealth. The BHE’s authority includes administering state financial aid, managing and responding to consumer complaints, and conducting financial institutional assessments. It is also the approving degree-granting authority for all public and most private higher education institutions operating within the Commonwealth. The BHE is staffed by its executive agency, the Department of Higher Education, which is run by a Commissioner who serves as the executive and administrative head of the Department, and secretary to the BHE. Essential Job Functions * Develop and implement an equity-minded strategic communications plan designed to heighten awareness of the importance of higher education for achieving equity and increasing social mobility and to build support for transformative change. * Ensure the delivery of accurate and useful information regarding the activities, programs, and policies of the Department and the Board internally and to stakeholders, including the executive and legislative branches of government, public and private higher education institutions, the non-profit sector, the business and industry sector, students and families, and other key stakeholders. * Author and/or provide editorial oversight for major reports and publications produced by Department staff. * Build community and develop internal and external relationships i with key stakeholders and community members to effectively convey the Department’s core mission and work. * Partner with the Director of Trustee Relations and Legislative Affairs to ensure consistent communications with members of the legislature and members of campus boards of trustees. * Partner with the Assistant Commissioner for Analytics and Digital Services and internal subject-matter experts to provide content for the DHE website and digital communications, and to ensure their use as effective communications tools for the Department. * Partner with the Director of Educational Equity and Justice in the development and execution of a strategic communications plan for the Equity Agenda. * Handle all inquiries from the media and manage the Department’s responses and coordinate appropriate inquiries with the Executive Office of Education * Develop the Department’s digital and social media strategy. * Other related and appropriate duties as assigned. _Requirements_ * Education Qualifications and Experience: * o Bachelor’s Degree in related field (public policy, communications, etc.) desirable. Demonstrated, relevant workplace experience may be substituted for completion of degree. Graduate degree preferred. o At least 5 years of experience in a position of similar responsibility, either in the public or private sector. o Proven ability to lead an organization’s strategic communications. o Knowledge of the Board’s Equity Agenda, as well as the Department’s initiatives to address educational equity and justice. o Experience and demonstrated success with project management. o Experience with Microsoft 365 o Familiarity with the current issues in Massachusetts state government, and especially with issues related to public higher education. * Skills and Attributes: * o Commitment to equity, intentionality, teamwork, accountability, community, and empowerment. o Command of written and oral communication skills and various forms of media, as well as strong organizational skills. o Ability to take initiative, assist in decisions, help resolve problems in a collegial manner with all levels of staff and constituents. o Ability to build and sustain authentic, productive working relationships with colleagues across teams, levels, and social identities. o Ability to identify and understand the needs and motivations of different audiences and communities. o Ability to review and interpret data and research on higher education trends. o Ability to exercise judgment, discretion and handle confidential information. o Exhibit a proactive approach to learning and eagerness to acquire new skills. o Adaptive capacity toward varying and changing circumstances to meet emerging or changing needs as determined by the Chief of Staff and Commissioner. o Ability and willingness to work in a hybrid (mixed face-to-face and remote) setting. Some travel to in-person meetings and events will be required. *Comprehensive Benefits* When you embark on a career with the Commonwealth, you are offered an outstanding suite of employee benefits that add to the overall value of your compensation package. We take pride in providing a work experience that supports you, your loved ones, and your future. Want the specifics? Explore our Employee Benefits and Rewards! Executive Order #595:As a condition of employment, successful applicants will be required to have received COVID-19 vaccination or an approved exemption as of their start date. Details relating to demonstrating compliance with this requirement will be provided to applicants selected for employment. Applicants who receive an offer of employment who can provide documentation that the vaccine is medically contraindicated or who object to vaccination due to a sincerely held religious belief may make a request for exemption. An Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer. Females, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. The Commonwealth is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, national origin, veteran status, or any other basis covered by appropriate law. Research suggests that qualified women, Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color (BIPOC) may self-select out of opportunities if they don't meet 100% of the job requirements. We encourage individuals who believe they have the skills necessary to thrive to apply for this role. Job: Education* *Organization: Department of Higher Education *Title: *Director of Strategic Communications Location: Massachusetts-Boston-1 Ashburton Place Requisition ID: 230005EG