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Director, External Communications and Media Relations

San Marcos, California, Miami, Florida Job ID: 617 Date posted: 10/18/2021


At the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences (USAHS), we seek innovative people that focus on supporting our learners through every stage of their educational journey. Working at USAHS allows you to put students first, while being a force for good. We believe that advancing our communities starts with a diverse employee base, so that as we interact with others, we can build bridges to trust, respect, and understanding. At USAHS, we understand how important it is to be able to come to work as your full, authentic self, bringing with you all of the experiences and ideas that are uniquely 'you'. Grow not only in your career but as a person. Be a force for good. Be the University of St. Augustine.

Success Profile

What makes a successful staff member at The University of St. Augustine? Check out the traits we’re looking for and see if you have the right mix.

  • Student First
  • Collaborate
  • Innovation
  • Customer Focus
  • Committed to Vision and Values
  • Accountable

Our Values

The mission of the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences is the development of professional healthcare practitioners through innovative, individualized, and quality classroom, clinical, and distance education.

  • Student first
  • Professionalism
  • Promoting excellence and innovation in education
  • Collaboration
  • Integrity
  • Health and wellness
  • Responsiveness
  • Creative and critical thinking


As a Certified B Corp institution since 2015, we are proud to be a part of a global movement that empowers businesses to meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance and purpose. As part of the B Corp community we are committed to working toward reducing inequality, lowering levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high-quality jobs. As part of our family, you will be given the opportunity to participate in a wide range of community projects focused on environmental sustainability and community support.

Key Benefits

  • Generous Medical, Dental & Vision Plans

  • Higher Education Tuition Assistance

  • Flexible Spending Accounts

  • Short and Long Term Disability Coverage

  • Life and Accident (AD&D) Insurance

  • 401(k) Retirement Plan

Position Description

Job ID 617 Date posted 10/18/2021


Anyone accessing a USAHS campus will be asked to voluntarily disclose and agree to provide documentation that they have been fully vaccinated* for COVID-19. *Effective Monday, February 14, USAHS will include boosters as part of its Entry Protocols.

Those who are not fully vaccinated or do not wish to disclose their vaccination status will be required to submit proof of a valid negative COVID-19 test taken within seven days prior to each campus entry.

The mission of The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences is the development of professional health care practitioners through innovation, individualized, and quality classroom, clinical, and distance education.


The Director, External Communications & Media Relations is a key member of the Marketing team and plays a lead role in advancing University of St. Augustine’s strategic goals, visibility, and reputation. In addition to telling the University's story externally through PR and media relations initiatives, this position is responsible for developing and executing the University's external relations strategy for all campuses, and in partnership with Internal Communications, Faculty, Alumni Relations, Accreditation, and other areas within the University.

The Director, Communications & Media Relations will help drive executive thought leadership, while leveraging industry knowledge and best practices to promote the mission of the University. Instrumental to this role is experience working with top education trade affiliates and local news reporters to obtain coverage in leading national and regional news outlets and leaning in to drive executive thought leadership and brand reputation.

  • Builds integrated communications, public and media relations strategies based on USAHS’s business model, goals, objectives, and target markets.
  • Collaborates to develop communications and public relations initiatives that align with brand goals/strategy of the institution.
  • Handles all incoming inquiries from the media, writes and pitches stories, devoting special attention to timely stories that enhance the public’s positive perception of the university. Drafts press releases, media advisories, and university statements, and media responses, and serves as the on-call spokesperson for the university.
  • Identifies and cultivates key media contacts, outlets, and markets to maximize coverage of news and support strategic communications goals.
  • Provides specialized media training for faculty, researchers, administrators, student leaders, and staff; assists, advises, and counsels colleges and departments on all media relations efforts.
  • Establishes and maintains a strong, collaborative, and coordinated relationship with cross-functional business partners and team members throughout USAHS and uses those relationships to create and lead communications strategies that establish and raise brand awareness of USAHS.
  • Leads communications that build and protect the reputation of USAHS and that reinforce that our students are always at the center of everything we do.
  • Creates and executes strategies that reflect and promote USAHS’s thought leadership in higher education.
  • Ensures the strategy, content, and delivery of USAHS communications considers multiple potential audiences.
  • Leads and manages communication team members who are accountable for the day-to-day communications activities at USAHS institutional level.

Public and Media Relations

  • Establishes and implements proactive and reactive media outreach in support of USAHS institutional priorities and ensures that PR/media relations priorities and messaging are aligned with/support marketing and business objectives and plans. This includes leading development of communications strategies; initiatives and integrated content that support program launches; thought leadership opportunities, innovation, diversification of programs or activities to gain awareness of our institutions; reputation, faculty and alumni; and public and media relations activities/events in key markets aligned with USAHS.
  • Leads thought leadership initiatives to enhance industry and local reputation of USAHS, faculty and alumni.
  • Leads community engagement efforts to build relationships where USAHS campuses are located and to protect reputation with local community/leaders.
  • Manages activities of USAHS external public relations agencies and/or consultants.
  • Collaborates with USAHS leadership and marketing business partners to develop compelling and effective communications strategies and messaging for external and internal audiences in support of USAHS’s institutions priorities and interests; ensures that these messages are consistently presented across relevant internal and external communication platforms, including faculty/staff, students, regulators, and the public.

Crisis/Issue Management:

  • Collaborates with USAHS and ER&PP leadership teams on external communications to mitigate the impact of a crisis;
  • Develops, manages, and leads creation of targeted messaging and talking points with speed and efficiency.
  • Manages crisis communications process and protocol, suggesting improvements and revisions as necessary.
  • Acts as University spokesperson.

Brand Reputation Management:

  • Creates and manages content including writing, video development and conference management for trade and external audiences.
  • Develops messaging, policy positioning, thought leadership pieces for the CEO and President of USAHS, as well as for prominent faculty members.

Communications Compliance and Quality:

  • Builds and protects USAHS’s reputation for keeping students at the center of everything we do.
  • Ensures USAHS external communications align with the institution’s mission, regulatory and legal parameters and are sensitive to higher education as a regulated industry.
  • Provides communications leadership and counsel upon request from throughout the USAHS organization.

Informed Business Decision Making

  • Works with USAHS marketing and business partners to ensure clear understanding of program elements such as admissions requirements, course curriculum, program outcomes, and professional accreditations.
  • Measures, reports, and analyzes all USAHS communications activity, and uses data/results to quantify expected ROI and track performance.

May perform other duties and responsibilities that management may deem necessary from time to time.


Reports to:Chief Marketing Officer

Positions Supervised: Manager of Sponsorship and external PR agencies.


To perform this job successfully an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required.Incumbents will be evaluated, in part, based on performance of each essential function.Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.


  • Bachelor’s degree required, graduate-level education desirable
  • Minimum 5-7 years communications (public relations, media relations, generalist in external communications) experience required, higher education experience preferred
    • Outstanding writing skills are a prerequisite for this position, as is the ability to tailor communication style to reflect the voices of the organization for different communications and audiences.
    • Experience managing communications in a crisis required
    • Ability to write, and apply strategic and issues management skills with speed and efficiency
    • Must have experience developing and managing a budget that aligns with key priorities, and understanding of the financial implications of public relations and media relations programs
  • Multi-lingual skills and/or experience managing communications in an international organization a plus
  • Ability to maintain in-depth understanding of the USAHS strategies in the higher education market place.
    • Ability to multi-task, triage, prioritize and manage several project requests and initiatives


Ability to travel domestically a requirement of the position.


To perform the job successfully, an individual should demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Collaborates - Building partnerships and working collaboratively with others to meet shared objectives.
  • Being Resilient - Rebounding from setbacks and adversity when facing difficult situations.
  • Instills Trust - Gaining the confidence and trust of others through honesty, integrity, and authenticity.
  • Drives Results - Consistently achieving results, even under tough circumstances.
  • Innovation - Creating new and better ways for the organization to be successful.
  • Customer Focus - Building strong customer relationships and delivering customer-centric solutions.
  • Drives Engagement - Creating a climate where people are motivated to do their best to help the organization achieve its objectives.
  • People Leadership - Leads by example when it comes to finding and developing talent, with a focus on talent acquisition strategies, setting performance targets that raises standards and development of high potential talent.

Work is performed primarily in a standard office environment but may involve exposure to moderate noise levels. Work involves operation of personal computer equipment for six to eight hours daily and includes physical demands associated with a traditional office setting, e.g., walking, standing, communicating, and other physical functions as necessary.

The University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences is an equal opportunity at will employer and does not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of age, race, religion, color, disability, sex, sexual orientation or national origin.  

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