Jobs at University Communications

  • Senior Communications Specialist/Deputy Spokesperson

    Senior Communications Specialist/Deputy Spokesperson

    Position Summary

    The Senior Communications Specialist/Deputy Spokesperson supports issues management and crisis communications activities for Michigan State University and serves as the day-to-day spokesperson for a wide variety of issues and topics. This requires continuous coordination with multiple units, individuals and activities across MSU to maintain an advanced level of situational awareness.


    • Coordinates multiple units, individuals and activities across MSU to maintain an advanced level of situational awareness.
    • Works with the University Spokesperson to develop communications strategy and content to address reputation-threatening issues.
    • In crisis situations, leads the crisis response team and is a conduit for accurate and timely information to the media and public.
    • In issues management, identifies, analyzes and collaborates in managing complicated issues and developing strategies to ensure the right messages are communicated by the right people to the right audiences both internally and externally.
    • Responds to media inquiries involving university executives and other senior administrators.
    • Develops communications strategies to advance administrative priorities and initiatives.
    • Advises individuals and units regarding media engagement and effective messaging;
    • Provides media training and coaching to units and individuals in preparation for interviews.
    • Develops effective background materials.



    The job requires:

    • Knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired by completing a four-year college degree program in journalism, communications, public relations, or related field that prepares the individual to communicate effectively with diverse audiences;
    • Five to eight years of related and progressively more responsible or expansive work experience in journalism, marketing, advertising, public relations or related field;
    • Experience leading development of communications strategy and content to address reputation-threatening issues/crisis;
    • Success serving as counsel to senior leaders/executives in difficult situations;
    • Demonstrated media relations and PR skills;
    • Proven editorial excellence;
    • Well-honed ability to quickly gather, organize and summarize critical information under deadline pressure;
    • Demonstrated ability to write simply, clearly, and persuasively;
    • Excellence in composition and editing;
    • Proven knowledge of and experience with Associate Press style, word processing, desktop publishing and Web writing;
    • Demonstrated ability to maintain calm and confidence in high-pressure, fluid situations; or an equivalent combination or education and experience. 



    The desired candidate will have:

    • A minimum of seven years of professional experience in communications strategy and execution in higher education, on political campaigns, or with advocacy organizations, including identifying and managing issues;
    • Understanding and grasp of current events and national conversation around emerging socio-political issues like #MeToo, gun control, inclusion and equity, etc.;
    • Quickly understanding, analyzing and recommending courses of action for complex issues and effectively communicating complex ideas;
    • Demonstrated excellence in developing communication plans;
    • Strong newswriting ability;
    • Demonstrated experience using social media platforms;
    • Thorough understanding of higher education roles, functions and issues;
    • Ability to build strong working relationships and communicate effectively with members of the media;
    • Proven ability to promote messaging and stories.


    How to Apply

    To assure full consideration, please apply online at by July 23, 2019. The posting is No. 589767. Applications must include a cover letter, resume, and four references.

    About MSU/East Lansing

    Michigan State University is situated on a beautiful, park-like campus, close to major metropolitan centers, with outlying research facilities and natural areas and a proud land-grant heritage. The campus is located in East Lansing and adjacent to the capital city of Lansing, with a diverse population of approximately 450,000. Local communities have excellent school systems and place a high value on education. The campus has nearly 5,500 faculty and academic staff, more than 6,300 support staff, and more than 50,000 students. MSU is an equal-opportunity employer committed to supporting and actively increasing diversity in all areas of campus. MSU is proactive in exploring opportunities for employment of dual-career couples, both inside and outside the university. Information about MSU’s dual-career support can be found at

    MSU is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. MSU is committed to achieving excellence through a diverse workforce and inclusive culture that encourages all people to reach their full potential. The university actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans, and persons with disabilities.