The Leading Authority For Campus Public Safety

Director of Strategic Communications, Public Safety and Security

Institution name: University of Michigan

Title: Director of Strategic Communications, Division of Public Safety and Security

Job location: MI

Job category: AVP/Campus Chief/Public Safety (Department Leader) positions


Posting date: 2023-01-24 00:00:00

End date: 2023-02-24 00:00:00

The University of Michigan, the state’s public flagship university and one of the preeminent research universities, seeks an energetic leader, skilled communicator, and collaborative campus partner to serve as Director of Strategic Communications for the Division of Public Safety and Security.

From the time of its founding in 1817, the University of Michigan has developed into a national model of a complex, diverse, and comprehensive institution of higher learning that supports excellence in research; provides outstanding undergraduate, graduate, and professional education; and demonstrates a commitment to public service and engagement. It is one of only two institutions consistently ranked among the nation’s top ten public universities, and many of its departments and professional schools are ranked among the top ten in the country. The University has an annual budget of over $10.7 billion and an endowment of $17 billion, among the largest in the nation. The Ann Arbor campus is 35 miles southwest of Detroit, with regional campuses located in the cities of Dearborn and Flint.

Created in October 2012 to unify security functions that previously were embedded within different areas of the institution, the Division of Public Safety and Security (DPSS) is responsible for a comprehensive array of integrated, collaborative programs and services designed to maximize campus safety and improve the quality of life for all those living, learning, working, healing, and visiting within the community.

Reporting to the Executive Director of the Division of Public Safety and Security and serving as an integral part of his Leadership Team, the Director of Strategic Communications administers a broad, comprehensive array of internal and external communications and manages all messaging emanating from the division, including, but not limited to, time-sensitive emergency messaging and crisis communication that can occur at any time of day or night. This position also develops a robust array of marketing, education, and outreach materials that enhance public awareness of DPSS programs and services, as well as the mission of the division. The Director identifies, develops, and implements short-term, long-term, and strategic communication plans for DPSS; advises, engages, relates to, and influences executive leadership, university administration, and community partners in matters pertaining to information sharing and distribution; and develops rich content for the division’s website, social media, and electronic and print communications utilizing innovative and cutting-edge tools. The Director develops collaborative partnerships with other institutional stakeholders on public safety and related messaging; directs, leads, updates, and monitors communications projects and online platforms to ensure website content and communications are accurate, timely, and error-free; serves as an adviser to the top executive leadership of the division on the communication and development of policies, programs, and public relations issues; composes and edits executive communications, including high-level crises communications and presentations and talking points for the Executive Director; and utilizes benchmarking and other evaluation methods to assess crucial key metrics (e.g., website traffic, media attention, and social media following) to identify any emerging or trending campus or local safety and security issues. Additionally, the Director serves as the primary liaison to the University of Michigan Social Communications department, coordinating any collaborative content opportunities, and promotes high-quality overall communication by assisting in general writing and editing for the division.

The Director supervises and provides strategic direction for three full-time professional staff, as well as a small group of student staff, and manages an annual budget of $464,000.

A bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and at least five years of progressively responsible leadership and work experience in public or private sector communications or marketing, or an equivalent combination of education and experience, are required. Other requirements include diplomacy, tact, and the ability to present compelling arguments; excellent oral and written communication skills; demonstrated experience with a variety of social media platforms; a history of solid performance and leadership initiative; proven experience working collaboratively and communicating effectively with others; and experience working on multiple projects and programs requiring coordination under tight deadlines. The successful candidate will possess demonstrated superior persuasive, narrative, and descriptive writing skills; the ability to communicate engagingly and effectively with a wide range of constituencies across a diverse community; a proactive and creative approach to using evolving technology and social media to support communication strategies; a proven track record in developing original communication approaches and exploring best practices; demonstrated ability to generate time-sensitive, quality work products and thrive in a fast-paced environment; solid aptitude for sharing complex program information, building effective relationships, and gathering feedback; and the flexibility and willingness to adopt schedule changes as needed, as the Director must be accessible after-hours, on weekends, and during holidays as necessary.

Review of applications will begin February 17, 2023, and continue until the position is filled. A resume with an accompanying cover letter may be submitted via the Spelman Johnson website at Nominations for this position may be emailed to J. Scott Derrick at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email

Visit the University of Michigan website at

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

COVID-19 vaccinations, including one booster when eligible, are required for all University of Michigan students, faculty, and staff across all campuses, including Michigan Medicine.

Member Resources

CONNECTIONS is IACLEA's member community featuring peer networking and a full library of resources for the betterment of campus public safety.