Communications Manager

Nashville, TN

The Communications Manager for The Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy is a two-year term professional position that is part of the Executive Communications and Institutional Projects team within the Communications and Marketing team at Vanderbilt University. The Communications Manager is a key contributor responsible for developing and implementing communications plans and tactics in support of the university’s mission and leading priorities. This position will lead communications planning and project management for the Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy, (“the project”) a high-visibility institutional initiative that aims to advance research and evidence-based reasoning into the national discourse on unity. The ideal candidate has direct communications experience with political campaigns, federal or state policy-focused initiatives or foundations, Capitol Hill (U.S. Congress) or within a federal or gubernatorial administration.  

Reporting directly to the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Executive Communications and Institutional Projects, the Communications Manager will work with the project’s executive director and leadership to identify opportunities that elevate awareness and engagement of the project on a regional, national and when appropriate, international scale, inclusive of high-profile thought leadership events and positioning. This position will oversee the Communications Coordinator for the Project and will manage the Agency of Record for the project.

The Communications and Marketing team at Vanderbilt is a dynamic and collaborative group. The division serves as the institution-wide center of excellence for communications and marketing, developing and executing strategies that inform, engage and inspire others to participate in Vanderbilt University’s global academic and research mission. The division is a key strategic adviser and partner for the mission-based work of the university, providing comprehensive communications and marketing plans and thoughtful analysis on messaging opportunities and constraints. The Communications and Marketing team delivers impactful marketing and communications results across key audiences to serve the larger mission, values and priorities of the university. Within the broader team, the Executive Communications and Institutional Projects team leads executive communications planning and execution while also serving as the coordinating entity for communications-based institutional projects and campaigns that stretch across divisions at the university and have defined goals and timelines.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Build and maintain relationships with staff, faculty and school communicators to identify compelling stories and opportunities that inform, engage and inspire the Vanderbilt community and relevant external stakeholders.
  • Advise faculty, staff and alumni relations on communications opportunities to integrate the Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy into university initiatives. 
  • Project-manage execution of all communications tactics in collaboration Communications and Marketing colleagues that oversee signature events, social media, media relations, issues management, editorial and content development, email, digital and print content development, UI/UX strategy, marketing solutions and visual media to ensure efforts are coordinated and messaging is consistent across channels.
  • Manage key message development and updates across all project assets and initiatives.
  • Demonstrate fluency with media relations, social media and project management best practices.
  • Plan and maintain editorial calendars and production timelines for assigned coverage areas.
  • Coordinate resolution of project challenges by communicating effectively and professionally to leaders and colleagues across the division.
  • Monitor and report out project performance metrics and results to Division of Marketing and Communications and to key stakeholders.
  • Provide overall support as needed and assigned for project priorities.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the university’s mission, values, goals and priorities and an ability to ensure that all are considered in developing communications strategies.
  • Communicate and collaborate effectively with a wide range of audiences.
  • Efficiently and effectively manage multiple, complex and results-oriented projects with quick turn requirements.
  • Adhere to confidentiality and business ethics; demonstrate outstanding judgment and discretion.
  • Perform other relevant duties as assigned.


  • A bachelor’s degree is necessary.
  • At least 5 years of experience in political or policy-related communications, public relations, marketing, journalism or related field is necessary.
  • Ability to showcase previous experience managing a complex project at the national level is necessary.
  • Measured experience in marketing and communications strategy, thought leadership positioning, managing cross-functional relationships, and guiding projects from start to finish is necessary
  • Experience working on a political campaign, federal policy-driven initiative or foundation, Capitol Hill (U.S. Congress) or within a federal or gubernatorial administration is preferred.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

At Vanderbilt University, we are intentional about and assume accountability for fostering advancement and respect for equity, diversity, and inclusion for all students, faculty, and staff. Our commitment to diversity makes us who we are. We have created a community that celebrates differences and lets individuality thrive. As part of this commitment, we actively value diversity in our workplace and learning environments as we seek to take advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of everyone. The diverse voices of Vanderbilt represent an invaluable resource for the University in its efforts to fulfill its mission and strive to be an example of excellence in higher education.


Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.


Please note, all candidates selected for an offer of employment are subject to pre-employment background checks, which may include but are not limited to, based on the role for which they have been selected: criminal history, education verification, social media review, motor vehicle records, credit history, and professional license verification.

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