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Associate Director of Strategic Communications

  • Requisition no: 521961
  • Work type: Full Time
  • Location: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
  • School/Department: Earth Institute
  • Grade: Grade 14
  • Categories: Commun/PR/Editorial, Development/Alumni Relations
  • Job Type: Officer of Administration
  • Bargaining Unit:
  • Regular/Temporary: Regular
  • End Date if Temporary:
  • Hours Per Week: 35
  • Salary Range:

Position Summary

The Columbia Climate School of Columbia University seeks an Associate Director of Strategic Communications for a full-time career opportunity. Reporting jointly to the Associate Dean of Development and the Director of Communications, the Associate Director of Strategic Communications will lead the development of strategic external communications and programs with a special focus on elevating the profile of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The Associate Director of Strategic Communications will implement external communications aligned with the Columbia Climate School and Lamont strategic priorities; conceptualizing, creating, executing, and evaluating web and print communications, social media initiatives, e-newsletters, annual report, and blogs. The Associate Director of Strategic Communications will oversee staff connected to the execution of these communications including, but not limited to the webmaster who also jointly reports. In this role, the Associate Director of Strategic Communications will straddle communication responsibilities for both the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Columbia Climate School Development office as it relates to funding proposals, donor appeals, stewardship reports, donor messaging, and special projects. In addition, the director will respond to media inquiries, pitch stories, write briefing documents and prepare experts for media interviews along with colleagues within the communication department.

The Associate Director of Strategic Communications works within both the communications team and development office, serving as a liaison between teams. Other duties and responsibilities may be assigned, as deemed appropriate by the Associate Dean of Development and Director of Communications.


  • Responsible for planning, creating, initiating and managing the marketing and communications of LDEO institutional, scientific and research leadership through the development of messaging, delivery of messaging through the right channels including developing relationships with industry and funding influencers.
  • Initiates, develops, coordinates and distributes communications materials, that promote and align the Columbia Climate School and LDEO with key audiences including implementing specific marketing approaches that support development efforts.
  • Plan for and oversee production of web and printed material such as e-blasts, annual reports, e-newsletters, promotional materials and annual appeal packages.
  • Develop strategies for issue-focused campaigns, audience engagement and capacity building.
  • Work closely with LDEO scientists, development office, director’s office and communications team to ensure internal and external messages are aligned and impact on all audiences is on target. Within this framework, work closely with PI’s to communicate their research through press strategies including blog posts, media advisories and multi-media packages.
  • Manages freelance writers, designers and multi-media producers.
  • Research and write proposals, stewardship, annual and other reports to support strategic initiatives, development and communications efforts and special projects.
  • Manage and measure effectiveness of official social media accounts and lead the organization in best practice strategies for leveraging social media to accomplish communication goals.
  • Identify new communications and engagement opportunities to engage potential donors and steward existing donors, measure and report on the effectiveness of these initiatives.
  • Respond to media inquiries, pitch stories, write briefing documents and prepare experts for media interviews along with colleagues within the communication department.
  • Deliver communication training to scientists and present communications efforts to diverse audiences, at Columbia and professional meetings, such as AGU.
  • All other duties and responsibilities, as deemed appropriate by the Associate Dean of Development and Director of Communications. 
  • Works with supervision from the Senior Director of Development.  Directly supervises a full-time Webmaster.  Recruits and supervises freelancers.
  • Confidential access to financial information to initiate and/or assist budget preparation.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree in English, Journalism/Science Journalism or Communications preferred. Five to seven years of experience with developing and managing strategic communications efforts required, with priority for higher education fundraising and/or external relations and/or issues of sustainable development preferred.

Other Requirements

  • Excellent written and editing skills required. 
  • Marketing savvy, especially in the digital realm. 
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, multi-faceted environment and to manage several projects at one time.
  • Must be professional, highly organized, creative and efficient, and collaborative – able to work successfully both individually and as part of a team.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite and the Adobe Creative Suite essential.
  • This position requires occasional evening or weekend work.

Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer - Race / Gender / Disability / Veteran

The Lamont campus values diversity and inclusion, and encourages applications from members of underrepresented minority groups.

We accept online applications only.  

Applications open: Eastern Standard Time
Applications close:

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