Director, Communications

Back to Blogs Posted: November 10, 2021
University of British Columbia
November 10, 2021
Vancouver, Canada
Job Type
Level of Experience
Established professional, Strategic advisor, Business leader


Job Description Summary

UBC s Office of the CIO and the portfolio s within it, provide strategic leadership to UBC s faculties and departments system wide in areas such as IT strategy, planning, governance, architecture and information security. In addition, reporting to the CIO, the Information Technology department, UBC IT, provides a wide variety of services designed to enable teaching, learning, and research across the University and in the broader, external higher education community. UBC IT provides services directly to campus users, and also partners with multiple faculties at a senior level to deliver an integrated and comprehensive set of IT services across campus. UBC is currently engaged in a transformation program aimed at renewing enterprise IT services and IT service delivery across UBC. As such, campus communications are a critical component of ensuring alignment between the various IT groups across campus.

The Director, Communications is responsible for the overall strategic direction of the UBC IT s integrated communications, marketing and branding functions including strategic planning and implementation, media relations, issues management, and internal and external communication programs and materials. The Director, Communications is responsible for developing communications strategies that have a university-wide audience and impact.

The Director is required to conceptualize, implement and lead a full range of comprehensive communications and marketing strategies designed to support staff and stakeholders; and promote the CIO s strategy and service portfolio across UBC at various levels including UBC Board of Governors, UBC Executive, Deans, Unit and Department heads, as well as externally at the local, provincial, national and international levels through various media. The Director will provide expertise and leadership to enhance and support the communications and marketing efforts of the organization, while insuring integration with University-wide communications plans and projects.

The position will also be responsible for developing effective relationships with various stakeholders and vendors, both internal and external to UBC, to develop opportunities for integrated and joint marketing and media ventures. The Director ensures that all campaigns either in the Office of the CIO or within the UBC Information Technology unit align with UBC Public Affairs, the President s Office, UBC Ceremonies, as well as the greater UBC Strategic plan for marketing and media, by playing a key role in communicating campus wide marketing and media.

The Director, Communications will oversee the communications strategy for specific enterprise initiatives including the Privacy and Information Security Management (PrISM), Data Governance, and small to medium size projects within the UBC IT and Office of the CIO portfolio.

Organizational Status

The Director, Communications works at a senior level within the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) reporting to the Deputy Chief Information Officer, UBC. Work is reviewed in terms of effectiveness of communications and marketing activities, optimization of resources, customer satisfaction, and achievement of broad strategic goals. Actively participates as a member of the OCIO and UBC IT senior leadership team. Participates in industry conferences and forums. Actively interacts with key customers and user communities relating to the UBC IT portfolio of services. Authorized to act as required in emergency situations relating to the IT communication portfolios.

Work Performed

- Provide strategic counsel to the CIO and DCIO roles for branding & Communications and is responsible for ensuring the IT initiatives, programs and projects consider communications requirements through conception, planning and execution stages.

- Ensure that all communication plans are aligned with the objectives of the strategic initiatives and are consistently within OCIO & UBC IT brand and strategy guidelines.

- Develop and implement strategic communications plans, change and marketing projects to support the CIO s strategic initiatives and transformation projects across all of UBC and the higher education sector at large.

- Design, development and implementation of an effective and appropriate organizational structure and team; including management and mentoring of staff responsible for university-wide communications and brand marketing activities.

- Continue to develop and mature a the Communications Office within the OCIO that lays out a clear framework for communications including governance, review processes, escalation mechanisms, policies and procedures, and roles and responsibilities.

- Leads the graphics, signage activities of the OCIO & UBC IT; setting standards that can also be adopted by other programs and client groups

- Develop or ensure the development and continual maturation of strategic marketing, communications and incident handling plans, policies, standards, and budgets for the implementation and ongoing support of integrated communications initiatives across the OCIO & UBC IT enterprise services portfolio. This includes building and maintaining effective working relationships with UBC Public Affairs, the President s Office, UBC Ceremonies, and other UBC community groups.

- Acting as a champion of UBC s strategic plans and marketing/media initiatives; ensuring the policies and practices are adhered to.

- Oversee development of processes and templates related to initiatives such as service outage and business continuity communications across faculties.

- Advise and assist senior IT managers on internal and external communications projects in coordination with the overall UBC & UBC IT communications strategy;

- Human resources and budget responsibilities for communications portfolio including hiring, managing, coaching, evaluating and terminating of staff and contractors as required.

- Oversee annual campus events, and special events as required

- Oversee the development and production of communications materials for OCIO & UBC IT initiatives; directs the OCIO & UBC IT website, print collateral, and videos;

- Liaise with academic partners and UBC departments such as Public Affairs and the Office of the University Counsel to prepare joint communications around OCIO & UBC IT operational and transformational technology.

- Develop strong communications skills within the OCIO communications team; develop staff career paths, and apply HR best practices in leading the team.

- Oversee planning and execution of training plans, documentation, and communications as required to facilitate change among end users and stakeholders.

- Build client satisfaction measurement strategy framework, including survey, feedback forms and focus groups.

- Maintain relationships with UBC IT Leadership team to ensure technology program communications are aligned with the strategic direction of UBC IT.

- Liaises with UBC departments in coordinating joint communications around technology and change, such as policies and procedures for IT security and privacy with Faculties, Public Affairs, the Office of the University Counsel.

- Manages staff, consultants and external service provides, directly and indirectly through other team staff.

- Maintain skills and professional accreditations as appropriate.

- Other duties as required.

Consequence of Error/Judgement

The Office of the CIO and the Information Technology department play a key role in enabling the University to achieve its goal of becoming one of the world s leading universities through the use of technology. The CIO and leadership team is engaged in a series of transformation initiatives intended to stabilize and transform UBC s IT infrastructure and application environment. This role is critical in shaping awareness of the changes across campus, and helping the community understand how to best leverage a new technology environment. Audiences include: University leadership, including Board of Governors, UBC Executive, Deans, academic units with responsibility for teaching, learning and scholarship; administrative units responsible for the efficient, cost effective delivery of a wide range of services and processes that must meet the needs of students, faculty and staff; students who need to know what services are available in order to support their learning environments; and a wide range of individual faculty, staff, and external stakeholder groups.

The Director plays a key role in ensuring that these audiences are aware of the IT services and support required to achieve their mandates and strategic objectives.

If the communication strategies are not aligned with UBC IT s overall goals, the University s information technology resources may not reach their full potential of enabling the University to achieve its strategic goals and vision. As the Director, Communications will be providing advice and assistance to numerous IT groups, the impact of decisions, and the consequences of error will be far reaching, affecting the awareness of technology services across campus.

Supervision Received

Works under the administrative direction of the Deputy Chief Information Officer, UBC. Results are reviewed for achievement of overall and long term objectives and broad strategic goals. The Director, Communications has interdependencies with the members of the OCIO and UBC IT Leadership team. The incumbent in the role must be able to work independently and assume full responsibility for his/her decisions.

Supervision Given

This position manages senior communications staff and directs the work of internal and external service providers, including contractors, designers and printers.

Preferred Qualifications

Undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline.University degree in a related discipline such as Communications, Marketing, Commerce, Business Administration.A minimum of 8 years of experience or the equivalent combination of education and experience.Demonstrated managerial experience plus specialized experience in the design and implementation of major communication initiatives, or the equivalent combination of education and experience.

Demonstrated experience leading a team, and utilizing management practices such as budgeting, performance management, staff development.

Demonstrated exceptional communications skills such as development of marketing materials, event planning, presentation skills, written materials, and communication plans. Demonstrated experience in strategic planning and working with IT products and services, such as Email, Portals, Blogs, Wiki s, Intranets, web and videoconferencing tools

Demonstrated experience developing business plans, communication strategies, marketing strategies, project charter and other management documents.

Demonstrated ongoing career development through active and self-motivated professional development.

Demonstrated track record and commitment to delivering results and proactively supporting the applications.

Experience in areas of strategic planning, tactical planning, project management, risk management, business process improvement, continuous improvement, quality assurance, research, and customer service Ability to communicate effectively with the media and public relations agencies.Exceptional ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing (reading, writing, listening, speaking, and presentation).Ability to develop and maintain cooperative and productive working relationships.Ability to work effectively independently and in a team environment.Ability to effectively market and promote products and services and to select the most effective communication media for a situation.Ability to effectively lead committees and plan meetings.Ability to effectively identify, obtain, and effectively manage organizational resources (e.g., people, materials, assets, budgets).Ability to effectively manage multiple tasks and prioritize.Ability to mentor and coach staff, and act as a resource.Ability to build relationships and to consult with customers and potential customers.

Ability to interact at all organizational levels.

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