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Executive Associate for Public Affairs and Communications (University Relations)

Apply now Job no: 495112
Position type: EAP - Executive, Administrative, Professional
Location: Allendale, Michigan, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Categories: Communications/Public Relations/Marketing

Reporting to the Vice President and Chief Public Affairs and Communications Officer and Secretary, Board of Trustees, the Executive Associate for Public Affairs and Communications (University Relations) will support leadership in achieving university and University Relations division goals. This position will serve in a leadership capacity within the division helping to ensure the successful implementation of its strategic plan. They will provide primary support to initiatives originating within the division as well as occasionally within the Office of the President and will serve as lead for project management within the division. This position will collaborate with the Executive Assistant to ensure the effective operation of the Division’s Office and will lead its internal communications. They will collaborate on large divisional projects as well as work to support leadership initiatives in collaboration with other divisions. This key role will work directly with the Vice President as well as other divisional leaders and other unit leaders to create transformational change within the division to effect greater impact for our students, alumni, friends, and community.


  1. Conduct regular meetings of the divisional leadership team, monitor deadlines, receive progress reports, and communicate the status of ongoing projects back to the Vice President. 
  2. Advise on and execute the internal communications strategy for the Office of the Vice President and by extension, the larger division.
  3. Provide support for senior leadership team initiatives for which primary execution responsibility lies with PAC. Liaise with key stakeholders, conduct appropriate research, prepare strategy and planning documents, identify potential solutions, and provide insights to the Vice President.
  4. Function as an additional point of contact for the Office of the President, members of the senior leadership team, and other university leaders ensuring transfer of knowledge to the Vice President and other appropriate team members.
  5. Serve as a thought partner to the Vice President on campus-wide initiatives, suggesting and facilitating meetings with stakeholders across campus to drive activity and results ultimately aiding in the successful achievement of the University’s strategic plan.
  6. Assist in the coordination of activities of the PAC team to align with the needs of the Office of the President, ensuring the President is well supported.
  7. Liaise with the Executive Assistant and employee groups to advance division communications, service, social, learning, and diversity, equity, and inclusion projects.
  8. Identify and coordinate professional development opportunities for division staff utilizing internal expertise and, as appropriate, professional association meetings and conferences.
  9. Be a visible ambassador for the division across campus.
  10. Perform other duties as required/assigned by leadership.


  • Bachelor’s degree or knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired by completing a four-year college degree program in communications, public relations, marketing and/or business.
  • Computer proficiency with a working knowledge of CRM databases
  • Self-directing and able to complete projects without significant oversight.
  • Curious and willing to challenge assumptions.
  • Five or more years working experience in a professional or academic setting.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and manage projects from inception to conclusion.
  • Outstanding organizational skills and ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Able to apply critical and strategic thinking to quickly identify the crux of a problem, question, or issue.
  • Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal communications skills with strong attention to detail.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills and ability to work collaboratively with all levels of staff, volunteers, donors, and prospective donors.
  • Displays a high level of integrity and trust and must be a self-starter with a sense of urgency and a clear set of expectations.
  • Able to engage as a part of a team to meet personal and jointly held goals.
  • Meets challenges with curiosity and a desire to learn.
  • Professional demeanor


  • Supervisory experience.
  • Great storytelling skills and strong public speaking skills.
  • Prior experience working with senior level executives and professionals.
  • Understanding of community engagement and government systems.
  • Experience working within Higher Education in a communications, project management or marketing role.
  • Proven successful experience working in a complex environment on multiple and diverse projects either in academic, corporate, or non-profit setting.
  • A track record as a builder of programs and a manager of change.


Normal office environment. Some travel may be required.

Physical Demands:  To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.  Must have the physical stamina to work long hours and/or more than 5 days per week.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.  

The requirements listed are representative of the knowledge, skill and/or ability required.

Salary: Salary starting at $110,000, commensurate with experience 

Department/Division: University Relations

Campus: Allendale and Grand Rapids Pew Campus

How To Apply: Apply online at and select "Apply now".  Please include a cover letter and resume. The online application will allow you to attach these documents electronically. On the application, you will be required to provide names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses for three professional references. Applicants selected for interviews will be required to submit official transcripts prior to the interview. If you need assistance, please call Human Resources at 616-331-2215.

Application Deadline: Application review begins December 4. The posting may be closed at any time at the discretion of the University. 

The University is an affirmative action, equal opportunity institution, consistent with its obligations as a federal contractor. It encourages diversity and provides equal opportunity in education, employment, all of its programs, and the use of its facilities. It is committed to protecting the constitutional and statutory civil rights of persons connected with the University. Members of the University community, including students, employees, faculty, staff, administrators, Board members, consultants, vendors, others engaged to do business with the University, candidates for employment or admissions, and visitors or guests have the right to be free from acts of harassment and discrimination, including sexual misconduct, as defined by this policy. In accordance with applicable federal and state law and this policy, acts of discrimination or harassment by members of the campus community are prohibited if they discriminate or harass on the basis of age, color, disability, familial status, height, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex/gender (including gender identity and expression), sexual orientation, veteran or active duty military status or weight. This includes inappropriate limitation of, access to, or participation in educational, employment, athletic, social, cultural, or other university programs and activities. The University will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. Limitations are lawful if they are: directly related to a legitimate university purpose, required by law, or lawfully required by a grant or contract between the university and the state or federal government. For the purposes of this policy, sex-/gender-based harassment includes sexual misconduct, sexual assault, interpersonal or relationship violence, and stalking. See TDD Callers: Call Michigan Relay Center at 711 (in State) or 1-800-833-7833 (out of State).

To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. Must have the physical stamina to work long hours and/or more than 5 days per week. The requirements listed are representative of the knowledge, skill and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. The information contained in this job description is for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended by the ADA Amendment Act (2008), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and other applicable federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. GVSU will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request.

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