Water Resources Center Senior Communications Specialist

Classification: Senior Communications Specialist (9797SC)
Full-time position (1 FTE)

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The Senior Communications Specialist is responsible for leading communications initiatives at the University of Minnesota’s Water Resources Center (WRC). This position supports research, education, outreach, and Extension programs in the WRC through strategic communication projects. The goals of the position are two-fold: 1) to develop communications materials that convey the results and outcomes of activities at the WRC and 2) to build communications capacity among the WRC staff and affiliated researchers, educators, and partners. In that role, the Senior Communications specialist will also develop and implement communications strategies for the Center and individual programs within the WRC. Methods to achieve these objectives include, but are not limited to, creating and coordinating an enhanced online presence; developing print and electronic communications materials; and organizing training and other capacity-building opportunities for staff and partners.

Develops communications materials (40%)

  • Develops, writes, and edits materials to communicate the results and outcomes of water-related research, education, Extension, and outreach for audiences at the University and across Minnesota.
  • Works with a range of print and electronic media, including project reports, fact sheets, infographics, newsletters, email updates, flyers, websites, social media, podcasts, and videos.
  • Works with the WRC communications associate and other staff to develop and distribute materials.

Builds communications capacity among WRC staff, affiliated researchers, Extension educators, and partners (30%)

  • Trains staff on best-in-class communications practices, including techniques for communicating complex scientific results to the public and policymakers.
  • Serves as a liaison with other College and University communications staff and offices.
  • Connects WRC staff with external communications resources (e.g., graphic design contractors)

Develops, implements, and evaluates communications strategies and plans (20%)

  • Initiates, designs, develops, and implements communication strategy for the Water Resources Center and its affiliates.
  • Evaluates the effectiveness of the communications strategy. For example, identifies communication goals; develop measurement tools (e.g., surveys, website clicks); gathers information/data; performs analysis; reports findings, and makes recommendations to improve communications across the WRC.
  • Tracks and reports on impact of WRC communication activities through website and other online analytics

Interacts with the media (10%)

  • Identifies and amplifies media presence of WRC staff, programs, and affiliates through a range of channels
  • Serves as the primary communications contact for the Water Resources Center.

Required Qualifications, Experience, and Skills

  • Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Journalism, Marketing, or related field with four (4) years of professional experience or bachelor’s degree in water or natural resource field with six years of progressive responsibility in communications.
  • Demonstrated experience and expertise with a range of communication strategies including, but not limited to, face-to-face, print, web, and digital media.

Preferred Qualifications, Experience, and Skills

  • Interest in water resources science, management, education, and policy.
  • Demonstrated experience with graphic design, copy editing, and document layout.
  • Demonstrated experience developing and implementing a communications strategy, establishing and maintaining an online presence, and training staff on communications techniques.
  • Demonstrated project management skills (ability to develop project timelines, attention to detail, manage joint projects).
  • Ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships and collaborations with colleagues, partners, and stakeholders, including those that may have diverse missions, goals, and backgrounds.
  • Ability to incorporate new technology into communications materials and techniques.
  • Commitment to diversity and success engaging with underrepresented communities.
  • Commitment to ongoing professional development.

Required Documentation

To be considered for this position, please include the following documentation in your application:

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Two (2) examples of work products for which you were the primary creator
  • Unofficial transcripts


To ensure your application receives full consideration, please submit by October 12, 2018. Review of applications will be ongoing and continue until position is filled.

About the Department

The Water Resources Center is an interdepartmental unit of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences and University of Minnesota Extension. It is also Minnesota’s member of the National Institutes for Water Resources, giving it a Congressional mandate to conduct and organize research relevant to water resource concerns in the state. The center is the administrative home of the interdisciplinary Water Resources Science graduate program, involving over 100 faculty members spanning over 20 departments at the Twin Cities and Duluth Campuses. The center also provides professional training programs and hosts numerous events including the annual Minnesota Water Resources Conference.

About the University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (UMTC), is among the largest public research universities in the country, offering undergraduate, graduate, and professional students a multitude of opportunities for study and research. Located at the heart of one of the nation's most vibrant, diverse metropolitan communities, students on the campuses in Minneapolis and St. Paul benefit from extensive partnerships with world-renowned health centers, international corporations, government agencies, and arts, nonprofit, and public service organizations.