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Director, Issues and Media Relations - Contract / Contrat

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Queen's University

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Industry Sector: Social Services/Education / Services sociaux/ Éducation

Organization Description:

Queen’s University is the Canadian research intensive university with a transformative student learning experience.  Here the employment experience is as diverse as it is interesting.  We have opportunities in multiple areas of globally recognized research, faculty administration, engineering & construction, athletics & recreation, power generation, corporate shared services, and many more. 

We are committed to employment equity and diversity in the workplace and welcome applications from individuals from equity seeking groups such as women, racialized/visible minorities, Indigenous/Aboriginal peoples, persons with a disability, persons who identify in the LGBTQ+ community and others who reflect the diversity of Canadian society.

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Job Listing #8560

Director, Issues and Media Relations • Contract / Contrat

Date Posted: 17 Sep 2021

Application Deadline: 31 Oct 2021

Location: Kingston and Surrounding Area

Category: Other / Autre

Hours Per Week: 35

Pay Rate: Salary / Salaire OVER 55,001

Language Requirements: English / Anglais

Job Description:

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Reporting to the Associate Vice-Principal, Integrated Communications (AVP), the Director, Issues and Media Relations, participates in the development of the university’s strategic communications plan and provides operational leadership to the issues and media relations unit, ensuring alignment between internal and external communication channels to steward and enhance the university’s image and reputation.

As one of the university’s senior communications administrators, the incumbent works with senior administration, the Integrated Communications team and faculty communication officers to develop and implement consistent issues management responses and communications strategies. The Director, Issues and Media Relations directs the issues management and media relations staff.


Issues Management

  • Leads the development of integrated communications strategies on emerging issues to mitigate negative impact on the university’s brand, reputation and public profile.
  • Guides senior administrators on issues management strategies including developing supporting documentation such as briefing notes, Q&As, social media content etc.
  • Leads issues-related media relations and protocols and serves as the university spokesperson, when appropriate.
  • Serve on various issues management and response teams and ad-hoc committees as required (i.e. Pandemic Planning, Death of a Student). In coordination with AVP, Integrated Communications, act as the communications contact for emergency communications as part of the university’s emergency management plan.

Communications Strategy and Implementation

  • In conjunction with the AVP and other senior leaders within the Integrated Communications Department, develops the university’s communication strategy in support of university vision and priorities.
  • Provides operational leadership for issues and media relations staff, guiding the implementation of the communications strategy and alignment of messages across internal and external communication channels.
  • Builds relationships across the university community by providing advice and developing content for key stakeholders (i.e. senior administration, departments and faculties) on emerging issues and strategic issues focused communications initiatives.
  • Builds relationships with faculty and department-based communications professionals to ensure the development of local strategies that are consistent with the university-wide communication objectives.
  • Acts as back-up during the AVP’s absence, providing leadership and representing Integrated Communications in the university community.

Budget and Managerial Responsibilities

  • Approves expenses related to operations, ensuring funds are spent in a cost-effective manner.
  • Plans, prioritizes and manages the work of employees, providing strategic and tactical advice, guidance and coaching. Identifies the need for staff resources, participates on staffing committees, and makes effective recommendations regarding employee selection.
  • Manages performance by establishing performance standards, reviewing and evaluating performance and conducting formal performance reviews on an ongoing basis.
  • Assesses staff training and development needs, and ensures that employees receive training required to improve and sustain successful performance.
  • Investigates, addresses and resolves employee issues, including making recommendations regarding disciplinary and discharge matters.


  • Excellent political awareness, interpersonal, influencing and relationship building skills required in dealing with various constituents, often in stressful, institutionally sensitive and highly confidential situations.
  • Demonstrated experience working with stakeholders to advise on strategic communications and issues management and develop effective response plans. Extensive knowledge of strategic planning processes and the ability to develop and write strategic communications plans.
  • Is familiar with and applies best practices in diversity and inclusion practices, strategies, systems, policies, and is a role model for inclusive and culturally competent behaviour.
  • Ability to prioritize among competing demands and remain focused upon strategy and key objectives while managing scarce resources.
  • Strong analytical thinker, able to recognize and understand complex issues and their implications on image and reputation.
  • Ability to draw on substantial experience to provide clear, focused communications advice to senior university officials, volunteers and representatives.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills with high level of expertise required in overseeing official university communications and handling sensitive and confidential issues.
  • Knowledge of the university environment and/or Higher Education (academic, research, governance, operations, administration, media) and the relationship with our relevant stakeholder and audience groups, i.e. Government, Community, Alumni, Students and Parents is an asset.


  • As backup during the AVP’s absence, make decisions among competing constituencies and priorities with complex political considerations. Maximize benefit of efforts so result is effective external and internal communications.
  • In conjunction with AVP, determine university-wide communications strategies.
  • Determine priorities for the Issues and media relations unit based on the AVP’s overall strategy. Make decisions regarding allocation of staff resources for communications needs of the University, using overall strategy to guide decisions.
  • Provide necessary advice to senior administration, faculty, staff and students, on emerging internal and external issues management.
  • Determine the most appropriate strategies and tactics to mitigate emergency/difficult situations with potential and significant long-term implications to the reputation of the university.
  • Monitor progress and impact and determine necessary adjustments to courses of action to maximize effectiveness.
  • Exercise judgment on when to escalate issues management response.
  • Determine appropriate method of communications and tone and content of information that makes it accessible and understandable to the intended audience.
  • Evaluates job candidates and makes effective recommendations on suitable hires.
  • Makes decisions and/or effective recommendations regarding transfers and promotions.
  • Evaluates employee performance and decides on appropriate training or coaching to address lack of proficiency in carrying out responsibilities, or remedial action for staff disciplinary situations.
  • Makes effective recommendations on level of discipline up to discharge and probationary termination.



  • A four-year university degree combined with a minimum of ten years of relevant and advanced work experience in strategic communications, issues management (strategy and implementation), media and public relations.
  • Proven leadership experience with demonstrated skills in organizing, motivating, and directing professional staff and colleagues and working effectively with senior leadership.
  • Knowledge of municipal, regional, provincial and national affairs, particularly affecting higher education.
  • Extensive knowledge of senior level office practices, university structure, policies, procedures, and administrative systems.
  • Consideration may be given to an equivalent combination of education and experience.

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