Office of Research Director of External Affairs - 12795BR

Office of Research Director of External Affairs

Office of Research
University of Kansas - Lawrence
Employee Class: 
U-Unclassified Professional Staff

Position Overview

KU Research Mission

The University of Kansas (KU) is an R1 (highest research activity) university and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU). The mission of the Office of Research at the University of Kansas-Lawrence (KU-L) is "To facilitate innovation, creative activity, discovery, and the application and dissemination of knowledge." To accomplish this mission, KU Research advocates for research, implements research integrity requirements, and, through the KU Center for Research (KUCR), manages the administration of research grants and contracts. KU Research also has oversight of activities related to technology commercialization and business and industry outreach. The office oversees twelve university research centers, two state surveys, three affiliated centers/institutes, and eleven core lab facilities. KU is also an active member of the Federal Demonstration Partnership (FDP) and the Council on Governmental Relations (COGR).

KU Office of Public Affairs Goals
  1. To substantially enhance the stature of the University of Kansas among relevant opinion leaders, policymakers and peer institutions around the world
  2. To build support for the mission of the university among the people of Kansas and their leaders
  3. To make KU more attractive to prospective students, particularly high ability students, from Kansas and across the nation
  4. To use technology to enhance the effectiveness of our communications, and to build a sense of community on campus and off
  5. To foster an environment of collaboration and cooperation across the entire institution in order to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the university's public affairs efforts

Job Description

The Director communicates the value and impact of KU research to multiple external and internal audiences: faculty, staff, and students; news media of all kinds; public officials; business and industry leaders; alumni and donors; campus visitors; and the public. In collaboration with the Vice Chancellor of Research and other staff, and in concert with KU Public Affairs and other KU Communicators, the Director supports the KU Research mission and the overall mission of the university. Responsibilities and relative percentage effort follow.

News and Media Relations – 25%
Focus: Research, write, distribute and advance news releases and stories that communicate the value and impact of KU research and recognize the work of researchers (faculty, staff, students, postdocs) to appropriate audiences. This includes both periodic electronic newsletters and other media updates as well as breaking news releases. Serve as KU Research media contact and spokesperson.

Print and Web-based Publications – 25%
Focus: In cooperation with KU Public Affairs, plan and produce appropriate print-web publications, e.g., a KU Research Fact Book, the KUCR Annual Report, a general KU Research recruitment brochure, and a Research Circle recruitment overview. In cooperation with staff members, help administrate the Office of Research web presence by contributing editorial content and images.

Marketing Support – 15%
Focus: Assist in the production of communications that support technology commercialization and corporate partnerships, with the goal of encouraging faculty, staff and student participation in industry collaboration and innovation. The position supports marketing efforts in cooperation with KU Center for Technology and Commercialization (KUCTC), the Bioscience & Technology Business Center (BTBC), their multiple partners, and other economic development agencies in the region.

Presentations – 10%
Focus: Create PowerPoint presentations for senior KU Research leadership, and prepare extended remarks, brief talking points, scripts, and other text for speeches, reports, meetings, testimony, and special events.

Other Duties - 25%
  • Ensure KU Research adherence to KU requirements in all communications, maintain a KU Research image and identity, and maintain KU Research standards for signage, terminology, and usage.
  • Arrange for and/or capture, store, and utilize photographic images to illustrate research activities in all communications, in cooperation with KU Marketing Communications.
  • Help plan, publicize, script, and manage KU Research-related special events, e.g., building dedications, groundbreakings, academic events, award ceremonies, KUCR Annual meetings, etc.
  • Respond promptly to requests from Government Relations, the Office of the Chancellor / Provost, Institutional Research and Planning, and other internal entities for information about research at KU and/or support senior leadership with information for responses to research information requests.
  • Upon assignment from senior KU Research leadership, undertake special projects involving research, writing, editing, analysis, and report preparation for KU Research and other units.
  • Assist in the hosting of visitors and delegations to research facilities on campus.

Required Qualifications

  1. Bachelor's degree in journalism, English, communications or relevant field including STEM related degrees or research intensive field of study.
  2. Minimum of 5 years of related experience.
  3. Demonstrated excellent writing and editing skills.
  4. Demonstrated experience in web design, maintenance and content management.
  5. Demonstrated experience with graphics software and social media platforms, e.g., Twitter, Facebook.
  6. Demonstrated advanced presentation development skills, e.g., PowerPoint, scripting speaking, as evidenced through application materials and possible interview.
  7. Demonstrated advanced imaging and editing skills as evidenced through portfolio materials.
  8. Demonstrated advanced organizational, project management and analytical skills.
  9. Demonstrated appreciation for, and broad understanding of, the principles and terminology of science and research.

Preferred Qualifications

  1. Master’s degree in journalism, English, communications, a STEM discipline or another relevant field;
  2. 10 years of related experience;
  3. Experience working in higher education and/or research-related communications;
  4. Experience working in private industry or in support of economic development activity; and
  5. Federal or state government agency or government relations/liaison experience.
  6. Ability to maintain confidentiality.
  7. Demonstrated ability to develop and implement a sound strategic communications plan for KU Research.

Additional Candidate Instructions

A complete application consists of:
  • A cover letter addressing how required qualifications are met.
  • Resume or CV
  • 3 Professional References
  • Portfolio including 5-10 samples of marketing materials submitted in a single PDF
Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Deadline for applications is Sunday, October 14, 2018.

Contact Information to Applicants

Julie Popiel, Executive Associate
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research

Advertised Salary Range

$70,000 - $90,000

Application Review Begins


Anticipated Start Date


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Posting Information
Posting ID:
Office of Research
University of Kansas - Lawrence
Employee Class:
U-Unclassified Professional Staff
Application Review Begins:
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