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Position Overview

The Office of the Vice-President (Research) is currently seeking a Full-time Limited Term Senior Specialist, Strategic Marketing and Communications for approximately 2 years

The Senior Specialist, Strategic Marketing & Communications (Research) reports to the Manager, Strategic Marketing and Communications in the Office of the Vice-President, Research (VPR). The position works closely with the Vice-President (Research), the Associate Vice-President (Research), Executive Director, Director of Operations, the Office of the VPR, the UCalgary Executive Leadership and Senior Leadership Team, the Office of Advancement, the departments and institutes within the VPR portfolio, as well as other Campus and Faculty communicators, to promote the overall priorities and objectives of the University of Calgary research enterprise and VPR initiatives.

The Senior Specialist, Strategic Marketing and Communications will develop and implement effective marketing and communications plans, develop strategies and terms of reference to support key priorities of the VPR and research portfolio, boost awareness and enhance the reputation of the UCalgary research portfolio and its stakeholders, develop and execute key campaigns and programs for defined clients and units that enhance the VPR mandate, and ensure deliverables align with the university's overall strategic direction.

This role works in a fast-paced environment and is responsible for managing high-profile, complex projects, competing priorities, and implementing a wide-range of marketing and communications tactics for key stakeholders. These include developing marketing and communications plans, strategy and content development, publications, advertising campaigns, programs and initiatives, virtual and in-person events, website management and content development, stakeholder relations, social media, crisis communications, media relations, and coordinating key files with government relations and community engagement.

The Senior Specialist, Strategic Marketing and Communications is responsible for the ongoing development, implementation and coordination of marketing and communications programs to improve the profile and levels of engagement with key research stakeholders (including students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, funders and the wider community). The incumbent is also responsible for the tracking and evaluation of these programs.

This is a fast-paced role with multiple deadlines, time-sensitive tasks, and high volumes of work. As such, overtime may be required periodically, and high levels of stress may be attributed. To manage the multiple projects that this role leads, the individual must be excellent at organization and prioritization, managing relationships at all levels of the organization, as well as managing information effectively for a wide-variety of projects.

Position Description

Summary of Key Responsibilities (job functions include but are not limited to):

Marketing and Communications:

  • Develops and implements high-quality and timely communication and marketing content and plans, provides status reports and evaluates performance
  • Develops content, for a wide range of initiatives including documentation related to key research initiatives (e.g. prospectuses for industry, etc.)
  • Writes, edits and reviews key research content and documentation for consistency of messaging
  • Leads and implements a broad range of campaigns, publications, community events and other communication and marketing initiatives to build a positive reputation for the Research portfolio and the University
  • Provides effective communications support and counsel to senior leaders within the Research portfolio, as well as for broader university initiatives involving research components
  • Leads brand and positioning protocols for the marketing efforts of the Research portfolio, ensuring alignment with existing University standards
  • Improves and broadens the research reputation of the University of Calgary locally, nationally and internationally
  • Engages key stakeholders in the work, results and successes of research initiatives
  • Ensures alignment of internal communications efforts to enhance pride in the research portfolio
  • Works collaboratively with units within the research portfolio, and in the planning and execution of various events
  • Acts as a resource in developing messaging for research-related issues
  • Manages relationships with outside contractors, service providers, and media outlets
  • Provides effective communications and marketing advice and support to faculty and staff members on key research issues and initiatives
  • Works professionally and collaboratively with other university communicators, as well as members of the Advancement team
  • Produces high-quality communications materials, including reports, speaking notes, news releases, media advisories, media kits, web content, etc.
  • Develops and implements a social media program for the Research unit
  • Proactively seeks out research stories and shares them with external and internal audiences, through news releases, internal articles and announcements
  • Contributes on a regular basis to a wide-variety of university publications

Strategic Planning:

  • Develops and implements high-quality and timely communication and marketing plans
  • Develops comprehensive communication strategies that drive the overall objectives of the research enterprise towards the overall goals of the University
  • Develops/executes communications and marketing plans for specific project-based initiatives (i.e. major research funding projects, process improvement projects, departmental reorganizations, etc.)
  • Plans and implements a broad range of publications, events, and other communication tools
  • Ensure communication strategies promote a positive image and reputation for the Research portfolio and the University of Calgary
  • In conjunction with senior leadership, develops, monitors and meets VPR strategic objectives in the area of communications and marketing

Stakeholder Relations:

  • Develops and manages relationships with key university stakeholders, both internal and external
  • Ensures stakeholder communications are accurate, timely, informative, professional
  • Advise on business development opportunities with key stakeholders that support the overall goals and objectives of the VPR
  • Develops productive relationships with various units within the Research portfolio, university academics, leaders, students, staff, alumni, donors and funders
  • Works professionally and collaboratively with other campus communicators, acting as the liaison between departments/institutes within Research and University Relations, ensuring alignment of initiatives and communication protocols
  • Manages complex Research issues and challenging interpersonal interactions with composure and diplomacy
  • Seeks expert opinions and advice where appropriate and is considered reliable
  • Proactively develops and maintains trustworthy, productive, problem-solving working relationships with colleagues and staff across the university community and external agencies
  • Manages relationships of outside communications contractors, freelancers, and design providers when necessary

Communications Project Management:

  • Lead the communications for high-profile or high-risk projects
  • Lead the communications for projects withing the VPR portfolio
  • Develop and/or support to finalize briefs for insitutional projects as needed, ensuring that they are complete and validated before proceeding to project launch
  • Organize and chair meetings for projects as needed
  • Secure approval for all collateral content and artwork prior to production
  • Lead content review/validation/user testing/refinement (as needed)
  • Participate in proofing and proof-reading processes as required
  • Provide input as needed for changes to procedures and practices
  • Work with external vendors and suppliers as required to ensure project completion
  • Deal effectively with complex issues, using judgment, common sense and problem-solving skills


  • Provide coaching, training and supervision to other junior members of the team and students
  • Lead project teams of various sizes for projects and initiatives of importance to the VPR and the VPR portfolio
  • Lead and supervise workgroups on projects important to the research enterprise

Qualifications / Requirements:

  • A post-secondary degree in business, marketing, communications or a related field, or equivalent work experience
  • Minimum 8+ years experience in marketing and communications
  • Ability to provide leadership and guidance to junior level staff and student roles
  • Demonstrated experience in planning and implementing strategic communications and marketing programs, which include effective creation and execution of large-scale projects and campaigns aimed at targeted audiences
  • Demonstrated excellence in writing, editing, visual design and production management; and have proven experience in producing a variety of communication vehicles, including web-based tools, aimed at various audiences
  • Experience in event planning, including media, communications, public relations and outreach events
  • Strong interpersonal skills and a proven ability to build and maintain effective relationships
  • Ability to speak and write clearly and succinctly in a variety of settings and styles; ability to distill complex information, listen effectively and to deliver messages that have the desired impact
  • Knowledge and expertise in formulating competitive strategies and practices, through an understanding of best practices and industry trends
  • Strong understanding of social media and how to leverage social media to strategic advantage
  • Demonstrated ability to handle working with staff at all levels, to work under pressure and to handle numerous priorities and competing deadlines
  • Strong organization and project management skills, excellent attention to detail and ability to work with design, and printing agencies
  • Confidence to lead initiatives and provide counsel to senior leaders, and to work collaboratively with others on campus

Application Deadline: June 9, 2021

We would like to thank all applicants in advance for submitting their resumes. Please note, only those candidates chosen to continue on through the selection process will be contacted.

Additional Information

This position is part of the AUPE bargaining unit, and falls under the Specialist/Advisor Job Family, Phase III .

To find out more about management and staff opportunities at the University of Calgary and all we have to offer, view our Management and Staff Careers website.

About the University of Calgary

  • a living, growing and youthful institution that embraces change and opportunity with a can-do attitude. Located in the nation's most enterprising city, the university is making tremendous progress on its Eyes High journey to be recognized as one of Canada's top five research universities, grounded in innovative learning and teaching and fully integrated with the community it both serves and leads. The University of Calgary inspires and supports discovery, creativity and innovation across all disciplines. For more information, visit

The University of Calgary has launched an institution-wide Indigenous Strategy in line with the foundational goals of Eyes High, committing to creating a rich, vibrant, and culturally competent campus that welcomes and supports Indigenous Peoples, encourages Indigenous community partnerships, is inclusive of Indigenous perspectives in all that we do.

The University of Calgary recognizes that a diverse staff/faculty benefits and enriches the work, learning and research experiences of the entire campus and greater community. We are committed to removing barriers that have been historically encountered by some people in our society. We strive to recruit individuals who will further enhance our diversity and will support their professional success while they are here. We encourage all qualified applicants to apply, however preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.

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