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Position Overview

The Department of Media and Issues Management within the Office of Advancement is currently seeking a Full-time Regular Senior Communications Specialist.

The Senior Communications Specialist (Media & Issues Management) is a core member of the University of Calgary's Advancement Communications team. Well versed in all aspects of media relations, and other internal communications practices, the key goal of this role is to help build, maintain and protect the reputation of the university locally, nationally and internationally by developing communication strategies, opportunities, plans and high-quality materials. Strategies will incorporate the vision, goals, priorities and success stories of university students, faculty, staff and alumni. This position may also act as a first point of contact for media seeking information or writing stories about the university. The pace is intense, the workload demanding, and the position sometimes requires irregular work hours, particularly during peak periods for the institution. The position reports to the Director, Media and Issues Management.

Working at the institutional level, the Senior Communications Specialist is an expert responsible for creating, writing and editing internal and external communication materials (including gathering facts, planning and research). This may include submission to various university publications as well as proactively preparing news releases and pitching stories to media. This position will also require the development and implementation of media relations strategies, in addition to providing leadership and advice on a university wide level for various internal stakeholders.

The Senior Communications Specialist will have media relations involvement in crisis communications, institutional strategies, and any of the high profile requests that come to the Media Issues team. This position will be assigned special media relations-based projects and assist the Relations Advisors as required.

Position Description

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

Media Interaction

  • May act as a first point of contact for media seeking information, requesting subject matter experts or writing stories about the university
  • Will work on special media-based projects as required
  • Identifies, researches, writes and proactively pitches stories of interest to the media, in line with institutional priorities and objectives
  • Liaises and builds relationships with local, regional, and national media, etc.
  • Work collaboratively with the main Advancement social media team to tell the University of Calgary story to enhance and protect its reputation
  • Prepares media plans, media releases, media kits, media advisories, key messages, and feature stories highlighting accomplishments and success stories of the university
  • On occasion, may be required to work afterhours, and or assist with on-call coverage
  • Assists core communicators with the preparation, editing and or distribution of news releases as required
  • Will assist other team members as required (i.e. news conference set up and or major events that includes media)
  • Regular news and social media monitoring, administrative duties (which may include media relations webpage work and maintaining media contact lists)
  • Assist or prepare the daily media report and other reports as required (includes evaluation and analytics)
  • May be required to write full stories to fill important communication needs, or convert media releases into article format and vice versa

Strategic Planning

  • Leads and implements the development of long range strategic media, issues management, crisis communications, and social media plans
  • Recommends and oversees media strategies for other communication professionals working within Advancement communications and for the core communicators working for the faculties and other service providers
  • Assists other team members with social media / news media monitoring related to issues and matters of reputational concern
  • Assists with the development and leads the implementation of media outreach plans
  • Analyzes media coverage of the university, conducts media monitoring and reporting


  • Liaises with internal stakeholders (administration, students, faculty, staff, alumni) and assists with media relations, including issues management related needs
  • Works and co-ordinates with other communicators, students, faculty and staff across campus to help shape and edit their news releases and stories or assist with other media relations requirements
  • Based on the direction received from the Director, Media and Issues Management, the Senior Communications Specialist may lead and implement large scale projects, programs or concerns that may impact the university and be proactive or reactive in nature

Qualifications / Requirements:

  • Post-secondary degree or diploma in Journalism, Communications, Public Relations or a related field required
  • Minimum of five years experience in communications with a strong focus on proactive media relations, working with national, regional and local news outlets required
  • An equivalent combination of education and experience may be considered
  • Demonstrated excellence creating and executing effective communication strategies, plans and programs aimed at various internal and external audiences required
  • Experience in internal communications, media relations, public relations, social media, digital communications, publications management and news and feature writing required
  • Demonstrated experience in project management required
  • Experience handling critical communication issues under extreme pressure required
  • Demonstrated relationships with local and national media, including understanding of relationship building for both traditional and new media platforms
  • Media relations training experience
  • The ability to work well under pressure and with tight deadlines, and adept at handling simultaneous priorities
  • The ability to work collaboratively in a team environment or independently
  • Experience in a post-secondary environment or a complex public institution is an asset
  • Working knowledge of Meltwater would be considered an asset

Application Deadline: January 4, 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.