The University of Southern California is one of the worldâs leading private research universities. Situated in the heart of Los Angeles, USC is home to the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and 22 academic schools and units. It is the regionâs prominent institution for the arts, technology, medicine, and business. USCâs University Communications department seeks a dynamic Senior Communications Specialist with experience in research communications who will be an instrumental part of the group in telling the USC story on emerging platforms and in various formats.
Reporting to the Assistant Director of Media Relations, the Senior Communications Specialist manages the promotion of published research newsworthy or relevant to university research priorities, leads communications projects, particularly on presidential moonshots that span the universityâs scholar and highlights student achievement. The Senior Communications Specialist also is responsible for promoting newsworthy basic medical science and sustainability-related research across disciplines including age-related disease, public and environmental health, biological sciences, engineering, biotech, pharmaceutical sciences and health policy.
The Senior Communications Specialist will frequently collaborate with the USC Media Relations team at USC Communications & Marketing, as well as with health sciences schools that include USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, USC Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry and its affiliated schools, Keck Medicine of USC, Keck School of Medicine of USC, USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience, USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, USC Mann School of Pharmacy and Pharmacological Sciences, among others (university-wide). In addition, the Senior Communications Specialist, in coordination with the Assistant Director of Media Relations, will also promote news and develop editorial content relative to the USC Office of Research and the presidential moonshots of health affairs, computing/Artificial Intelligence and big data, diversity and equity, and Athletics. The Senior Communications Specialist coordinates, develops and manages communications projects promoting USC research discovery and development to external media, coordinating and creating digital content and multimedia (e.g. social videos) that establish USC as a leading educational and academic institution.
As a member of the USC Media Relations team, the Senior Communications Specialist develops effective working relationships with local Los Angeles, national and international reporters, plus broadcast producers and assignment editors in print and digital media to broaden USCâs brand footprint among several key audiences. In addition, the Senior Communications Specialist plans and delivers strategic communications projects focused on genetics, medicine and health care, population and public health, as well as sustainability. The specialist coordinates with external partners when assigned.
The Senior Communications Specialist assists with and contributes content on additional university priorities -- urban issues; diversity, equity and inclusion matters (e.g. educational access and opportunities); and transformative medicine and research initiatives.
The Senior Communications Specialist is part of USC Media Relationsâ specialized research communications team which works with communicators, scientists and engineers across the university to select and promote timely, newsworthy and relevant peer-reviewed research that has been published or will appear in a scientific journal or similar publication, as well as promotes USC experts, rising young researchers and USC students for internal and external content for multiple USC platforms-- social media channels, live social broadcasts and webinars with USC experts discussing timely topics.
The Senior Communications Specialist also:
Oversees communications projects relating to health, biomedicine, biotech, pharmaceutical sciences and education, assisting with relationship and content management, and cultivates professional development opportunities;
Advances the universityâs research reputation primarily by enhancing media developing materials and resources, pitching media and placing stories of findings.
Consults with school and college communicators, faculty and administrators on media relations and publicity strategies, particularly related to research.
Writes and edits content that consistently meets deadlines and expectations. Responsible for analyzing the effectiveness of copy and design to convey intended messaging. Interprets and applies industry standards (e.g., style guides) and best practices.Â
Contributes to an inclusive environment, building and maintaining strong cross-functional relationships and a deep understanding of organizational and university cultures; demonstrates alignment to the organization, its ethics code and the universityâs strategic plans through words, actions, and ideas.Â
Performs other related duties as assigned or requested. The university reserves the right to add or change responsibilities at any time.
Bachelorâs degree in communications, journalism, marketing or other relevant fields such as science or engineering. Masterâs degree preferred.
At least 8 years of professional writing experience, 3 years management experience.
Preferred Field of Expertise:
Three yearsâ experience writing about technical, or health and scientific matters for either a publication, agency, firm, university or research-focused organization, preferably with experience covering academic research.
Excellent written and oral communication skills to tailor content to specific audiences with a clear, demonstrated understanding of multichannel communication platformsâknowledge of Associated Press style a plus.
Demonstrated project management, problem-solving and organizational skills to effectively manage numerous priorities, deadlines, and necessary resources simultaneously and on time.Â
Excellent interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, and relationship-building abilities.Â
Please submit a resume and cover letter that includes well-considered, succinct responses to the following questions:
Do you have a bachelorâs degree, advanced degree or professional certificate?
Have you worked in a scientific industry (academia, pharma, biotech, medicine, engineering, research lab or other)?
Do you have experience writing about academic research and technological innovation?
Are you able to write quickly and accurately under deadline?
The annual base salary range for this position is $97,246.59 - $105,834.60. When extending an offer of employment, the University of Southern California considers factors such as (but not limited to) the scope and responsibilities of the position, the candidateâs work experience, education/training, key skills, internal peer equity, federal, state, and local laws, contractual stipulations, grant funding, as well as external market and organizational considerations.
The University of Southern California is an Equal Opportunity Employer
Minimum Education: Bachelor's degree; Combined experience/education as substitute for minimum education.Minimum Experience: 5 yearsMinimum Field of Expertise: Five yearsâ experience in communications, marketing, higher education, or related fields. Excellent written and oral communication skills, and proven copy editing experience. Exemplary understanding of the nuanced messaging required for various audiences and distribution channels. Demonstrated experience managing public relations and developing social media presence for an organization, and solid grasp of professionally utilizing social media platforms. Experience with large and complex distribution lists. Ability to interpret, analyze, and apply pertinent policies, procedures, regulations, and requirements. Ability to build, develop, and manage positive working relationships and rapport with diverse, high- performing teams. Proven ability to provide both detailed information as well as summaries to management-level individuals and groups, and experience presenting technical topics to non-technical audiences.
USC is the leading private research university in Los Angeles—a global center for arts, technology and international business. With more than 47,500 students, we are located primarily in Los Angeles but also in various US and global satellite locations.
As the largest private employer in Los Angeles, responsible for $8 billion annually in economic activity in the region, we offer the opportunity to work in a dynamic and diverse environment, in careers that span a broad spectrum of talents and skills across a variety of academic and professional schools and administrative units. As a USC employee and member of the Trojan Family—the faculty, staff, students, and alumni who make USC a great place to work—you will enjoy excellent benefits, including a variety of well-being programs designed to help individuals achieve work-life balance.