Communications Manager – Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center

Institute on the Environment
Organization Summary

Are you passionate about science communication – and the role it can play helping people adapt to a changing climate? Do you thrive in roles where you get to orchestrate many moving parts, aligning them toward impact? We’d like to meet you. We’re the Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center (MW CASC), a regional consortium hosted at the University of Minnesota, and we’re looking to hire a communications manager for our dynamic new research and education partnership.

As the MW CASC communications manager, you’ll be in charge of developing, implementing, and evaluating the Center’s first communications program. Ensuring compliance with United States Geological Survey (USGS) requirements, you will develop and manage a MW CASC website; produce and coordinate email, social media, and media relations; and plan and execute strategies to share the work of the MW CASC, including developing a variety of outreach-oriented products and tools.

Your home base will be at the University of Minnesota, with workspace at the Institute on the Environment. Your supervisor will be the IonE Director of Communications, and you’ll be connected to a broader community of University of Minnesota communicators, including those at IonE. You’ll also collaborate closely with the MW CASC program manager (see job posting 344857).

Posting Date
Closing Date
Location in MN
Job type

The starting range for this position is $60,482 – $71,156, with comprehensive benefits.



Primary Duties

Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Strategy and Planning (10%)
    • Develop a strategic communications plan for the Midwest CASC, prioritizing audiences, identifying channels, and choosing tactics to effectively advance CASC objectives
    • Create individual communications plans, aligning with strategy and coordinating with partners, for significant outcomes and other key milestones, projects, and activities
    • Ensure that Midwest CASC communications products align with the overall communications strategies and products of the U of M and USGS
  • Public-Facing Communications Management (50%)
    • Lead the development of a Midwest CASC website, developing its content strategy and ensuring it meets USGS standards and requirements
    • Post-development, provide day-to-day oversight and maintenance of the website, including development of new pages/functions, as well as general content management
    • Research, write, edit, and publish regular stories and announcements about CASC-funded research and activities
    • Manage and leverage email as a channel, developing tactics and tools, such as a digital newsletter, and developing and growing relevant lists
    • Establish and manage a Midwest CASC social media presence, prioritizing the social platforms best suited to CASC goals
    • Produce a range of other communications tools and products, such as fact sheets, one- or two-pagers, videos, presentations, etc., working with a variety of contributors including colleagues and CASC collaborators, as well as occasional freelancers
    • Do basic design work, layouts, and graphics for your communications projects and products, coordinating freelance support as needed
    • Coordinate media relations and serve as point of contact for incoming media inquiries
    • Across all activities, coordinate with consortium and USGS partners, leveraging shared resources, building mutual benefit, and expanding reach and impact
  • Internal Communications and CASC Activities (25%)
    • Work with the Midwest CASC director on programming for the Midwest CASC Annual Gathering; coordinate with the Midwest CASC program manager to help promote that meeting; and assist with meeting delivery, particularly the communications needs and opportunities
    • Facilitate internal CASC and USGS partner communication, developing regular USGS highlights and serving as the editor/writer of a periodic update for internal audiences
    • Help support the communications training and activities of Midwest graduate and postdoc fellows, and leverage trainings and associated activities at consortium partner institutions
    • Help create calls for graduate and undergraduate fellowships and other funding or participation opportunities – and distribute such opportunities via the website, newsletter, and other internal (and external as appropriate) channels and platforms
    • Manage relationships with a variety of stakeholders, including the USGS, IonE and the UMN, and communicators at consortium institutions
    • Attend regular meetings with groups including UMN-based CASC leadership, the consortium leadership team, IonE/UMN communicators, and local and national USGS staff
  • Reporting and Evaluation (15%)
    • Participate in the collection, review, and analysis of data with regard to research accessibility, effective science delivery, and outreach, evaluating the the effectiveness of the communications program and products – and revising approaches as indicated
    • Under the guidance of the Midwest CASC and USGS directors, generate quarterly and annual reports to the USGS, working closely with the Midwest CASC program manager to develop the content and gather information (budget, personnel, etc.)

Required Qualifications

  • B.A./B.S. degree plus two or more years of experience in a communications role, or a combination of related education and work experience equivalent to six or more years
  • Experience leading or relevant to leading a communications program, including developing, executing, and evaluating the effectiveness of plans, strategies, and tactics
  • Demonstrated commitment to valuing diversity and equity, and contributing to an inclusive working and learning environment
  • An appreciation of the role of science in decision-making – and experience with science communication
  • Strong writing, editing, and design skills, lending themselves to creating a variety of content
  • Experience with website management, including fluency with content management systems, web design/development, and basic technical maintenance
  • Skill using various communications apps and tools, such as Adobe Creative Suite, Mailchimp and/or Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and social media management platforms

We anticipate strong candidates might also have some of the following experiences, skills, traits, or qualities:

  • A professional background in science communication and/or outreach
  • A connection to natural resource management and/or climate science
  • Experience working with federal or state agencies, and/or other relevant organizations
  • Proven ability to express scientific concepts, research findings, or other complex subjects in engaging, accessible language
  • The competencies necessary to work effectively with distributed teams and with stakeholders who have diverse backgrounds, priorities, and perspectives
  • Attentiveness to relationships, especially when it comes to stakeholder engagement and multi-organization collaboration
  • An ability to move projects forward independently (but not in isolation) – setting priorities, communicating progress, and balancing different streams of work
  • Experience engaging with stakeholders at events, small-group meetings, and one-on-one
  • Demonstrated ability to grow long-term relationships with key partners and audiences
How to Apply

To learn more and apply visit the University of Minnesota Employment website and search for job ID 344856.


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