Assistant Director of External Relations

Assistant Director of External Relations

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn's distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning. As an employer Penn has been ranked nationally on many occasions with the most recent award from Forbes who named Penn one of America's Best Employers By State in 2021.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

COVID-19 vaccination is a requirement for all positions at the University of Pennsylvania. New hires are expected to be fully vaccinated before beginning work at the University. For more information about Penn's vaccine requirements and the use of Penn Open Pass, visit the Penn COVID-19 Response website for the latest information.

Posted Job Title
Assistant Director of External Relations

Job Profile Title
Staff Writer C

Job Description Summary
The Assistant Director of External Relations will lead and implement communications to advance the vision of the Vice Provost and Director of Libraries and present a compelling case for support of the Penn Libraries' strategic priorities and key programs. The Assistant Director will design strategy to raise visibility of the Penn Libraries with external audiences, including leaders in higher education and philanthropy. They will work across the Penn Libraries and Development and Alumni Relations departments to ensure consistent messaging for Penn Libraries fundraising goals across all development-communications platforms, including but not limited to major gift-level funding proposals, cultivation and solicitation materials, case and program materials for new initiatives, senior leadership remarks, and stewardship communications.

Reporting to the Director of Strategic Communications, the Assistant Director will work closely with the Vice Provost and Director of Libraries as well as the Director of Advancement. The Assistant Director will also supervise the work of the External Relations Associate.

Job Description

  • Direct development, writing, and production of pitches, press releases, creative impact stories and other strategic materials aimed at leaders in higher education and philanthropy.
  • Lead or assign drafting of event and meeting remarks and presentations for the Vice Provost and Director of Libraries, members of the Penn Libraries leadership team, and Penn Libraries volunteer leadership.
  • Design strategy and lead production on all development-communications printed and digital materials, including but not limited to the Penn Libraries Case for Support, DAR toolkit materials and Giving section of Oversee production of gift-related press releases, feature stories, and announcements.
  • Ensure representation of the Penn Libraries in all Development and Alumni Relations Communications groups. Project-manage creation of print and digital fundraising collateral by DAR colleagues or external consultants.
  • Lead writing and production of custom funding proposals and manage production of cultivation and solicitation materials.
  • Create and implement a comprehensive stewardship communications plan for the Penn Libraries, including acknowledgment letters, donor reports, annual impact reports, and donor honor rolls.
  • Create and regularly produce Board of Advisors/all volunteer boards e-newsletter and/or other communications and take lead on presentations and communications materials produced for meetings of the Penn Libraries Board of Advisors and other volunteer groups.
  • Develop print and digital collateral for high-profile events and presentations.
  • Perform additional duties as assigned


Required Qualifications:
  • Minimum of five years professional experience in communications, public relations, fundraising, or related field.
  • Ability to understand, appreciate, and articulate the Penn Libraries' mission and strategy.
  • Excellent organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills, both oral and written. Superlative writing, editing and proofreading skills.
  • Professional experience writing compelling copy in a variety of forms and lengths to advance strategic goals and messages.
  • Experience supporting senior leaders to advance strategic goals.
  • Experience supervising staff.
  • Ability to establish objectives, set performance standards, and organize a successful approach to achieving results.
  • Ability to manage multiple projects, work well under pressure, and meet deadlines.
  • Demonstrated success working with significant autonomy, and collaboratively, as part of a goal-oriented team.
  • Ability and willingness to adapt quickly to address evolving needs.
  • Discretion and excellent judgment in handling sensitive information.
  • Strong computer literacy and presentation skills.

Preferred Qualifications:
  • Direct fundraising experience preferred.
  • Experience in an academic institution, research library, or cultural organization.
  • Experience collaborating with colleagues and partners across a wide range of roles within a complex organization, including high-level administrators.

Application Requirement:

Please submit resume, cover letter, two recent professional writing samples, and a professional presentation including graphics. Applicants failing to submit each of these components will not be considered. Please upload all documents where it asks you to upload your Resume/CV; multiple documents are allowed.

Budgeted Pay Range:

$60,000 - $75,000 commensurate with education and experience

Job Location - City, State
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School
University Library

Pay Range
$50,684.00 - $77,716.00

Affirmative Action Statement
Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements
Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

University Benefits
  • Health, Life, and Flexible Spending Accounts: Penn offers comprehensive medical, prescription, behavioral health, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits to protect you and your family's health and welfare. You can also use flexible spending accounts to pay for eligible health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars.
  • Tuition: Take advantage of Penn's exceptional tuition benefits. You, your spouse, and your dependent children can get tuition assistance here at Penn. Your dependent children are also eligible for tuition assistance at other institutions.
  • Retirement: Penn offers generous retirement plans to help you save for your future. Penn's Basic, Matching, and Supplemental retirement plans allow you to save for retirement on a pre-tax or Roth basis. Choose from a wide variety of investment options through TIAA and Vanguard.
  • Time Away from Work: Penn provides you with a substantial amount of time away from work during the course of the year. This allows you to relax, take vacations, attend to personal affairs, recover from illness or injury, spend time with family-whatever your personal needs may be.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: In partnership with Genworth Financial, Penn offers faculty and staff (and your eligible family members) long-term care insurance to help you cover some of the costs of long-term care services received at home, in the community or in a nursing facility. If you apply when you're newly hired, you won't have to provide proof of good health or be subject to underwriting requirements. Eligible family members must always provide proof of good health and are subject to underwriting.
  • Wellness and Work-life Resources: Penn is committed to supporting our faculty and staff as they balance the competing demands of work and personal life. That's why we offer a wide variety of programs and resources to help you care for your health, your family, and your work-life balance.
  • Professional and Personal Development: Penn provides an array of resources to help you advance yourself personally and professionally.
  • University Resources: As a member of the Penn community, you have access to a wide range of University resources as well as cultural and recreational activities. Take advantage of the University's libraries and athletic facilities, or visit our arboretum and art galleries. There's always something going on at Penn, whether it's a new exhibit at the Penn Museum, the latest music or theater presentation at the Annenberg Center, or the Penn Relays at Franklin Field to name just a few examples. As a member of the Penn community, you're right in the middle of the excitement-and you and your family can enjoy many of these activities for free.
  • Discounts and Special Services: From arts and entertainment to transportation and mortgages, you'll find great deals for University faculty and staff. Not only do Penn arts and cultural centers and museums offer free and discounted admission and memberships to faculty and staff. You can also enjoy substantial savings on other goods and services such as new cars from Ford and General Motors, cellular phone service plans, movie tickets, and admission to theme parks.
  • Flexible Work Hours: Flexible work options offer creative approaches for completing work while promoting balance between work and personal commitments. These approaches involve use of non-traditional work hours, locations, and/or job structures.
  • Penn Home Ownership Services: Penn offers a forgivable loan for eligible employees interested in buying a home or currently residing in West Philadelphia, which can be used for closing costs or home improvements.
  • Adoption Assistance: Penn will reimburse eligible employees on qualified expenses in connection with the legal adoption of an eligible child, such as travel or court fees, for up to two adoptions in your household.

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