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How to Apply

Applicants must include a resume, cover letter and contact information for 3-5 professional references. The cover letter must be attached as the first page of your resume and should address your specific interest in, and outline skills and experience that directly relate to, this position. 

Job Summary

The Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center (Detroit URC) is seeking a part-time Communications Specialist to provide a high-level of communications support to further the work of the Center as well as its community-based participatory research (CBPR) projects, specifically including the Measurement Approaches to Partnership Success (MAPS) project. The Detroit URC is a collaboration of representatives from multiple Detroit organizations and academic researchers from the University of Michigan who work together to foster health equity in the city of Detroit. The Detroit URC Board, composed of representatives of each of the partner organizations, oversees all aspects of the Center in accordance with a set of CBPR principles adopted by the Detroit URC Board.

The Communications Specialist position is based at the Department of Health Behavior & Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor.  We are seeking an experienced and dynamic staff member with a commitment to contributing to a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for all members of our community.  This position is one-year, half-time position with potential for renewal and may be increased in percent effort pending additional funding.  


Under the direction of the Detroit URC Center Manager, the Communications Specialist will:

  • With input from the team, coordinate, develop, and implement a communications plan and strategies for the Detroit URC, including communications using websites, Constant Contact, social networking applications, etc.
  • Write communications describing research findings of the Detroit URC and affiliated projects and partnerships to be disseminated to the broader community, and identify appropriate delivery methods, including but not limited to press releases, presentations, targeted email, and newspaper articles
  • In conjunction with the MAPS Leadership team and following the project’s dissemination guidelines, prepare materials for recruitment and dissemination of MAPS-related products including, but not limited to, recruitment letters, online survey interfaces, and feedback mechanisms
  • With input from the team, design, develop, and implement communications based on the research interests of members of the Community-Academic Research Network (CAR-Network) (e.g., conduct interviews with Network members and web searches, and write descriptions of their research interests), and identify appropriate delivery methods, such as email, printed documents, and web pages to communicate this information to members of the Network
  • Develop and coordinate email communications, including a quarterly eNewsletter, for the Detroit URC, CAR-Network, and multiple affiliated research partnerships and projects regarding relevant information, updates and alerts
  • Assist with marketing, implementing, and documenting Detroit URC project-related activities (e.g., small planning grant program, CBPR Partnership Academy)
  • Develop and maintain relationships with University of Michigan communicators group; the U-M SPH marketing and communications team, and local & regional media representatives
  • Provide training and technical assistance to academic and community partners to ensure the effective use of the communications developed
  • Take photos of related events and activities, and maintain the Detroit URC’s Photo Library
  • Provide guidance to the Detroit URC Center Manager and team on other communication-related needs and other duties as required

Required Qualifications*

  • Bachelor’s degree in communications, media relations, public health, or a relevant field
  • Minimum 3-5 years additional experience in communications, media relations, public health, or other relevant field
  • Excellent communication, organization and planning skills
  • Experience in coordinating and developing communications
  • Interpersonal and management skills necessary for interacting effectively with university and community partners
  • Ability to effectively communicate technical information to a non-technical audience through appropriate delivery methods (e.g., printed documents, newspaper articles, eNewsletter, web pages)
  • Experience interacting with media representatives
  • Expertise in using web-based tools and technologies (e.g., Google Analytics, Constant Contact, social networking applications and media sharing sites) and website content management software
  • Understanding of information architecture, social media, site structure, file organization and related best practices;
  • Experience using Adobe Creative Suite software, particularly Photoshop and InDesign
  • Skilled with Microsoft Office Suite
  • Ability to take, edit, format and organize photos

Desired Qualifications*

  • Master’s Degree or equivalent experience in communications, media relations, public health, or another relevant field
  • Detroit resident or experience working or living in Detroit
  • Possession of a valid Michigan driver’s license and access to an insured automobile, for travel to Detroit
  • Experience working in a University of Michigan department or program
  • Familiarity with academic/University-based procedures and processes

Additional Information

*This is a term limited - one year position

We are seeking an experienced and dynamic staff leader/member with a commitment to contributing to a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for all members of our community.

Background Screening

The University of Michigan conducts background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer and may use a third party administrator to conduct background checks. Background checks will be performed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.