Apply Now Clicking "Apply Now" opens the link in a new window.

How to Apply

A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position.

Job Summary

The Office of Academic Innovation is seeking a team leader to connect and inspire our growing global community and university stakeholders through engagement initiatives, creative content, and event experiences. Help the Office of Academic Innovation at the University of Michigan as a master storyteller and brand builder, to create greater impact and organizational cohesion.  Create a culture of innovation at U-M with a focus on a deep understanding of the University of Michigan brand and its traditions.

We seek a talented leader who understands the interplay between brand, strategy, and culture in order to drive broad, long-term goals, while strengthening internal identity, cohesion, and capacity.

The ideal candidate leverages a background in marketing and communications to act as a strategic partner to the Academic Innovation leadership team and the university by organizing marketing and communications tactics into a cohesive brand experience. This role reports to the Associate Vice Provost for Academic Innovation and leads the marketing and communications team. This role works closely with the Academic R&D, Behavioral Science, Design Management, Learning Experience Design, Public Engagement, User Experience Design, and Operations teams in the Office of Academic Innovation.

The new Director of Brand Strategy and Communications, working as a member of the senior leadership team of the Office Academic Innovation, provides leadership aligning our brand with our mission, values, and strategy by:

  • Providing leadership in positioning the global identity of the Academic Innovation brand as distinct, memorable, and rooted in our values
  • Providing brand leadership that contributes to internal cohesion while enhancing external trust and reputation
  • Collaborating with University and community partners to create and scale new opportunities for awareness, enrollment, engagement, and event attendance
  • Stewarding our brand to enhance operational capacity and drive impact
  • Developing key performance metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of brand management activities and promote a culture of analytics to pursue continuous improvement
  • Creating systems and processes necessary for a marketing and communications team to create brand alignment and integrity
  • Building on our unwavering commitment to academic excellence, inclusion, and innovation

This new position is an exciting leadership role that provides an opportunity to work with other members of the senior leadership team at the Office of Academic Innovation and to consult with world-class faculty, senior administrators at the University of Michigan, and strategic partners to develop and operationalize a brand strategy aligned with Academic Innovation and University priorities. The person in this role will have a unique opportunity to help position U-M among the world’s most innovative higher education institutions as part of our university’s commitment to academic excellence, inclusion, and innovation.

You are willing to experiment, take risks, and drive innovation. You thrive on collaboration. You see opportunities to engage colleagues with talents different from your own in positive problem solving activities. You are a talented storyteller. You lead by listening, by collaborating, and by encouraging. You think impractically before layering in constraints. You have experience creating something new and helping an organization and community to realize its potential. You pursue context relentlessly. You have reflected deeply on the role of higher education in society and see opportunities to build a future where everyone can participate. You enjoy working in diverse teams and have experience designing inclusive and collaborative initiatives. You bring a record of success in building and strengthening brands and helping organizations and stakeholders to take on bold initiatives.

The Office of Academic Innovation is a strategic priority for the University of Michigan. Through curricular innovation, leadership in learning analytics and personalization at scale, Academic Innovation aims to shape the future of learning and redefine public residential education at a 21st century research university by unlocking new opportunities for the U-M community and learners around the world.

Our preferred future includes:

  • An open model for pre-college learning and preparation that broadens access and enhances participation
  • A personalized, rigorous, and inclusive model for residential learning grounded in learning analytics and experimentation
  • A flexible and networked model for global and lifelong learning that embraces the evolution of a more permeable university
  • A participatory and inclusive model for public engagement that accelerates bilateral knowledge construction and sharing

As we reimagine the global public research university and create a culture of innovation in learning, we value:

  • Boldness and humility
  • Creativity and process
  • Risk taking and tradition
  • Personalization and scale
  • Openness

For more information, please visit our website: Academic Innovation.


  • Provide leadership in the design, management, and continuous improvement of our brand.
  • Develop and manage the marketing and communications team. This includes providing leadership, setting and evaluating individual goals, developing and sustaining appropriate training, and monitoring primary focus areas of team members.
  • Foster a culture that thrives on gathering and interpreting data analytics to make informed decisions. Use data and analytics to strategically think about content, platforms, audiences, time and user experience.
  • Position Academic Innovation as a thought leader in higher education innovation by communicating the success of unit activities and programs in local, national and international media (communicating strategy, sharing successes, etc.).
  • Team with the R&D team to investigate novel ways of tracking Academic Innovation 's presence, growth, and market share (i.e. on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, in practitioner and scholarly publications, and in conference venues). Design data-driven visualizations telling the story of Academic Innovation history and growth.
  • Team with the Behavioral Science team to apply behavioral science strategies to marketing outreach, as well as apply marketing expertise to behavioral interventions.
  • Team with the User Experience Design team to develop experiences that delight Academic Innovation partners and learners across properties and platforms (e.g. website, learner portal, etc.).
  • Team with the Design Management team to develop effective and engaging promotional materials for Teach-Outs, MOOCs, and other online learning experiences, and helps project teams understand enrollment trends, audiences, SEO considerations, cost analyses, and engagement strategies.
  • Team with Media Design & Production team to assist in creating compelling, cohesive, and expedient marketing and promotional material.
  • Team with Learning Experience Design team to develop market/evidence-based personas.
  • Team with the Software Development team to create information flows and deliver personalized communications.
  • Oversee the creative campaign process for a variety of content including print, video, and digital communication channels.

Required Qualifications*

  • Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of seven to ten years of experience, preferably at a large research university (or a comparably complex organization), communications, marketing, or related field. An advanced degree is preferred.
  • High-level experience with brand management, creative campaigns, multimedia technology and communication plans.
  • Strong organizational and analytical skills with the ability to initiate, analyze, monitor, evaluate and advance strategic plans and programs that support the mission, vision, and values of the Office of Academic Innovation.
  • Excellent organizational, interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills.
  • The individual must possess skill and comfort in proactively building relationships with strategic partners, alumni, donors and community members.
  • Ability to generate strategic and creative solutions in order to advance the unit’s efforts to maintain and strengthen high-quality relationships with all audiences.
  • Proven skill and ability with managing multi-phase projects from inception to completion, including the ability to build consensus among team members and balance multiple concurrent priorities.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Able to use both problem solving and sound judgment in situations requiring independent initiative and tact.
  • Ability to work well in a multicultural and collaborative environment.
  • Understanding of social media, blog management, paid advertising, email marketing, event management, and related best practices.

Desired Qualifications*

  • Expertise in using web-based tools and technologies (e.g., Google Analytics, MailChimp, social networking applications and media sharing sites) and website content management software (e.g., WordPress).
  • Experience using Adobe Creative Suite software, particularly Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

Additional Information

Excellent benefits are available, for details, see  Position receives 24 days of vacation a year, and 15 days of sick leave a year with provisions for extended benefits, as well as opportunities for professional development and travel. TIAA-CREF and Fidelity Investments retirement options available.

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.

Application Deadline

Job openings are posted for a minimum of seven calendar days.  This job may be removed from posting boards and filled anytime after the minimum posting period has ended.

Decision Making Process

Applications will be reviewed as received throughout the posting period and continue until the position is filled.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

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