Director of Communications
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), a dynamic higher education advocacy organization with a 20 year history of success, seeks a personable, creative, well-organized, and strategic communications professional to join our team as Director of Communications. Founded in 1995, ACTA works to advance academic excellence, academic freedom, and accountability through research, public education, and outreach to policymakers and trustees. Our work has recently been featured in prominent outlets such as the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.

The Communications Department is charged with presenting ACTA’s message in an informed, articulate, and accurate manner and maintaining a distinctive tone and style across all external-facing materials and communications.

The Director works to advance ACTA’s core message and serves as the point person for media and public relations, digital and social media, and other external-facing communications. He or she focuses on developing high-quality written materials such as news releases, op-eds, and other essential communications and cultivating relationships with members of the media and external partners who can help further ACTA’s mission. The Director of Communications reports to the President and works extensively with both the President and Vice President of Policy to plan multi-pronged communications campaigns designed to expand the organization’s reach and visibility.


Among other responsibilities, it is the role of the Director of Communications to:

  • Develop creative release strategies for ACTA’s reports, publications, and initiatives that leverage multiple channels, including earned media, digital and social media, and external partnerships with allies and influencers.
  • Manage relations and proactive outreach to national, local, and trade media and constantly search for ways to maximize media opportunities.
  • Regularly draft news releases, op-eds, articles, blog posts, and other external-facing collateral for print and online publication.
  • Serve as frontline media contact and work to prepare on-the-record spokespeople, principally ACTA’s president.
  • Initiate and maintain strong relationships with key trade publications and members of the media, as well as think tanks and analysts covering the higher education sector.
  • Oversee ACTA’s digital and social media campaigns, working with ACTA’s Digital Producer/Communications Officer to develop digital and social media content, including blogs, podcasts, web and social media copy, etc.
  • Ensure that reports and publications consistently and accurately reflect the organization’s messaging and positioning through collaborating with subject matter experts and project directors.s
  • Supervise the creation of digital and traditional media analytics and provide other staff with analytical reports that document key outcomes and achievements.

Qualifications: The Director of Communications must approach these tasks as an entrepreneurial enterprise, requiring an understanding of and proactive approach to ACTA’s program activities. The successful candidate will possess a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of print, broadcast, and digital channels, as well as the specific requirements and strategies for disseminating an organization’s message using each of those channels. He or she will be expected to act with the highest degree of personal responsibility, accountability, and honesty.

A minimum of 5-7 years in strategic communications and public relations is required. Knowledge of higher education and policy is strongly preferred, but not required. This is a mid-senior appointment, so experience managing and mentoring staff is essential.

To apply, email cover letter and resume to Nick Barden at

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