Associate Vice President for Governmental Relations and Strategic Communications (Administrator III)

Apply now Job no: 525651
Work type: Management (MPP)
Location: Sonoma
Categories: MPP, Administrative, At-Will, Full Time
Position Description

Application Process

This position is open until filled. For full consideration, please submit application, along with cover letter and resume, by 8am on Wednesday, April 5.

Please review the position description listed above for full scope of responsibilities and qualifications.

Job Summary

Reporting to the Chief of Staff, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Diversity (COS/VP), along with strong collaboration and consultation with University Advancement, the Associate Vice President for Governmental Relations and Strategic Communications (AVP) provides high-level strategic vision and leadership for Sonoma State University (SSU) serving as the Chief Communications Officer and Public Information Officer (PIO) overseeing campus-wide and executive communications. This position also connects regional, state and national interactions with businesses and governments to SSU’s campus. The incumbent oversees a broad scope of highly complex issues requiring outstanding professional ability, originality, sound judgment, and a thorough knowledge of academic and administrative programs and organizational structure within higher education. The incumbent is responsible for providing leadership for all communications including publications, web communication, social media, other marketing material, public information, public relations, media and university updates. In addition, the incumbent is responsible for the overall integrated marketing and communication, including community relations and advocacy. The incumbent interprets the mission of the University to its multiple constituencies, both internal and external, in order to create a climate of public and private support for the fulfillment of that mission. This position directly supports the University’s mission by managing community and government relations issues and developing effective strategic alliances with local community/civic leaders and organizations, as well as with elected and appointed officials at the local, state and national levels to support SSU’s community interests. A primary focus of this position is on SSU’s service area (Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties), but also state and national interests are a part of the focus. The incumbent provides strategic counsel to the President, Chief of Staff and Cabinet as requested, and chairs a governmental affairs advisory group composed of campus specialists and community leaders that provides broader insight to the campus priorities and direction. The incumbent is responsible for preparing monthly briefings for the Chief of Staff to help shape the President’s strategic considerations on government and political matters that may affect the university. The incumbent supervises two directors and staff in strategic communications, web and creative services. 

Key Qualifications

This position requires a minimum of 10 years of progressively responsible and applicable management experience working and communicating with multiple publics entities in higher education or equivalent corporate, non-profit or public sector. A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in Public Relations, Communications, Journalism, Public Administration, Marketing or related field; or equivalent combination of education and experience to provide the required knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the duties of the position required. Graduate degree and higher education experience are highly preferred. Must possess strong strategic planning skills and experience managing multiple large-scale assignments simultaneously and the ability to think critically on complex public policy issues is required. Exceptional oral and written communication skills  and a  background in communications, branding, marketing and public relations including experience in social media and digital communications; knowledge of the principles and methods of brand development and integrated marketing; experience in developing media strategies, communicating verbally with media, writing press releases, speeches and other public relations material; extensive experience and a portfolio of accomplishments in dealing with broadcast, print and other media outlets required. Proficiency with computers, Google Suite, and Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel) required, including familiarity with standard graphic software, social media and web platforms required. Knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite and PeopleSoft preferred.

The incumbent must possess superior political acumen and interpersonal skills and be collaborative and inclusive with regard to leadership style. demonstrate integrity and sound judgment in performing duties; possess the ability to supervise the work of staff and recommend appropriate personnel actions; be able to apply strong problem solving and conflict resolution skills. Ability to evaluate staff performance, taking corrective action as needed; deal with stressful situations while maintaining composure; and contribute to a collaborative environment utilizing exemplary communication and problem-solving skills as necessary. Must have strong organizational skills and the ability to manage multiple projects and competing priorities simultaneously, adjusting quickly to changes needed on a daily basis. Must have the ability to effectively communicate with all levels within the university and establish and maintain productive and effective, inclusive working relationships amongst diverse populations including staff, faculty, administration, students, and other internal and external constituencies.

Salary and Benefits

Starting salary placement depends on qualifications and experience and is anticipated to be in the range of $13,334 to $15,000 a month. This position is a member of the Management Personnel Plan and serves at the pleasure of the President.

This position is eligible for a broad range of benefits, including medical, dental, vision, life and disability insurances, retirement (CalPERS), tuition waiver, vacation and sick leave. In addition, 14 paid holidays are offered each year; 13 scheduled on specific days and a Personal Holiday that may be taken any time during the year.

A comprehensive benefits summary for this position is available online by clicking here to be taken to the CSU benefits page.

Supplemental Information

Sonoma State University is committed to achieving excellence through teaching, scholarship, learning and inclusion. In line with our Strategic Plan and our Seawolf Commitment, our values include diversity, sustainability, community engagement, respect, responsibility, excellence and integrity. We strive to cultivate a community in which a diverse population can learn and work in an atmosphere of civility and respect. We encourage innovation, experimentation and creativity, as well as contributions to equity and inclusion, in the pursuit of excellence for all members of our university community. 

The University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. We consider qualified applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, medical condition, disability, marital status, or protected veteran status. Mandated Reporting: This position may be considered a "mandated reporter" under the California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act and is required to comply with the requirements set forth in CSU Executive Order 1083 as a condition of employment.

The CSU requires faculty, staff, and students who are accessing campus facilities to be immunized against COVID-19 or declare a medical or religious exemption and thereafter comply with routine campus testing requirements. Any candidates advanced in a currently open search process should be prepared to comply with this requirement. To learn more about the vaccination requirement at Sonoma State, please visit:

CSU Out of State Policy - Sonoma State University, as part of the CSU system, is a State of California Employer. As such, the University requires all employees upon date of hire to reside in the State of California. As of January 1, 2022 the CSU Out-of-State Employment Policy prohibits the hiring of employees to perform CSU-related work outside the state of California.

A background check (including a criminal records check) must be completed satisfactorily before any candidate can be offered a position. Failure to satisfactorily complete the background check may affect the application status of applicants or continued employment of current employees who apply for this position.

Sonoma State University is not a sponsoring agency for staff positions (i.e. H-1B visas).

Positions are posted for a minimum of 14 calendar days.

For questions related to the application process, please reach out to The ADA Coordinator is also available ( to assist individuals with disabilities in need of accommodation during the hiring process.

Sonoma State University's Annual Security Report includes summaries of institutional policy relating to campus safety, drug and alcohol use, sexual assault, and other matters. The report is published in compliance with the Clery Act and includes three years of certain crime statistics that occurred in Clery Act defined geography. A paper copy of the report may be requested in person by emailing the Clery Compliance and Safety Office at

Pursuant to the Higher Education Opportunity Act, the Annual Fire Safety Report (AFSR) is available for viewing at The purpose of this report is to disclose statistics for fires that occurred within Sonoma State University student housing facilities for three years, and to distribute fire safety policies and procedures intended to promote safety on campus. A paper copy of the AFSR is available upon request by contacting the Residential Education and Campus Housing at  

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