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Deputy Director of Communications

Can you deliver communications strategy, manage a crisis and advise senior executives whilst simultaneously leading a talented team of comms professionals? The University of Nottingham is seeking its next Deputy Director of Communications to lead and develop its press, social media and internal communications operations.

The University of Nottingham is a leading Russell Group university providing an exceptional research-led education and an outstanding student experience for our students, who are consistently targeted by leading graduate employers. Ranked seventh in the UK for our research power, our research breakthroughs transform lives, improve societies, and shape the future. We are positioned 114thin the world (18th in the UK) out of more than 1,000 universities in the QS World University Rankings 2023 and operate in campuses in the UK, China, and Malaysia.

In an increasingly competitive higher education sector and frequently challenging communications environment, it is vital to build and maintain the University’s reputation and profile. To do this at Nottingham we deliver compelling internal and external communications to global news media, staff, students, and stakeholders across our three campuses.

As the Deputy Director of Communications, you would lead a team of award-winning practitioners in media relations to promote our research breakthroughs to global news audiences, engage influencers across social media platforms and build profile for leading academics such as Professor Sir Jonathan Van Tam or Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff.

You would also lead our internal communications team in engaging 10,000 members of staff with a complex and ambitious programme of reforms to improve our performance as an institution, as well as campaigns and activities to listen to, support, and enhance the university experience, for more than 46,000 students.

You will find your expertise is regularly sought and trusted by our most senior staff including the Vice-Chancellor and members of the University Executive Board. Like any large organisation, we also face our fair share of incidents and crises and so your crisis communications skills will need to be as considered as they are effective.

In return, you can expect to work in a friendly and supportive hybrid working environment coupled with a generous salary and benefits package including a defined benefit pension and 30 days annual leave – and the opportunity to test your skills in one of the most varied, stimulating, and fast-paced roles to be found anywhere.

This is a full-time permanent opportunity. We operate a hybrid working model with a minimum of 2 working days per week on campus.

This is a full-time permanent opportunity. We operate a hybrid working model with a minimum of 2 working days per week on campus.


Reporting to the Director of Communications & Advocacy, the Deputy Director of Communicationsis responsible for the operational management and delivery by two of the three teams within the Communications & Advocacy division.

  • Media Relations (press office, strategic communications, faculty media and communications, crisis communications, media training)
  • Internal Communications (staff communications and engagement, student communications and engagement)

The Deputy Director of Communications will be responsible for the line management, formal reporting and pastoral support of the Head of Media Relations and Head of Internal Communications. They will also ensure that the people, processes and systems are in place to build on current activities whilst preparing for future opportunities and challenges.

Communications professionals are highly valued at the University, both for who they are and for what they do. A key part of this role is to ensure that communications are considered as integral to how the University drives leadership, change and innovation in an increasingly challenging environment. As such, visible and effective collaboration is required with senior leaders, the academic community and professional service directorates to deliver cross-functional communications and engagement activities.

Main Responsibilities

  • Lead operational delivery by the Media Relations and Internal Communications teams and be responsible for the line management, formal reporting and pastoral support of the Head of Media Relations and Head of Internal Communications.
  • Develop an operational plan, supported by appropriate digital tools, to co-ordinate external and internal communications activities against external and University calendars to maximise impact and deliver efficient team and workload planning.
  • Provide strategic oversight to the Head of Media Relations to ensure the University achieves positive, high impact national and international media coverage, raising the profile and defending the reputation of the institution.
  • Develop new and effective approaches to staff and student engagement, building trust and dialogue between staff and the University, providing strategic advice for major programmes, and delivering visibility strategies for Executive Board members.
  • Lead the development of strategy and delivery of communications via digital and social media channels by all teams to enhance external reputation, student and staff communication.
  • Lead the development of effective crisis communications at Silver level, providing calm but confident advice and guidance to senior leaders as appropriate.

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