Director Initiative on Communication and Sustainability
Columbia University, Earth Institue
United States

Requisition no: 500179
Work type: Full Time
Location: Morningside
School/Department: Earth Institute
Grade: Grade 16
Categories: Commun/PR/Editorial, Development/Alumni Relations, Other

Position Summary

Reporting to the Director of the Earth Institute, the Director, Initiative on Communication and Sustainability, provides strategic leadership and outreach to build an influential academic hub for communication innovation and impact across a wide scope of sustainability issues, with climate change at the forefront. The goal is to foster a culture of solution-oriented connectivity both within Columbia and with the public and policymakers at regional and global scale. Working closely with the Earth Institute's Director of Communications, the Initiative Director will build an academic learning-and-doing initiative aimed at tackling specific climate and sustainability challenges where the impediment to progress is an information gap, a paralyzed conversation, or a missing connection between disciplines or sectors of society. The initiative will develop education and training tools, which may involve working with faculty to build relevant courses or course components at the undergraduate and graduate levels; develop a toolkit that can foster a communicative culture for students, and create trainings for faculty and scientists that enable effective communication in pursuit of environmental progress. The initiative will build networks, workshops and events that bridge the sciences, arts and humanities – engaging new audiences via theater, art, film, and literature and reflecting the reality that values and culture shape environmental decisions as much as, or more than, data alone. Working with other departments at Columbia and external partners with complementary goals, the Initiative will develop tools and connections helping journalists anywhere cover climate impacts and policy more effectively. It will seek to advance and test new forms of digital and traditional media to develop and deliver new modes of storytelling around climate and other issues of critical global importance. It will also seek new ways to convey data using novel visualizations to help gain traction on environmental change.


Strategic Leadership: Building the Initiative on Communication Innovation and Impact: 30%

The Director will develop an effective five-year strategy and structure for this initiative, including fundraising, media partnerships, academic partnerships (such as with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, and the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University). The plan will include a regular review, given the rapid changes in the communication environment and sustainability science, will employ clear metrics for success, and the Director will adjust strategies in consultation with other Institute leadership. S/He will communicate regularly with internal and external partners on strategy and progress.

S/He will build relationships within Columbia to amplify, leverage, and advance existing research, resources and expertise. S/He will work collaboratively and cross-functionally with all relevant stakeholders, including those within the Institute and those who are partners in this initiative (including those at the School of the Arts, the Journalism School, Columbia Office of Public Affairs, and many more).

The Director, working with key stakeholders, will devise and deliver short and long term project activities which may include:

• education and training;
• events and other programming that bridge the sciences with the arts and humanities;
• new forms of media storytelling around climate and other sustainability issues;
• new forms of visualizations to help storytelling.

Media & External Relations: 25%

The Director will leverage the Institute's and relationships with media outlets to expand the Institute's role as a resource to journalists, building up access to Columbia's experts and position the Institute as a hub for knowledge on sustainability issues. This may include but not limited to: creating media partnerships; Having the Initiative On Communication and Sustainability advise other organizations, such as the Science and Entertainment Exchange of the National Academies or the Thriving Earth Exchange, an American Geophysical Union hub for linking scientists to communities seeking resilience advice.

The Director will work closely with the Earth Institute Communications Department and Columbia's Office of Public Affairs to extend the Earth Institute's role as a thought leader in the sustainability world, including at new events such as the World Science Festival, at panels for UN agencies and international organizations. The Director will serve as a convener to effectively reach across sectors, worldviews, and disciplines in search of agreement, synchronicity, and collaboration. He will build up the initiative on Communication Innovation and Impact to serve as facilitator of cross-disciplinary discourse, a source of objective knowledge on key issues but with a goal to bring people into the conversation on climate and the environment – to generate interest and inspire environmental progress without advocating specific policy or action.

Writing: 25%

The Director will write regularly on topics of critical interest to the Institute and this initiative. This may be on the Earth Institute's State of the Planet blog, through a revival of the Dot Earth blog at the New York Times, or with another news media partner.

Fundraising: 15%

The Director will work closely with the Institute's Director and the Institute's Senior Director of Development to identify and inform prospective donors, foundations, and other sources of funding to establish a sustainable source of funding for the initiative and its programming.

Additional duties: 5%
Performs other tasks, duties, responsibilities, and special projects as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications

Bachelor's degree required. At least eight years of related experience with proven results and demonstrated proficiency in the field.

Preferred Qualifications

Advanced degree preferred

Other Requirements.

Demonstrated experience in communications with proven experience creating a public presence for an academic institute or program. Relationships with news media, social media and science press required, with experience creating programming to attract press and general public attention strongly desired. Ability to create and manage strategic goals & objectives. Experience in higher education settings is highly desirable, as is comfort with scientific content. Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to effectively collaborate with multiple constituencies.

Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran

Columbia University is committed to the hiring of qualified local residents.

Applications open:
May 29 2019 Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close:

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