Communications Manager (Academic Engagement)

University of Edinburgh

Salary: £40,792 – £48,677 per annum

Do you understand teachers’ hopes and concerns in using technology with their students? Could you lead change communications for our major educational technology projects? Working closely with academic colleagues will be key to our success.

If you are passionate about communications activities and have a talent for using creative engagement techniques we want to hear from you.

You will bring expertise in writing copy for websites, newsletters, social media and video and have experience of commissioning graphic design and multi-media. You will be a proven team player with a demonstrable track record of success.

This post is offered on a full time, fixed term basis for two years and is based in our refurbished offices at Argyle House in central Edinburgh.

We anticipate interviews will be held on Friday 15 March 2019 and candidates should ensure they are available on this date.

Closing Date: Wednesday 20th February 2019 at 5pm.

Further Particulars

1. Job Details

Job title: Communications Manager (academic engagement)

School/Support Department: Learning, Teaching and Web Services Directorate (LTW), Information Service Group

Line manager: Director, Learning, Teaching and Web Services

2. Job Purpose
The purpose of the post is to take the lead role in developing and implementing the change communications strategy for the Learning, Teaching and Web Directorate’s major learning and teaching, edtech and student experience projects.

This is a key strategic role which involves sensitivity to academic audiences in developing a complex mix of communications activities which will ensure maximum exposure for the activities of the LTW teams and for the Directorate’s wider learning and teaching technology programme of events.

This post has a secondary reporting line to the Head of ISG Internal Communications for best practice, ISG wide coordination and personal development aspects.

3. Main Responsibilities

  • [Develop the long-term vision and strategy for service and project communications for LTW at the University in line with strategic objectives.] (Approx % of time [10])

  • [Develop, implement, manage and evaluate a complex mix of integrated communications activities in close consultation with service and project teams and academic colleagues across the University to maximise visibility of learning technology activities.] (Approx % of time [30])

  • [Develop and project manage the production of communications tools specifically for service launch and other user events working closely with the ISG Directors, LTW Service Owners, School Reps and LTW Managers.] (Approx % of time [10])

  • [Identify and produce news stories and content for a range of departmental and University-wide publications to engender wider support and support project fundraising activities.] (Approx % of time [20])

  • [Lead the development of the LTW on-line presence, providing on-line case studies, blog posts and stories.] (Approx % of time [20])

  • [Expand institutional knowledge and skills in line with best practice, through active involvement in both specialist groups and relevant forums. Contribute good practice to learning tech/IT comms groups at a national level.] (Approx % of time [10])

4. Planning and Organising

    • Develop and implement long-term strategic and operational plans for the Directorate’s communications in line with LTW strategic objectives
    • Develop communications plans to meet the needs of projects and service activities in consultation with service owners and project leaders.
    • In conjunction with our graphic design, media and web teams. Manage the sourcing, briefing and commissioning process for a range of print, electronic and multi-media communications
    • Project management of communications activities across a wide range of areas
    • Plan and implement systems and procedures to enable development and delivery of web and electronic services
    • Manage communications budget
    • Develop systems to monitor success of print and on-line communications tools

5. Problem Solving

    • Identify effective and innovative communications strategies and activities to promote projects and Directorate activities and advise individuals involved on best course of action
    • Generate new ideas and methods for communicating effectively with audiences and develop these successfully with project and service teams
    • Monitor effectiveness of communications activities and refine plans and projects accordingly
    • Work with Director to solve issues of support required to deliver communications activities
    • Track and analyse audience profiles to identify changing needs of communications activities

6. Decision Making

    • Analyse and select suppliers that provide suitable, high quality and cost effective services for communications activities
    • Decide on the timings and choice of media to communicate departmental/project activities in an integrated and well-planned manner
    • Choose relevant media to promote activities
    • Choose feasible solutions for the delivery of on-line services (on-line giving, interactive networking)
    • Decide on best ways of dealing with external and internal individuals who have an issue with any communications matters

7. Key Contacts/Relationships

    • This post has a dual secondary reporting line to the Head of ISG Internal Communications for best practice, ISG wide coordination and personal development aspects.
    • Working closely with LTW Mangers up to Director level.
    • Working closely with CAM Head of Internal Communications
    • Working closely with LTW service and project teams
    • Working closely with ISG staff on communications activities
    • Working with Directors Office staff on budgeting and general operational matters
    • Liaison with academic staff to develop and deliver communications activities for fundraising projects
    • Liaison with students, and academics to source news stories and case studies for publications
    • Development of good working relationships with suppliers in a wide range of fields

8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job


      • Professional qualification and/or equivalent professional experience in Communications, Marketing or Public Relations.
      • Desirable

    • A relevant professional qualification or certification such as ITIL, CMALT, CIPD,CIM, CIPR, FSEDA, or PgCert Learning and Teaching


      • A strong background in communications at a strategic and operational level and ability to develop and manage a wide range of simultaneous activities.
      • Experienced in writing for a wide range of media
      • Experienced in managing and motivating a team
      • A track record in developing websites and electronic communications including assessing and reporting on impact and reach
      • Experienced in working in an advisory role at a variety of levels on communications issues.
      • Desirable

    • Experience of working in Higher Education, public sector or the Education sector more broadly.
    • Experienced in managing suppliers including briefing, appointing and managing on-going supplier relationships.

Knowledge, Skills and Competencies

      • Excellent oral and written communication skills with proven ability to communicate complex technical issues for a non-specialist audience.
      • Excellent interpersonal and networking skills, including proven ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with, and gaining the trust of, senior colleagues.
      • Excellent analytical skills and the ability to generate ideas and solutions to communication issues.
      • Good project management skills.
      • A knowledge of data protection and accessibility issues around print and electronic communications
      • Desirable

    • A good knowledge of branding and developing and applying effective branding strategies for organisations.
    • A good knowledge of press and PR, social media and digital marketing.
    • A good knowledge of the design and print production process.

Personal Attributes

    • Desirable
    • A passion for making the world a better place, improving services and meeting the needs of users.

9. Dimensions

    The Communications Manager is responsible for developing an effective long-term strategic vision for communicating the goals and benefits of projects and services which change the way learning and teaching is delivered, through a wide range of communications channels with the ultimate aim of cultivating a positive image for learning technology at the University. This will contribute to the establishment of a ‘culture of academic buy-in’ to learning technology projects among a wide audience of users, champions, influencers and stakeholders.

Application Procedure

All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page and submitting an up to date CV. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments.

We anticipate interviews will be held on Friday 15 March 2019 and candidates should ensure they are available on this date.
You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not.

The closing date is Wednesday 20th February 2019 at 5pm.

Eligibility to Work

In accordance with UK legislation the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK).

To do so, the University requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.

For further information on eligibility to work please visit our eligibility to work website

In the circumstances where the vacancy does not meet the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) criteria for sponsorship the successful applicant must have the existing right to work in the UK or individual circumstances which enable permission to work to be obtained.

For further information about whether you require a visa and other visa routes please visit the GOV.UK website

Conditions of Employment

Pension Scheme
This role is grade UE08 and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme.

For further information please visit our Pensions website.


The role is grade UE08 and attracts an annual salary of £40,792 to £48,677 for 35 hours each week. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month. Salaries for part-time staff are calculated on the full-time scales, pro-rata to the Standard Working Week.

The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.

This role will provide the necessary operational and strategic communications leadership
that the programme of learning technology and student experience projects in LTW requires.
Many of the current project and service activities in LTW require us to cultivate academic buy-in and cultural change in order to succeed in supporting and delivering on our institutional Learning and Teaching Strategy, Web Strategy, and sector level QA activities.

Developing ongoing relationships with comms networks across the University and messages and developing this requires consistency in resourcing and we now wish to move to a position where professional comms is an embedded function in our activities, particularly where we are engaging users as part of change projects.

We are confident that there will continue to be a need for support for large scale change projects in the learning and teaching arena and a colleague with professional expertise in aligning the benefits of IT services to academic business is essential.

Ltws Director’s office
Director’s Office provides a high quality administrative support service to senior management and section managers. We ensure that the Director, senior managers and section managers have the reports and information they need to support strategic decision making. The Directors office staff co-ordinate and service committee meetings, prepare reports, co-ordinate travel and staff development, ensure effective communication across the division , support recruitment and ensure budget control. We work closely with the officers of the other IT directors and with central support serve colleagues in HR, finance, estates and planning.
Learning Teaching and Web Services Division (LTW)
The Learning, Teaching & Web Services Division (LTW) brings together technology enhanced learning, e-learning, the University website, web services, graphics, multimedia, digital skills training and classroom technology teams to support learning, teaching and outreach for an enhanced student experience.

We provide a wide range of technology and support services for innovative learning and teaching, including classroom tools, blended learning, bespoke development, online video, open educational resources (OER), taught online Masters programmes, massive open online courses (MOOCs), feedback and assessment. We manage the continuing expansion and diversification of the University website and provide digital technology services in 350 teaching rooms and study spaces across the campus.

Every year we host student internships, projects and events which promote innovation and align with the University strategic aims to promote new ways of working in learning, teaching and research.

More information can be viewed at:

Information Services Group
Information Services (IS) Group is headed by the Chief Information Officer and Librarian to the University. IS comprises 5 Divisions serving the e-learning, library, information, data and computing needs of the University; and two Divisions, EDINA and the Digital Curation Centre, having national and international remits and mainly funded by JISC. There is a staff complement of c692 FTE and annual turnover of ~£30M.
IS is committed to developing and supporting its staff, ensuring good internal and external communications and offering responsive and agile services.
To find out more about IS, please visit our website at
The University of Edinburgh
For more than four centuries, our people and their achievements have rewritten history time and again. They’ve explored space, revolutionised surgery, published era-defining books, paved the way for life-saving medical breakthroughs and introduced to the world many inventions, discoveries and ideas from penicillin to Dolly the sheep. We have believed that anything is possible, we still do.
The latest Research Excellence Framework highlighted our place at the forefront of international research. This adds to our international reputation for the quality of our teaching and our student experience excellence. The University is proud of its success with online teaching initiatives, with 2550 students currently studying its online distance learning postgraduate programmes, and a total to date of more than 2 million enrolments for Edinburgh MOOCs.

As a member of staff, you will be part of one of the world’s leading universities, with 20 Schools spread over 3 Colleges that offer more than 1600 undergraduate and 600 postgraduate programmes to over 41,000 students each year. Professional services are critical to this success as well as our world-class teaching, research and student facilities. In fact, we are one of the top employers in Edinburgh, with over 14,500 people spread across a wide range of academic and supporting roles.

As a world-changing, world-leading university, we offer an exciting, positive, creative, challenging and rewarding place to work. We give you support, nurture your talent, develop and reward success and integrate academic, professional and personal career goals, as well as give your career the benefit of a great and distinguished reputation. In addition, our employees benefit from a competitive reward package and a wide range of staff benefits, which include generous holiday entitlement, a defined benefits pension scheme, staff discounts and much more. Access our staff benefits page for further information and use our reward calculator to find out the total value of pay and benefits provided.

The University of Edinburgh holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance gender equality in higher education. We are members of the Race Equality Charter and we are also Stonewall Scotland Diversity Champions, actively promoting LGBT equality. The University has a range of initiatives to support a family friendly working environment, including flexible working and childcare vouchers. See our University Initiatives website for further information.

University Family Friendly Initiatives

Equality Networks:

Staff Pride Network for LGBT+ colleagues and allies
Disabled Staff Network

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