Senior Director of Executive Communications



California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) is dedicated to preparing future leaders, building great communities, and solving critical issues. With a guiding institutional strategic plan titled “The Power of CSUSM,” the University is launching a major philanthropic campaign to support some of the largest and most exciting projects in CSUSM’s history. The University recently received the largest gift in its 35-year history, two philanthropic donations totaling $20 million from Price Philanthropies and Phyllis and Daniel J. Epstein. Other major initiatives include development of a new academic master plan, strategic enrollment plan, and campus facilities master plan.

CSUSM is fully focused on expanding educational access, student success, and opportunity. From first-year programs to community-based learning opportunities, internships, undergraduate research, and more, the university works to foster deep learning and academic success by engaging students in meaningful and innovative educational experiences. CSUSM ranks in the top 1% in the nation on the National Social Mobility Index, which measures how well colleges and universities lift low-income students into well-paying careers post-graduation. CSUSM was also recently named a “Top 25 Most Transformative College” according to Money Magazine.

As an anchor institution in the region, CSUSM is highly connected and responsive to the needs of local communities. Approximately 80% of CSUSM students remain in the region after graduation, 55% of whom are the first in their family to earn a bachelor’s degree. Enrollment is nearly 16,000 diverse students, serving San Diego County, Orange County, and Southwest Riverside County. CSUSM is a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) with over 50% of our students representing the Latinx community. The principles of diversity, equity and inclusion are woven into all aspects of CSUSM’s work. To learn more, visit:


Now in the sixth year of her presidency at CSUSM, Dr. Ellen Neufeldt continues to work in partnership with faculty, staff, and the community to expand the university’s reach and impact. This position will report to CSUSM’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Sarah Villarreal. Dr. Villarreal oversees the Office of the President, a broad portfolio that includes Institutional Planning and Analysis and Marketing and Communications. Dr. Villarreal has been a higher education professional for over 20 years and began her early career in marketing at the University of California, Riverside. The Senior Director of Executive Communications will join a collegial team at an ideal and exciting time as President Neufeldt moves forward with the university’s new institutional strategic plan and a forthcoming major philanthropic campaign.



  • Salary – $160,000 – $185,000 DOE/NEG
  • Medical, dental, and vision
  • CALPERS retirement plan
  • 24 paid days off
  • 12 paid sick days
  • 13 paid holidays and 1 floating holiday


This role will primarily be in-person, with some flexibility for remote work. The office is located on the main campus of California State University San Marcos, 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd. San Marcos CA, 92096.


Reporting to the Chief of Staff, this new Senior Director position will lead communications strategies on behalf of the Office of the President. This position serves as a thought partner and communications strategist with senior leadership, collaborating with internal and external stakeholders to develop a range of executive writing and communications assignments, from formal speeches and message points to statements, letters, video messages, blogs, white papers, social media posts, and op-eds. The director will also serve as an occasional resource to the provost, vice presidents, and chiefs for important leadership communications emanating from their offices and will support the development of key internal communications as needed. This position will work closely with University Communications, University Advancement, and Community Engagement, and other areas across campus to ensure CSUSM’s public relations, marketing, government relations, and executive communications are fully integrated. The Senior Director will also serve as a University spokesperson in certain situations.

Strategic priorities for the first 12 months may include:

  • Partner with President Neufeldt and Dr. Villareal to elevate the brand and reputation of CSUSM through production of impactful communications pieces.
  • Support the development of white papers and editorials on social mobility.
  • Work to position President Neufeldt as a global thought partner on issues related to higher education and social mobility.
  • Build strong relationships across the university to support a range of initiatives, ensuring synergistic messaging and brand consistency.
  • Lead and serve on various campus committees such as Critical Issues Team and Free Speech and Elections.


  • Develop executive communications reflecting the president’s voice and style across a range of formats, settings, and channels.
  • Collaborate with CSUSM marketing and communications leaders to develop and implement communication strategies to help drive presidential priorities and messages.
  • Support the development and implementation of a consistent communications briefing process for those requesting the President’s time for video messages, events, quotes, etc.
  • Use situational awareness to analyze and make communications recommendations based on various time-sensitive needs.
  • Help translate complex ideas and strategies into simple and cohesive communications, working with University Communications on formats and vehicles for including videos, social media, etc.
  • Remain current on issues and trends affecting higher education.
  • Conduct story-mining and use curiosity about what is happening inside and outside of CSUSM to determine the most important stories to tell in presidential communications.
  • Provide general support to the President at events, including advance work/meeting preparation, logistics coordination, communication with event planners/staff, and follow-up to specific requests.
  • Lead various crisis communications planning and execution, helping to advise senior leadership on communications during times of crisis and/or emergency.
  • Serve as a university spokesperson for matters of institutional credibility and crisis as needed.
  • Archive work product for easy accessibility and future use and reference.


  • The successful candidate must be highly skilled in communications, media relations, publications, and branding.
  • Proven experience in crafting speeches and message points covering leadership updates, ceremonial functions, formal events, and announcements, and providing support for thought leadership.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, with the ability to engage diverse audiences both internally and externally.
  • Demonstrated experience serving as a spokesperson, working with the news media on coverage of programs, events, and activities.
  • Knowledge of current media relations trends, crisis communications best practices, and digital strategies.
  • A collaborator who can connect information, objectives, and stakeholders from across the university.
  • Ability to prioritize projects appropriately, making informed decisions quickly and decisively.



The California State University (CSU) remains committed to safeguarding the health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, administrators, and the communities we serve, as well as maintaining higher education access and attainment for our students. As such, all employees and new hires are required to be fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, unless otherwise exempted. To view the full policy please visit:


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