Issues, Crisis and Media Specialist Communications Manager

Position Summary

The Issues, Crisis and Media Specialist supports crisis and issues management activities and emergency planning for Michigan State University. The specialist is responsible for maintaining comprehensive knowledge of diverse issues and requires continuous coordination with multiple departments, units and activities across MSU in order to maintain an advanced level of situational awareness. In crisis situations, the specialist is a crucial part of the crisis response team and is the conduit for accurate and timely information to the media and public while protecting the interests of the institution. In issues management, the specialist is responsible for identifying, analyzing and collaborating in managing complicated issues and developing strategies to ensure the right messages are communicated to the right audiences both internally and externally. In emergency planning, the specialist supports efforts both within CABS and in conjunction with other campus entities such as MSU Police to prepare the University for emergencies through planning and drills. In all functions, the specialist will work closely with the Senior Media Relations Issues and Crisis Specialist and the Associate Vice President for Communications and Senior PR Strategist.


  • Forecasts and monitors emerging issues and crisis communications for the University.
  • Coordinates media inquiries involving the President, Associate Vice President for Communications and Brand Strategy, and other senior administrators.
  • Mentors individuals and units throughout the University on confidential public relations.
  • Creates, monitors and executes emergency and crisis communications activities and contingency planning.
  • Supports CABS leadership in a crisis situation, helping provide accurate and timely information to the university community and the media while ensuring MSU’s interests are well represented.
  • Continuously updates the key issues website with background information and statements on timely issues and topics of current and continuing interest to the President and top-level administration, the University community, alumni, general public and the media.
  • Builds and fosters new and existing relationships with media representatives.
  • Creates, revises and enhances emergency plans for Communications and Brand Strategy, specifically on how those plans interact with university-wide emergency planning considerations.
  • Participates in and helps plan emergency drills for CABS and other units


Candidates should have:

Knowledge equivalent to that which normally would be acquired by completing a four-year college degree program in:

  • journalism
  • communications
  • public relations
  • English
  • or related field that prepares the individual to communicate effectively with diverse audiences


Three to five years of related and progressively more responsible or expansive work experience in:

  • Communicating effectively with members of the news media
  • Planning communication strategies to address university priorities and initiatives.
  • Experience in issues and crisis management.
  • Well-honed ability to quickly gather, organize and summarize critical information under deadline pressure.
  • Composing, editing and promoting news stories and PR messaging.
  • Developing strong working relationships with media representatives
  • Creating media plans with tight deadlines.
  • Must demonstrate initiative, good judgment and the ability to own projects.
  • Must be able to work effectively with team members and contacts.
  • Ability to set and meet goals while working both independently and as part of a team.
  • Proven knowledge of Associate Press style, word processing, desktop publishing and Web writing.
  • Or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

 The desired candidate will have:

  • Minimum of five to seven years of professional experience in quickly understanding, analyzing and recommending courses of action for complex issues and effectively communicating complex ideas.
  • Ability to forecast emerging issues and manages crisis communications for the University, and respond to media inquiries involving university administrators
  • Experience in developing communication plans
  • Experience in newswriting
  • Demonstrated experience using social media platforms
  • An understanding of higher education roles, functions and issues.

How to Apply

To assure full consideration, please apply online at (posting #442340) by June 29, 2017. Applications must include a cover letter and resume.

About MSU/East Lansing

Michigan State University is situated on a beautiful, park-like campus, close to major metropolitan centers, with outlying research facilities and natural areas and a proud land-grant heritage. The campus is located in East Lansing and adjacent to the capital city of Lansing, with a diverse population of approximately 450,000. Local communities have excellent school systems and place a high value on education. The campus has nearly 5,500 faculty and academic staff, more than 6,300 support staff, and more than 50,000 students. MSU is an equal-opportunity employer committed to supporting and actively increasing diversity in all areas of campus. MSU is proactive in exploring opportunities for employment of dual-career couples, both inside and outside the university. Information about MSU’s dual-career support can be found at

MSU is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. MSU is committed to achieving excellence through a diverse workforce and inclusive culture that encourages all people to reach their full potential. The university actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans, and persons with disabilities.