Director of Strategic Engagement, Michigan College Access Network

About the Michigan College Access Network:

Since our founding a decade ago, Michigan College Access Network has known that college changes everything—and perhaps even more critical to our mission is the belief that college is for everyone. 

We do what it takes to provide students in Michigan with a brighter long-term future, through college access and postsecondary certificate and degree attainment: doing the research, talking to agents of change, connecting resources, being a changemaker.

Why? By encouraging Michigan residents to earn postsecondary certificates and degrees, we not only help them earn more and promote their well-being—we also strengthen Michigan's talent pool, retain and attract businesses to the state and stimulate Michigan's economy in the process.

Through college access, we are also able to promote equity in our state. We work to ensure that every student in Michigan has the opportunity to attend college—especially low-income students, first-generation college-going students and students of color.

We are proud to put forth a strategic plan that works to ensure that each and every student across Michigan has access to the knowledge, tools, and support to make college a reality.

Vision and Values

College is postsecondary education
We use the term college to refer to attainment of education beyond high school, including postsecondary certificates and academic degrees.

College is a necessity
Postsecondary attainment dramatically increases an individual’s economic independence in a knowledge-based economy.

College is for everyone
We work toward changing the systems that perpetuate inequities in postsecondary attainment.

College is a public good
Postsecondary attainment is critical to a just and equitable society, strong economy, thriving democracy, and healthy communities.

Position Description Summary

Reporting to the Executive Director, and serving as an integral member of the senior management team, the Director of Strategic Engagement (Director) will contribute to the success of the organization in several areas.   

Examples of duties:

  • Serve as the primary liaison to reporters, media,and other communication-related organizations
  • Develop and lead the organization’s communication strategy, including public and media relations, brand management, and social media
  • Act as an outward-facing ambassador of the organization at public events, conferences, meetings, etc.
  • Coordinate, implement and/or support special projects and events that raise the publicprofile of the organization or the college access and success issue

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Specifically, the Director will provide leadership in the following arenas:


  • Serve as the primary liaison to reporters, media and other communication-related organizations/requests. 
  • Develop and lead the organization’s communication strategy, including public and media relations, brand management, and social media. 
  • Broaden awareness of MCAN, its programs, and its priorities; increase visibility of the organization across key stakeholder audiences, particularly among state-level organizations.
  • Manage and keep updated the various MCAN websites and pages including developing new
  • Work with staff across the organization to recognize external communication opportunities and solutions and execute appropriate strategies to support them.
  • Manage and supervise all communication consultants, contractors and staff - Establish and monitor performance and development goals, assign tasks, establish priorities, and conduct annual performance reviews.
  • Oversee development of MCAN print communications including the annual report and other collateral materials in close partnership with MCAN’s communication consultant.

External Relations

  • Act as a key outward-facing ambassador of the organization at public events, conferences, meetings, etc.  Represent MCAN on various committees as needed. 
  • Provide support to the field by providing resources, technical assistance, and other supports as needed.
  • Serve as a liaison to key state and national partner organizations, including current and potential new partners.

Organizational Responsibilities

  • Oversee the department budget in consultation with the Executive Director and Staff Accountant. 
  • Support the organization in leading toward equity both internally and externally.
  • Serve as an expert on Continuous Communication, as described in the Collective Impact framework. Support Local College Access Networks through training and consultation about this topic.
  • Organize, manage and oversee annual conference sponsorship solicitation, meeting set budget goals.
  • Organize, manage and oversee College Access Impact Awards given at the MCAN annual conference.
  • Coordinate, implement and/or support special projects and events that raise the public profile of the organization or the college access and success issue.
  • Serve on MCAN’s grant review teams where appropriate.  Independently read and score various grant applications and participate in team meetings to review and determine the status of grant proposals.
  • Contribute to both grantwriting and grant reporting as necessary and appropriate in partnership with the Executive Director and other staff.
  • Engage in other related duties as assigned to advance the organization’s mission.

Possible Activities – Should the successful candidate have experience and skill in these areas, they may be included in the position description.

  • State policy and advocacy
  • Higher education engagement
  • Workforce and employer relations

Education, Job Knowledge, and Experience Requirements

The Director must have:

  • A degree in communication, public relations, marketing or a related field.  An advanced degree is preferred.
  • A minimum of seven years of experience in a nonprofit or education setting.  Experience in a college access organization and/or an intermediary organization is highly preferred.
  • A working knowledge of the college access and success field.
  • Demonstrated skill and comfort with the areas of responsibility listed above.
  • Extensive background in written communication and public speaking.
  • Excellent problem solving skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to effectively interface with staff, funders, partners, and MCAN’s Board of Directors.
  • An ability to operate as an effective tactical as well as strategic thinker.
  • Supervisory and management experience.
  • A comfort with various modes of technology.
  • A valid Michigan driver license.
  • A passion for MCAN’s mission, goal, and priorities.

The Director must also:

  • Prioritize and value high performance, commitment to quality, and continuous improvement.
  • Desire to work in a fast-paced, high-octane, team-oriented organization.
  • Be self-reliant, energetic, flexible, collaborative, and proactive.

The ideal candidate should:

  • Have an understanding of the concepts of institutional and structural racism and bias and their impact on underserved and underrepresented communities.  
  • Have experience considering the impacts of college access on multiple communities, including communities of color, and those with low socioeconomic status.
  • Have experience incorporating the perspectives of multiple communities, including communities of color, in the consideration of impacts and outcomes of a decision-making process.
  • Prioritize work, multi-task, work independently with minimal supervision, and accurately perform duties in a fast-paced environment
  • Have ability to solve problems, pay attention to detail, and follow through on tasks assigned through completion
  • Work efficiently and adhere to established deadlines
  • Possess strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work effectively as part of a team
  • Have a passion for working in the nonprofit and education sector – especially for post-secondary attainment
  • Have extensive knowledge of Microsoft Office Products and Gmail as well as knowledge of basic office and communication equipment and software
  • Have strong written communication skills that demonstrate professional composition, proper grammar, clarity, and reflect the tone of the Michigan College Access Network
  • Show professionalism in all they do through confidence, competence and communication.
Salary & Benefits: 

$70,000 - $75,000

This position is full-time and is eligible for MCAN’s full benefits package including generous health, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance, retirement benefits, significant paid time off, paid holidays, and a fun work environment. 

How To Apply: 

To apply, please submit résumé , cover letter and a list of 3 professional references to

We encourage you to apply by December 5, 2020.

Hiring Organization: 
Michigan College Access Network
Director of Strategic Engagement
City and State: 
Lansing MI
Hiring Deadline: 

MCAN believes that diversity and inclusion among our teammates is critical to our success and we seek to recruit, develop and retain the most talented people from a diverse candidate pool.

MCAN is an Equal Opportunity Employer and encourages people from all backgrounds to apply. MCAN is also an Employer of National Service.

For questions related to this position, please email Vicky Wright, Director of Operations, at [email protected]

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