topSkip to main content

Menu, Secondary

Menu Trigger


Communications Assistant

SUMMARY: The Communications Assistant provides general administrative support for the Vice President for Communications and multiple members of the Association of American Universities (AAU) communications staff. Serves as the front-line contact to screen and handle high-level inquiries as well as phone, email, and mail requests, as appropriate. Communicates extensively with internal and external colleagues and maintains a high level of customer service. The Communications Assistant also provides logistical and coordinating support for the Public Affairs Network (PAN) constituent group.

PRIMARY DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. Other duties may be assigned to meet business needs.

  • Screens telephone calls and meeting requests and handles routine inquiries independently with personal knowledge of supervisors’ activities.

  • Schedules meetings, telephone calls, conference calls, and webinars for supervisors; anticipates schedule conflicts, preparation and travel time, and other events which might impact schedules.

  • Creates meeting agendas, compiles background and meeting information, participates in meetings and takes notes, and ensures follow-up is completed as needed.

  • Uses knowledge of AAU practices and priorities to proactively respond to daily issues and requests; provides organizational support related to daily workflow and determining action items and priorities.

  • Drafts, prepares, and distributes letters, talking points, presentations, and summaries on behalf of supervisors, including creating initial drafts, proofreading, editing, formatting, and using email distribution software.

  • Provides support for special/ad-hoc initiatives and programs, including drafting content, program support, and outreach.

  • Maintains, updates and tracks records in AAU’s database (Association Management System), retrieves and relays information from database.

  • Manages the welcome and onboarding process for communications professionals at new AAU member institutions as part of AAU’s Public Affairs Network (PAN).

  • Provides materials to and maintains committee, task force, and listserv lists and coordinates conference calls and occasional in-person meetings; manages supervisors’ commitments to steering committees, advisory groups, boards, and other external groups; takes accurate notes during meetings as appropriate.

  • Organizes issue portfolio content on SharePoint site and posts content in appropriate SharePoint site.

  • Sends weekly communications through mass email system to AAU constituents; posts content to the AAU website, including posting new documents and deleting obsolete information in a timely manner.

  • Drafts digital media content for AAU’s social media, website, and the PAN online communities as needed.

  • Assists with the process of curating and posting AAU’s syndicated member research stories.

  • Administers supervisor’s travel and prepares itineraries; prepares supervisor’s expense reports, check requests, and credit card reconciliations in accordance with AAU policies and procedures; organizes and maintains paper and computer files.

  • Cooperates and coordinates with other AAU administrative assistants and fills in as necessary.

  • Performs other duties as assigned.



  • Acts as liaison between campus public affairs officers and the AAU communications department.

  • Maintains and tracks PAN member information, including rosters and other relevant lists, in AMS to ensure accuracy and completeness.

  • Gathers content and disseminates meeting materials for PAN meetings.

  • PAN Annual Conference - works with the Vice President for Communications as well as the PAN Steering Committee on program content and procurement of speakers in addition to providing on-site support for the staff and the PAN. Coordinates and Assists the Director of Meetings with logistics for the annual PAN conference in advance and on-site.


  • Tracks and monitors Steering Committee member terms; creates and maintains timelines, ensures new members are identified in a timely manner and manages the onboarding process for new Steering Committee members.

  • Schedules PAN Steering Committee and subcommittee calls and in-person meetings. Drafts meeting summaries and ensures timely follow-up and completion of tasks.

  • Assists in drafting and/or compiling meeting materials for meetings and conference calls.


  • Provides administrative and program support for the PAN online community.

  • Helps develop and maintains online community guidelines.

  • Responds to members’ requests as appropriate in a professional, personable, and timely manner to grow and keep the community thriving.

  • Monitors, tracks, and reports to relevant internal stakeholders on community discussions.

  • Serves as the communications team’s administrative liaison and works with other departments within AAU to coordinate community activities and discussions as necessary.

QUALIFICATIONS/REQUIREMENTS: Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Superior organization and prioritization skills; meticulous and detail-oriented; follows through in a timely manner, completing tasks without prompting.

  • Flexibility and ability to manage competing demands; ability to manage myriad ongoing tasks in a fast-paced environment and adjust to changes.

  • Resourcefulness and ability to work proactively; ability to think ahead. Good logic skills to review minutes and summarize the conclusions and actions taken.

  • Maintains a strict code of ethics in working with highly confidential data.

  • Ability to resolve problems, use analytical judgment, and process a high volume of accurate, detailed, and quality work product.

  • Ability to create and support an environment which fosters teamwork, cooperation, respect and diversity. 

  • Ability to promote and foster productive multidirectional communications with staff as well as AAU member university officials and external parties.

  • Intermediate writing and editing skills; ability to vary writing style and voice as needed.

  • Commitment to working with integrity and ethically; must follow AAU's policies and procedures; is consistently at work and on time; ensures work responsibilities are covered when absent.

  • Willingness to take ownership for wide-ranging responsibilities; demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness; looks for ways to improve and monitors own work to ensure quality.

  • Must reside within the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area while working for AAU.


  • College degree preferred; 1-3 years of administrative support. Experience in non-profit and/or higher education preferred.

  • Must have a working knowledge and display an advanced level of skill in the Microsoft Office suite 2010 or more recent programs.

  • Experience working with Office 365, SharePoint, association management systems, mass email systems, and website content management systems is required.

TRAVEL. Travel is primarily local during the business day, although some evening, out-of-the-area, and overnight travel may be expected. Since this position will be providing administrative support for various meetings, travel will be expected.

SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITY. This position has no supervisory responsibilities. However, the Communications Assistant is expected to coordinate efforts with key personnel in the department and the Association to achieve the position’s purpose.

WORK ENVIRONMENT. This job operates in a professional office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, filing cabinets and fax machines.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS. The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to communicate and exchange information.

This is largely a stationary position; however, the employee is required to occasionally move about inside the office to access file cabinets, office machinery, etc. and operate a computer and other office productivity machinery and equipment, such as a copy machine, a computer printer, filing cabinets, etc. Some filing is required; this requires the ability to move files up to 20lbs across the office for various needs.

POSITION TYPE. This is a full-time, non-exempt position. Days and hours of work are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Occasional evening and weekend work may be required as job duties demand.

OTHER DUTIES. Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.

DISCLAIMER: This job description is not to be construed in a manner which implies an employee’s right to employee. This job description is not a contract of employment, expressed or implied, nor is it an offer to enter into such a contract or guarantee of employment for any duration.

AAU is committed to a work environment that is inclusive to all and free of discrimination. It is our policy to be an equal opportunity employer without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability, citizenship status or any other factors prohibited by federal, state, and local law. AAU will provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with a disability.