Advocacy & Communications Assistant

Posted October 9, 2020

Position summary: Scholars at Risk (SAR) is seeking a highly-organized and team-oriented individual to join the SAR team as an advocacy and communications assistant. The position will focus on conducting research, drafting, and verifying reports of attacks on the higher education sector, publishing these reports through SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project, and developing communications campaigns to raise awareness about these attacks. The assistant will play a key role within the organization, working with senior and junior staff in all areas of SAR’s work. The position requires excellent research, writing, IT/social media skills, attention to detail, and judgment. It is ideal for a proactive individual who takes initiative. The position requires timely and professional communication, including with partners, SAR and NYU staff, media, and the public.

70% – Research and reporting on attacks on scholars/academic freedom: SAR researches, documents, analyzes, and reports on attacks on higher education through SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project. The advocacy and communications assistant will:

  • Research, draft, verify, and publish reports of attacks on the higher education sector;
  • Manage an enhanced research system using “smart-search” technology to increase the volume and efficiency of SAR monitoring, including:
    • working with SAR’s technology vendor(s) to develop successful search algorithms to flag potential qualifying incidents of attacks on higher education worldwide;
    • refining efforts based on results to reduce false positives;
    • analyzing results for inclusion in SAR monitoring;
    • drafting resulting incident reports and case studies; and
    • sharing relevant reports and studies via SAR websites, email lists, and social media; and
  • Assist with research and drafting of the Monitoring Project’s annual Free to Think report, white papers, and country reports, and publication of these in digital and print format.

30% – Implement and conduct research to support SAR’s communications plan: Working with all program areas and executive staff, the advocacy and communications assistant will:

  • Integrate SAR advocacy activities and updates into current SAR communications and materials, including SAR’s weekly Academic Freedom Media Review (an e-mail bulletin that compiles media articles, blogs, opinion pieces and other announcements about academic freedom worldwide), monthly Advocacy Insider (e-newsletter that includes action alerts, attacks on higher education, related media reports and updates on advocacy clinics and other projects), monthly SAR newsletter, and annual report;
  • Research and draft press releases, digital posts, talking points, and other content that highlight SAR’s advocacy efforts and achievements;
  • Conduct research to support the drafting of essays, op-eds, press releases, digital posts, talking points, and other content that highlight SAR-wide research and relevant events;
  • Assist in preparation of impactful, accessible, and easily sharable complementary materials to SAR research and reports, including especially Free to Think and advocacy reports;
  • Support SAR’s communications committee in development of a SAR-wide communications strategy;
  • Identify and create media opportunities, including researching and developing media lists and strategies for placement, managing press relations and inquiries, and arranging interviews for interested media with report researchers and subjects;
  • Consulting with SAR’s communications committee, take primary responsibility for the updating and maintenance (with outside vendors) of SAR’s website, Twitter, Facebook, and related pages; coordinate, produce, and curate effective content; and
  • Assess performance of website and social media and identify solutions or improvements as needed.


  • Undergraduate degree, or similar, relevant experience, required.
  • Excellent research and oral and written communication skills in English.
  • Exceptional attention to detail, initiative, time-management, and problem-solving abilities.
  • Experience in a communications role desirable, preferably related to international education, human rights.
  • Experience in press outreach and digital communications; strong understanding of social media for nonprofit organizations, including outreach, media, and development.
  • Commitment to human rights or academic freedom, and a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Ability to build and maintain strong, trusting internal relationships within and across teams.
  • Ability to manage competing interests, complex political and cultural factors, and tensions between long- and short-term goals.
  • Social media, WordPress, Adobe Creative Suite (InDesign) experience desired.

This is a full-time, at-will position on an open-ended term, subject to program priorities, exemplary performance and availability of funds. The position offers a salary comparable to similar positions at peer organizations in the human rights/NGO field. Scholars at Risk in an independent not-for-profit corporation hosted at New York University (NYU). SAR staff are NYU employees seconded to SAR. As seconded NYU employees, staff are eligible for NYU employee benefits, including generous vacation leave and holidays; medical, dental, vision and life insurance options; and retirement benefits (all subject to terms established by NYU as described at

HOW TO APPLY: Apply online at by uploading the requested materials ((1) a letter of interest, (2) resume, (3) list of references or letters of reference, and (4) a brief, unedited writing sample). DEADLINE FOR INITIAL APPLICATION REVIEW IS NOVEMBER 1, 2020. Applications received after the deadline will be reviewed on a rolling basis, until the position is filled. No phone calls or email inquiries, please. SAR/NYU is an equal opportunity employer. SAR/NYU does not discriminate due to race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender and/or gender identity or expression, marital or parental status, national origin, ethnicity, citizenship status, veteran or military status, age, disability, unemployment status, or any other legally protected basis, and to the extent permitted by law. Qualified candidates of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds are encouraged to apply. (Regrettably, SAR is not able to sponsor work-eligible visas.) [Version: 15SEPT2020]

EOE/AA/Minorities/Females/Veterans/Disabled/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity.

NYU is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to a policy of equal treatment and opportunity in every aspect of its recruitment and hiring process without regard to age, alienage, caregiver status, childbirth, citizenship status, color, creed, disability, domestic violence victim status, ethnicity, familial status, gender and/or gender identity or expression, marital status, military status, national origin, parental status, partnership status, predisposing genetic characteristics, pregnancy, race, religion, reproductive health decision making, sex, sexual orientation, unemployment status, veteran status, or any other legally protected basis. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of minority sexual orientation or gender identity, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply for vacant positions at all levels.

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