Associate Vice President, External
The University of Windsor is seeking an Associate Vice-President, External (AVPE) to provide bold and integrated leadership to a diverse, vibrant, and evolving portfolio, including strategic communications, marketing and branding, digital and social media, community and government relations, and advancement and alumni relations. Two years ago, these areas were first brought together under a single senior leadership structure at the University of Windsor. The AVPE holds primary responsibility for strategic planning and programming related to the offices of Public Affairs and Communications, University Advancement, and Alumni Affairs.
This is a critical strategic leadership role that is instrumental in realizing the institution’s vision and infrastructure to advance and enhance the University’s relationships, impact, accountability, and reputation.
Reporting to the President and Vice-Chancellor and working closely with the University’s senior leadership including the Deans and Provost Council, the AVPE will lead the development and articulation of an exciting, fully integrated external relations strategy, that moves beyond communication to genuine engagement and support. Based on the intricacies that exist with overlap among key stakeholders, the incumbent will work in a highly collaborative fashion to ensure alignment of external relations strategies within the portfolio and across the University with a focus on providing added value through services and opportunities for synergies.
With a proven track record of expertise and success as a solid administrator and manager of complexities, the AVPE will leverage, catalyze, and elevate external relations strategies and goals at the University of Windsor while instilling confidence for effective and efficient follow-through. A skilled facilitator and mediator, who can bring people to consensus and deal with competing priorities, the ideal candidate will be an exceptional communicator, a creative problem-solver, and a transparent leader.
The incumbent will foster and maintain positive, productive relationships both across the University of Windsor and among its external communities and partners.
Overseeing a team of 3 direct reports and a full team of 35+ professionals, the Associate Vice-President, External will be an effective team leader and team builder who will inspire, coach, and empower team members in achieving new levels of success in meaningful and transformative community engagement and government relations.
The AVPE will be an integral member of the University’s senior leadership team. The incumbent will embrace and proudly represent the University of Windsor and be a key leader in the implementation of Aspire, the University’s new upcoming 5-year strategic plan.
While the University of Windsor recognizes and embraces the current shift to flexible work arrangements, the AVPE will be expected to work primarily on campus, will live in the Windsor-Essex County area, and will be seen as strong member of its vibrant community. Regular domestic and periodic international travel will be required for this role.
THE UNIVERSITY OF WINDSOR
The University of Windsor is a globally relevant, regionally focused University that welcomes over 16,000 students in a range of comprehensive and research-intensive graduate and undergraduate programs delivered by eight academic faculties, which include Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Science; Human Kinetics; Education; Law; Engineering; Nursing; Business; and Graduate Studies. The UWindsor campus is also home to a medical program offered by Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. The University of Windsor operates on two campuses, its original Windsor West location, and an evolving downtown complex.
With an annual operating budget of over $325 million, the University employs approximately 2500 faculty and staff across academic, administrative, and student service areas. Our faculty and staff are passionate and dedicated to advancing the University’s teaching, service, research, and scholarship mission and creating an exceptional learning environment for our students.
The University of Windsor has a strong alumni network living and working around the world. There are nearly 150,000 UWindsor alumni, with 35,000 living in the Windsor-Essex region.
The University’s unique position on an international border between Canada and the United States has contributed to its identity as a diverse campus community providing rich cultural, recreational, and educational opportunities for faculty, staff, and students. The Windsor-Essex region is recognized as one of the most culturally diverse communities in Canada, where 27% of the population is foreign-born and over one hundred cultures are represented. In addition to this, Windsor is home to one of the oldest Black communities in Canada. The University of Windsor is situated literally at the entrance to Old Sandwich Towne (founded 1797), which is one of the original Black communities in the southwestern Ontario region.
The University is a key player in a wide range of distinctive industrial, entrepreneurial, and cultural activities throughout the City of Windsor and Essex County, and in an evolving network of international academic and industrial partnerships, particularly with leading American universities in Michigan.
It is within this context that the University has identified its critical strategic role within the region and local community and beyond by focusing on key priorities such as knowledge creation, economic diversification, labour-force stability, quality of life and cultural vibrancy, contributing to an active, well-informed citizenry, and civic leadership. The University launched a strategic planning process in the Fall of 2021, Aspire: Together for Tomorrow, that aims to further identify strategic priorities and an institutional vision for the future.
Since 2011, the University has invested over $450 million in major campus renewal and modernization, which has included the construction of the Centre for Engineering Innovation, Welcome Centre, the Toldo Lancer Centre, the complete renovation of Windsor’s Law School, and the development of its multi-site downtown campus that houses the Schools of Social Work, Computer Science, and Creative Arts. In 2024, the University campus will become the home of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit which will bring future collaborations in the areas of research, teaching, community service, and experiential learning.
The University is committed to an exceptional student experience and a welcoming and inclusive learning environment that fosters creativity, critical thinking, and the development of a lifelong learning orientation. The University’s dedication to research excellence results in positive and far-reaching social, economic, and environmental impacts. The University is also deeply committed to being a positive, healthy, and rewarding working environment.
EXTERNAL RELATIONS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WINDSOR
The External Relations team works side-by-side with our alumni, donors, students, communities, faculty, staff, and government. Their mission is to ensure that the University of Windsor continues to build on its strengths as an internationally-oriented, multi-disciplined institution that actively enables a broad diversity of students, faculty, and staff to make a better world through education, scholarship, research, and engagement.
The External Relations portfolio brings together four interconnected strategic areas of importance under a single senior leadership structure at the University of Windsor:
- Institutional marketing, public relations, and media relations activities
- Advancement, stewardship, and donor communications efforts
- Alumni engagement and development
- Government and community relations (local, provincial, and federal)
The above areas are currently managed by three offices: Office of Public Affairs and Communications, University Advancement, and Alumni Affairs.
Office of Public Affairs and Communications (PAC): Provides strategic and creative leadership promoting the University of Windsor brand and unique profile in the marketplace, working to advance the University’s image and reputation with key audiences. The PAC team is responsible for the coordination of approximately 185 publications each year, including the Daily News, and VIEW, the award-winning University of Windsor alumni magazine.
University Advancement: Builds relationships with a diverse group of donors (alumni, parents, friends, corporations, and foundations) who support the University of Winsor through Annual Giving, Planned Giving, Major Gifts, and Corporate and Foundation Giving. University Advancement received a total of $8 million in gifts in 2022. These gifts, of all sizes, help provide the funding necessary to support student scholarships, build new facilities, enhance faculty departments, library services, athletics, faculty initiatives, research, and programs.
Alumni Affairs: Works in partnership with the Alumni Association to create and deliver programs, services, and communications to engage over 150,000 University of Windsor alumni around the world, encouraging life-long relationships between the University and graduates from the past, present, and future.
The University of Windsor’s Government Relations Committee is responsible for strategically promoting the relevance of academia, research, capital projects, and special initiatives with all levels of government.
KEY AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY
Reporting to the President and Vice-Chancellor, the Associate Vice-President, External (AVPE) is accountable for the following key areas:
External Relations Strategy and Planning
- Establishes the institutional vision and infrastructure for relationship-building, cultivation, stewardship, strategic communications and partnerships, and commitment to philanthropy in order to advance and enhance the University’s relationships, impact, accountability, and reputation through strategic coordination and value-added services.
- Designs parallel strategies and collaborative processes to ensure synergies between external facing activities and programs across the University units and departments.
- Has primary responsibility for strategic planning and programming related to the Offices of Public Affairs and Communications, University Advancement, and Alumni Affairs.
- Leads and leverages department resources to support faculty, staff, students, the Alumni Association, Administration, and the Board of Governors in their external relations related efforts.
- Builds vision and provides oversight to ensure execution, tracking and progress of key objectives in the External Relations portfolio.
- Provides regular strategic council to the President and Vice-Chancellor, and the Executive Leadership Team on all opportunities and threats related to this portfolio.
- Advises on institutional risk assessment related to the External portfolio and is a key participant in risk mitigation and management.
- Provides information as required for the Board of Governors and participates in various others University committees and working groups as necessary.
- Maintains accountability, including planning and managing the financial resources of the External Relations portfolio.
Working with Internal Partners Across the University
- Works collaboratively with the Deans, Deans Council, and Provost as well as the Executive Director of Institutional Analysis and other senior leaders on all items related to government and community relations.
- Works collaboratively with the institution’s broader “External Team” which includes other institutional portfolios that have external-facing roles including the Office of the Vice-President People, Equity, and Inclusion; the Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic); the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation; the Office of the Senior Advisor to the President on Indigenous Relations and Outreach; the Office of the Vice-President, Finance and Administration; and the Office of the Associate Vice-President, Student Experience.
Institutional Marketing, Public Relations and Media Relations Activities
- Oversees public affairs and communications and provides oversight and direction in communications and marketing strategies.
- Frequently serves as a spokesperson for the University of Windsor and identifies opportunities for other University leaders to effectively communicate institutional messages.
Advancement, Stewardship and Donor Communications Efforts
- Provides a vision, leadership, and strategic oversight of institutional advancement efforts, notably leading in securing public and private support for the University.
- Upholds ethical principles as outlined in the International Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising.
Alumni Engagement and Development
- Develops strategic directions and supports the University’s relationship with alumni including the operations of the University of Windsor Alumni Association.
Government and Community Relations (Local, Provincial, and Federal)
- Maintains positive University relationships with government, and advocates for the University in public policy in collaboration with other departments.
- Motivates and monitors a highly diverse team of 35+ to deliver the External Relations strategy and plan.
REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS AND COMPETENCIES
- Substantial and progressive experience in leadership and administration, ideally with revenue generation responsibilities, in a large and multi-layered complex organization.
- A demonstrated track record of achievement in one or more of the following areas: advancement, development, alumni relations, marketing, communications, or government relations.
- Strong strategic planning, implementation, and management experience.
- Proven relationship building abilities and excellent interpersonal skills.
- Experience working with organizational leadership to leverage, catalyze, elevate, and support external relations strategies to achieve organizational objectives and goals.
- Extensive team leadership and team-building experience including the ability to inspire, coach, mentor, and empower a diverse group of team members and gain respect and credibility at all levels.
- Demonstrated ability as a role model to staff and others, employing the highest standards of professionalism, confidentiality, and sensitivity.
- Exceptional communication skills (written and oral), including presentation skills.
- Demonstrated facilitation and mediation skills, including the ability to convene others, build consensus and collaboration while managing competing priorities.
- Strong analytical, organizational, and problem-solving skills.
- Demonstrated experience with change management.
- Experience with risk assessment and mitigation approaches related to External Relations.
- Experience with operations including budgeting and forecasting.
- Undergraduate degree in a related field is required; graduate degree is preferred.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) has been retained to conduct this search on behalf of the University of Windsor. For more information about this new role, please contact Tara George, Partner / Lead, KCI Search + Talent or Sylvie Battisti, Vice President, Search + Talent at UWindsor@kcitalent.com.
To view full position brief, visit www.kcitalent.com
All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence. Interested candidates should send their resume and letter of interest to the email address listed above by February 24, 2023.
Please note that the hiring salary range for this position is $230,000-$250,000 based on experience, plus a wide range of benefits that are available to all University of Windsor employees.
The University of Windsor is a welcoming community committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion. As part of this commitment, the University of Windsor encourages applications from Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, racialized people, the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community, women, and other marginalized groups. Applicants requiring accommodation during the application and/or interview process can direct inquiries to Tara George or Sylvie Battisti at UWindsor@kcitalent.com.
While the University of Windsor recognizes and embraces the current shift to flexible work arrangements, the successful candidate for this role will work primarily on campus, will live in the Windsor-Essex region, and will be seen as an active member of its vibrant community.
The University of Windsor acknowledges that our campus is situated on the traditional territory of the Three Fires Confederacy of First Nations, which includes the Ojibwa, the Odawa, and the Potawatomi.