Executive Officer, Vice President, University Relations
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, SK
Executive Officer, Vice President, University Relations (req5100)

The University of Saskatchewan values diversity, and Indigenous engagement is a strategic priority.

Department: Vice-President, University Relations
Location: Saskatoon
Status: Permanent
Employment Group: Exempt
Full Time Equivalent (FTE): 1.0
Salary Information: The salary range, based on 1.0 FTE, is $66,500.00 - 110,000.00 per annum (/Salary Band 3). The starting salary will be commensurate with education and experience.
Posted Date: 10/17/2019
Closing Date: 10/30/2019
Number of Openings: 1

Primary Purpose: Reporting directly to the Vice-President University Relations (VPUR), the executive officer is a key member of the UR senior management team and is responsible for providing senior administrative support and management services to the Vice-President, the UR senior executive team, and the portfolio.. He or she advises the VPUR and executive of emerging matters as needed based on an extensive understanding of the university’s formal and informal structures and processes. The position manages and coordinates issues and initiatives, and leads administrative activities; tracks decisions and action items to ensure implementation and follow-up; and provides background and strategic advice to the VPUR on issues, policies, administrative management, and institutional areas of focus and priority.

The executive officer achieves this through providing and/or leading strategic planning, executive support services, project management, portfolio support, office and portfolio management and committee support; by liaising with stakeholders and communities in order to build the strength and effectiveness of the portfolio; and through effective communications. The position may also act as a resource to other portfolios when engaged in institution-level initiatives that require an integrated approach.

The position also is the senior administrative contact in the VP’s office and performs the triage required to deal with, or refer, a broad spectrum of issues across all levels of the university as appropriate, engaging and informing the VP as required. He or she effectively builds and maintains professional relationships that support an integrated, collaborative approach to the work at hand. The position also is responsible for the recruitment, retention, performance management and evaluation and leadership of support staff in the VP’s office, and is the office liaison to the UR Operations and Services office and to the Senior Business officer on budget and human resource issues.

The position provides the highest level of executive support to the VP, ensuring strategic management of scheduling and anticipating support needs based on the VP’s priorities and calendar. He or she prepares confidential and portfolio correspondence, reports, and documents; creates proposals, position papers, and other operational and strategic documents; supports the VP on senior administrative committees through preparation of background meeting materials, briefing notes, presentations, and other essential materials. Ensures high standards across the department through effective informal leadership built on strong, respectful relationships with peers and colleagues across the university.

Nature of Work: The Executive Officer is required to establish and maintain a wide range of professional relationships and effective interactions with academic and administrative leaders across the University. This position works under pressure in a fast-paced, deadline-driven, high-volume environment characterized by continuous change and shifting priorities. The incumbent must be comfortable working independently within a team-based, integrated environment. He or she will also liaise or be the primary contact with key contacts in other portfolios and from outside agencies as appropriate.

The position requires full discretionary decision-making and sound judgement. The incumbent will work with sensitive and highly confidential information and must understand and be comfortable with the risks incurred. He or she works with both internal and external stakeholders.

University Relations is responsible for institutional advancement programs (alumni, internal and external relations, communications and fundraising), and as such is dedicated to supporting the related needs of all colleges, units and the university as a whole. University Relations is comprised of specialized teams that work together as an integrated team to ensure that the University of Saskatchewan has the reputation, relationships and resources necessary to take its place among the most distinguished universities in Canada and the world. The teams include Strategic Communications, Alumni Relations, Development, Government Relations, Community Relations and Engagement, and Operations and Services. More than 80 professionals and support staff work at various locations including the central office in the Thorvaldson Building, in colleges and schools, and in the Peter MacKinnon Building on campus.

The University of Saskatchewan values diversity and Indigenous engagement is a strategic priority. In support of this priority, the position will provide leadership in a team environment which recognizes and supports the importance and value of diversity in achieving the mission of the University, and actively seek out those with diverse cultural backgrounds, perspective and experiences to support the mission.

In University Relations, the nature of our work centres on our guiding principles of being:

Creative: We embrace change and take strategic risks by seeking bold ideas with curiosity and enthusiasm.

Open: We nurture relationships with each other, on campus and with community partners that respect and honour different and diverse perspectives.

True: We communicate clearly, keep our promises and focus on achieving amazing results.

Executive Support

The executive officer provides essential support and advice to the Vice President and senior leadership.
Provides a confidential sounding board for ideas, plans and policy matters by offering expert knowledge, advice, critical analysis, options, and alternatives.
Provides expert advice and planning on sensitive human resource, budget, policy, and other issues.
Ensures that the VP is briefed and prepared for meetings, events, and other engagements
Provides professional and expert guidance to the VP in the development of tactical plans and work plans to address identified strategies and initiatives; implements when appropriate.
Communications and Issues Management

The executive officer works with the AVPs and others on institutional risk management, including those involving effective administration, coordination and management of information and issues for the office, the portfolio, and the university. Such issues may be highly sensitive and involve both internal and external communities.
Manages the flow of information to and from the Office of the Vice President; works with the VP to ensure regular and essential communication between the VP’s office and the full portfolio.
Coordinates and manages responses by identifying coordinating consulting with and following up with stakeholders and decisions makers.
Tracks and follows up on decisions and commitments.
Develops strategies and approaches and ensures due diligence on issues brought to committees, such as the Executive Committee, the Board, and other governance bodies.
Ensures that portfolio materials prepared for governing bodies are prepared with the highest degree of quality and clarity.
Facilitates resolution of issues through negotiation, mediation and conflict management between individuals, units and portfolios.
Portfolio Management

The executive officer is responsible for administration, coordination, and management of the University Relations portfolio. He or she builds office supports, systems and processes directly and through subordinate positions to ensure the continuing effectiveness of the UR administrative functions.
Conducts, directs, designs and implements the long-term business planning process for the Office of the VP and the UR portfolio.
Liaises on behalf of the Vice-President University Relations within the portfolio and with other portfolios on planning, developing, and overseeing financial management systems to optimize the use of resources and budget; ensures proper financial controls are in place.
Plans, develops and implements all aspects of human resources for the Office of the Vice President, including implementation of the organizational and work structure of the office and supervising administrative staff. Encourages and incentivizes integrated cross-functional approach to initiatives.
Works closely with the UR Executive Director, Operations and Services, as necessary.
Strategic Planning

As a member of the senior team, the Executive Officer contributes value-added strategic planning, policy and project advice to the VP, senior team colleagues, and the portfolio. He or she understands and supports the long-term vision of the portfolio.
Envisions, develops, and leads strategic plans, policies and projects that help the university achieve its goals
Ensures institutional goals are reflected in the portfolio and department goals, business plans and budgets
Develops with the VPUR and the senior management team an annual business plan that operationalizes key initiatives, including assigning accountabilities, budget, preferred outcomes and performance measures
Analyzes the success of strategic initiatives and recommends change when necessary
Develops strategic and sometimes confidential documents (white papers, reports, proposals, briefing notes, presentations, and others) for use by the portfolio and the executive.
Advises on and contributes to budgetary planning processes.
Project Management

The Executive Officer is responsible for the management, administrative, and coordination of identified portfolio or university projects, plans, reports, and strategic initiatives. These may involve both internal and external partners.
Leads, manages, and supervises projects and events for the VPUR and / or the portfolio – including scoping and planning projects; financial management; leadership to project teams; delegating and tracking progress.
Ensures projects are progressing and completed within timelines, set objectives, and budgets.
Coordinates identified university projects within the portfolio
Assists the VPUR in leading and coordinating university projects

As a key communications link within the portfolio, the university, and with outside bodies, the executive officer ensures the VPUR office, the portfolio, and the university are represented appropriately and ensures appropriate and timely movement or transfer of information.
Represents the office or portfolio at meetings or presentations
Provides and gathers information from units, other portfolios and external agencies; shares portfolio initiatives, projects and issues with others in the University and outside.
Serves as a conduit between the VPUR and the rest of the university; works with other portfolios to disseminate, provide and gather information from outside organizations.
Serves as VPUR liaison to external consultants and advisors
Liaises with university management to assess issues and advise senior management within the portfolio of their statues.
Leverages extensive contacts and relationships across campus to solve problems and advance strategies
Provides links to other portfolios
Education and Experience: A minimum of an undergraduate degree in a related discipline; graduate degree preferred. Eight to 10 years of significant experience in communications, constituent or stakeholder relations, administration and management, strategic planning; with an outstanding record of leadership in a complex administrative environment with multiple stakeholder groups, and demonstrated experience in successfully implementing policies, programs and initiatives. Experience in the public sector is an asset. Demonstrated success in establishing, developing and maintaining long-term supportive relationships; credibility within the university and with the external community; strategic thinking with the ability to executive, creative and conceptual plans. Proven ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously with a sense of urgency. Excellent tact and sound judgement; excellent oral and written communication skills.

The University of Saskatchewan is strongly committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace that empowers all employees to reach their full potential. All members of the university community share a responsibility for developing and maintaining an environment in which differences are valued and inclusiveness is practiced. The university welcomes applications from those who will contribute to the diversity of our community. The University must, however, comply with federal immigration requirements. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority.