Vice President (External Relations)

This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime career opportunities. To the right person, with the right combination of experience and a willingness to jump in to uncharted territory, the University of Alberta is offering a unique challenge at an unprecedented time in its history.

The University of Alberta is embarked on a process of transformational change, building on its outstanding reputation as a leader in higher education teaching and research and a driver of economic growth, innovation and creativity in the province and beyond our borders. With bold leadership and fresh ideas, the goal is to reimagine traditional academic and administrative structures and create a more efficient, innovative and sustainable model for the future.

The University is seeking a new Vice President (External Relations) to join its leadership team. This new Vice President will play a vital role in supporting this transformation initiative and will be key part of a leadership team determined to inspire a new model for the post-secondary sector across the country, positioning the U of A as a national and international leader in entrepreneurial and innovative solutions in higher education.

This new Vice President will provide bold and creative leadership to a diverse and vibrant portfolio including community relations, government relations, strategic communications, marketing and branding, digital and social media, and advancement and alumni relations. The team builds strong relationships and a positive reputation through storytelling, advocacy, community connections, special events and creative initiatives. The Vice President works closely with colleagues in academic faculties and administrative units as well as serving as an ambassador to key stakeholder groups such as governments, donors, alumni, community members, deans, faculty, staff and students across the U of A’s five campuses.

As a member of the leadership team reporting directly to the President, the Vice-President (External Relations) formulates strategies and undertakes initiatives that advance and enhance the University of Alberta’s reputation and relationship with the public and its stakeholders and leads the University’s fundraising and advancement initiatives. The Vice President (External Relations) also works in ongoing consultation on major operational matters with the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) in their capacity as Chief Operating Officer. The Vice-President (External Relations) leads a portfolio charged with advancing and enhancing the relationships, reputation, and story of the University of Alberta through relationship building, strategy, and value-added service. The significant overlap among key stakeholder groups demands a fully integrated external relations strategy that moves beyond communication to genuine engagement: helping stakeholders and communities to understand how the University of Alberta is linked with their lives, culture and society.

The Vice President (External Relations) creates and maintains positive, productive relationships between the university’s campuses and its external communities and shepherds the university’s brand by leading institutional strategic communications through external media to build awareness and reputation. The Vice President (External Relations) provides strategic counsel to the president on all issues related to government relations, marketing, communication, stakeholder relationships, and institutional reputation, and supports the president in their role as chief spokesperson for the university and identifies opportunities for other University leaders to communicate the institution’s message and mission. The Vice President (External Relations) also oversees the Chief Advancement Officer, who works closely with the president to lead advancement, development and alumni relations for the university. The Vice President (External Relations) provides vision and leadership to a full-scale institutional advancement program and works to amplify the university’s reputation globally by communicating the UofA’s leading-edge digital capabilities for teaching, learning, and research across web, mobile, social media, digital learning and analytics platforms.

As the ideal candidate, you bring a level of education commensurate with this senior administrative role, as well as 10+ years of senior leadership experience and a strong record of leadership and management effectiveness in a complex administrative environment with multiple stakeholder groups. You are a strategic thinker with demonstrated significant accomplishments in communications, marketing, government relations, advancement and alumni relations and have a track record of success working within a complex, multi-stakeholder organization with a diverse workforce. You have an ability to engage people, inside and outside of the university, working collaboratively, effectively and successfully to advance the University of Alberta and possess excellent relationship and team-building skills. You have a proven ability to develop proactive partnerships and possess superior leadership, people management, and coaching/mentoring skills.

About the University of Alberta

The U of A is the province’s leading educator, generator of new ideas, and engine of social, cultural, and economic prosperity, and is one of Canada’s top teaching and research universities, with an international reputation for excellence across the humanities, sciences, creative arts, business, engineering, and health sciences. Ranked 113th best university in the world (2020 QS Rankings), the U of A is home to nearly 40,000 students from 156 countries and over 14,000 faculty and staff and has an annual budget of more than $1.8 billion. The University offers over 200 undergraduate and 500 graduate programs in 18 faculties on five campuses – including one rural and one francophone campus. The largest of the U of A’s five campuses (by population and in the greatest concentration of activity) has 150 buildings covering 50 city blocks and is nestled on the edge of the North Saskatchewan River in the City of Edmonton.

For more than a century, U of A scholars have inspired graduates to become purposeful, active citizens and leaders. The University’s alumni—now numbering more than 290,000— have founded more than 70,000 organizations and businesses around the world, creating one and a half million jobs, nearly 400,000 in Alberta. Today, the U of A is one of Canada’s leading research institutions with expertise in established and emerging areas including health and life sciences, social sciences, energy, business, computer science, agriculture, AI, humanities and engineering. The University’s expertise and strength attracts over $500 million annually from various research funders and partners including federal and provincial government, industry, foundations and other organizations. Standing with pride among the world’s finest public institutions, the U of A brings the ideas of Albertans to the world, and the world of ideas to Albertans.

If you are interested in this opportunity, contact Katherine Frank or Beth McLennan at 1-866-822-6022. Information on how to apply can be found at: Completed applications can be submitted online at

The University of Alberta is committed to an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workforce. We welcome applications from all qualified persons. We encourage women; First Nations, Métis and Inuit persons; members of visible minority groups; persons with disabilities; persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity and expression; and all those who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas and the University to apply.

The University of Alberta and KBRS will provide support in the recruitment processes to applicants with disabilities, including accommodation that takes into account an applicant’s accessibility needs. If you require accommodation in order to participate as a candidate in the recruitment process, please contact or communicate your needs to the recruitment professional named in the job description.

The University of Alberta acknowledges that it is located on Treaty 6 territory, and respects the histories, languages, and cultures of First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and all First Peoples of Canada.

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