Director, Public Policy
If you’re passionate about building a better future for individuals, communities, and our country—and you’re committed to working hard to play your part in building that future—consider WGU as the next step in your career.
Driven by a mission to expand access to higher education through online, competency-based degree programs, WGU is also committed to being a great place to work for a diverse workforce of student-focused professionals. The university has pioneered a new way to learn in the 21st century, one that has received praise from academic, industry, government, and media leaders. Whatever your role, working for WGU gives you a part to play in helping students graduate, creating a better tomorrow for themselves and their families.
Current WGU employees must submit their internal application before 3/19/2021 to be considered for the position.
Reporting to the Vice President, Policy and Public Affairs, this leader works to advance the vision and mission of Western Governors University through the development and pursuit of public policy that will benefit students. This individual will collaborate with WGU system leaders to create a proactive public policy agenda that enables WGU to positively influence the lives of millions of individuals, both directly and indirectly. This individual will also work closely with the public affairs team to drive the implementation of this public policy agenda using government relations, communication and community engagement tools.
Essential Functions and Responsibilities:
Develop a deep understanding of WGU’s purpose, mission, vision and value proposition. This understanding will also provide context and understanding of the higher education system as a whole.
Serve as the public policy expert at WGU. This public policy expertise encompasses knowledge of accreditation and regulatory issues as well as legal cases that impact higher education.
Establish a process through which critical public policy issues that impact WGU can be identified and discussed by key WGU leaders with system-wide representation.
Lead a small Public Policy team to assist with research and development of proposals.
Create a Public Policy Agenda that articulates WGU’s principles and positions on critical public policy issues. This agenda will guide enterprise-wide efforts to positively impact local, state and federal public policy.
Continually improve and advance WGU’s Public Policy Agenda. This includes engaging with external thought leaders and local, state and federal policy makers to continually improve and advance WGU’s Public Policy Agenda.
Represent WGU in forums focused on public policy. This includes engagement at academic conferences, with business associations and with think tanks.
Provide support for WGU’s government relations team. This team will utilize the public policy agenda as a key element of its proactive strategy. The Public Policy Director will support the government relations team’s efforts to communicate WGU’s policy preferences and to articulate complicated issues in a simplified way.
Work closely with WGU’s communication team to develop messaging, speeches, op-eds, and other thought leadership content for wide distribution.
Support the Vice President, Policy and Public Affairs in the development and execution of a thought leadership agenda, specifically with regard to public policy thought leadership.
Develop close working relationships with WGU system leaders and proactively identify public policy levers that can positively impact them and their work to serve students.
Knowledge, Skill and Abilities
The successful Director of Public Policy possesses the technical skills to deeply engage in detailed public policy issues and the emotional intelligence to navigate a broad institution composed of insightful leaders. This director has the ability to prioritize and move projects forward with urgency amid ambiguity. To accomplish this work, the Director of Public Policy must possess the following skills and competencies:
Natural collaborator. This individual must be an instinctive team player. Much of the work necessary for success in this position requires working with many stakeholders within and external to WGU.
Strategic thinking. This individual is responsible for creating and executing WGU’s proactive Public Policy Agenda. This requires the ability to anticipate and act to shape the public policy future in higher education.
Excellent writer. This individual must be a competent technical writer while at the same time possessing the writing skills to communicate technical issues in a simple and clear manner.
Articulate speaker. This individual must be a proficient speaker in large settings and a persuasive, very good speaker in more intimate discussion to advance WGU’s Public Policy Agenda.
Disciplined. This position requires action prior to crisis rather than reaction to a crisis. This leader must understand that the work in this arena needs to be completed to inform our proactive action and not after issues have been identified as problems requiring a response.
Integrity. This person acts in the best interests of WGU with honesty and integrity; puts team and university goals above personal goals.
Measures action and achieves results. This individual creates realistic estimates and projections, as a baseline against which to monitor progress and make necessary adjustments.
Desire to achieve outstanding results. This person must be committed to quality and possess a strong desire to complete all work to exacting standards.
Open to feedback. This individual is self-critical and embraces ideas and opportunities for improvement and change.
Education: BS/BA minimum, graduate degree/JD preferred
Experience: 5+ years of experience in the public policy arena. Strong background in government and regulatory affairs.
Other: Ability to travel is required.
Location: Salt Lake City, UT. Relocation is available.
This is a university made for a new kind of student. At WGU, our focus is on the success of our students and our graduates. What kind of university will give the busy adult student of the 21st century—unique, dedicated, and driven—the best chance for success? One that values those qualities and puts them to work. We’re the first university where all bachelor’s and master’s degrees are competency-based, with curriculum designed in partnership with leading employers. We’re nonprofit, driven entirely by a mission to serve students—in fact, it’s right there in our name. We’re called Western Governors University because we were created by a group of U.S. governors, an innovative solution to their states’ demand for high-quality, outcomes-oriented higher education.
Learn more here
Job posted: 2021-03-17