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Senior Vice President, External Relations and Communications

Senior Vice President, External Relations and Communications
Organization: University of California Office of the President (UCOP)
Location: Oakland, CA
Date Posted: 11/01/2023

The University of California Office of the President (UCOP) Senior Vice President of External Relations and Communications

The University of California Office of the President (UCOP) invites nominations and applications for the position of Senior Vice President of External Relations and Communications (“SVP”). This role reports to the President of the University of California, Dr. Michael V. Drake, MD, and is a member of his senior leadership team.


The SVP provides UC-wide leadership in government relations, strategic communications, and institutional advancement as well as in engaging key constituencies such as alumni. The SVP establishes a vision for external relations with state and federal sponsors, partners, and regulators and excels as an inclusive and forward-looking leader.

The SVP is responsible for developing, integrating, and executing successful government relations, public relations, and media relations strategies that support the research, education, and public service missions of the University of California campuses, academic medical centers, and national laboratories. Responsible for developing and implementing an integrated communications strategy across digital communications, executive communications, internal communications, and media relations, the SVP also oversees the management of the system-wide UC brand to build public awareness of and support for UC’s value and its impact on the lives of people in California and beyond.

Working with other senior University leaders, the SVP cultivates and strengthens relationships with state and federal government legislators, agencies, alumni, donors, campuses, Regents, and other internal and external audiences. In addition to monitoring issues and areas that affect higher educational institutions, the SVP oversees teams that monitor and advocate for state and federal legislative proposals which may impact the University. The SVP establishes the overall strategy for advocacy programs, creating and leveraging partnerships and collaboration opportunities on behalf of the University, involving faculty, researchers and other internal resources, as well as alumni and supporters of the University. The SVP serves as an external relations advisor to many stakeholders, including the President and his executive team, the UC Board of Regents, and executive leaders at UC campuses, academic health centers, and national laboratories.

The SVP oversees the following UCOP units: State Governmental Relations; Legislative Analysis; Federal Governmental Relations; Strategic Communications and Media Relations; Executive Communications and Engagement; University of California Health Communications; Internal Communications; Institutional Advancement; and Constituent Engagement.

More Information:

More information about the University of California External Relations and Communications can be found at UCOP External Relations and Communications.

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are key components of The University of California’s commitment to excellence. Thus, teaching, research, professional, and public service contributions that promote equity, diversity, and inclusion are encouraged and given due recognition in the evaluation of each candidate’s qualifications. The University of California’s Diversity Statements can be found at UC Diversity Statements and Diversity at UC.

The Office of the President seeks to create, reflect, and maintain a diverse, productive, equitable and inclusive community committed to the University of California’s academic mission and to its core values: integrity in its work, respect for one another, accountability for its public resources, and excellence in its service to the University and to the State. As a member of Senior Management, the SVP cultivates, champions, embodies, embraces, and supports diversity, equity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging. The SVP demonstrates empathy and respect for all people, inclusive of differences, and promotes fairness and equity.


Successful candidates will bring 10+ years of experience in government relations, communications, media relations, public affairs, or other relevant experience, with demonstrated success developing, integrating, and executing communications and media strategies on behalf of large organizations or high-profile individuals. The SVP will have a firm understanding of the issues impacting higher education, research, and health care in California and nationally, as well as knowledge of the state and federal political landscape and deep experience with the governmental affairs process. Candidates must bring an enthusiasm for challenges and a strong desire to ensure a high level of excellence in achieving the University’s legislative and communications priorities. The successful SVP candidate will have excelled as an inclusive and forward-looking leader.

The University of California (UC) is a premier institution of higher education and is recognized nationally and internationally for excellence in teaching, research, and public service. The UC system, with an operating budget totaling $47.1 billion, serves more than 290,000 students, employs over 240,000 faculty and staff, and includes two million alumni living and working around the world. The University of California Office of the President is based in Oakland, California.

The UC Office of the President (UCOP) is the systemwide headquarters of the University of California, managing its multi-billion-dollar financial, investment, and business operations and supporting the academic, research, and public service missions across its ten campuses, three national laboratories, and six academic health centers. UCOP supports campuses and students through system-wide funding and programs and in certain areas of policy and strategy. It provides centralized labor relations and legal services and promotes the well-being of its diverse and large workforce through benefits and retirement programs. UCOP coordinates activities that allow a complex and unique system to operate efficiently as one enterprise, furthering its public interest, academic, and research missions. It oversees and manages programs that serve the entire University system, allowing campuses to capture the savings and efficiencies that come from centralized operations.


Review of candidate materials will begin immediately, and the ability to apply or nominate will continue until the position has been filled. The complete position profile can be found at SVP Position Profile, and application information can be found at Application Information. Applications should include a cover letter, resume, a statement of contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion*, and the University’s self-identification forms (found at Self-Identification Forms.

The University has retained Caldwell Partners, a national executive search firm, to assist with this search. Please email confidential inquiries, nominations, or referrals to:

The University of California, Office of the President, strives to make position postings accessible to any and all users. If you have comments regarding the accessibility of UC’s website or need assistance completing the application process, please contact: Accessibility or email the Human Resource Department at

Additional Information:

  • The University’s vaccination policy can be found here.
  • The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer advancing inclusive excellence. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status, or other protected categories covered by the UC nondiscrimination policy. The complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy can be found at UC Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action Policy.

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