Vice President for Government & Community Relations

06 Oct, 2020

Jobs

Vice President for Government & Community Relations

Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, NY

Detailed Job Description

The Vice President of Government and Community Relations will provide strategic vision and operational leadership for all aspects of the university’s government relations activities in alignment with the university’s priorities. Success for the next vice president will, in part, be defined by an ability to marry government opportunities with university priorities. The vice president will personally and successfully engage with elected officials, members of their staff, and community leaders to identify and implement mutually beneficial public-university partnerships.

The next vice president will have the opportunity to shape Government and Community Relations (GCR) early in the tenure of an enthusiastic, strategic, and invested president. Reporting directly to President Munson, this individual will serve as a key member of his senior leadership team and will work in close partnership with this group to establish and advance university-wide objectives.

In addition to the position’s formal duties, the vice president will be a contributing member to a cohesive and mutually supportive senior management team, exhibiting integrity, warmth, self-awareness, responsiveness, and humor.

Responsibilities

  • Provide overall leadership of the Division of Government & Community Relations, serving as supervisor and mentor to multiple teams of staff. This also includes oversight and management of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.
  • Serve as the university’s liaison with all levels of government (federal, state, local). Develop and execute a comprehensive strategy for legislative advocacy on state and federal policy issues as well as funding for university priorities, including management of contracts with lobbying firms in Albany and Washington DC, liaison with advocacy organizations including the NYS Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU), the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) and others as needed.
  • Serve as key university liaison with regional economic development organizations (Greater Rochester Enterprise, ROC2025, Regional Economic Development Council, Chamber of Commerce, Rochester Downtown Development Corporation) in the development and execution of strategies and opportunities for talent development and retention, business attraction and economic growth and development.
  • Serve as liaison with local government (Town of Henrietta, City of Rochester and Monroe County) to ensure necessary and important communication and coordination on issues impacting the local community.
  • Member of the leadership team for the university’s $1 billion “blended campaign” Transforming RIT: The Campaign for Greatness. Work closely with the Vice President for Research and the Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations to identify and pursue funding opportunities for facilities, programs and other university priorities.
  • Lead the planning and execution of multiple university events and functions including groundbreakings, dedications, United Way Campaign, and signature events such as Imagine RIT: Creativity and Innovation Festival, and Brick City Homecoming and Family Weekend. Also ensure the continued enhancements and budgetary oversight of RIT’s enterprise event management and room reservation system.
  • Provide leadership, coordination and guidance for RIT’s participation in community events and programs, in consultation with other university partners, e.g. events such as the Rochester Top 100 celebration, other major community award events and programs focused on community issues such as economic development forums.
  • Administer and manage the university’s Political and Legislative Activities Policy in consultation and coordination with the Department of Human Resources and the Office of Legal Affairs.
  • Serve as a member of the RIT President’s Cabinet and Administrative Council.
  • Maintain a leadership style that is open and fluid and that empowers staff through active communication and delegation.

Department/College Description

RIT’s Division of Government and Community Relations serves as the university’s liaison with federal, state and local government entities as well as community groups and organizations. The staff is responsible for coordinating RIT’s participation in community events, and manage large-scale special events that take place on the RIT campus and in the community.

The division’s mission is to implement a comprehensive program of government relations, community relations and special events to develop and maintain positive and effective relationships between the Institute and all levels of government and the community at large. These relationships result in funding and other types of support, and strengthen RIT’s visibility and image in the community.

RIT History

From its beginnings, RIT has been deeply connected to the educational and practical training needs of citizenry and industry. The university’s roots go back to 1829 when the city’s founder established the Rochester Athenaeum, a literary society that offered public lectures and debates and attracted such luminaries as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Oliver Wendell Holmes. In 1891, the Athenaeum merged with the Mechanics Institute, which had been created and funded by local business and community leaders to provide technical training to meet local industry’s growing demand for skilled workers. The merged institution—the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute—combined cultural education and practical technical training. In 1912, cooperative education was added to the programmatic mix and the core foundation was in place for Rochester Institute of Technology, as it has been named since 1944.

In 1968, RIT left downtown Rochester for a sprawling 1,300-acre new campus in the suburban town of Henrietta. The new landscape also led to RIT being chosen as the home campus for the federally sponsored National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Since the original campus opened, the university has added 50 more buildings, eight Ph.D. programs, and international locations in China, Croatia, Dubai, and Kosovo.

RIT Today

Today, RIT is one of the world’s leading innovative institutions—a vibrant, connected community that is home to diverse, ambitious, creative students, and faculty from around the world. RIT attracts top-flight research-active faculty who are passionate about their teaching mission. Over the past decade, the university has invested significant capital to improve its education, research, and technology infrastructure. RIT moved into the “National Universities” category of U.S. News & World Report rankings in 2016 due to its growing research portfolio, and now ranks number 102. The university is also among the top 50 choices of high school counselors, according to U.S. News.

The 10th largest private university in the nation in terms of full-time undergraduate enrollment, RIT counts nearly 130,000 alumni around the world. Its endowment is currently valued at more than $950 million, and the university benefits from sound financial management. To view more of RIT’s rankings and recognition, visit www.rit.edu/overview/rankings-and-recognition.

RIT is well known for its commitment to undergraduate students and, increasingly, for offering a broad range of innovative graduate programs that combine the theoretical with practical applications and align with demonstrated needs in the marketplace. RIT has steadily grown its doctoral programs; in 2016, the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education classified the university from “Masters – Comprehensive” to “Doctoral University – Moderate Research Activity.” In May 2019, RIT awarded 41 doctoral degrees in eight Ph.D. programs and currently enrolls more than 300 Ph.D. students.

Today, RIT offers more than 200 academic programs in nine colleges and two degree-granting units

Required Minimum Qualifications

This position requires strong leadership, unparalleled initiative, exceptional judgment, superb communication skills, and the ability to work collaboratively with many internal and external constituencies. The vice president will bring many of the following professional qualities and experiences:

  • A deep appreciation for the mission, culture, achievements, and aspirations of Rochester Institute of Technology, and the ability to articulate its uniqueness and relevance. A passion for bringing about good in the world through research, discovery, and education.
  • At least 10 years of experience in government relations or a related field; direct experience in higher education or a strong familiarity with higher education a plus.
  • Experience leading all aspects of a complex team— including managing, mentoring, motivating, retaining, and evaluating staff.
  • Personal experience working with elected officials and their staff; more specifically, familiarity with politics and/or public policy at the local, New York State and/or Federal level is ideal.
  • The political savvy to navigate a complex academic community; the ability to build bridges and strong collaborative relationships with all members of an operation across the university.
  • Personal interest in gaining new knowledge, a thirst to understand a wide variety of faculty-led research, and enthusiastically translate that knowledge to potential funders.
  • Demonstrated ability to be part of a collaborative leadership team committed to advancing the institutional mission and strategic plan.
  • Demonstrated success in personally securing public or private support.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as the ability to build relationships and interact positively with a culturally diverse population of students, faculty, staff, and community members.
  • Exemplary interpersonal and listening skills, as well as the intellectual depth, maturity, and confidence to garner the trust of the president, senior academic and administrative leaders, trustees and elected officials.
  • Superior written and oral communication skills; the ability to understand and translate information for all audiences.
  • A sharp eye for operational efficiency and the best use of resources, including a demonstrated understanding of budgets and the ability to manage them.
  • Strong personal integrity, good strategic judgment, goal orientation, and work ethic coupled with a high degree of initiative and creativity.
  • Ability to work well under pressure.
  • A sense of humor and perspective.

PLEASE NOTE: The individual hired for this position will be required to have a pre-employment Motor Vehicle check, and the Motor Vehicle Report must clear RIT’s Safe Driving Policy (please refer to page 4).

Employment Category

Fulltime

Required Application Documents

Cover Letter, Curriculum Vitae or Resume

How To Apply

For consideration please submit your confidential application via Career Zone: http://careers.rit.edu/staff  (reference: 5335BR).

Additional Details

The hiring process for this position may require a criminal background check and/or motor vehicle records check. Any verbal or written offer made is contingent on satisfactory results, as determined by Human Resources.  RIT does not discriminate. RIT promotes and values diversity, pluralism and inclusion in the work place. RIT provides equal opportunity to all qualified individuals and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, age, marital status, sex, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, veteran status or disability in its hiring, admissions, educational programs and activities.  RIT provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities under the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the New York Human Rights Law, or similar applicable law. If you need reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to your application for employment at RIT, please contact the Human Resources office at 585-475-2424 or email your request to Careers@rit.edu.

Job posted: 2020-10-06