Vice President for Government Relations

  • Kalamazoo, MI, USA
  • Apr 03, 2019
Full time Director / VP / Pres. Government Affairs / Relations

Job Description

Major Duties:

Western Michigan University (WMU) invites applications and nominations for the position of Vice President for Government Relations. (VPGR) The position will provide strategic leadership and oversight of the University's efforts to engage and develop collaboration with key partners at the local, state, and national level. This position is a tremendous opportunity for a proven executive leader to bring expertise and vision to a role that requires strong leadership, skillful diplomacy, and substantial legislative acumen. 

The VPGR reports directly to the President of the University. Serving as a member of Cabinet, the VPGR is responsible for leading the Government Relations effort by cultivating and enhancing WMU's relationships at all levels of government, with a particular focus on developing proposals and strategies advocating for university priorities. 

Key Duties and Responsibilities: 
- Lead the Office of Government Relations with responsibility for executing short and long-range strategy for the government relations function, focusing on institutional priorities as well as emerging public policy issues 

- Coordinates legislative requests and contracts lobbying efforts 

- Develops and manages annual budgets for the Office of Government Relations 

- In collaboration with senior leadership, develops annual Michigan legislative advocacy priorities and strategies 

- Develops legislative advocacy materials in support of WMU's legislative agenda 

- Monitors state legislative and policy issues impacting WMU, develops position statements as needed, and develops execution strategies in consultation with relevant campus entities and leadership 

- Represents WMU on state association boards as appropriate and advocates for statewide appointments of WMU leaders and stakeholders to boards and committees 

- Actively studies and monitors draft legislation having the potential to impact university operations or policy and provides frequent updates to the Cabinet and other university leaders before, during, and after legislative sessions 

- Monitors federal issues and legislation affecting higher education including student financial aid, tax policies, immigration, and other regulatory issues 

- Works with senior leadership to develop WMU position statements and strategies on key issues and works with other university partners to mobilize constituent advocacy 

- Monitors activities of federal commissions and agencies and promotes appointments of WMU faculty and staff as appropriate 

- Monitors local government activities, including city and county commission meetings, resolutions and agendas, and assesses impact on the WMU community of any local government proposals 

- Develops community relations strategy in conjunction with Cabinet to strengthen and maintain positive town/gown relations in the communities where WMU has partnerships 

Minimum Qualifications:

- Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution 

- A minimum of ten years of progressively successful governmental affairs and community relations experience 

- Possess strong leadership skills and expertise in overall areas of local, state, and federal government 

- Ability to develop a clear vision and strategy consistent with WMU's mission and best practices 

- Demonstrated leadership skills that result in the production of high-quality services and exceptional standards 

- Strategic thinking with the capability of contributing at the senior administrative level and leading other leaders 

- Superior communication skills and the ability to connect with a variety of audiences; clear and effective written and oral presentation; and the experience, ability, and inclination to be a champion for the university 

- Ability to build relationships and collaborate across the institution, serving as a resource to others and obtaining their input 

- Persuasive, persistent, and determined to achieve goals 

- Ability to be nonpartisan and collaborative 

- Ability to distill complex issues and make sound judgments and recommendations on sensitive and sometimes confidential matters 

- Knowledge of state and federal government organizations and legislative processes, including budget and appropriations processes 

- Ability to research legislative history and the status of pending legislation and to analyze pending and enacted legislation 

- Ability to use independent judgment as well as manage and impart information to a range of internal and external organizations and constituencies 

- A record of building, leading, mentoring, and motivating staff; and the ability to encourage change and growth in both people and programs  

Desired Qualifications:

- Master's degree from an accredited institution.  

Required Applicant Documents:

Cover Letter highlighting your qualifications
List of References 

Special Instructions to Applicants:

Application materials should include a letter addressing how your experiences match the position requirements, a curriculum vitae or resume, and five references. 

Individuals who wish to nominate a candidate should include supporting justification and contact information for the nominee. Nominations should be emailed to Dr. Kahler B. Schuemann, WMU Chief of Staff at  

Additional Position Information:

The Search Committee will review applications and nominations immediately until the position is filled. 

Employment will require successful completion of background checks in accordance with University policies. 

Western Michigan University, an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer, complies with applicable federal and state laws and University policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment. Western Michigan University prohibits discrimination or harassment which violates the law, or which constitutes inappropriate or unprofessional limitation of employment opportunity, University facility access, or participation in University activities, on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, protected disability, veteran status, height, weight, or marital status. 

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Western Michigan University