Vancouver Island University invites applications for the role of Chief of Staff, Office of the President.
About the Organization:
Situated on the traditional territory of the Coast Salish peoples, Vancouver Island University is a comprehensive teaching university with 13,000 students across four campuses. VIU proudly fosters student success, strong community connections and meaningful collaborations by providing access to a wide range of programs, from academic undergraduate and master’s to industry-responsive trades and vocational training. VIU provides a learning environment that is accessible and relevant for all learners, celebrates success and acknowledges Indigenous history and traditions.
The VIU community is grateful to teach, learn, research, live, and share knowledge on the tradition and unceded territories of the Snuneymuxw, Quw’utsun, Tla’Amin, Snaw-naw-as and Qualicum First Nations. With hands raised to the original stewards of this place, we say Hay chqa’ sii’em sieye’ yu mukw Mustimuxw.
About the Position:
Reporting to the President and Vice-Chancellor, the Chief of Staff supports the President's overarching leadership of the University and her representation of and service to the entire Vancouver Island University (VIU) community. The role of a Chief of Staff is highly dynamic, adapting to the needs of the organization and the senior executive. The core purpose of this role is to enhance the executive's effectiveness by providing support, strategic guidance, and operational oversight.
Supporting the President and senior leadership of the University on a wide range of strategic issues, the Chief of Staff is a conduit through which members of the university community as well as external agencies, including government and the Board of Governors can engage with the President.
The role will act in a leadership capacity as a non-voting member of the Senior Management Team (SMT), managing the Office of the President, and when appropriate, act on behalf of the President. The Chief of Staff works closely with the Vice-Presidents, Associate Vice-Presidents, and the University Secretary, to foster effective operations and a collaborative effort of the executive team to ensure the resolution of complex issues in a timely and effective manner. The Chief of Staff assumes an important advisory role providing confidential, strategic, and tactical advice, direction, counsel, and support to the President and to senior colleagues.
Central to this role is a clear understanding that the Office of the President embodies the ambition and principles of VIU, as well as its greatest aspirations, and is seen to do so in all its activities and communications. The Chief of Staff has a facilitation, mediation, and problem-solving role, analyzing situations that could lead to difficulties and solving them when possible, or reporting these matters to the President or appropriate individual.
The complexity and sensitivity of the responsibilities of the President require this position to operate with considerable latitude, initiate action on behalf of the President, and respond independently, where appropriate to emerging matters. The incumbent will play a key role in the execution of the University's strategic plans and priority initiatives aimed at advancing Vancouver Island University as a university and supporting both its academic excellence, and its financial sustainability.
The Chief of Staff has a dual focus, internally on the overall affairs of the organization, and externally liaising with government representatives and stakeholders. For the external focus, the Chief of Staff provides support and leadership to both the Director Strategic Communications, and the Director Brand & Marketing to advance issues and strategic endeavors related to our role in the post-secondary environment. In the internal capacity, the Chief of Staff works as a collaborator and integrator with SMT to ensure shared knowledge and alignment to strategic objectives of VIU. This includes mediating institutional/reputation risk to organizational communications and strategy.
- Bachelor's degree required; Masters' degree preferred from an accredited institution.
- Minimum 10 years' relevant experience with significant managerial and professional experience in support of a complex executive environment.
- Experience in leading initiatives through a collaborative and integrated approach.
- Experience working with Canadian government ministries. An equivalent combination of education and experience may be considered.
- Comprehensive understanding of the administrative, academic and governance structures of Canadian Universities.
- Solid understanding of the external environment for universities within Canada and the Province of British Columbia.
- Comprehensive knowledge of VIU's academic and student support programs, including how these programs connect and relate to one another.
- Highly developed people management and leadership skills.
- Genuine appreciation for the protocol, discretion and professionalism required of the position.
- Knowledge of the post-secondary system (provincial and national) includes issues and trends in higher education and regulatory legislation.
- Ability to identify opportunities for improvement and initiate, lead, and implement administrative and process reviews to achieve efficiency and service improvements.
- Advanced communication, relationship management, and mediation skills, including an ability to influence, negotiate with, and build productive working relationships with key stakeholders, senior university management, and external partners to achieve required outcomes.
- Ability to assimilate information quickly, analyze data, and provide strategic advice.
- Ability to maintain the highest ethical standards and demonstrate tact, judgment, and diplomacy.
- Strong organizational skills and superb attention to detail.
- Ability to work under pressure on competing responsibilities.
- Outstanding written communication skills in the preparation of papers and reports.
- Strong financial skills to oversee budget portfolio and assess the budget implications of initiatives.
Vancouver Island University has been awarded the BC Top 100 Employer award from Canada’s Top Employers for the past four years. If this is the next step in your career journey, view the full position description and apply online. This position will remain open until filled. Review of applications will begin in December. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.