The Northern Illinois University (NIU) Federal Relations Office in Washington, D.C. will support the University’s mission to promote excellence and engagement in teaching and learning, research and scholarship, creativity and artistry, and outreach and service, by representing NIU in relations with the federal government.
The Director monitors and provides the President’s Office analysis of current and prospective issues in federal relations that affect NIU. The Director will identify federal matters of concern to the University, coordinate the development of the University’s federal legislative positions, and advocate these positions to key stakeholders including members of Congress, the Administration, federal agencies, and higher-education organizations. The Director is responsible for developing, coordinating, and implementing a comprehensive effort to strengthen NIU’s identity and reputation broadly across the various federal organizations and agencies.
The Director for Federal Relations will support Northern Illinois University’s (NIU) mission to promote excellence and engagement in teaching and learning, research and scholarship, creativity and artistry, and outreach and service by serving as the University’s primary representative to the federal government. The Director will be primarily located in Washington D.C., but will initiate and direct special events on NIU’s Dekalb (or IL campuses) campus sponsored by the Office of Federal Relations when appropriate.
The successful candidate will manage the Northern Illinois University Federal Relations Office in Washington D.C. and will report to the President’s Chief of Staff. The Director of Federal Relations is expected to live in the D.C. area and work remotely.
The Director is also expected to work closely with the Vice President for Research and Innovation Partnerships to keep that division informed and to stay abreast of their advocacy efforts.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
The Director’s primary responsibility is managing the university’s involvement with the U.S. Congress and Executive Branch on legislative policy and regulatory issues in which the university has an interest. A priority will be to build relationships with government and congressional leaders involved with all aspects of the university including, but not limited to, education, innovation, industry partnerships, and scientific research issues. In doing so, the Director will promote interactions between federal officials and the university’s faculty and administrators who can serve as resources for important policy issues. When necessary, the Director will represent NIU at local, regional, and national meetings as appropriate and as assigned.
The Director will develop annual federal relations priorities and prepare a detailed strategic plan for office activities, in consultation with NIU’s senior leadership. The Director will oversee implementation of NIU’s strategic federal advocacy plan and execute NIU’s federal relations agenda. The Director will provide updates and reports on this advocacy to senior leadership and the Board of Trustees.
The Director will have the opportunity to engage in federal policy development consistent with the University’s mission, vision, and values especially with regards to thought leadership for the promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion in federal programs that support higher education.
The Director will work to increase NIU student, faculty, and administrator participation in national venues that recognize their excellence and advance university goals. For students, this includes supporting students in pursuing federal internships or fellowships and serving as a liaison between the university and congressional offices for NIU’s D.C. Summer Congressional Internship Program. For faculty and administrators, this includes seeking opportunities for them to advise the federal government through appointments as detailees, congressional hearings, federal advisory committees, and other venues. The Director will seek and develop venues to promote interactions between student, faculty, and administrators and members of the federal government.
Bringing the national conversation to campus is an important role for the Director. This includes seeking opportunities for campus visits from federal officials in the legislative and executive branches as well as national policy experts. This also includes seeking opportunities to remotely engage federal officials and national policy experts in campus activities through appropriate written materials, remote participation, or other modalities.
There may be circumstances that require the Director to supervise personnel and provide leadership as needed including, but not limited to, the hiring and training of campus interns, management of projects given to interns, and basic day-to-day operations of the D.C. office. There may also be the possibility of classroom involvement or field school instruction by the Director in relevant classes offered by NIU in a wide variety of fields.
The Director visits campus regularly to cultivate opportunities that inform and involve the NIU campus community in federal education and advocacy efforts. The Director provides a federal relations update to the Board of Trustees (either virtually or in-person) at Research and Innovation, Legal and Legislative Affairs committee meetings. The Director will mentor at least one student intern during the academic year and will develop and/or assist with federal policy programs and experiences for students. The Director engages faculty and administrators through talks on campus, regular meetings with appropriate faculty and administrators, and consulting on the interplay between NIU advocacy efforts and those of faculty and administrator professional associations.
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