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Executive Director of Federal Relations and Special Assistant to the President

University of Virginia
District of Columbia, United States
Salary Not specified
Posted date
Aug 9, 2021

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Position Type
Executive, Executive Directors
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time
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Executive Director of Federal Relations


The Executive Director of Federal Relations and Special Assistant to the President is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to represent the University of Virginia (UVA) in Washington, D.C. on issues related to federal policy, programs, regulation, and legislation. The Executive Director closely monitors emerging policies and opportunities relevant to UVA’s academic interests within the federal government, advocating and developing opportunities for the University. This individual fosters bipartisan alliances to address federal issues of importance to the University. The Executive Director advises the President and executive leadership on federal issues of importance, leads the development of key federal priorities, and develops strategies and tactics to implement those priorities. Reporting to the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, the Executive Director interacts frequently with the University’s executive leadership team and other University officials engaged in government relations. This position is based in Washington, DC, but requires occasional meetings and evening events in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Key Priorities

  • In consultation with the executive leadership team and key partners around the University, develop, implement, and revise as necessary annual federal relations priorities and a strategic advocacy plan to achieve them, coordinating appropriately with other federal relations officials in the University.
  • Cultivate effective relationships with Members of Congress (particularly the Virginia delegation), key Congressional staff, leadership and members of the Committees of jurisdiction in the House and Senate, representatives of the Administration, and federal agencies, while remaining alert to emerging opportunities to advance the University’s interests in Washington.
  • Develop recommendations and effectively advocate the University's position on issues and legislation affecting higher education such as research funding, science/health policy, federal financial aid, immigration policy, Title IX issues, diversity/affirmative action, employment/tax regulations, and national security-related policy.
  • Work closely with the University’s state relations and UVA Health’s government relations teams to ensure coordination and alignment.
  • Collaborate with higher education-related professional associations around a wide range of issues relevant to the University.



Candidate Profile

We seek a dynamic candidate with a demonstrated record of creative, inspiring, and accomplished leadership in complex environments; someone with exceptional integrity who possesses the highest level of commitment to advancing organizational priorities and whose previous experience is consistent with the University’s commitment to be both great and good. While no single individual will possess all the desired experiences and qualifications, the successful candidate will have many of the following experiences and attributes:


Professional Experience

  • Substantive, first-hand knowledge of Congressional and federal policies and legislative and rulemaking processes
  • Established bipartisan relationships on Capitol Hill
  • Knowledge and understanding of the major issues affecting higher education


  • Experience working with a diverse team of thinkers and success building consensus
  • A minimum of seven years of experience on Capitol Hill, conducting federal government relations, or a combination thereof, with record of effectiveness in advancing objectives



  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s, JD, or other advanced degree preferred


To Apply

To learn more about this opportunity, please visit


Applications should include a resume and letter of interest. The search will be carried out with full confidentiality; candidates will be notified before references are contacted. To be officially considered for this position, all applicants must apply through the Workday portal at


For confidential inquiries or to nominate someone for this opportunity, please contact Susan Gaines and Nalini Turner with the University of Virginia’s Executive Search Group, at and


The University of Virginia is fundamentally committed to the diversity of our faculty and staff. We believe diversity is excellence expressing itself through every person's perspectives and lived experiences. We are equal opportunity and affirmative action employers. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, and family medical or genetic information.

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