Director, Government Relations

Southern Oregon University   Ashland, OR   Full-time     Advertising / Marketing / Public Relations
Posted on November 3, 2023
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Director, Government Relations


Southern Oregon University


Position Number: A00555


Rate: $92,335.71-$106,000 @ 1.0 FTE - Salary Commensurate with Experience


Position Summary:


The Director of Government Relations is responsible for developing, articulating, and leading the execution of a successful government relations strategy at Southern Oregon University. The Director Reports directly to the General Counsel and works closely with the President and members of the university cabinet.The Director is the university's lead lobbyist on state, federal, local, and tribal government policy issues and funding. Liaises with the members and staff of the Oregon State Legislature, Office of the Governor, Oregon Congressional Delegation, federal and state government agencies, local community leaders and staff, and tribal leaders and their staff. In coordination with the General Counsel, the Director provides leadership for the SOU administration and Board of Trustees on public policy issues affecting higher education and SOU by providing information and analysis, then developing and implementing advocacy strategies to advance university priorities.


Minimum Qualifications:


  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Three years of experience in a government affairs position or equivalent
  • Ability to articulate and advocate for higher education generally and SOU specifically with energy and vision.
  • Excellent communication and social skills.
  • Candidate must possess the vision, organizational skills, and understanding of government necessary to create and direct a successful strategic plan.
  • Demonstrated agility to work diplomatically with various constituencies, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, community members, and elected officials.
  • Experience with and ability to interact with a diverse population


Preferred Qualification:


  • Experience in Oregon’s local government administrative, land use, policy, and funding processes.


  • Experience in Oregon’s administrative, legislative, and funding processes.


  • Experience with Federal Government administrative, legislative, and funding processes.


  • Project Management Experience/Certification


  • Law Degree


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:


  • Detailed knowledge of the organization, functions, process and procedures of the Oregon Legislature, Executive Branch, and/or state higher education.


  • Knowledge and experience in policy making and/or political arenas.


  • Knowledge of higher education current issues and challenges.


  • Knowledge of political arena and ability to cultivate and maintain relationships.


  • A strong working relationship with key personnel in government who are in positions of influence on issues of importance to public higher education and/or SOU.


  • Ability to analyze state and national trends, issues and political developments that could impact the university.


  • Demonstrated knowledge of the mission, purpose and organization of a public university.


  • Knowledge of the Oregon legislative and federal government process.


  • Manage workload as appropriate and remain flexible in adapting to changing priorities. Initiative in independently planning, organizing, and performing work assignments within broadly defined parameters. Ability to handle multiple priorities in a well-organized and focused manner. Ability to meet deadlines and objectives. Demonstrated capacity to take the initiative and work productively with minimal supervision. Experience managing several complex projects simultaneously. Ability to work well under pressure, remain calm in a fast-paced environment, meet deadlines, prioritize requests, and balance demands from a variety of sources.


  • Excellent communication skills; ability to effectively communicate information in a clear and understandable manner, both verbally and in writing. Demonstrated customer service experience requiring a very high level of diplomacy and professionalism to effectively handle a broad range of sensitive interpersonal situations. Present ideas and concepts in written and presentation format and use consultative and facilitation skills to gain consensus in a collegial manner. Ability to write clear and concise reports, presentations and correspondence.


  • Advanced analytical, evaluative, and objective critical thinking skills and the ability to analyze, research, interpret, implement, summarize, and develop well-reasoned conclusions and recommendations that are logical and defendable.


  • Strong human relations and interpersonal skills including collaboration, professionalism and strong consultative skills conducive to building and maintaining positive relations with administrators, co-workers, staff, faculty, union representatives and other members of the campus community. Ability to initiate, establish, and foster communication and teamwork by maintaining a positive, cooperative, productive work atmosphere in and outside the University with the ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships within a diverse population and with those from various cultural backgrounds.


  • Ability to adapt to and work effectively in a heavily bureaucratic environment which requires regular interaction with a number of level within the organization and multiple outside agencies.


  • Working knowledge, or ability to quickly learn, university infrastructure, policies and procedures


  • Strong public relations skills. Political acumen to enable sound, independent judgments leading to successful interactions with diverse internal and external constituents.


  • Ability to anticipate/recognize problems, issues, and opportunities as they arise and advise University leadership as appropriate.


  • Excellent computer skills and proficiency with a variety of computer applications including word-processing, spreadsheets, databases, online systems, social media platforms, Internet as well as online calendaring and email.


  • Math skills sufficient to prepare accurate and complete budgets.


  • Skill in examining and re-engineering operations and procedures, formulating policy and developing and implementing new strategies and processes.


  • Ability to research legislative history and analyze pending legislation.


Special Instructions to Applicants:


Each applicant is required to provide (as attachments to the online application) the following supplemental documents: (1) letter providing some detail of the applicant’s qualifications and interest in the position; (2) current resume/CV; (3) the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of at least three professional references. If you are unable to attach the supplemental materials to the online application please email:


For inquiries and additional information, please contact: Human Resource Services via email at or by phone at (541)552-8553


To view SOU’s offers very generous benefits and pension programs available to eligible positions, please visit:

Our benefits package is an important complement to the offered salary and our Total Compensation Calculator,, demonstrates our value and commitment to our employee.


Special Conditions


  • Must be willing to travel and attend training programs off-site for occasional professional development.
  • Must be able to work additional hours and adjust working hours to meet special jobs. May be called back periodically to perform work as needed on an emergency basis.
  • Must be able to successfully pass a pre-employment background check.
  • Under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA):

-Position classification defined as “exempt” are not subject overtime

  • The person holding this position is considered a “mandated reporter” under the Oregon Revised Statues and is required to comply with the requirements set forth by the Oregon department of Human Services.


Notice to Prospective Employees

Section 485 of the Higher Education Act, and The Federal Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990 (now referred to as the “Clery Act”),requires that prospective employees be notified of the availability of SOU’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report. The report provides the annual statistics and campus policies for the reporting of and responding to campus crimes and fires; access to campus facilities; conduct code and campus policies on use, possession and sale of drugs/alcohol; and educational/information programs to inform the campus community about campus security procedures and crime prevention.


An electronic copy of the Annual Security Report (ASR)can be accessed at the following link: A physical copy of the ASR is available at no charge upon request. To request a copy please visit the Campus Public Safety Office at 382 Wightman Street, Ashland OR 97520. For more information call 541-552-6258, or email


All applicants must apply online at


Diversity Statement


Southern Oregon University is a welcoming community committed to inclusive excellence and the celebration of diversity. Without diversity, our educational process is diminished. Working together in support of our commitment to diversity, we strengthen and enrich our role as learners, educators and members of a tightly connected global community. We encourage those who share in our commitment to diversity, to join our community and we expect all our employees to demonstrate an ability and desire to create an inclusive campus community.


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