Vice President for Government Relations
Michigan State University is seeking to fill the position of Vice President for Government Relations (VPGR).
The VPGR develops, articulates, and executes the university’s comprehensive government relations strategy across all levels of government, representing all MSU locations and campuses in furtherance of the university’s mission and priorities. The VPGR reports to the MSU president and manages the staff of the Office of Government Relations.
The VPGR is expected to be a strategist who can effectively engage with diverse stakeholders, integrate viewpoints into strategy within a large and complex organization, and demonstrate a track record of successfully advocating for organizational interests. They are recognized for their collaborative approach, working seamlessly with their team and partners to achieve desired outcomes.
KEY DELIVERABLES & RESPONSIBILITIES
- Lead the strategic formulation, advancement, and execution of legislative and government agendas.
- Partner with President’s Council members to develop funding to pursue policy opportunities for facilities, programs, and other university priorities.
- Effectively communicate, enthusiastically support, and coordinate execution of the government relations strategy.
Advocacy and Engagement:
- Build and maintain relationships with key government and elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels.
- Cultivate coalitions with external stakeholders who have a vested interest in promoting the university’s strategic goals to advocate on behalf of MSU.
- Collaborate with internal partners such as the Executive Vice Presidents, University Communications, Deans’ Council, University Advancement, University Outreach and Engagement, as well as associate government relations staff housed within the various colleges and departments across campus to maintain public trust and increase public affinity.
- Liaise with organizations and associations that support higher education including Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU), University Research Corridor (URC), Business Leaders for Michigan (BLM), Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), and Association of American Universities (AAU).
- Working with the president to enable Board of Trustee awareness of key government relations strategies at the local, state and federal levels.
- Lead the Office of Government Relations, managing a core staff of eight, and external lobbying firms.
- Empower staff through active and timely communication, set and prioritize clear and measurable goals.
- Build strong relationships with President’s Council members and other campus decision makers.
- Foster exceptional relationships with community, state, and federal officials and decision-makers in regional economic development, research policy and higher education advocacy.
- Develop, implement and communicate policies related to government policy and funding priorities germane to MSU such as appropriations requests.
- Oversee planning and execution of university events and functions with international, federal, state, and local government officials.
- Develop the Office of Government Relation’s annual budget and management of expenses.
- Oversee compliance and reporting on lobbying.
- Monitor legislation and policy activities, provide timely updates and guidance on emerging political, legislative, and regulatory issues and opportunities to the university.
- Work with relevant University teams to analyze potential impacts on the University.
- Serve as an active and responsive member of the President’s Council senior management team.
This position requires regular in-person attendance in East Lansing, frequent travel across the state and to Washington DC, and the ability to work nights and weekends as necessary.
Equal Employment Opportunity Statement
All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, age, disability or protected veteran status.
- Minimum of 10 years of leadership experience in government relations beyond a four-year college degree.
- Experience working successfully with government officials, especially elected officials, and their staff.
- Demonstrated success in leading and cultivating a high-performing team addressing complex and wide-ranging issues, including staff management, development, motivation, mentorship, delegation, and retention in an inclusive environment.
- Demonstrated knowledge of the workings of local, state, and federal government, and expertise in politics and/or public policy and economic development.
- Appreciation for the history of MSU’s land-grant mission, and the ability to articulate its unique role and value in the state of Michigan and the nation.
- Experience in successfully navigating a complex institution, such as a university community.
- Exceptional interpersonal skills, the ability to collaborate and build trust with a broad range of stakeholders, exemplary listening skills, and the ability to critically yet diplomatically challenge when appropriate.
- Superior written communication skills.
- Demonstrated skill in operational efficiency and the best use of resources, including a strong understanding of budgets and the ability to manage them.
- Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, with the ability to navigate relationships with individuals from diverse backgrounds at all levels of the organization and contribute to an inclusive, welcoming, and collegial workplace.
Required Application Materials
- Cover Letter including a Statement of Interest in the position.
Review of Applications Begins on February 20, 2024.
Review of Applications Begins On
The main MSU campus is in East Lansing with additional research, teaching and outreach facilities in Grand Rapids, Flint, Detroit and all 83 counties of Michigan. MSU has 17 degree-granting colleges with 51,316 students studying advertising and communications, neurobiology, psychology, and logistics and supply chain management and packaging. The greater Lansing area has a population of over 460,000 and offers suburban areas, urban living opportunities and easy-to-get-to rural areas. East Lansing offers a good quality of life and is centrally located in the state, with quick access to Detroit and Grand Rapids.
MSU ranks 60th out of nearly 1,500 United States colleges and universities in the 2024 U.S. News & World Report "Best National Universities" ranking and ranks 116th out of 2,000 universities in the 2024 U.S. News & World Report "Best Global Universities" rankings. MSU is 14th among public universities in the 2023 Wall Street Journal ranking.
U.S. News and World Report named Lansing as No. 3 in the “Best Places to Live in Michigan,” one of the “Best Places to Live in the U.S.,” and one of the “Best Places to Retire in the U.S.” in its 2023-2024 rankings. In its 2024 “Best School Districts in Michigan,” Niche listed two Lansing-area school districts in the top 20: Okemos School District at number four and East Lansing School District at number 19.
Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.