President & CEO

Universities Canada is located in Ottawa, unceded Anishinaabeg Algonquin territory. The peoples of the Anishinaabeg Algonquin Nation have lived on this territory for millennia. Their culture and presence have nurtured and continue to nurture this land. We honour the peoples and land of the Anishinaabeg Algonquin Nation and honour all First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and their valuable past and present contributions to this land.

Universities Canada is the voice of Canadian universities, with a mandate to foster and promote the interests of Canadian higher education, at home and abroad. Universities Canada provides Canadian university leaders with a unified voice and strong advocacy for higher education, research and innovation. Universities Canada advances the mission of its member institutions to transform lives, strengthen communities and find solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the world. Based in Ottawa, near Parliament Hill, Universities Canada is a membership-based organization with 97 member institutions drawn from every Canadian province.

The organization’s five main priority areas are: advocating for Canadian universities at the federal level; providing a forum for university leaders to share ideas and address challenges in higher education; supporting students by providing online information on university study and offering scholarships on behalf of public and private sector organizations; promoting Canadian universities abroad (international student recruitment, exchange of best practices and information sharing with international counterpart organizations); and, fostering collaboration among universities, governments, the private sector, communities and international partners to help build a better world.

It is within this dynamic and evolving context that Universities Canada invites applications and nominations for the appointment of its next President and Chief Executive Officer, commencing in late 2023, or soon after.

Reporting to a 13-member Board of Directors, the President and Chief Executive Officer provides the strategic and visionary leadership of the organization. Acting as the main spokesperson, the President & CEO ensures the organization’s short- and long-term sustainability through the development of strong government advocacy strategies that represent the interests of Canadian universities to federal ministers, departments of the federal government, parliamentary committees, and task forces concerned with higher education, talent development, research, innovation and other topics of importance to universities. To achieve this goal, the President & CEO hosts a number of annual events for members, forges strategic alliances with likeminded organizations in Canada and internationally, facilitates cohesion with respect to federal government programs and initiatives that affect all of its member universities’ operations and administration, and represents Canadian universities to domestic and foreign governments, institutions and media. The President & CEO plays a key role in supporting the Executive Heads by offering training and leadership development opportunities, and by providing sound guidance for the diverse 97 member universities who can hold similar or different views, perspectives, and priorities. The President & CEO leads an established and highly professional team and works closely with the Senior Management Committee (SMC) to ensure that the organization respects the highest standards in its relations with Indigenous Peoples, Accessibility and in promoting Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

As the ideal candidate, you are an accomplished, bilingual, results-oriented and forward-looking executive. Your deep commitment to higher education provides you with an understanding, and appreciation of its complexities and of its importance to individuals, communities and Canadian society; knowledge of the global context of higher education is considered an asset. Your career includes progressive roles in senior leadership from a similarly large and complex organization, ideally from the university, government or NGO sector. You bring significant senior administration experience with financial management, human resources, governance policies and procedures, and with government relations. You are well versed in public policy, including fiscal policy and with political and bureaucratic processes at both the federal and provincial government levels. You are adept at building and maintaining strong, collaborative relationships with a wide array of partners who may hold different, and sometimes, opposing priorities. Colleagues describe your leadership style as inclusive and engaging. You enjoy mentoring your team and create a culture that embraces teamwork and collegiality. Candidates must hold a university degree at the master’s level or higher from a recognized university. Oral bilingualism in both of Canada’s official languages (English/French) is a must have requirement, and full proficiency in both languages is considered a desirable asset.

This role requires candidates to be based in Ottawa, Ontario and includes a heavy domestic, and global, travel commitment for the purpose of maintaining contact with member institutions, regional organizations, affiliated groups, and international institutions and partners.

To apply or explore this exceptional leadership opportunity with Universities Canada, please submit a curriculum vitae along with a cover letter in confidence to Jane Griffith ([email protected]) and/or Sam Walton ([email protected]), or visit www.griffithgroup.ca/universities-canada-president-and-ceo

Universities Canada is committed to advancing equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism in all aspects of its work. It recognizes and upholds its responsibility to advance truth and reconciliation with First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.  Universities Canada seeks to empower all members of its organization and is committed to removing all barriers to personal and collective success that are caused by inequality, discrimination, social injustice and racial trauma. It is working to create an environment that fosters greater awareness of inclusive practices, enables open communication and cultivates strong collaborative relationships. 

As such, Universities Canada provides equal opportunity for all applicants and does not discriminate on the basis of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status, disability, or any other characteristic protected by local law. Self-identification by candidates in the process is completely voluntary.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Universities Canada and Griffith Group Executive Search are committed to an inclusive, accessible and welcoming hiring process that provides reasonable accommodation to all applicants. Please advise Jane Griffith ([email protected]) should you require any accommodation to participate in the recruitment processes.

Please be advised that only those invited for an interview will be contacted. Universities Canada reserves the right not to fill this position.

Universities Canada