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Director, Centre for Career Action

Date: November, 2015
Reports to (Job Title): Executive Director
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles):

Assistant Director

Administrative Assistant

Department: Cooperative Education & Career Action


Main Campus


USG 15
35 hr/wk

Primary Purpose

The Director, Centre for Career Action, is accountable for the development, continuous enhancement and innovative deployment of career development support, to students, alumni, employees, and -- through the Centre for Extended Learning -- public, fee-paying users, both individual and corporate.  Career development support is required in co-op programs and can enable all students to bridge to careers following graduation, directly affecting student success. 


Partnering with employers across the private and public sectors, the incumbent leverages employer experience to provide sector-specific career advising and support and ensures that Waterloo’s career development resources are appropriate to current and projected hiring trends.  The incumbent identifies emerging strategic talent management issues as they apply to upcoming and recent university graduates, and, in partnership with Employment Relations, implements strategies to enhance relationships with Waterloo employers through providing insight and resources focused on appropriate strategies.

Key Accountabilities:


Develop and deliver a comprehensive suite of career education and advising services, delivered in a variety of methods, to meet student, alumni and staff needs.  This includes:

  • Continually renewing understanding of student behaviours, skills and motivations as they relate to career development
  • Implementing changes to content and delivery to meet changing work place and student needs and priorities
  • Championing career development through strategic partnerships on campus, notably but not exclusively with faculty, and articulating the value and impact of career support to ensure appropriate funding
  • Developing an assessment-based capability to measure student career learning outcomes


Support the success of co-op students in diverse academic programs across all six Faculties by:

  • With the Director, Student and Faculty Relations, ensuring that appropriate education and orientation programs are provided for co-op students to prepare for work term success and career development 
  • Developing practices and materials to maximize student preparation for careers during and following their co-op experiences
  • Defining expectations for career advisement and support, and tools and training to Student Advisors and Career Advisors to ensure expectations are met or exceeded


Partner with employers to ensure a solid understanding of their strategic talent management needs and challenges in order to better prepare students for employment success in a changing work place. This includes leveraging relationships with co-op employers to provide sector-specific knowledge and advice, and enhance the employers’ relationships with Waterloo.


Contribute to employer relations and marketing strategies to ensure appropriate employment opportunities for


Waterloo students and graduates.  This involves:

  • Ensuring the employment needs of non-co-op students are well-understood and supported
  • Collaborating with several executive team members to create targets and marketing strategies
  • Personally supporting business development through employer relationships and professional events and networks
  • Ensuring administrative processes to support non-co-op recruitment are maintained and enhanced


Lead and manage direct reports and ensure the delivery of results in support of CECA mission, vision and guiding principles including: 

  • Providing information and context needed for employees to be effective
  • Hiring, developing and retaining the best qualified staff available from inside or outside CECA.
  • Setting goals and expectations and helping employees create clear paths to success
  • Developing effective work team dynamics 
  • Ensuring appropriate back up, support and cross training to manage capacity
  • Holding employees accountable for performance including consistent application of CECA business processes
  • Managing performance through both formal (performance appraisal) and informal methods such as regular feedback, coaching and one-to-ones.
  • Identifying development opportunities in others and co-creating with the employee a development plan; regularly following up on the progress of development
  • Planning and managing the Centre for Career Action budget


Provide overall leadership to the organization by:

  • Personally championing mission, vision and guiding principles and playing a leadership role in bringing them to life
  • Providing leadership, direction and strategic planning for CECA
  • Monitoring business practices to ensure that CECA has the appropriate practices and processes to work effectively internally and represent Waterloo externally
  • Leading the development of new capabilities required by the introduction of new systems, tools or processes
  • Developing productive, collaborative working relationships across CECA and uWaterloo
  • Leading or contributing to the identification, development and implementation of projects to improve service quality, relationships, stakeholder satisfaction, timeliness, staff capability and performance
  • Developing internal/external customer service standards, monitoring satisfaction with service delivered and taking action to restore and enhance service quality
  • Ensuring Centre for Career Action initiatives and staff are appropriately integrated into the department

Position Requirements




MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other


Average MS Project: Average ability to track or manage simple projects  

Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

Interpersonal Skills: 

This role requires a high level of leadership, negotiation and influencing skills, and the ability to apply them in varied situations. The Centre for Career Action is one of several areas focused on student success, and often delivers on accountabilities through areas outside CECA, e.g. co-funding the alumni career advisor with Alumni Affairs.   The incumbent requires the ability to build strong relationships with students, faculty, staff and alumni and to represent Waterloo outside the University. 

Level of Responsibility:

The incumbent makes operational and tactical decisions affecting the Centre for Career Action, and initiates strategies within the Centre, and through a wide range of partnerships within the University.  Must develop and maintain partnerships with: Faculties to support student career success, Counselling Services to provide seamless career support to students, the Student Success Office to champion career outcomes, WatPD to enhance career development support.


Problem Solving

Problems from individual conflicts to systemic process problems will be resolved by the incumbent.  Potential risks include loss of funding, team member conflict and resulting lack of productivity, and reputational risk for the University.


Financial Accountability

The role is accountable for staffing, travel and associated costs for the unit (budget unit 5182).  The incumbent approves staff travel expenses and signs off performance evaluations and ratings for indirect reports.



Internal and External Contacts 


Director, Counselling Services; Director, OHD; Director, Centre for Extended Learning; Director,

WatCACE.; Director, Human Resources; Director, Student Success Office; Associate Deans,

Department and School Chairs, Development and Alumni Officers; Alumni Affairs;  Student Services Advisory Council; Communications and Public Affairs staff; CECA Executive team; students; student representatives; senior administrators. 



Career development associations; career practitioners and employers from around the world; alumni; maintains strong relationships and collaborations with other university career centre directors, working regularly with Ontario directors.

Decision-Making Authority:

The incumbent is fully accountable for decisions within the unit, including hiring decisions and performance evaluations, and uses judgment to determine when and how to escalate issues to the Executive Director or elsewhere at Waterloo.  

Physical and Sensory Demands:

This role requires exertion of physical or sensory effort resulting in slight fatigue, strain or risk of injury.  

Working Environment:

This role involves moderate psychological risk resulting from unavoidable exposure to hazardous, disagreeable or uncomfortable environmental conditions.  This role involves irregular and/or high volumes, multiple and/or tight deadlines beyond one's control, and frequent interruptions.