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Director, International Communications & Strategic Initiatives

Date: November 2013
Reports to (Job Title): Associate Vice-President International
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): None
Location: Main Campus
Grade: USG 13

Primary Purpose

Within Waterloo International (WI), as a senior internationalization strategist, accountable for developing and directing effective initiatives related to communication, institutional recruitment, and strategic initiatives that further the internationalizations agenda; for ensuring the integration of campus-wide internationalization strategies and activities; and for positioning uWaterloo as a globally recognized premier institution. With the Associate Vice-President (AVP) International, plays a crucial role in setting and executing the university’s International Strategic Plan, establishing priorities that directly affect the realization of the institutional internationalization goals as set out in the university’s Strategic Plan.

Key Accountabilities:

1.  Accountable for directing all aspects of the development and successful implementation of strategic international initiatives, including communications, institutional recruitment, and the creation and maintenance of on- and off-campus networks


2.  Responsible for international travel to represent uWaterloo

3.  Collaborates, advises, consults, and builds consensus

4.  Understands and applies current, relevant market research and institutional knowledge

5.  Provides project management and budgeting expertise

Position Requirements


Bachelor’s degree



MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other
Intermediate Intermediate Intermediate Intermediate

Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

Internally, communicates with a wide range of departments and groups and at all levels to deal with, influence, motivate, and gain buy-in in order to develop, direct, and ensure the successful implementation of internationalization strategic initiatives; externally, exercises diplomacy and demonstrates superior interpersonal skills in conducting critical communication and negotiations with a wide variety of audiences, international institutions and organizations, and high-level governmental and private stakeholders to deal with, influence, and motivate others to achieve institutional internationalization goals so that uWaterloo will become the first choice of international students, staff, faculty, and researchers.

Level of Responsibility:

Directs a university-wide function or process; provides senior management expertise and is accountable for establishing priorities that ensure the effective and efficient development, maintenance, and enhancement of WI communication initiatives and internationalization strategies, including the creation of innovative concepts and models, which have a crucial impact on the achievement of the university’s internationalization and revenue goals; expected to exercise collaborative leadership and apply expertise with respect to international communications, recruitment, marketing, and strategic planning across campus and to exhibit a vitally important high degree of mature and credible professionalism as the representative of the university both internationally and in Canada.

Decision-Making Authority:

As a senior internationalization strategist, accountable for decisions that have a significant impact on and consequences for the reputation and internationalization of the university and on the successful operationalization of the stated objectives of international communications initiatives and strategic planning, including market research, organization of staff and resources, personal interactions and collaboration, work flow, consultation, budget, and other key accountabilities; determines the optimal course of action to solve problems and to exert a positive influence on other stakeholders; makes decisions independently when travelling and at external meetings to ensure that UWaterloo’s reputation and internationalization priorities are safeguarded.

Physical and Sensory Demands:

While on campus, minimal demands typical of a position operating within an office environment; while travelling: extreme demands because of unavoidable exposure to dangerous or unpleasant environments, and disruptions in lifestyle coupled with unusual hours/schedules; extensive and lengthy worldwide travelling involving large amounts of international travel, overnight stays in hotels in order to represent uWaterloo at key conferences and to conduct strategic meetings with international entities, and possible lifting of heavy recruitment materials; requirement to remain physically and mentally alert, enthusiastic, and cheerful under pressure and in unfamiliar environments; constant alertness required during travel, driving, and presentations.

Mental Stress:

While travelling: possibility of exposure to political unrest and increased potential for unstable social conditions; difficulties associated with travelling and communicating where English is not the first language; additional hours of work and prolonged absences from office and home; multiple and/or tight deadlines related to the expectation that correspondence and responses to accumulated email inquiries be dealt with even during absences from the office; increased stress during travel caused by tight scheduling that maximizes effectiveness in an area and consequent pressure resulting from unplanned events such as traffic delays and inclement weather.

Working Environment:

While on campus: minimal exposure to disagreeable conditions typical of a position exposed to stress and pressure associated with senior-management-level responsibilities; work outside the normal operating hours of the institution; while travelling: extreme exposure to disagreeable conditions during travel: 8- to 24-hour plane rides in economy class, with little opportunity to stretch and move about; extensive driving; standing for periods ranging from 8 to 12 hours; extreme temperatures and weather conditions; substantially elevated levels of smog and pollution; exposure to numerous diseases and unsanitary conditions; exposure to wild animals, reptiles, and insects; living in hotels and spending time away from the office and home; necessity of putting personal/social activities on hold.