University of Waterloo

  • Director, Strategic Initiatives - Faculty of Science

    Requisition ID
    Job Category
    3350 - Dean of Science Office
    Job Status
    Regular Full-Time
    Hiring Range
    $99,729 - $124,661
  • Overview

    The Director, Strategic Initiatives, working directly with the Dean’s Management Team, is responsible for developing, executing and sustaining strategic initiatives and special projects in the Faculty of Science. The Director conducts background research, develops reports, and provides advice on strategic priorities and special projects of the Faculty of Science especially those that require broad campus collaboration and participation of stakeholders. With a focus on developing performance strategies to accelerate operationalization of plans, the Director leads implementation, knowledge management, and the monitoring of related performance targets.



    Strategic Initiatives

    • Identify, research and implement, in conjunction with other members of the Faculty of Science management team, strategic initiatives for:
      • Advancing key priorities of the Faculty of Science
      • Enhancing international recognition of Waterloo’s Faculty of Science research and building greater awareness, of the Faculty of Science research productivity and impact
      • Development and implementation of the strategic plan with the Dean, Executive Officer and management team members, relevant Institution colleagues, and ensure alignment with the University Strategic Plan
      • Recognition and advancement of excellence in Science research and its impact
      • Sustainable recruitment strategies and funding models to support and enhance graduate studies
      • Increased use and trust in data and analyses, in particular for evaluating progress and performance
    • Seize opportunities to identify and lead opportunities to advance the mission of the Faculty of Science, particularly those that raise the profile of Science in the Institution
    • Maintain a strong knowledge base of current UW programs, policies, resources and services; develop strong relationships with senior leadership to effectively liaise, anticipate issues and opportunities, and identify trends
    • Lead the development of the strategic plan/framework and work-plan for the Faculty of Science, and support the detailed current year operating plan, while adhering to direction set by the Dean and Executive Officer. This includes formalizing and leading the strategic planning process for the Faculty of Science, with a focus on long-term trends and outlook, and developing competitive intelligence
      • Facilitate discussions with key internal and external stakeholders on strategic initiatives
      • Engage external experts to learn and influence strategies, constantly remaining alert and forward thinking about opportunities and risks
      • Organize planning retreats; including setting an agenda and overseeing follow-up on agreed action items
      • Lead the Faculty of Science approach to measurement and evaluation of the work-plan initiatives with a focus on the creation of a performance dashboard for impact and organizational effectiveness
      • Facilitate development of the annual work-plan for the Faculty of Science strategic plan
    • Research high priority projects and prepare backgrounders that cogently identify both opportunities and inherent risks
      • Gather intelligence and maintain environmental scans for major initiatives and developments, both on campus and externally, that are relevant to the Faculty of Science academic and research mandates
      • Support the development of a graduate funding and support framework across the Faculty of Science
    • Leverage external relationships to support achievement of the Faculty of Science’s priorities and objectives
    • Work collaboratively with Faculty and Institutional communications, advancement, and government relations to support and improve Faculty of Science planning and decision-making
      • Oversee key written communications to ensure they accurately reflect the Dean’s and the Faculty of Science’s position
      • Prepare slide decks for use by Faculty of Science
    • Oversee risk management reporting with respect to the Dean of Science portfolio

    Relationship Management

    • Facilitate relationships with Faculty of Science departments, schools, centres and institutes
    • Work closely with the Dean of Science, Executive Officer and management team to support both Faculty of Science and Institutional objectives related to research, graduate studies, and excellence
    • Work collaboratively with University Relations, Advancement, Institutional Analysis and Planning, the Deputy Provost Planning and Budget, the Office of the Provost, the Office of Research and the Office of
    • Graduate Studies on behalf of the Faculty of Science and the management team
    • Build and maintain relationships with colleagues in government, especially in the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities, OCAV, and the U15
    • Liaise as appropriate with President, Provost, Deans, AVPs, Directors, Chairs
    • Build credibility with faculty members and staff across the Faculty of Science in support of strategic initiatives

    Data, Analyses and Planning

    • Oversee the development and implementation of strategies to identify Institutional and Faculty data and analyses in the pursuit of advancing the mission of the Faculty of Science
    • Build trust in the use of relevant credible data and analyses to inform decision-making and evaluation of strategies
    • Provide a focus on creation and implementation of projects that support teaching and research within the Waterloo Budget Model environment
    • Undertake professional development to remain current on issues pertaining to strategic planning, project management, evaluation and data analyses, and reporting


    • BA degree required; post-degree training in areas relevant to the position, including facilitation, negotiation and active participation or equivalent education and experience
    • At least ten years of experience in roles of progressive responsibility for planning, relationship building and strategic initiatives, preferably in an academic setting
    • A proven track record of providing strategic advice to advance the goals and objectives of an organization, taking account of priorities, mandates, and stakeholder needs and aspirations
    • Knowledge of federal and provincial programs and policies
    • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills
    • Experience in facilitating and motivating high performing teams, especially within the academic setting 
    • Broad and deep knowledge and experience of the workings of a large research university in the Ontario system, in particular the relationship between the Institution and academic units, the workings of academic support units, and relationship across academic Faculties
    • Demonstrated knowledge and experience in the areas of facilitation, participation and strategic planning and evaluation
    • Advanced understanding of institutional data, and analyses, including how to leverage and make use of these data and analyses to inform and advance the Faculty of Science mission
    • Strong organizational, prioritization and analytical skills; proven ability as a problem-solver
    • An ability to work independently and as a member of a team
    • Strong interpersonal skills; strong verbal and written communication skills; tact, good judgement, diplomacy and an ability to maintain confidentiality are essential
    • Experience with Microsoft Office programs and SharePoint
    • Knowledge of UW policies, procedures and guidelines


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