Chief of Staff

Working Title President's Chief of Staff

Job Summary

As the University's chief administrative officer for public affairs, the President's Chief of Staff and Director for External Relations organizes and facilitates activities that deepen relationships with business leaders and other University partners as well as with campus constituencies. The position advises the President on public relations issues, supervises day-to-day administration of the President's office, handles sensitive and confidential situations, and serves as her representative and ambassador as needed with key internal and external constituencies.

The Chief of Staff and Director for External Relations provides leadership and coordination for the University's external partnerships in support of the University's strategic goals, provides public relations counsel to the President and other campus administrators, and coordinates projects and initiatives as assigned by the President.

The Chief of Staff and Director for External Relations also helps to provide leadership and support for President's initiatives with the President's Regional Advisory Council. He or she works collaboratively with the University's Government Relations staff as well as with University Advancement, Marketing and Communications, Development, and Alumni offices.

As a principal advisor to the President, the Chief of Staff and Director for External Relations handles matters of institutional importance on behalf of the President, serves as the President's strategic liaison with a diversity of University and community constituencies, and facilitates internal and external communication strategies.


•Works with the President and senior leadership on positioning the institution with civic and business leadership, alumni, and elected representatives.

•Represents the President and serves as needed on University boards, committees, and task forces such as the President's Advisory Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics and the University Safety Committee. Personally serves on external community boards and committees as needed.

•Manages the President's Office, including supervising personnel and managing the office budget. Monitors budgets and tracks spending. Regularly updates the President on budget matters.

•Participates in strategic and annual planning processes and initiatives, ensuring follow-up and documentation as needed.

•Manages internal and external communications; ensures consistency of messages; responds to questions and concerns that come to the President's Office; works closely with University senior administrators and a wide range of key internal and external constituencies.

About Eastern Washington University

Eastern is a regional, comprehensive university located in Cheney, 20 minutes from downtown Spokane. In addition to Eastern's Cheney campus, we also offer our Riverpoint campus in Spokane, plus additional teaching/learning centers located in other cities throughout Washington State. Enrollment has reached over 12,000 students. The Cheney-Spokane area is the heart of the Inland Northwest, with excellent restaurants, theater, shopping, skiing, hiking, lakes, a choice of living in a medium-sized city or a small town, and high quality schools and housing.

Diversity Statement

Eastern Washington University is committed to increasing the diversity of its faculty, staff, students, and academic program offerings and to strengthening sensitivity to diversity throughout the institution. Eastern Washington University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer, and applications from members of historically underrepresented groups are especially encouraged.

Conditions of Employment

This position, during the course of university employment will be involved in the receipt of, or accountability for, university funds or other items of value; as well as the unsupervised access with the developmentally disabled, vulnerable adults or children under the age of 16. Successful applicant will be required to pass a background check for continued employment.

Physical Demands

If you would like to obtain a copy of the Essential Functions Analysis form, which describes the physical and mental demands of the position, please contact Vara Lyn Conrath at

Required Qualifications:
  • Master's Degree, with a minimum of seven years' experience working with high-profile professionals and being engaged in the life of a community; making independent judgments; working with a wide diversity of people and constituencies.
  • Successful candidate will have exceptional writing and interpersonal communication skills as well as outstanding organizational and analytical skills.
  • Able to master a wide range of relationships, tasks, and perspectives. Must demonstrate strong problem-solving skills; be competent in Windows-based computer programs including MS Word and Excel.
  • Must be able to work independently, prioritize projects, and manage multiple and competing priorities while meeting deadlines; and must be able to interact effectively with a culturally and ethnically diverse population of students, faculty, staff, and external constituencies.
  • Candidate must demonstrate interest, ability and/or experience promoting cultural competency, universal accessibility and/or diversity.

Preferred Qualifications:
  • Demonstrated increasing responsibility working with higher education executives is preferred.

Other Skills and Abilities: