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Associate Vice President for Immigration and International Issues

Summary: The Associate Vice President (AVP) for Immigration and International Issues is responsible for exercising leadership in working with AAU’s members, constituents, and other organizations to advance the association’s priorities and interests in the legislative and executive branches of the federal government, with a primary focus on immigration, international students and scholars, and other international issues. The AVP also supports AAU’s work in other areas, including science and security, export controls, science diplomacy, and related higher education and research policy and regulatory matters important to America’s leading research universities.

Essential duties and responsibilities include the following. Other duties may be assigned to meet business needs.

  • Develop, plan, negotiate, and execute advocacy strategies and plans for current or anticipated legislative and/or regulatory proposals. This includes: 1) engaging with the legislative and executive branches through a strategic combination of meetings, written materials, media messaging (via both social and traditional media), and other appropriate tactics; and 2) working with internal stakeholders, AAU members, and/or external stakeholders to execute these strategies effectively.

  • Serve as the lead advocate and staff spokesperson for issues designated in the AVP’s portfolio; be known as a “go-to” source for national and trade media on issues within the designated issue portfolio.

  • Provide advice, support, and policy analysis to AAU’s president, other senior staff members, and appropriate AAU committees and task forces on issues in assigned portfolio.

  • Share information on current events and AAU strategies with AAU staff and federal relations colleagues at AAU’s member universities.

  • Compose advocacy materials to engage with legislative and executive branches.

  • Attend and represent AAU's interests in congressional and executive branch meetings, congressional hearings and markups, and other higher education and coalition meetings.

  • Develop and maintain relationships with AAU members, congressional and executive branch officials, journalists, and representatives from other organizations.

  • Consult with association colleagues, coalition partners, and campus representatives to develop and advance advocacy strategies, such as:

  • Testifying to Congress or agencies

  • Drafting testimony and legislative and regulatory comments

  • Negotiating with members of Congress and/or congressional staff

  • Participating in congressional; executive branch; and other community-based roundtables, workshops, and panel discussions.

  • Communicating with reporters/journalists.

  • Exercise leadership in external advocacy coalitions.

  • Serve on issue-specific teams or as a backup or to other AAU staff as assigned or needed.

  • Manage internal cross-functional teams in issue portfolio to advance proactive and defensive strategies.

  • Engage and manage external legal experts, outside consultants and senior fellows engaged in assigned issue portfolio and as delegated by the Vice President for Science Policy and Global Affairs.

  • Work with AAU staff to initiate and conduct policy analyses in support of AAU’s advocacy.

  • Share supervisory responsibilities for an Assistant or EA:

  • Manage job duties and performance; communicate a clear and consistent message regarding goals to produce desired results; develop professional development and training plans for staff; hold staff accountable to meet commitments and follow AAU’s policies.

Committees and Constituent Group Management

• Council on Federal Relations (CFR)

  • Responds to campus federal relations officers’ information requests.

  • Provides content for monthly CFR meetings.

  • Assists with the program content and procurement of speakers for CFR Annual Conference and monthly meetings as needed.

  • Secures meetings for campus federal relations officers with congressional staff or members of Congress and executive branch officials.

  • Participates in meetings with the CFR Steering Committee.

  • Attends CFR Annual Conference (travel required).

• Other AAU Constituent Groups

  • Responds to requests from members of other key constituent groups including AAU Presidents, Chief Academic Officers, Senior Research Officers, Graduate Deans, , Public Affairs Network, and General Counsels.

  • Works with constituent group leads to assist with program content and procurement of speakers for constituent meetings and events as needed.

  • Secures meetings for campus officials with congressional staff or members of Congress and executive branch officials for key constituent groups.

  • Attends and speaks at constituent group meetings on an as needed basis (travel required).

• Task Force and Working Group Management and Support

  • Staffs the CFR Immigration Task Force, working closely with the Policy Officer.

  • Works with task force chair and leaders to provide timely and critical information to task force members.

  • Convenes and leads the task force meetings/conference calls; prepares agendas, background materials, and ensures follow-up.

  • Works to provide support to other working groups, including the Science and Security Working Group (SSWG) and the AAU-APLU Joint Presidential Working Group on Research Security.

• Coalition Member/Leader

  • Serves as AAU’s primary liaison to key immigration-related coalitions, including Compete America.

  • Takes on formal, informal, and thought leadership roles.

  • Working with coalitions, directs and participates in outreach and advocacy actions.

  • Contributes to reports, letters, and other advocacy materials.

Qualifications and Requirements

 Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. Qualifications include:

  • A keen understanding of the legislative process and the ability to take an active role in shaping advocacy coalition efforts and working with partner organizations.

  • Relationships with congressional leaders and staff from key-immigration related Relationships with key staff at the Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, OSTP, and other federal research, security, and intelligence agencies.

  • Demonstrated ability and competency in determining and negotiating policy positions and executing effective advocacy strategies in the assigned portfolio.

  • Excellent written communication, presentation, and consultation skills to convey complex information effectively; this includes strong writing and legislative and policy analysis skills.

  • Ability to resolve complex, critical, and unique issues, including independently applying creative or ingenious solutions to problems.

  • Ability to work independently and provide leadership within AAU on key policy and federal relations matters in an ever-changing, high-work-volume environment.

  • Ability to comprehend, analyze and interpret extremely complex documents.

  • Ability to respond effectively to highly sensitive inquiries or complaints.

  • Ability to make effective and persuasive speeches and presentations on controversial or complex topics to the AAU board, AAU constituency groups, and external audiences.

  • A high degree of professionalism, including the ability to work well with others while managing competing demands, adapting to changing circumstances, and maintaining productive internal and external relationships.

  • Demonstrated willingness and ability to work independently and within the AAU team.

  • Ability to create and support an environment which fosters teamwork, cooperation, respect, and diversity.

  • Ability to promote and foster productive multidirectional communication.

  • Flexibility and ability to manage competing demands, work efficiently and in a fast-paced environment, and adjust to changes; prioritize and manage multiple projects; and follow through in a timely manner, completing tasks without prompting.

  • Demonstrated ability to work ethically and with integrity, following AAU's policies and procedures; is consistently at work and on time; ensures work responsibilities are covered when absent.

  • Demonstrated ability to supervise staff.

  • Must be comfortable working for a non-partisan organization.

Education and Training/Experience

Masters or professional degree and 10 years of specifically related experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Must have at least two of the following work experiences: government relations; congressional; executive branch; nonprofit member-based association; and/or higher education or research-sector organization. Legal background and/or experience a plus.

Technology Experience

Proficient with Microsoft 365 Suite (Word, Outlook, Excel, and PowerPoint). Experience working with Zoom, SharePoint, OneDrive, and OneNote preferred. Working knowledge of Microsoft Planner, To Do, and BGov a plus.


Travel is primarily local during the business day, although some evening, out-of-the-area, and overnight travel will be expected.

Supervisory Responsibility

This position manages employees in the department and is responsible for the performance management and hiring of the employees within that department.

Work Environment

This job operates in a professional office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, printers, scanners, and filing cabinets.

Physical Demands

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to communicate and exchange information.

This is largely a stationary position; however, the employee is required to occasionally move about inside the office to access file cabinets, office machinery, etc. and operate a computer and other office productivity machinery and equipment, such as a copy machine, a computer printer, filing cabinets, etc. Some filing is required; this requires the ability to move files up to 20lbs across the office for various needs.

Position Type

This is a full-time, exempt position. Days and hours of work are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Evening and weekend work may be required as job duties demand.

Other Duties

Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities, and activities may change at any time with or without notice.


This job description is not to be construed in a manner which implies an employee’s right to employee. This job description is not a contract of employment, expressed or implied, nor is it an offer to enter such a contract or guarantee of employment for any duration.

AAU is committed to a work environment that is inclusive to all and free of discrimination. It is our policy to be an equal opportunity employer without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability, citizenship status or any other factors prohibited by federal, state, and local law. AAU will provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with a disability.

Must be currently authorized to work for any employer in the United States.

To be assured of full consideration, please send a cover letter, resume, salary requirements, and where you found this listing by March 22, 2021 to:

  • Email: [email protected] (Please reference AVP for Immigration & International Issues)

  • Roxanne Murray, Vice President for Administration
    Association of American Universities
    1200 New York Ave, NW, Suite 550
    Washington, DC 20005