State of Massachusetts Director for Trustee and Governmental Relations in Boston, Massachusetts

The Commonwealth’s public higher education system serves 290,000 students annually, and consists of fifteen Community Colleges, nine State Universities, and the five campuses of the University of Massachusetts (UMass). Each community college and state university institution has its own board of trustees, while the five UMass campuses are overseen by the UMass Board of Trustees. The Board of Higher Education has coordination and oversight responsibilities for the entire system of public higher education, including, but not limited to the responsibility to analyze the present and future goals, needs and requirements of public higher education and to establish goals to achieve a well coordinated, high-performing system of public higher education.

The Department of Higher Education (DHE) seeks an exceptional and experienced professional for the role of Director for Trustee and Governmental Relations. The Director will serve as the key liaison between:

  • The Department of Higher Education and the boards of trustees at the state’s community colleges, state universities, and University of Massachusetts;

  • The Department of Higher Education and the Massachusetts Legislature.

The Director will report to the Associate Commissioner for External Affairs who will serve as the functional manager for the position and the primary supervising manager. The Director will also work closely with and take direction from the Department’s General Counsel in areas such as trustee orientation, training and accountability initiatives, and developing legal analyses.

Trustee Relations Role and Responsibilities:


This position is in furtherance of the BHE’s statutory mandate to develop and provide trustee recruitment, accountability and training initiatives. Consistent with this charge, the Director will serve as the primary point of contact for the DHE with the Governor’s Appointments Office and with the legislature regarding all trustee appointments and trustee-related matters. The successful candidate will work closely with board chairs and members to acquaint them with state-level goals and system objectives, provide opportunities for professional growth and training, and support trustee work through strategic planning, presidential evaluations and annual goal-setting.

The successful candidate will possess the ability to work collaboratively and effectively with the local Boards of Trustees of the Commonwealth’s public campuses. Within this framework, the Director’s essential Trustee Relations functions shall include the following four components:

  • Communication

o Maintain active communication with local board chairs through regular meetings and conference calls. Provide consultation to local board of trustee chairs on an as-needed basis.

o Advise the Commissioner, the General Counsel and other DHE Senior Staff members as needed on matters concerning campus boards of trustees.

  • Recruitment

o Work in conjunction with the Governor’s Appointments Office, as well as the Public Education Nominating Council (PENC) and other stakeholders, to help develop and maintaina pool ofdiverseindividualswho have the experience, skills, and commitment to become strong campus board members, and help facilitate the appointment process.

  • Information and Training

o Develop programs for providing information to local Boards about state policies and priorities related to public higher education.

o Develop a comprehensive plan of professional development for local boards of trustees, taking into account existing work done by local boards and their respective campus or segmental legal counsel offices.

o Develop a set of standard, statewide orientation materials which supplement existing board orientation materials prepared at the local level, and address statewide responsibilities and issues. Provide orientation sessions on an as-needed basis.

  • Accountability

o Establish procedures to guide local boards in assessing their own work in meeting the institution’s strategic plan and annual institutional and statewide goals.

o Advise the Governor’s Appointments Office regarding the reappointment of trustees, and develop guidelines for working with local board chairs on reappointments.

  • Other duties as assigned

Governmental Relations Role and Responsibilities:

The successful candidate will also serve as the chief staff liaison between the Massachusetts Legislature and the Department of Higher Education. He or she will work closely with the staff of the Department and members of the legislature to facilitate broad understanding of the goals and objectives of the Board of Higher Education; manage constituent concerns; respond to requests for data about the function and performance of the public higher education system; work with the Department’s legal team to pro-actively track and analyze proposed legislation; and work with the Commissioner and other members of the Senior Staff to prepare and communicate the priorities of the Department’s annual budget request.

Within this framework, the Director’s essential Legislative Relations functions shall include the following four components:

· Communication

o Maintain active communication with legislative leadership and staff, particularly the Joint Committee on Higher Education.

o Advise the Commissioner, the General Counsel and other DHE Senior Staff members as needed on matters concerning pending legislation, upcoming hearings, budgetary impacts, and other policy concerns.

o Develop and implement a proactive legislative communication strategy to further the DHE’s goals of increasing support for higher education.

  • Budget

o Work in conjunction with the Deputy Commissioner for Administration & Finance to communicate Board-Approved budget requests to legislators.

o Serve as a resource for Ways & Means Staff throughout the budget season on monetary and other policy changes proposed through amendments and outside sections.

o Track budget amendments and provide analysis for the Commissioner and Senior Leadership team.

  • Legislative Tracking

o Work in conjunction with the General Counsel to research, analyze, and actively track all legislation relating to higher education for each session.

o Work with legislative staff and the Executive Office of Education to respond to and advance proposed amendments on any relevant legislation.

o Assist the Associate Commissioner for External Affairs in the drafting of letters of support or testimony

  • Other duties as assigned

Preferred Qualifications

  • Knowledge of Massachusetts state government and public higher education.

  • A Master’s Degree or Juris Doctorate (J.D.).

  • Substantial experience working with governmental agencies and/or governmental boards, and/or state legislatures.

** Requirements

· Education and Experience:

o Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of five years experience working in higher education, governmental relations, professional associations, or a similar field.

o Significant experience in project planning, management, and execution.

o Experience providing trainings and seminars, teaching, or equivalent experience.

· Special Requirement:

o Possession of a current and valid Massachusetts Class D Motor Vehicle Operator's License.

· Skills and Attributes:

o Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with others to achieve consensus and progress on complex issues.

o Exemplary ethical standards.

o Entrepreneurial drive and creative vision.

o Superior writing, verbal, analytic and presentation skills.












An Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer. Females, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Job: *Management

Organization: *Department of Higher Education

Title: Director for Trustee and Governmental Relations

Location: Massachusetts-Boston-1 Ashburton Place

Requisition ID: 170003QJ