Transforming the External Relations structure

22 July 2021

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to share with you the new External Relations organizational structure for the following service areas:

  • Communications
  • Marketing
  • Development
  • Alumni Relations
  • Government and Community Relations

The new structure across our portfolio of services is the culmination of many months of work that included consultation and input from staff across the university. I would like to start by thanking everyone who participated for your contributions and ideas, as well as your patience in allowing us the space to complete our work.

External Relations' (ER) service delivery to faculties and units will be predicated on a service culture that ensures strategic, responsive, and timely service based on a deep understanding of needs. These org charts will help you understand how services will be delivered and how teams will be organized to deliver the function. Extensive consultations helped us develop a structure that will support faculties and units with high quality, professional services through Centres of Expertise. I'm confident that this new structure will facilitate increased collaboration and help us achieve our mission of "one university," working together with purpose.

Populating the new ER structure

The next few months will be a time of transition for external engagement activities and staff across our campuses. We are working on populating the model with a sequential implementation plan that will ensure leaders in the new structure have the opportunity to participate in the selection of their own team. Director positions across the portfolio will be posted on the Position Opportunities Page on July 26, and applications will be accepted through the Careers page from August 2 - August 16. All new roles in the operating model will be filled through a competition, and staff are encouraged to apply for these roles if the position interests them.

Over the coming weeks, we will continue to work on refining the structure below the director level in collaboration with our HR team and respective unions. This is a complex portfolio of many different functions which means that we will continue to create spaces for engagement and communication activities to provide as much clarity as we can over the course of this roll-out.

What comes next

Through the remainder of 2021, we will be hiring for new roles and completing staff transitions into the new structure. We are working on a transition plan to limit disruptions to current activities and develop the new processes and policies to support and knit together the organizational architecture. Again, I would ask for your patience and commitment during the transition period—we are building a new structure while needing to operate in the old one and so there may be some delays along the way.

How administrative restructuring will impact faculties and units

Once the new ER structure is fully implemented, the majority of external engagement activities will only exist centrally within the new structure. I am especially excited about this opportunity for our communications, marketing, and digital staff to work together in a collaborative, supportive, and team approach to external engagement. I've also already heard many of you express excitement at this prospect too. The newly created institutional marketing function will allow us to cohesively promote the University of Alberta to Canada and the world.

Our College, Faculty, and Central Unit partners will create the gateway for all faculties and units to access Centres of Expertise for expert communications and marketing (including digital) advice, as well as tactical support and services.

In Development we have been able to continue with the dual funded, dual reporting structures that were so valued by the faculties and units. We look forward to continuing to work with the faculties to build upon these relationships.

We are also excited about the evolution of Alumni Relations, especially the potential to create and evolve an Events team. We are starting first with ER events and then looking to roll out this expertise to other parts of the university in the coming months.

Lastly, but no less important, is the extra capacity that we have been able to create in Government Relations to provide strategic advice and support to Colleges and Faculties.

Navigating upcoming challenges

I understand the next few months will be a period of significant change for many staff engaged in external engagement activities across the university. I encourage staff to take care by accessing change resources, taking time off, and familiarizing themselves with applying to positions over the summer.

Thank you

The reorganization of the External Relations portfolio and of all external engagement activities is a massive undertaking. Thank you again to the leadership teams and staff within the portfolio and across the institution for their hard work during this transition. Special thanks to Matina Kalcounis-Rueppell, Executive Academic Sponsor of the External Engagement workstream, for her time and effort supporting the consultation and development process. And thank you to the UAT and SET teams for their guidance and support throughout this process of strategic transformation.

Elan MacDonald
Vice President, External Relations



Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I have to apply for a role?

Positions are changing and centralizing across the university. The new model allows the university to complete common activities centrally, with the intent of eliminating duplication in faculties and departments. If you see a position posting that is similar to work currently being done in faculties and departments, that work is moving centrally and you are encouraged to apply.

The new organizational structure for External Relations has been shared and we are working on a phased implementation plan. The hiring process for directors will take place through the end of August, followed by the hiring process for senior partners through the end of September, and then the hiring process for partners. We expect the hiring process for all new roles in External Relations to be complete by the end of 2021.

All new roles in the operating model will be filled through a competition. Staff are encouraged to apply for these roles if the position interests them. New roles will be posted for a minimum of five days on the Position Opportunities Page before being posted to the Careers page for a minimum of 10 days during the summer months.

What happens if I don't apply for a new role?

It is an individual decision to apply to new positions that are posted. If there are any changes or impacts to the work you currently do, you would be informed by your supervisor and changes will be made in alignment with the applicable collective agreement process.

Depending on the amount of work you are currently responsible for that is being centralized, the position may be deemed redundant by your faculty and department. Any associated impacts to you will be made in alignment with the applicable collective agreement.

If my role isn't on the organizational chart, am I to assume I'll be laid off?

If you have not been advised of your role within the new model, or do not see your current role represented on the new organizational chart, we encourage you to apply for open opportunities.

We encourage employees to check the Position Opportunities Page for roles they're interested in and to take advantage of these new opportunities.

What advice should managers give staff about available positions?

Managers and supervisors are encouraged to be supportive of staff as they consider their career path and apply for roles. One of the goals of UAT is to create career opportunities and empower our staff to learn and grow in their careers.

Why do I have to apply for my own position?

Positions that do not change will not be posted, meaning employees currently in those roles will not need to re-apply to their own positions. Those that are new or changed significantly in the new structure will likely go through a recruitment or EOI process.

Why are some of the FTEs in ranges?

Where there are ranges, we are still working through the services that are transitioning and the financial impacts, so these are estimates at this time. We have provided as much detail as we can, however there is more work to do. As a portfolio we need to ensure that we have effective services in GCR, Development, Marketing, Communications, and Alumni Relations and some more work will be required as we move through the levels of the structure.



2020 updates  2021 updates  2022 updates