SUMMARY: Association of American Universities (AAU) federal relations professional staff members are responsible for exercising leadership in working  with the association’s members, constituents, and other organizations to advance the association’s priorities and  interests in the legislative and executive branches of the federal government.

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, social media messaging, traditional media  messaging, events, and other appropriate tactics; and 2) working with the policy and communications  teams, AAU members, and/or external stakeholders who would contribute to effective execution of these  strategies. 

• Serve as the lead advocate and staff spokesperson for issues in designated 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 analyses 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 campus federal relations colleagues. 

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

• Attend and represent AAU's interests in legislative meetings, hearings, and markups.

• Develop and maintain relationships with AAU members, congressional and executive branch officials, media members, and representatives from other organizations. Consult with association colleagues, coalition partners, and campus representatives to develop and advance advocacy strategies, such as:

o Testifying to Congress or agencies

o Drafting testimony and legislative and regulatory comments

o Negotiating with members of Congress and/or congressional staff

o Participating in congressional roundtables

o Communicating with reporters/journalists, including as part of media roundtables.

• Exercise leadership in external advocacy coalitions. 

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

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

• Engage and manage external legal and lobbying experts engaged in assigned issue portfolio and as delegated by the VP.

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

• Share supervisory responsibilities for Federal Relations Assistant or EA:


o 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.


Council on Federal Relations (CFR)

o Responds to campus federal relations officers’ information requests. 

o Provides content for the monthly meetings.

o Assists with the program content and procurement of speakers for annual conference and monthly meetings as needed. 

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

o Participates in meetings with the CFR Steering Committee.

o Attends CFR Annual Conference (travel required).

Task Force Management

o Works with task force chair and leaders (campus federal relations officers) to provide timely and critical information to task force members.

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

Coalition Member/Leader

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

o Working with coalitions, directs and participates in outreach and advocacy actions. o Contributes to reports, letters, and other advocacy materials.

QUALIFICATIONS/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 work with partner organizations.

• Relationships with key committees, including Education and Labor; Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; Appropriations; Ways & Means; and Finance; as well as congressional leaders and staff. • 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 federal relations issues in an ever changing, high-work-volume environment. 

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

• Ability to respond effectively to the extremely sensitive inquiries or complaints.

• Ability to make effective and persuasive speeches and presentations on controversial or complex topics to the AAU board 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.

• A 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.

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.

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


DISCLAIMER: 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 into 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.



To Apply: 

To be assured of full consideration, please send a cover letter, resume, salary requirements, and where you found this listing by January 18 , 2021 to:

  • Email: (Please reference AVP for Federal Relations)
  • Roxanne Murray, Vice President for Administration
    Association of American Universities
    1200 New York Ave, NW, Suite 550
    Washington, DC 20005