Director of Federal Relations

SUNY System Administration   Washington, DC   Full-time     Management
Posted on January 19, 2023
Apply Now

Director of Federal Relations

About The State University of New York:
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY's 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the state's only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2021, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum.

Job Description:
The State University of New York (SUNY) is seeking a highly proactive, energetic, and advocacy-minded director of federal relations to work full-time in D.C. to lead advancement of the system's federal relations, legislative, and budgetary priorities, as well as to elevate SUNY'S stature amongst the Executive, Congress, and federal agencies.

Reporting to the associate vice chancellor for government relations, the position is a liaison between the federal government and SUNY Administration, SUNY's 64 campuses, as well as to professional associations, advocacy organizations, and more.

The wide-ranging responsibilities of this position include but are not limited to:

  • Promoting SUNY's interests in higher education and other legislative, policy, and budgetary concerns.
  • Constantly communicating and coordinating with Congress, the White House, the Department of Education, as well as agencies and entities not focused on higher education issues, but which lead on issues important to SUNY, including HHS, EPA, Energy, VA, and others.
  • Working closely with SUNY System offices to define SUNY's policy positions, and proactively partnering with Governor Hochul's D.C. office and members of NY's Congressional delegation to define and advance SUNY's policy agenda.
  • Establishing a long-term vision to elevate SUNY's stature, including highlighting expert research, engaging with alumni in policy-making positions, and ensuring SUNY has a seat at the table on task forces and is taking advantage of other representative opportunities.
  • Coordinating and managing several events held throughout the year, including but not limited to SUNY's annual D.C. Day during which representatives from all 64 campuses meet with New York's delegation and other stakeholders. The successful candidate should be prepared to identify additional events for advocacy, alumni engagement, and press purposes that continually amplify SUNY's priorities.
  • Creating, monitoring, and coordinating SUNY's response to federal funding and legislative opportunities.
  • Supporting SUNY Research Foundation staff on opportunities to leverage federal funding for research.
  • Engaging on D.C.'s "social" networking scene, including with professional higher education associations (APLU, AACC, ASHA, NCHE, etc.), other state systems, and campuses, as well as representing SUNY at events.
  • Developing and managing relationships with advocacy organizations and networks whose work dovetails with SUNY priorities, including environmental and clean energy advocates, LGBTQ+ advocates, healthcare advocates, and others.
  • Building relationships with alumni and others affiliated with our system to expand SUNY's footprint in D.C. and nationwide, including identifying opportunities for the Chancellor and other leaders to participate in events, engage personally, etc.
  • Manage scheduling for D.C. advocacy meetings, etc. for the Chancellor and other leaders.
  • Preparing background briefings and materials for events, Chancellor meetings, etc.
  • Prepare testimony on legislative and budgetary developments.
  • Manage correspondence to the D.C. office, including timely and informative responses to legislators, agencies, etc., including follow-up correspondence on behalf of the Chancellor and other leaders.

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree in a related field
  • A minimum of six years of experience in federal relations working with public and elected officials
  • Exceptional familiarity with the Congressional budgetary and legislative process
  • Superior writing and interpersonal skills, including public speaking and organizational planning
  • At least five years of political or issue-based campaign experience, and three years of managerial experience
  • Ability to travel

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Graduate degree
  • Prior management of event planning 
  • Federal grant-making process knowledge

Additional Information:
Commensurate with experience and qualifications.

Excellent Benefit Package which includes; NYS health insurance, free dental and vision, competitive retirement options, tuition assistance and generous vacation, sick and holiday accruals.

Applicants must be currently authorized to work in the United States on a full-time basis.

Some travel is required for this position.

Application Instructions:
Interested candidates are invited to apply online at

Please submit a cover letter, resume and three professional references when applying. The review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

State University of New York System Administration is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, criminal conviction, or retaliation.

Pursuant to Executive Order 161, no State entity, as defined by the Executive Order, is permitted to ask, or mandate, in any form, that an applicant for employment provide his or her current compensation, or any prior compensation history, until such time as the applicant is extended a conditional offer of employment with compensation. If such information has been requested from you before such time, please contact the Office of Employee Relations at (518) 474-6988 or via email at