Special Assistant to the President - Economic Advancement and Community Engagement

Thursday, June 1, 2023

The Special Assistant to the President will serve as the principal organizer and coordinator for the activities related to special projects, economic advancement, capacity building, and community engagement. She/he will engage internal and external to provide leadership and guidance for special projects emanating from the Office of the President that directly impacts the economic advancement, resilience, and sustainability of the wider community including public service, outreach, extension, innovation, collaboration, technology transfer, industry partnerships, workforce advancement, and operational excellence. She/he will serve as UCC’s liaison with other higher education, economic, and community associations and national/regional/international organizations that influence local and international policies and laws affecting the roles of universities in economic and societal impact, and provide legal advice to the President on these and other institutional matters. She/he will be an individual with a desire to be the best in their craft, possessing a commitment to integrity and an ability to effectively support the President on a wide range of strategic issues.

The incumbent will provide expertise concerning implementation and effectiveness of new and existing programs through proactive engagement with regional business, communities and economic development organizations. The special assistant will help foster key relationships with internal and external resources to enhance the University’s economic development and community engagement initiatives. She/he will provide leadership for the institution’s economic forum and serve as an institutional liaison to connect the talent, research and creative initiatives, and educational resources of the university with institutional partners. The special assistant may serve as the institution’s representative on community committees, advocacy boards, and organizations that complement the University’s mission. She/he must be able to work collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders, and possess the ability to work independently to achieve identified goals, assigned objectives, and manage multiple self-sustaining project while maintaining a high degree of poise, professionalism, and confidentiality.

JOB RESPONSIBILITIES (Includes the following but not limited to):

  1. Create and implement strategies for economic development to include cultivation of strategic partnerships and relationships within the University’s service areas with community organizations, interest groups, parish and government entities, business partners, and individuals capable and willing to advocate for the University.
  2. Develop and maximize existing and new relationships with community stakeholders to support the mission of the University. Attend local and national government meetings as well as participates in professional organizations, chambers of commerce and civic groups to ensure the success of the economic development and community engagement initiatives.
  3. Coordinate activities, programs, and projects related to economic development and community engagement within the broader context of fulfilling UCC’s role as an innovative and engaged institution, and to ensure that all such events are properly planned and executed to meet/exceed expectations.
  4. Coordinate and conduct outreach presentations to internal and external stakeholders on behalf of the President.
  5. Keep abreast of trends in the role of higher education in community and economic development, such as: talent and workforce development, alternative credentialing approaches, flexible delivery options, and work-and-learn opportunities; social, cultural, and community development issues such as equitable and inclusive communities and community resilience; and innovation and entrepreneurship such as university start-ups, technology transfer, and industry partnerships.
  6. Organize and coordinate the annual activities of the UCC Economic Forum to inspire innovation, competitiveness, and economic prosperity.
  7. Focus on helping the institution demonstrate its commitment to and accomplishment in economic and community engagement.
  8. Oversee the development of learning within the wider economic development community through professional enhancement, certification, and training.
  9. Maintain existing and develop new programs and initiatives and seek resources to support them, and coordinate as appropriate with other efforts underway across UCC.
  10. Work with the Marketing and PR team to identify and seek appropriate opportunities to publicly serve as an expert on university economic development and community engagement issues (i.e. media interviews, op-eds, and public speaking engagements).
  11. Provide policy analysis and policy recommendations for current and pending local legislation pertinent to universities’ role in economic and community development.
  12. In cooperation with other UCC leadership, design and organize key broad-audience sessions for the UCC Economic Forum.
  13. Lead specific projects and task forces as may emerge from the UCC agenda.
  14. Other duties as assigned by the President.



  • Existing relationships with key stakeholders in higher education engagement contexts
  • Ability to innovate, both in ideas and implementation
  • Collaborative leadership style and ability to serve as a unifying force for change
  • Strong understanding of the economic and societal impacts of institutions of higher education, and how these are linked to the teaching/learning and research/discovery missions of these institutions
  • Excellent persuasive written and oral communication skills
  • Willingness and ability to travel up to 30 percent of the time
  • knowledge of the role of higher education institutions in innovation and entrepreneurship; talent and workforce development; and social, cultural, and community advancement


  • Master’s degree in Economics, Law, Business Administration, or related areas (PhD or terminal degree preferred)
  • At least ten years of experience working with higher education institutions—preferably research universities—on issues related to their engagement in economic and workforce development, innovation and entrepreneurship, and/or community engagement
  • Accomplishment in higher education and/or business development, economic development policy—analysis, development, and implementation, as well as publications or other demonstrations of thought leadership in the field
  • Substantial experience leading or facilitating change at higher education institutions, toward helping them to be more engaged with—and to develop better partnerships with—external stakeholders
  • Proven champion and advocate for university engagement with the economy and communities

Candidate Profile:

The successful candidate may come from the ranks of current university economic or community engagement leadership, or from leadership of associations, government, foundations, or other organizations working at the intersection of higher education, economic development, community engagement, and/or university partnerships.

To apply please email jobvacancies@ucc.edu.jm