External Relations Portfolio Review

In the fall of 2016, President Gary Kachanoski commissioned a review of the external relations units at Memorial reporting to him. The units include the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development (AAD), the Division of Marketing and Communications (Marcomm), and the Office of Public Engagement, including the Harris Centre and the Battery Facility. The desired outcomes of the review were:

  • Increased alignment of the portfolio with the academic mission of the university.
  • Greater focus on Development to maximize success in attracting funds for university priorities.
  • Linking Alumni Affairs with Public Engagement more effectively, to maximize opportunities for collaboration between alumni, faculty, students, communities, industry, non-governmental organizations and governments, while maintaining a strategic and collaborative link with Development.
  • Increased operational efficiencies and synergies.

An external consultant was contracted to lead the external relations review. The process undertaken was highly collaborative, involving senior leadership and managers within all the units, utilizing an approach to stimulate innovative thinking.

Following analysis and consultation, a steering committee of the units’ leaders was established and the committee has developed a transition plan to implement two key outcomes as a result of this review:

1. The Alumni Affairs function within AAD will be transferred to report to the executive director of Public Engagement, while an expanded Development function will continue under the current executive director. Alumni Affairs will continue to have a strategic connection with Development.

2. A shared services function reporting to the executive director of Public Engagement will be developed, considering how supports for common operational areas (e.g., finance and administration, human resources and events management, etc.) may be structured to most efficiently support the portfolio, with appropriate levels of centralization and decentralization.

The first recommendation to be implemented was the transition Alumni Affairs to the Public Engagement Portfolio, effective April 1, 2017. Considerable synergies have been identified by creating a direct relationship between Alumni Affairs and Public Engagement. This will not require any new senior management positions. The current assistant director, Alumni Affairs, will instead report to the executive director, Public Engagement. Alumni Affairs will continue to have a strong collaborative strategic connection with Development.

Work to develop a shared services function has begun and implementation of other recommendations arising from that work is anticipated in the coming months. To see the current and previous leadership organizational charts, click here.


President's Office

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000