University Rankings Strategist

The University of Saskatchewan's (USask) main campus is located in the vibrant city of Saskatoon on Treaty 6 territory and the traditional homeland of the Métis. USask is one of the top research-intensive, medical doctoral universities in Canada, and is home to world-leading research in areas of global importance, such as water and food security and infectious diseases.

The Office of the Vice-President Research (OVPR) provides visionary leadership and strategic direction to the university’s research, scholarly, and artistic works. This is achieved by creating strategic partnerships, plans, and policies that together create a supportive research environment indicative of a world-class research-intensive university.

Primary Purpose: This position provides leadership, expertise and support to university-wide activities aimed at improving the university’s reputation, profile, and performance across several domestic and international university rankings. It plays an essential role in yielding noticeable improvements in the university’s recognition for excellence, as measured in academic rankings within disciplines and the university, as well as in strengthening the university’s position in relevant international rankings. It is instrumental for building campus-wide awareness, engagement, and culture of rankings.

Nature of Work: Reporting to the Executive Officer (OVPR), with joint accountability to the Vice-President Research and Provost and Vice-President Academic via the University Rankings Oversight Committee, this position is responsible for developing strategies, implementing plans, coordinating activities, and supporting rankings-related initiatives across the academy. The position provides expert advice and strategic support to the University Rankings Oversight Committee and the University Rankings Working Group, two bodies charged with overseeing, enhancing, and integrating rankings related activities across the institution. Efforts will be focused on elevating USask’s placement in five specific rankings.

Various academic and administrative units are involved with rankings-related activities at USask. As such, the University Rankings Specialist will work collaboratively with various units, including the President’s Office, Institutional Planning and Assessment, International Office, Research Profile and Impact, the Sustainability Office, University Relations, colleges and schools, and select committees to lead a coordinated, effective, and integrated approach to rankings-related activities.

The volume of work is high and the nature of work is self-directed, unstructured, and deadline driven. Occasionally, there may be a requirement to work outside of standard business hours. The incumbent will be responsible for managing their own workload by setting priorities, achieving results, meeting targets and deadlines, and reporting on successful outcomes. They will independently apply high level of expertise in all of their work. Occasionally, other work may be assigned by presidential or vice-presidential offices, primarily through the Executive Officer (OVPR).

Typical Duties or Accountabilities:

The University Rankings Strategist is responsible for various activities, often in collaboration with other academic and administrative units, including:

Strategic Planning

  • Provide leadership, support, and expert advice to the University Rankings Oversight Committee, University Rankings Working Group, and other campus groups. This will often involve influencing decisions and leading based on a strong understand of the current state, future needs, and by advising stakeholders on matters related to university ranking agencies and their methodologies.
  • Develop, implement, and monitor short, medium, and long-term strategic plans for the institution as well as corresponding tactical plans to elevate the university’s placement across select university rankings.
  •  Document, coordinate, and report upon annual operations and communication plans for each of the university ranking agencies that USask actively monitors and/or is engaged with.
  •  Ensure seamless cross-portfolio planning, coordination, integration, improvement, and communication of university rankings-related activities at USask.

Research and Analysis

  • Serve as an institutional expert in university rankings by building expertise, forging relationships, and staying abreast of current and emerging trends related to university rankings, methodologies, metrics, and best practices.
  • Conduct research and analysis to better understand internal strengths and areas for improvement, as well as opportunities to improve upon research and reputation-focused metrics specifically, in order to inform strategy development and deployment at USask.
  • Monitor and provide advice on existing policies, processes, and practices related to university rankings, data collection, data submissions, bibliometrics, and communications in order to support continuous improvement in these areas.
  • Provide critical analysis and advise on proposed policies, processes, strategies, actions, and investments in order to optimize the use of resources, ensure a positive return on investment, and enhance USask’s placement across university rankings.

Data Collection and Reporting

  • Provide advice, expertise, and occasionally support for data collection, analysis, and submission of rankings performance data sets to university rankings agencies, as required.
  • Collect and report upon key research-related metrics (bibliometrics, citations, impact measures, etc.) for administrative units, academic units, and campus faculty in order to ensure awareness, education, and appropriate representation of data at USask.
  • In collaboration with Institutional Planning and Assessment, monitor regularly scheduled collection of specific data sets, review planned submissions when required, and recommend ways to ensure the university’s submissions accurately and appropriately reflect the achievements of our institution in coordination with other university offices.
  • Monitor performance and ensure the university’s senior leadership team and broader community are kept appraised of USask’s performance, performance of peer institutions, rankings methodologies, and directions of external agencies.

Communications and Engagement

  • Ensure the development, coordination, and implementation of internal communications plans so that the university’s senior leadership team is provided advanced notice of changes in university rankings placements and methodologies.
  • In collaboration with University Relations, ensure the strategic and timely development of internal and external communications messaging and strategies to elevate USask’s performance across the selected university rankings.
  • In collaboration with Research Profile and Impact, identify opportunities and support the nomination of prestigious national and international awards which are considered in select university ranking methodologies.
  • Collaborate with seventeen colleges and schools to build culture, create awareness, and ensure understanding of university rankings (general and subject-specific) and their methodologies. Work with academic units to develop strategies for improvement within and across academic and administrative units.

Relationship Management

  • Establish strong relationships, instill a rankings culture, and build capacity for ranking-related activities with internal stakeholders, including members of the President’s Executive Committee, their executive offices and support units, Deans and Executive Directors, Associate Deans, Research Facilitators, etc.
  • Establish and maintain strong relationships with external stakeholders, such as peers at U15 institutions, ranking agencies, and service providers (for example: Research Infosource, Times Higher Education, QS, Maclean’s, and data providers such as Elsevier and Clarivate).
  • Provide leadership to the University Rankings Working Group, and support other institutional committees and staff, to coordinate work and provide expert advice and technical assistance, where required.
  • Participate in professional organizations, conferences, and workshops to build on your awareness of leading and evolving industry practices and to keep informed of current ideas, research, and practices related to the field.

Other Duties as Assigned

Education: A Master’s or Doctoral degree is required. An educational background in business administration, public administration, assessment, evaluation, data analysis/analytics, or statistics is preferred.

Experience: Preference will be given to candidates with significant (preferably 10+ years) demonstrated experience in rankings systems and methodologies, institutional research, assessment and evaluation, data science, marketing research, statistics, or similar fields. Minimum of five years’ working in the post-secondary education sector is required. Previous experience using Elsevier, Scopus, and SciVal is considered an asset.

Skills: Systems thinking and strategic planning skills are essential. Superior written, oral and interpersonal skills; demonstrated collaborative leadership and decision-making skills; effective writing and editing skills; highly organized and able to work independently on multiple projects with competing demands.

Inquiries regarding this position can be directed to Brit Tastad, Senior Strategic Business Advisor (Human Resources) at 306-966-6266 or   


Department: Vice-President (Research)
Status: Term 24 months with the possibility of extension or becoming permanent
Employment Group: ASPA
Full Time Equivalent (FTE): 1.0
Salary: The salary range, based on 1.0 FTE, is $81,037.00 - 134,978.00 per annum. The starting salary will be commensurate with education and experience.
Salary Family (if applicable): Specialist Professional
Salary Phase/Band: Phase 3
Posted Date: 10/18/2021
Closing Date: Until Filled.
Number of Openings: 1
Remote Status: Yes - Temporarily due to COVID-19

The successful applicant will be required to provide the following current verification(s) where 'Yes' is indicated below. Further information is available at:

Criminal Record Check: Not Applicable
Driver's License and Abstract Check: Not Applicable
Education/Credential Verification: Not Applicable
Vulnerable Sector Check: Not Applicable

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The University believes equity, diversity, and inclusion strengthen the community and enhance excellence, innovation and creativity. We are dedicated to recruiting individuals who will enrich our work and learning environments. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, in accordance with Canadian immigration requirements, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority. We are committed to providing accommodations to those with a disability or medical necessity. If you require an accommodation in order to participate in the recruitment process, please notify us and we will work together on the accommodation request. The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis. We pay our respects to the First Nations and Métis ancestors of this place and reaffirm our relationship with one another. Together, we are uplifting Indigenization to a place of prominence at the University of Saskatchewan.