About the Conference
The Southeastern Conference (SEC), highly regarded as one of the nation’s most elite intercollegiate athletic conferences, is headquartered in Birmingham, AL and home to fourteen elite research institutions that include the flagship public universities of ten states, three public land-grant universities, and one private university (University of Alabama; University of Arkansas; Auburn University; University of Florida, University of Georgia, University of Kentucky; Louisiana State University; University of Mississippi; Mississippi State University; University of Missouri; University of South Carolina; University of Tennessee; Texas A&M University; and Vanderbilt University). Since its inception in 1933, the league has expanded twice, once in 1991 and again in 2012, with the third expansion set to take effect in the 2025 – 2026 academic year with the additions of the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas.
Throughout its 82-year history, the SEC has provided leadership on the vital issues facing intercollegiate competition. Often considered a pioneer in the integration of higher education and athletic competition, the SEC has continued to be a leader on the national landscape for intercollegiate athletics in the 21st century. Commissioner Greg Sankey has effectively introduced change and innovation for the conference while respecting the institutional traditions that make the SEC unique, allowing the SEC to remain at the forefront in leading the charge to address the most significant challenges in college athletics, to support student-athletes more effectively, and even reimagine the future of college sports. With an understanding of the highly competitive environment of college sports, under Commissioner Sankey’s leadership and guidance, he has fostered the collaborative culture of the SEC that sets the conference apart and supports its continuing success. The achieved stature and stability of the Conference has been largely attributed to the decision to designate governing/voting power to the presidents of the member institutions. These university leaders determine the policies of the conference and through the years this involvement has been the principal source of strength in the evolution of the SEC.
Sponsoring team championships in nine’s men’s sports and twelve women’s sports at the NCAA Division I level (baseball; men’s and women’s basketball; cross country; equestrian; football; golf; gymnastics; soccer; softball; swimming & diving; tennis; track & field; and volleyball), the conference has continually built upon its recognized success, strong foundations, and rich traditions with each member of the SEC having won many national championships: 43 in football, 21 in basketball, 41 in indoor track, 42 in outdoor track, 24 in swimming, 20 in gymnastics, 13 in baseball (College World Series), and one in volleyball. Additionally, the conference has continued to leverage its athletic success and reputation to generate revenue for its member institutions due in large part to the introduction of the SEC Network/SEC Network+, a dedicated channel and complementary digital platform developed by ESPN and the SEC that airs SEC content 24/7 and provides hundreds of additional digital only events to fans through the ESPN App.
Reporting to the Commissioner, the Associate Commissioner for Academic Relations is the senior administrator for academic relations, the SEC’s unique effort highlighting the academic accomplishments and impact of its member institutions. The individual works directly with the SEC Provosts and indirectly with the SEC Presidents and Chancellors, along with other campus administrators and members of the SEC staff.
Duties and Responsibilities
- Lead SEC activities meant to highlight the academic accomplishments and impact of SEC universities, including academically focused intercollegiate athletics opportunities.
- Work with SEC staff members in media and public relations; marketing and branding; and the SEC Network to leverage the SEC athletics brand in highlighting the academic accomplishments and impact of SEC universities, including the “It Just Means More” image enhancement campaign.
- Cultivate relationships with relevant external branding and messaging entities, including the SEC’s advertising agency of record, to enhance the Conference’s academic messaging efforts, such as The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Education.
- Administer the SEC’s broad academic messaging effort, which includes but is not limited to the Conference’s internal social and digital media strategy, paid advertising campaigns in leading higher education publications, and high impact messaging opportunities.
- Guide SEC staff members on the academic relations team in all aspects of Conference messaging and programming, including academic social and digital media, communications, graphic design, data collection and program support.
- Establish and maintain procedures and expectations that are efficient and “constituent-friendly” for SEC staff members on the academic relations team.
- Manage all personnel matters for SEC staff members on the academic relations team, which includes conducting annual performance appraisals.
- Review and approve requests for vacation, sick and personal leave time; job-related travel; and/or job-related expense reimbursement for SEC staff members on the academic relations team.
- Manage the academic relations operating budget in consultation with the SEC’s Executive Associate Commissioner/CFO and Associate Commissioner for Finance, which includes developing annual reports for the SEC Executive Committee and/or SEC Presidents and Chancellors.
- Oversee the SEC Academic Leadership Development Program, which includes working with the program chair regarding meeting agendas and minutes; maintaining an administrative handbook and workshop assessments; providing workshop planning support; and facilitating alumni engagement.
- Oversee the SEC education abroad and international efforts, which includes an engineering exchange program in Torino, Italy, and facilitating various constituent video conferences and meetings.
- Oversee the SEC Faculty Achievement Awards, which includes managing the nomination, selection, recognition and publicity related to these awards and the related SEC Professor of the Year Award.
- Oversee the SEC Faculty Travel Program, which includes managing the university submission process and related publicity efforts.
- Support the SEC College Tour by working with the planning university to ensure event venue contracts are executed; expenditures are documented and reimbursed; promotional materials are developed; and feedback is collected. May also represent the SEC at associated events.
- Support the SEC MBA Case and Student Pitch Competitions, which includes working with the host universities on planning and promotional efforts, facilitating the work of the steering committees and representing the SEC at the annual, on-campus competitions.
- Support the SEC Emerging Scholars Program, which includes working with the career preparation workshop host university on planning and promotional efforts, facilitating the work of the steering committee and representing the SEC at the annual, on-campus professional development event.
- Serve as staff liaison to the SEC Provosts and Vice Presidents/Chancellors for Communications, which includes working with group chairs on all meeting and/or conference call matters.
- Attend and participate in various constituent meetings and video conferences as needed, including the SEC’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion officers and constituents for the SEC Artificial Intelligence and Data Science Consortium.
- Provide updates on activities highlighting the academic accomplishments and impact of SEC universities to the SEC Presidents and Chancellors as needed.
- Attend SEC meetings, championships and other events as needed.
- Perform other duties assigned by the Commissioner.
- A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution is required; an advanced degree is preferred.
- Substantial experience in higher education administration, or equivalent experience in a related field, with an understanding of NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics.
- Strong public relations, oral, and written communication skills.
- Working knowledge of branding, social media, television, and multimedia platforms.
- Ability to delegate effectively and serve as both a leader and as a team member.
- Proven ability to provide a strategic vision and demonstrated success in managing strategy to action.
- Ability to hire, develop and retain outstanding staff.
- Proven success in managing a diverse and complex organization to effectively champion the SEC, its member institutions, faculty, staff, students, and academic programs.
- Ability to exercise judgment, decision-making and problem-solving skills.
- Ability to develop and maintain good interpersonal relationships with all constituent groups including Presidents/Chancellors, Provosts, students, staff, faculty and others.
- Ability to deal with ambiguity and resolve conflict with diverse constituents.
- A collaborative style and positively focused high energy.
The SEC invites nominations and applications or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting the Conference. Applications must include a cover letter, resume or curriculum vitae, and list of references. For full consideration, application materials should be submitted to Parker Executive Search’s website by November 23, 2022. Confidential review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment is made.
For additional information, please contact:
Daniel Parker, Vice President and Managing Director
DeLaina Jordan, Senior Associate
Parker Executive Search
770-804-1996 ext. 116 | 770-804-1996 ext. 119
The Southeastern Conference is an equal opportunity employer committed to a diverse work environment