The Deputy Minister University Champion Initiative is aimed at strengthening linkages between the Government of Canada and Canadian universities. The strategy is designed to support robust and relevant public administration education and research so that the federal public service has access to leading ideas and theories, a new generation of public administration scholars and new employees who are well-educated in modern public management.
As the public service enters a new period of public management reform, it is crucial that the institution be staffed by those who are well versed in modern financial and human resource management, the theory and practice of responsible government and the highest standards of values and ethics. It is believed that a strengthened relationship with the university sector can help secure access to this knowledge and create benefits for the public service. To this end, the Deputy Minister University Champion Initiative was launched in 2002.
Deputy Minister University Champions undertake a variety of projects in order to
- build relations between the Government of Canada and universities in order to identify shared priorities and move forward together;
- align university research/curricula with federal public service priorities and promote and facilitate exchanges on public policies and programs;
- build awareness of career opportunities in the federal public service and facilitate recruitment and branding activities.
Role of Deputy Minister University Champions
Deputy Ministers have flexibility in terms of how they exercise their role in strengthening the linkages between the public service and universities. However there are some clear best practices, as outlined below:
- working with key partners on campus, usually the President of the university;
- working with universities to facilitate lectures and presentations by senior public servants;
- promoting opportunities for mid-career public servants, specifically the Public Servant-in-Residence Program, to executives in departments and universities;
- advising graduate students of employment opportunities within the federal public service and promoting the public service as a career choice;
- assisting faculty members in the development of research projects and activities in order to increase the relevance of their work for the public service;
- supporting the mentoring of young scholars and serving as a guest lecturer at the Canada School of Public Service.