Debra Pozega Osburn, PhD, was appointed Vice-President (University Relations) at the University of Alberta, on July 1, 2010. She leads a team of more than 80 professionals focused on reputation, relationships, and public resources at the U of A, which is one of the top 5 universities in Canada with an enrollment of 39,000 students from throughout Alberta and around the world.
Debra is a recognized expert on post-secondary external relations, with particular expertise the ways that communication and community-building are tightly linked. Her research and practical experience, both in Canada and in the US, contribute to her firm belief that every act of communication is an opportunity to build community, and that every activity that engages community offers a critical change to build strong lines of communication.
In particular, she has expertise in integrated stakeholder and communications programs that must be effective across institutional boundaries. She holds a doctorate in American Studies, and is a frequent presenter on best practices to professional organizations.
Prior to coming to the U of A, she worked as a journalist; in university communications and public affairs at her alma mater, Michigan State University; and was a partner and executive in a communications consulting firm.
Her responsibilities include strategic communications, media relations, creative direction, government relations, web development, internal communications, and community relations.
Industry Expertise (3)
Public Relations and Communications
Areas of Expertise (7)
Michigan State University: Ph.D., American Studies
Michigan State University: M.A., American Studies
Media Appearances (5)
U of S lands new vice-president of university relations
"Every university is different," said Pozega Osburn. "So what I really need to do first is learn about the University of Saskatchewan and its communities, and then I'll know which aspects of the long experience I've had in other post-secondary institutions will be most applicable here."...
University of Alberta awards honour local leaders
“We have been changing, our communities are growing and changing,” said Debra Pozega Osburn, vice-president, University Relations. “Through the 108 years now that the U of A has been established, we are cognizant that our communities have an impact on us and we have an impact on our communities...
University Of Alberta Draws Fire For Honouring Nestlé Chairman With Degree
“It’s not unusual for universities to occasionally run into some controversy concerning some speakers on campus,” said Debra Pozega Osburn, vice-president of university relations at the U of A. “That doesn’t mean we seek out controversy — but we are a community of diverse people, voices, and opinions. You’ll never see the day everybody at the university agrees on the same thing.” Honorary degree recipients are chosen by the university Senate’s Honorary Degree Committee, and Pozega Osburn said that in the search for honorary degree candidates, the university typically looks for an individual with a certain level of achievement, accomplishment or impact...
U of A VP beats the drum in Fairview for university programs
A former journalist from Michigan, Pozega Osburn was here to let us know what the university is doing, what new programs they have and how things at the U of A. have changed...
Three honoured as first-ever Community Connections Awards recipients
The idea is the brainchild of the University Relations department, namely its vice-president Debra Pozega Osburn, Ph.D and executive director, Anastasia Lim. “We’re very cognizant that we’ve got lots of awards that recognize teaching excellence and research excellence but we don’t have an award that recognizes the connectivity between the university and the community,” says Lim...