Vice President of Human Resources
Brandeis University, in Waltham, MA, seeks an experienced, strategic and communicative leader for the position of Vice President of Human Resources (VP). Reporting to the Senior Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, the VP is responsible for all human resources functions concerning staff, and many relating to faculty. The VP serves as a key advisor to senior University leadership on all human resources matters and participates in the development and implementation of the University’s strategic plans. The VP advises the leadership in the innovative development of human resources policy and procedures and works with other senior leaders to seek efficiency and effectiveness in operations and in leading thoughtful organizational and cultural change.
Founded in 1948, Brandeis University is named for the late Louis Dembitz Brandeis, the distinguished associate justice of the United States Supreme Court, and reflects the ideals of academic excellence and social justice he personified. Coeducational classes began on the site of the former Middlesex University in Waltham, Massachusetts, with 107 students and 13 faculty members. Guided for 20 years by its founding president, Abram L. Sachar, and a Board that included Eleanor Roosevelt, Brandeis grew quickly, establishing itself as an important national and international center for teaching and research. In 1961, only 13 years after the university's founding, Phi Beta Kappa accreditation was conferred. Under each succeeding president, the University continued to grow in breadth and stature, while maintaining the very human scale of its educational environment and its solid liberal arts focus. In 1985, Brandeis was elected to membership in the Association of American Universities, which represents the 61 leading research universities in the United States and Canada. Brandeis University is one of the youngest private research universities, as well as the only nonsectarian Jewish-sponsored college or university in the country. Brandeis combines the faculty and resources of a world-class research institution with the intimacy and personal attention of a small liberal arts college.
The Brandeis community, representing more than 100 nations, consists of about 3,600 undergraduates and nearly 2,200 graduate students, more than 350 full-time faculty and more than 1,000 administrators and staff members. The University is comprised of the undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Brandeis International Business School, the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, and the Rabb School of Continuing Studies. Brandeis is also home to more than 30 research institutes and centers that contribute to the academic life of the campus. US News & World Report has ranked Brandeis among the top 35 national universities every year since its inception, and many of the graduate programs, particularly at the Heller School and the International Business School, are also very highly ranked.
Brandeis is located in Waltham, Massachusetts, just 9 miles west of Boston. The 235-acre campus is notable for its contemporary architecture, which is evident in nearly all of its more than 100 academic and residential buildings.
Lisa M. Lynch, the Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy, became interim president of Brandeis University on July 1, 2015, succeeding Frederick M. Lawrence, president from 2011 to 2015. Lynch previously served as Brandeis’ provost and chief academic officer, and as dean of the Heller School from 2008 to 2014. Lynch is an internationally recognized labor economist, and a leader with experience at the highest levels of academia and government, having served as chief economist at the US Department of Labor and as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Lynch earned her BA in economics and political science at Wellesley College, and her MS and PhD in Economics at the London School of Economics. Lynch will again take up her position as provost when a new president is appointed.
Irving Epstein, Henry F. Fischbach Professor of Chemistry and a member of the Volen Center for Complex Systems at Brandeis, is currently serving as interim Provost. Epstein has previously served as Dean of Arts and Sciences, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, and interim Vice Provost for Research and has been at the University since 1971. Epstein earned his BA, MA and PhD at Harvard University. Epstein is the founder of STEM Posse, a program to identify, recruit and retain talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds in the sciences.
Steven Manos has served as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Brandeis University since July 2012. Manos served as Executive Vice President of Tufts University for twenty-six years, retiring from the position in 2007. Manos holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Minnesota, a JD from New York University School of Law, and an MPA from New York University. In addition to overseeing Human Resources, Manos has responsibility for budgeting, administrative and financial functions, and the physical plant.
The Vice President for Human Resources reports to the Chief Operating Officer and manages the full range of human resources (HR) services including talent management, benefits, staff compensation, staff development and morale, employee relations, and legal compliance. The VP leads a department of fifteen professionals and works with them to establish, implement, and communicate policies, systems, and procedures to support a positive, diverse, and inclusive environment and culture. The VP is an inspiring and creative leader who understands business strategy and planning, and engages the HR staff to deliver those plans in an effective and responsive manner to all members of the University community.
The incoming VP will serve as a member of the Senior Management Team, the Integrated Planning and Budget Committee, and the Policy Committee. Working with senior leaders, the VP will serve as a key driver in the creative development of strategic human resources plans and policies. Included in this are competitive compensation and benefits plans with an eye towards recruitment and retention, programs that motivate and reward effective performance and create a partnership between the employee and the University for the short and long-range health and welfare of the members of the Brandeis community.
The VP, along with outside counsel, also maintains the positive relationships with the Service Employees International Union, Local 615, AFL-CIO; Local 888 CTW-CLC; and The Brandeis University Police Association, Union of Campus Police labor unions. There are about 160 workers in the three unions.
Key Opportunities and Challenges
The incoming VP will join a team of human resources professionals looking for strategic and nuanced leadership and a senior leadership group that is actively looking for a vibrant partner to provide solutions and guidance. The need for the Vice President of Human Resources to provide strong and open communication across campus and within the University’s administrative team is clear. During a time of change at Brandeis, the incoming VP will have the chance to inspire and support the many different stakeholders in their commitment to fostering and sustaining a harmonious campus environment.
Understanding the various cultures of the different academic groupings at Brandeis will be crucial to the incoming VP’s success. While the Human Resources Office does work on behalf of the entire institution, recognizing the needs of the many different constituent groups will be critical. The VP will need to take the time to develop relationships with faculty, staff, and senior leadership, and hear their concerns. Providing support to the academic leadership to assist in the recruitment and retention of faculty and research staff as well as increasing access to professional development will also be important.
The incoming VP should also have a solid understanding of the best practices related to technology. Whether in the realm of creating central online resources for employees and managers, making the HR Office’s listing of staff the system of record, or moving to online benefits enrollment, the need for expertise in and comfort with appropriate information technology is great. Administrative systems are being overhauled on campus, and with this processes are also being evaluated and reconsidered. This is being done in partnership with Library and Technology Services, and will provide an excellent opportunity for engaging the full HR office and external constituents. The VP will also lead HR in the establishment of broader succession planning, and a performance management strategy and support system.
Within the Human Resources Office, the VP will have the opportunity to lead the team in defining their mission. The VP will also work to create strategies for further developing the staff as individuals and strengthening their ability to work together across functional groups. There is an appetite on campus for more support and guidance from human resources and a matching desire on the part of the HR staff to implement and follow through on innovative approaches. Working within the real limits of staffing and budget, the VP will have the challenge and the opportunity to make those wishes meet. The VP will also be a senior partner in diversity and inclusion initiatives for the entire Brandeis community.
The most senior levels of leadership at Brandeis University are in transition. The incoming VP will be an important member of the leadership group that will provide a strong foundation for the next president. The position offers the opportunity to have a significant and lasting impact on Brandeis.
The successful candidate will have many of the following qualifications and characteristics:
- Extensive leadership experience within Human Resources in higher education or similarly complex environment;
- Ability to think creatively and strategically, to build consensus and collaborate with others, and to articulate and implement human resources programs that reflect organizational goals;
- A thorough understanding of recruiting, performance management, training and development, wage and hour law, labor law, Title IX and legal compliance, benefits, compensation, EEO/AA guidelines, HR information systems, investigations, prevention and awareness programs, and employee relations;
- Experience in labor negotiations, hearing of grievances, mediation and/or arbitration; thoughtful and considered approach to contract negotiation;
- A proven track record of working with teams and managers to achieve more efficient and effective operations;
- Excellent communication, analytical, and problem solving skills, including conflict resolution and presentation skills; and
- Integrity and values that align with the mission of Brandeis University.
A Bachelor’s degree is required, Master’s degree, evidence of continuing professional education, and certifications relevant to the position preferred. Final candidates will be required to complete a background check successfully.
Please send nominations and applications including a letter of interest and CV to the Brill Neumann team working on the search:
Brandeis University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and encourages minorities, women, disabled individuals, and eligible veterans to apply. It is the policy of the University not to discriminate against any applicant or employee on the basis of race, ancestry, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, genetic information, national origin, disability, veteran status, or on the basis of any other legally protected category.