Senior Director, Career Center

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Senior Director, Career Center

Vanderbilt University

Home Department: The Career Center < Division of Career Advancement and Engagement < Office of the Provost


Position Summary:

The Senior Director of the Career Center is a dynamic, forward-thinking leader who will operate as a strategic thought partner to the Vice Provost for Career Advancement and Engagement (VP, CAE) and will play an integral role as the newly formed unit of Career Advancement and Engagement (CAE) embarks on a broad expansion to meet the growing needs of Vanderbilt students and alumni. Operating under the principle of radical collaboration, the Senior Director drives cross-campus partnerships with Academic Affairs, Development and Alumni Relations, Student Affairs, Enrollment Affairs and others. The Senior Director manages all career development and employer relations activities while serving as a thought partner and action leader surrounding the holistic student experience.


As a key member of the CAE leadership team, the Senior Director joins the division at the outset of an exciting build to position Vanderbilt University’s Division of CAE as a pioneer in career advancement for our students and alumni. Currently, the career center serves undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral scholars and recent alumni. While the center will continue to focus on enhanced career outcomes, CAE leadership will collaborate with key leaders in the Provost’s Office and across campus, to reimagine VU career services as it expands to include new verticals focusing on optimizing corporate relations and corporate partnerships as well as building a national Vanderbilt Network to connect dispersed students and alumni with local support resources. The Senior Director will partner with new and existing teams in the Division of CAE to support the expansion.


The primary role of the Senior Director is to provide strategic leadership for the Career Center. This includes the development, implementation and evaluation of recruiting systems, programs and events that connect employers with students and alumni. In addition, the Senior Director preserves and nurtures an inclusive office that ensures students are able to develop their professional capabilities, define their identity and build resilience as they prepare for post-graduate life. To achieve this, the Senior Director must ensure services and operations are consistent with emerging best practices among Vanderbilt’s peer universities including: providing co-curricular career decision-making and professional readiness programs, assuring assessment metrics demonstrate the Center’s effectiveness and measure alumni career outcomes and satisfaction, partnering with undergraduate academic departments, graduate programs and student support offices throughout the Vanderbilt community (including student identity offices, pre-professional programs, the Wond’ry and more) to optimize inclusion of all students and employer access to Vanderbilt talent; and expanding outreach and partnerships with alumni, parents and corporate entities.


About the Division of Career Advancement and Engagement:

Launched in fall 2021 under the leadership of the new Vice Provost for Career Advancement and Engagement & Executive Director of the Evan’s Family Career Center, the Division of Career Advancement and Engagement (CAE), centrally supported within the Provost’s Office, drives radical campus-wide collaboration by integrating career advancement activities into the broader VU student experience.


The new CAE division is comprised of three key areas:

  • Career Center - serves undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral scholars while continuing to support career and professional coaching of recent graduates (0-2 years) after graduation
  • Corporate Relations – fosters enhanced employer and alumni engagement and facilitates high-impact corporate partnerships
  • VU Network – oversees a network of regional hubs that promote activity and engagement with Vanderbilt’s growing community of students, alumni, parents, faculty and partnership corporations


The new Division of CAE offers enhanced career advancement services to connect the wide variety of academic programs and experiences to student career development. In addition, the division reimagines the link between corporate relations and corporate partnerships to generate greater career opportunities and outcomes for students and alumni. Further, the Division of CAE is currently laying the groundwork for the VU Network Hub, a national engagement program that identifies and stands-up regional hubs to facilitate activity and community interaction for Vanderbilt students, alumni, parents, faculty and partnership corporations. 


Core Competencies & Expected Performance [KA1] [BEM2] 

  • Strategic Thought Partner & Community Connector
    • Exhibit a collaborative spirit, representing the Career Center in an open and transparent manner to other units within the university as a strategic CAE leader
    • Serve in leadership capacity among the vast array of communities that encompass Vanderbilt
      • Deliver innovative programming and meaningful employer connections to the undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and recent alumni
      • Provide visionary leadership to the career center team, reimagining how we approach our work and stretching employees to realize their full potential
      • Deliver cross-functional leadership to the Division of CAE as it continues to expand its services to include corporation relations and VU Network hubs
      • Strengthen and develop intentional relationships with the Deans of each college, department chairs, directors of graduate study, leaders of academic affairs, experiential learning and student affairs, and other faculty to ensure that the Career Center is meeting the needs and desires of the academic colleges and departments
      • Advise senior administration and divisional leadership as the expert in career advancement services and partner to progress aligned strategic initiatives
      • Collaborate with Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) and Government and Community Relations to identify corporate partnerships and development opportunities to support internship and employment initiatives and programs
      • Engage with professional organizations including, but not limited to, NACE and the regional affiliates which provide broad opportunities for job development activities
  • Innovation
    • Intellectual curiosity, innovative spirit, bold thinking, decisive, goal oriented and a willingness to take calculated risks
    • Create, collaborate and execute a strategic vision for the role of career advancement at Vanderbilt to include the development and implementation of long-term strategic plans, short-term operational plans and the determination of strategic priorities
    • Knowledge of current trends in career development best practices, a creative and innovative approach to solutions-driven problem solving, demonstrated ability to foster and support university wide collaborations
  • Wows Students
    • Actively engage with students as the face of the Career Center, driving solutions for their evolving needs, seeking feedback for improvement and building strong and lasting relationships 
    • Proactively connect with student leaders, student organizations, Vanderbilt Student Government, student affinity groups, etc., to bring broad career endeavors to life
    • Work closely with pre-professional advising offices including the Health Professions Advising Office and the Pre-Law program
  • Dynamic Employer and Alumni Liaison
    • Engage effectively with recruiters to strengthen strategic professional networks and business relationships to expand visibility of the Vanderbilt Career Center and increase opportunities for all students
    • Cultivate deep and lasting alumni connections that support alumni with career preparation including career services and professional development, drive alumni industry networks, expand opportunities for alumni mentorship via the Career Advisor Network and allow alumni to provide meaningful student-alumni engagement programs
    • Collaborate with the VP, CAE and Senior Director of Corporate Relations (new position) to drive the strategic implementation of the broader divisional build – including the Corporate Relations Office and VU Network Hub – to enhance our understanding why organizations engage with Vanderbilt and identify ways to increase these organizational partnerships
  • Servant Leader
    • Provide authentic, forward thinking leadership to the staff, inspiring the team to reach beyond traditional responsibilities to reimagine processes and ways of thinking, and collaborate to achieve departmental and university-wide goals, and instill a culture of trust
    • Drive individual development and invest in professional growth opportunities to enhance individual and team cohesiveness, promotability and engagement in day-to-day activities
    • Lead, implement and communicate large-scale change management initiatives in a complex organization. Prepare and support employees, cross-functional teams, and partnering units throughout the transition and link changes back to the larger CAE vision
  • Data Savvy
    • Lead a new, comprehensive approach to data collection, data analytics and data informed decision making; promote a data-savvy culture, encouraging the career center to approach and embrace data utilization through analysis, interpretation and implementation
    • Exemplary analytical and critical thinking skills, the ability to organize, analyze, summarize and effectively present data to a diverse group of constituents
    • Ensure that data collection is conducted using the industry-accepted methodology and procedures and complies with National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) guidelines
    • Ability to use data to tell a story and influence decision making
  • Shares Our Why
    • We work and grow together as a community of communities…we are One Vanderbilt


Supervisory Relationships:

This position has supervisory responsibility over all office personnel (~25), and direct supervisory responsibility over key leaders and operations staff. This position reports administratively and functionally to the Vice Provost for Career Advancement and Engagement and Evans Family Career Center Executive Director.


Experience and Skills:

Minimum Master’s degree in counseling, psychology, higher education, business administration or a related field required. Doctorate or JD degree preferred. Certificates related to professional expertise (coaching, counseling, etc.) preferred.

At least 10 years’ significant, progressive management experience in university career services, corporate university relations, student affairs, human resources, institutional advancement or alumni affairs is required. Equivalent corporate experience will be considered.

At least seven (7) years’ direct service providing career-related services to undergraduates and/or recent graduates, as well as employers and/or alumni. Equivalent corporate experience will be considered.

Ability to effectively counsel creative, diligent, professionally ambitious and service-minded students, and to cultivate and steward a resourceful alumni and parent population. Significant experience in coaching and advising undergraduate students in the career development process in addition to mentoring coaches providing those services.

Demonstrated skill in fostering new institutional relationships, marshaling professional networks, staff supervision, budget management and strategic planning.

Demonstrated ability to work effectively with persons from diverse backgrounds to promote an inclusive campus and community culture.

Exhibit an authentic, engaging and collaborative style that values and thrives on building ongoing relationships with various constituencies including faculty and students across all 10 schools and colleges, trustees and senior administrators on campus.

Leadership skills, with proven record of effectively leading and managing a cohesive team of professionals including performance oversight and productivity, strategic planning and contributing to organizational leadership. High level of personal integrity, ethics, initiative and strong interpersonal skills.

Facility with articulating strategic priorities and goals and with developing effective assessment methods that enhance understanding and evaluate performance.

Strong communication and presentation skills with ability to write and communicate clear, concise and logical presentations and analytical reports to a wide range of audiences.



  • An entrepreneurial, creative and innovative spirit with demonstrated comfort around change and ambiguity.
  • National presence including conference presentations or publications.
  • Experience with at least one career services platform such as Symplicity, Handshake or Purple Briefcase.


To apply:


Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities, and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.