Associate Vice President (AVP) for Human Resources

The University of Michigan seeks candidates for the position of Associate Vice President (AVP) for Human Resources. The University of Michigan, with its size, complexity, and academic strength, the breadth of its scholarly resources, and the quality of its faculty, staff and students, is one of the world's great public universities and premiere research institutions. The university is a community of outstanding faculty, talented students, and committed staff who learn and work in a stimulating intellectual environment enriched by diverse cultural and social opportunities. Its faculty of more than 15,000 offers instruction in more than 600 academic disciplines to over 63,000 students on three campuses. A dedicated staff of more than 36,000 is essential to its excellence.


The AVP directly leads the central University Human Resources Department and provides indirect oversight of human resources personnel and functions in the various schools, colleges and administrative units across all campuses. The AVP is responsible for developing and administering human resources policy, and provides long term vision, creativity, operational expertise and exceptional leadership to the University Human Resources Department. The AVP functions as a strategic advisor to the President and executive officers and frequently attends meetings of the executive leadership of the university. The AVP reports directly to the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. 


The University of Michigan seeks an engaged, positive and highly collaborative leader to design and implement innovative and cost-effective human resource strategies and deliver a variety of services and programs that underscore its commitment to equity, inclusiveness, respect, fairness, employee wellbeing, effective service delivery, and accountability. Specific duties include: Establish and implement HR efforts that effectively communicate and support the university’s missions and strategic vision, and that reflect the university’s values, including that diversity makes the institution better. This role serves as a key partner to the Chief Diversity Officer of the University; develop and integrate HR plans and strategies to support the achievement of overall university operational objectives; sponsor the development of contemporary and comprehensive approaches to recruit, retain and advance an extraordinarily talented, diverse workforce; support a culture of leadership, ethics, integrity, and compliance at all levels of the organization; foster the delivery of proactive, consultative and strategic advice to leaders at all levels related to policy, procedure and best practice; develop and implement comprehensive benefit plans that are competitive and cost-effective; develop labor relations strategy to support institutional interests and workforce alignment; build strong collaborative relationships internally with university administrative and executive leadership, deans, and directors; sponsor the professional development objectives of the HR Community of Practice and the engagement objectives of the Voices of the Staff program; encourage and support an atmosphere conducive to high employee morale, aimed at developing and retaining a diverse and highly competent team and community of practitioners; provide overall leadership to the human resources community, including the Ann Arbor campus, regional campuses, and Michigan Medicine; leverage the performance of university HR units such as academic and staff HR services, compensation, benefits, health and well-being, recruitment and retention, employee assistance programs, strategy and planning, HR communications, work/life resources, institutional equity, organizational learning, employee data management, and early childhood education programs, as well as other central office partners such as the Shared Service Center; and develop and advise on workforce strategies that address the needs of a multi-generational university community.


The ideal candidate will have a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree or an equivalent education and experience is preferred. The strongest candidates will have at least ten years of relevant experience, with at least five years in significant HR executive leadership roles. Applicants should demonstrate progressive responsibility and achievement in a complex, decentralized organization with a large number of employees (a higher education setting is preferred, and a higher education setting with an academic medical center is ideal) and should possess broad business acumen with experience in HR practices that provide powerful competitive advantages, creating new ways of engaging, learning, and working in a world of continuous change.  Essential to this position is proven experience as a policy developer and program builder; a passion for delivering high-quality service; deep interest in building and maintaining strong relationships with campus constituents; a collaborative and flexible decision-making style; a results orientation paired with attention to organizational context and stakeholder interests; the ability to strategically lead and influence organizational change; and excellent communication skills.


A foundational understanding of issues and opportunities related to equity and inclusion, and a demonstrated record of, and commitment to, promoting diversity of all kinds, is essential to building a strong organizational team culture. Applicants must demonstrate success in leading and motivating people; creating a shared vision; and leading and managing change and improvement efforts at every level of the organization and across boundaries. In particular, applicants must demonstrate how they have developed the talents and opportunities of others whom they have supervised for increased levels of leadership. A commitment to creating a work environment of empowerment, self-direction, and continuous learning is critical, as well as the ability to focus leadership development programs around change to produce agile leaders and resilient employees who will thrive in an environment of continuing and often rapid change. The successful candidate will also have a demonstrated ability and experience advising and influencing executives and providing metrics and insights that inform key decision-making. A highly desirable candidate will have had experience in policy formulation, development, and implementation of key HR strategies and procedures and the conceptual skills to shape the organization to meet tomorrow’s demographic, technical and environmental challenges.


The successful candidate will embrace and model ethics, integrity, and compliance and will treat everyone across the university with decency, humanity, and respect. To that end, a successful candidate will understand and appreciate that the university’s success depends on everyone succeeding, regardless of their title.

When considering candidacy, candidates should be particularly aware of the University's current focus areas, including high priority efforts related to diversity, equity and inclusion.  Candidates should note that the U-M's dedication to academic excellence for the public good is inseparable from its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.  It is central to the university’s mission as an educational institution to ensure that each member of the community has full opportunity to thrive in the environment, for it believes that diversity is key to individuals flourishing, educational excellence, and the advancement of knowledge.


A full position profile is available here.


The University of Michigan has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to assist them in this important search. Please submit applications, expressions of interest and nominations to Liz Neumann, Beth Schaefer, Tom Phillips, and Josyanne Roche here.


University human resources seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitment to serve the diverse people of Michigan, to sustain the excellence of the university, and to offer our students richly varied disciplines, perspectives, and ways of knowing and learning.