AVP: Human Resources

Smith College, one of the largest independent women’s college in the country, seeks a visionary leader, mission-oriented collaborator, and strategic change agent to serve as the associate vice president (AVP) for Human Resources. The AVP will play an important role in advancing the college’s strategic vision through leading and coordinating the college’s overall HR program and policies while developing and implementing the college’s talent management and workforce strategy for the 21st century.


The AVP reports to the vice president (VP) for finance and administration, provides leadership for a diverse team of approximately 11 staff, and manages an annual operating budget of approximately $2 million. The AVP will be responsible for leading the functional areas of employment recruiting, employee relations, employee benefits, staff training and development, labor relations, workforce planning, and human resources technology management. The Associate Vice President will proactively address the following opportunities and goals:


  • Lead through change. Smith’s strategic plan will help ensure the college maintains its position as a leading liberal arts college for the 21st century. Implementing the plan will involve changing many campus systems and ways of working. The AVP will help lead thoughtful and prudent change across the college, partnering with senior leaders, while supporting and driving creative ideas to foster better communication, collaboration, and connections campus-wide.
  • Foster an equitable, diverse, open, and inclusive environment. In collaboration with the Office of Equity and Inclusion, the president’s office, and the campus community at large, the AVP will play a critical role in ensuring that the ideals of equity and inclusion espoused in the college’s broader mission and strategic plan are not only inherent in the relationships and activities of Smith’s students, staff, and faculty, but also sustained in durable and scalable institutional practices and processes.
  • Serve as a trusted adviser. The AVP frequently advises the president, the VP, the provost, and senior leadership on organizational issues, as well as complex and sometimes sensitive matters. The AVP will build strong relationships with all levels of administration and multiple stakeholders, and will act as facilitator and coach on key initiatives.
  • Guide talent management and workforce development and planning. The AVP will be a future-focused leader, responsible for the implementation of professional and workforce development and planning. The AVP will build capacity among managers and supervisors, both long-standing and new, in employment matters such as succession planning, performance evaluation, and compensation strategy. The AVP will partner and advise the provost and other academic leaders on human resource functions such as merit reviews and compensation studies.
  • Direct a strong HR team. Under the AVP, HR will offer the highest level of integrity to a high performing workforce, while creating a collaborative and trusted environment for all of the Smith campus community. The AVP will ensure that HR department talent is evolving to meet the changing needs of the college.
  • Oversee HR technology capabilities and the implementation of data-driven strategies and solutions. The AVP will leverage data and innovative systems to build a culture that drives operational efficiency and optimizes the use of timely reporting and data analysis to present actionable intelligence for the department and the college. Smith recently implemented Workday for Human Capital Management, the first of a three-part implementation (Financial and Student Services to follow). The new system consolidates several disconnected systems, streamlines business processes, and provides better data to managers across campus. Continuing this momentum, the AVP will lead the development of strategic data-driven programming to advance the mission and efficiencies of HR.
  • Steward compensation, benefits, and compliance. Smith College is the employer of choice in the area because of the best-in-class benefits, competitive compensation packages and community culture. With a strong commitment to financial sustainability and a clear strategic plan driving innovative and forward-looking changes across campus, the college is exceptionally well position to maintain that status. The AVP will provide leadership on the development of sustainable compensation and benefits programs, balancing prudency while continuing to offer competitive compensation packages to attract and retain top talent. The AVP will ensure the college is in compliance with state and federal regulations and advise leadership across the college on new and existing policies, laws and regulations.
  • Manage labor relations. The AVP will oversee and direct the college’s labor relations with seven unions, including serving as lead negotiator on collective bargaining, administering and interpreting contracts, and advising department heads and supervisors on labor relations issues, laws, regulations, and policy interpretation.


The successful candidate is a strategic and thoughtful problem solver, a prudent change-agent and collaborator, a diplomatic and driven leader, and an excellent coach and facilitator. The AVP excels at guiding and influencing top decision makers, leading change, and executing a progressive workforce development strategy. With senior leadership, the AVP will translate Smith’s strategic vision into forward-thinking HR operational plans. The full position profile can be found here.


Smith College has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this search. Please submit applications, expressions of interest, and nominations to Tom Phillips and Charlotte Harris here.


Smith College is an equal opportunity employer encouraging excellence through diversity.