Northwestern University — Director, Human Resources & Administration (Evanston Campus)

About Northwestern University:

Northwestern University is a private research university located on lakefront campuses in both Evanston and downtown Chicago, Illinois. Northwestern was founded in 1851. In fall 2008, Northwestern opened another campus in Doha, Qatar offering bachelor’s degrees in journalism and communications in partnership with the Qatar Foundation.

The university employs approximately 7,100 full-time faculty and staff members among its 12 schools and colleges. NU offers over 130 undergraduate programs and 70 graduate and professional programs to the almost 16,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students enrolled full time.

Northwestern University is committed to excellent teaching, innovative research, and the personal and intellectual growth of its students in a diverse academic community.

Northwestern University Opportunity (Job ID 28835):

Northwestern University seeks to employ a varied and diverse range of dynamic people who understand the importance of our mission and vision. When you consider a career at Northwestern University, you know that you are joining an institution with a deep history of academic, professional and personal excellence.

Currently, we have a career opportunity as a Director, Human Resources & Administration (Evanston Campus).

Job Summary:

In collaboration with divisional leadership, the Director of HR & Administration develops and implements the human capital strategy for the Division of Student Affairs as well as provides strategic and operational HR support to the division. The director provides leadership and oversight in all aspects of human resources and administration. The successful candidate must be able to perform the wide range of HR duties from strategic initiatives, employee relations, organization development/effectiveness, change management, leadership coaching & alignment to communication planning/implementation. The director will collaborate with leaders and individuals at all levels to align HR strategies with Student Affairs’ strategic plan and drive execution of the same. S/he serves as a trusted partner to the Vice President of Student Affairs and anticipates the needs of the vice president, preparing plans, presentations, programs and initiatives that communicate and advance Student Affairs’ strategic and people plan.

The director will function as a business partner to assure division managers take thoughtful approaches to the management of human resources, including faculty, staff and students, and that Student Affairs’ mission, vision and guiding principles are executed through the deployment of best practice human resource programs, associated systems and processes.

Specific Responsibilities:

  • Under the oversight of the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Chief of Staff, works in cooperation with members of the Student Affairs Leadership Team (SALT) to analyze and prioritize the critical challenges faced by the division, and deploys sound, appropriate organization development and HR interventions accordingly. Consults with SALT, employees and cross-functional committees to solve complex organizational challenges. Leverages organization development skills to drive leadership alignment, organizational excellence and performance. Develops innovative solutions to deliver short-term solutions while also solving for long-term division opportunities and challenges that support and execute Student Affairs’ strategic plan. Proactively obtains, utilizes metrics to measure success, identifies trends, analyzes systemic issues and develops holistic solutions. Interprets and presents metrics and analysis to SALT to inform decisions (on performance, attrition, hiring, vacancy, employee engagement, etc.).
  • Manages all aspects of the division’s recruiting processes (e.g., posting through onboarding). Collaborates with hiring managers to conceive, create, post openings and create staffing/search hiring plans. Completes workforce-planning scans and conducts organizational resource planning (addressing needs and creating plans for expansion/contraction/reallocation) as necessary. Manages searches; supporting hiring managers with candidate selection and reference checking; compensation/ salary analysis for salary setting; offer letters including any special terms; and new employee onboarding. Identifies and leads diversity recruitment initiatives and implements plans to achieve and build a diverse Student Affairs staff.
  • Serves as a resource to managers in Student Affairs on employee relations issues, including but not limited to position reviews, performance management, correcting performance/discipline, leaves of absence, accommodation, etc. in partnership with NUHR as necessary. Assures compliance with other university reporting requirements such as mandated reporter, sexual misconduct training and Conflict of Interest.
  • In collaboration with the Executive Director of Business and Finance, effectively manages the budget, salary and merit processes. Ensures division is accurately tracking and reporting budget to actuals in Student Affairs salary and people-related categories. Participates in budget planning and oversight representing HR / Payroll / Position / Compensation aspects of budget planning and management. Manages commitments and/or budgets related to employee hiring and/or retention, and tracks special budgetary arrangements, coordinating with other directors as needed; includes but is not limited to new hire packages, summer salary, special salary arrangements, etc. Conducts complex salary and position budgeting analysis; manages compensation and position budgets, reconciles budgets against actuals, tracks +/- due to attrition and/or reorganization. Collaborates with managers on initiatives and budgets in HR-related areas, such as recruitment and professional development.
  • Provides direction and training to managers who hire, process appointments, compensation, or issue non-compensation payments such as honoraria or contracted services payments, through the Payroll system or the purchasing system as applicable.
  • Creates and implements a strategic plan for staff professional development, leadership development and training. Promotes training, coordinating with SALT and other NU offices to assure incoming and continuing staff have access to and are availing themselves of appropriate learning resources. Identifies and facilitates access to campus resources intended to support staff performance and development. Creates programs/materials to guide training efforts and initiatives. Collaborates with Student Affairs Assessment to evaluate program outcomes and produce annual reports.
  • Communicates regularly about programs, initiatives, policy changes, and general information. Ensures consistency and accuracy of information delivered to all employees. Proposes, designs, implements, and trains for process and systems improvements.
  • Liaises with NUHR and other offices as needed; represents Student Affairs on various standing and ad hoc committees and workgroups.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Human Resources or other related field.
  • 7+ years of HR Generalist experience and/or combination of HR generalist and other HR functional experience
  • Organizational effectiveness & development experience; experience managing change and OD projects
  • Minimum five years’ experience in higher education administration or closely related field preferred.
  • Displays emotional intelligence in every interaction with others regardless of situation, title, level and/or style.
  • Transitions seamlessly from subject to subject demonstrating competence and knowledge in a style appropriate for the situation and/or audience.
  • Politically savvy but not political, politically aware and agile.
  • Well-developed analytical and reasoning skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, both oral and written. Ability to effectively explain and present complex information.
  • Excellent customer focus.
  • Strong writing skills, including the ability to draft complex faculty and staff appointment letters.
  • Outstanding attention to detail.
  • Ability to work in a highly collaborative manner with faculty and staff, as well as across the division/department and University.
  • High degree of initiative and ability to prioritize competing priorities.
  • Ability to exercise high degree of judgment and discretion in handling confidential and sensitive information.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Masters degree in human resources, higher education, business administration, organization development, or related field.
  • Organizational development, organizational effectiveness and change management skills.
  • Strong computer skills, including advanced proficiency with Microsoft Office suite. Demonstrated experience querying data, creating reports, and designing spreadsheet analyses.
  • Demonstrated experience conducting program evaluation and/or assessing learning and using data to improve programs, services, or activities.
  • Demonstrated experience in training and staff development activities.

Working at Northwestern University:

Beyond being a place to learn and grow professionally, Northwestern is an exciting and fulfilling place to work! Northwestern offers many benefit options to full and part-time employees including: competitive compensation; excellent retirement plans; comprehensive medical, dental and vision coverage; dependent care match; vacation, sick and holiday pay; professional development opportunities and tuition reimbursement.

Northwestern greatly values work/life balance amongst its employees. Take advantage of recreational, cultural, and enrichment opportunities on campus. Employees also receive access to childcare solutions, retail discounts, and other work/life balance resources.

Northwestern University is an equal opportunity employer and strongly believes in creating an environment that welcomes students, faculty and staff of all races, nationalities and religions. In doing so, we offer our students the opportunity to learn and grow in diverse communities preparing them for successful careers in an increasingly global and diverse work force.

For consideration, please click on the link below. You will be directed to Northwestern University’s electronic recruiting system, eRecruit, where you will apply for current openings. Once you apply, you will receive an email confirming submission of your resume. For all resumes received, if there is interest in your candidacy, the human resources recruiter or the department hiring manager will contact you. Job Opening ID number for this position is 28835.


As per Northwestern University policy, this position requires a criminal background check. Successful applicants will need to submit to a criminal background check prior to employment.

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes including veterans and individuals with disabilities.