Cornell University — Executive Director, Human Resources

Cornell University seeks an experienced, strategic, and innovative leader with exceptional communication and interpersonal capabilities to serve as its inaugural Executive Director, Human Resources (EDHR) for the SC Johnson College of Business (the College.)

About Cornell University

Founded in 1865, Cornell’s mission is to discover, preserve and disseminate knowledge; produce creative works; and promote a culture of broad inquiry throughout and beyond the Cornell community. With approximately 14,000 undergraduates and 8,000 graduate and professional students, Cornell aims through public service to enhance the lives and livelihoods of its students, the people of New York and others around the world. Its campus includes 14 colleges and schools, seven undergraduate units and four graduate and professional units in Ithaca; two medical graduate and professional units in New York City, and one each in Doha, Qatar and Singapore as well as academic ties to China and India. There is also its new Cornell Tech campus located on Roosevelt Island in New York City. Students can choose from 4,000 courses in 11 undergraduate, graduate and professional schools on the Ithaca campus alone. On the Ithaca campus, the student population represents every state and 120 countries. Cornell was one of the first coeducational institutions in the east and one of the first to admit students of color. The egalitarian and practical vision of higher education, revolutionary when the university was founded in 1865 still informs Cornell’s guiding principles in the 21st century. Cornell is dedicated to its original mission of accessibility and opportunity, outreach, and public service.

Cornell is both a private university and the federal land-grant institution of New York State and is recognized as one of the handful of truly superb, world-class research universities with strengths in life sciences, physical sciences, humanities, and social sciences. Faculty members work in collaborative multi-disciplinary teams to extend the frontiers of knowledge in numerous and diverse fields of study. The University’s research informs its teaching and extension outreach missions and fosters personal discovery and growth, nurtures scholarship and creativity across a broad range of disciplines, and pursues understanding beyond the limitations of existing knowledge, ideology, and disciplinary structure.

For more information about Cornell visit the website at

Cornell SC Johnson College of Business

In 2016, Cornell inaugurated the integrated SC Johnson College of Business, comprised of the university’s three world-class accredited business schools: the School of Hotel Administration, the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. The College delivers undergraduate, graduate, and professional business programs creating a collaborative, comprehensive business management program that preserves the excellence of all three schools while uniting the faculty (300+), staff (300+) and students (3,000+).

For more information on the School of Hotel Administration, visit To learn more about The Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, visit and for information on the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, visit

The Opportunity

Reporting to the Associate Dean of Finance and Human Resources, with a secondary reporting relationship to Cornell’s Vice President for Human Resources and Chief Human Resources Officer, the EDHR is responsible for advising the Associate Dean and members of the leadership team on complex issues related to the further development, enhancements and integration efforts across the three schools: the School of Hotel Administration, the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management; the Statler hotel; between the two campuses (Ithaca and New York City). Through demonstrated deployment of “best practices” and a highly collaborative and team-building approach, the EDHR will provide leadership for the College’s professional and leadership development, career development, performance management, and organization design and wellness programs. The EDHR will oversee a team of 8 comprised of directors, generalists and assistants that support three schools, a central college unit and hotel across the two campuses, rural and urban.

The selected candidate will be a thought leader who fundamentally understands and embraces the critical importance of strong emotional intelligence, effective communication skills, integrity, strategic thinking, innovative practices and the ability to problem solve. As a strategic partner to the University, the EDHR will have a history of human resource leadership experience and accomplishment within a similarly complex environment, with the ability to work with senior leaders, faculty and professional staff to provide direction and expertise in leading the design, development and execution of HR strategies aligned with university and college objectives, mission, vision and values. The position will be a skilled relationship builder, both internally to the college, throughout the University and globally across peer business schools. It will be critical for this role to understand a complex, multi-stakeholder, matrix structured academic organization that has centralized, decentralized and union operations.

The position has a secondary reporting relationship to Cornell’s Vice President for Human Resources and Chief Human Resources Officer. The ED will serve as the College liaison to Central HR and as a member of the University HR Council. S/he will also serve on the University and peer business school task forces, consortium groups, and professional development boards and programs. The EDHR will manage an operating budget of $3M.

Candidate Profile

The successful candidate will have 7+ years of professional experience with a significant track record of successful, progressive, and applicable experience as a strategic human resources leader, with a sophisticated understanding of the issues affecting higher education institutions. This individual will have a combination of breadth, depth and knowledge of the following HR functional areas: recruitment and retention; onboarding and professional development; employee and labor relations; benefits and compensation; performance assessments and evaluation; and human resources technology.

The EDHR will be a collaborative leader who embraces Cornell’s mission and culture; who has proven success as a human resource leader in a complex and diverse organization with higher education experience and labor relations/union contracts; who has experience leading teams and facilitating creative problem-solving, and who embodies trust, confidence and respect and leads others by influence and example.

The EDHR will be a technology savvy systems thinker who can align resources, employees and systems to seamlessly work together. With a deep expertise in streamlining business processes and building fundamental structures, s/he will be a collaborative strategic business partner. S/he will lead the HR team to commit to models of continuous improvement.

The desired candidate is hands-on, flexible and adaptable, with the proven ability to work effectively with a broad and diverse population, including faculty, staff and students.

A Master’s degree (e.g., Organizational Development, Human Resources Management, Business Administration, Public Administration, or related field) is preferred.

SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this search. Please submit applications, expressions of interest, and nominations to Amy Sugin and Shavon Bell here.

Cornell University is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants.