Vanderbilt University — Chief of Staff

About the Role:
The Chief of Staff is part of the Law School, Business Affairs Department at Vanderbilt University and is the manager responsible for providing human resource and personnel administration for the Law School. This position is part of the senior leadership team, serves as the primary human resource officer for the Law School including faculty personnel activity. They also handle payroll administration; absence and leave management, and employee relations.

About the Work Unit:
Among the nation’s leading law schools, Vanderbilt stands out for its distinguished faculty; highly talented students; collegial and collaborative school culture; graduates’ top-tier employment outcomes, and global alumni network. The Personnel Officer for the Law School serves as an integral part of the senior leadership team, which numbers approximately twelve key administrators. The Personnel Officer works with the Chief Business Officer, the Dean and Associate Deans and other senior administrators to create an organizational culture that provides an enriching environment for employees and a support network that achieves the school’s programmatic goals. The Law School has approximately 64 permanent faculty members, 72 affiliated faculty members, 52 staff employees, and a student enrollment of approximately 600 students.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Primary Area Resource for HR functions in SkyVU
  • Expertise in faculty and staff HR life cycle, from onboarding to retirement
  • Advises faculty and staff on routine HR processes and identifies more complex situations that require the involvement of the business officer
  • Maintains an extensive understanding of SkyVU HR functions and related connections with
  • SkyVU financial functions and assists employees with self-service transactions as needed
  • Manages employee relations for the Law School including interpreting HR policies and procedures and general concerns and improvements in the workplace for faculty and staff personnel
  • Provides guidance and counseling to faculty, administrators and staff for personnel and human resource matters including recruitment, classification and compensation, performance evaluation and improvement, training, leaves of absence, and terminations
  • Manages performance review, coaching and goal setting, and salary increase process for staff employees
  • Services as the School’s Effort Certification Coordinator. Manages effort certification process for the Law School. Coordinates with OCGA if payroll adjustments are required. Assist faculty and staff with the effort certification process using the ECRT tool
  • Maintains confidential personnel records for faculty and staff employees
  • Absence & Leave Management/FMLA
  • Serves as the area resource on absence and leave management and reporting including FMLA for law school faculty and staff
  • Performs delegate time approval responsibilities, as needed
  • Understands and processes paid and unpaid leave for both faculty and staff
  • Assists employees on FMLA process and with time keeping

Core HR Transactions (HCM Specialist Role)

  • Serves as primary HCM Specialist for the Law School and processes all faculty and staff transactions in Oracle Cloud
  • Serves as a Business Unit Approver and approves all adjunct faculty and student transactions submitted by Student HCM Specialist and line managers
  • Maintains and updates HR information for faculty and staff
  • Processes staff hires, transfers, promotions, and end of employment
  • Initiates recruitment process, completes new hire process and assists with onboarding
  • Maintains labor distribution and position assignments for employees
  • Enters routine and additional payroll elements
  • Assists business officers with position reviews and reclassifications

General Administrative and Business Role

  • Works with the dean and associate deans as part of the leadership team to create an organizational culture that provides an enriching environment for employees and a support network that achieves the school’s programmatic goals.
  • Consult with the Dean and Assistant Dean for Finance and Operations to determine appropriate staffing needs and any changes to existing support models for faculty and key offices.
  • Provides management and oversight to the Law School’s Manager of Faculty Support Services and the Faculty Support Team, which includes 10 staff members. Provides guidance to Manager relative to the faculty support model and staffing needs.
  • Builds and maintains strong working relationships in the area and with centralized HR team members
  • Participates in recurring meetings, trainings, and round table discussions to allow opportunities for HCM Specialists across campus to learn from each other

Supervisory Relationships:
This position does have supervisory responsibility for administrative oversight of the school’s faculty support services and reports directly to the Chief Business Officer for the School and indirectly to the Dean for faculty related matters.


  • Bachelor’s Degree is necessary.
  • Effective, versatile and action-oriented.
  • Master’s Degree in Business Administration or related field is preferred.
  • 3-6 years of progressively responsible experience (preferably in academic
  • HR/personnel management roles) is necessary.
  • 5+ years of executive level experience is preferred.
  • Impeccable managerial and interpersonal skills using tact, patience and courtesy
  • Proven track record of effectively interacting with senior management.
  • Ability to work strategically and collaboratively across departments.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Expert in Microsoft Office, especially Excel and Word.
  • Ability to ensure all staff issues are addressed properly, efficiently and judiciously, and keep track of progress until resolved.

About Vanderbilt University:
Vanderbilt is a renowned private institution founded in 1873 and located in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee. The university’s students, faculty, and frequently cite Nashville and the surrounding area as one of the many perks of being a part of Vanderbilt community. Vanderbilt University is a place where your expertise will be valued, your knowledge expanded, and your abilities challenged. It is a place where your diversity is sought and celebrated. It is a place where employees know they are part of something bigger than themselves, take exceptional pride in their work and never settle for what was good enough yesterday. Vanderbilt was recently ranked #1 in the Princeton Review among 382 top colleges and universities for “happiest students” – as well as #2 for “best quality of life” and “great financial aid,” #5 for “best run colleges” and “beautiful campus,” and #6 for both being in a “college city that students love” and having “great campus/city relations.”

About Vanderbilt Benefits:
In addition to offering a lively community that encourages learning and celebrates diversity, Vanderbilt University offers a competitive, flexible benefits package including health, dental, vision, life, accidental death & dismemberment, disability insurance, paid time off, and a 403(b) retirement plan with employer match. Vanderbilt offers tuition assistance to employees, spouses and dependent children. Also, after five years of service, Vanderbilt will pay up to 55% of the tuition for up to three dependent children to earn a bachelor’s degree. Learn more about Vanderbilt’s benefits at VU Benefits Overview.

Key Characteristics of a Successful Team Member in this Work Unit:

  • Adaptability – Reads cues and adapt accordingly. Adjusts style and approach to accommodate the styles and needs of others. Can anticipate and effectively de-escalate potential conflicts.
  • Autonomous – Self-managing; self-motivated. Manages time, activities and outcomes well so that progress stays on track. Cleans up after themselves.
  • Integrity – Holds oneself accountable; takes responsibility for failures as well as successes, recognizes that trust is required to hold a team together.
  • Reliable – Does what they say they will do, when they say they will do it. Shows up for work when expected. Doesn’t push the burden of work volume or deadlines to others.
  • Resilient – Is resilient in the face of daunting challenges and setbacks; bounces back readily.

This position requires a Bachelor’s degree and 7 years of experience or the equivalent