California Institute of the Arts — Chief Human Resources Officer

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), located in Santa Clarita, 30 miles north of Los Angeles, is seeking a strategic and collaborative leader to serve as chief human resources officer (CHRO). Currently, the CHRO leads a team of three human resources (HR) professionals to deliver innovative and customer-focused HR services to faculty, staff members, and student employees — and will likely add a fourth team member to assist with academic personnel matters. The new CHRO will be committed to transparent communication and focused on streamlining human resources operations across the Institute, all while ensuring that the values of diversity and access are emphasized in each and every decision, process, and structure with inclusivity and equity.

CalArts is renowned internationally as a game-changer in the education of professional artists. Founded by Walt Disney in 1961, CalArts offers comprehensive degree programs in six schools that span the full range of the visual, performing, media, and literary arts. Admissions to CalArts are decided primarily on artistic merit and creative promise — and the success of its model is evident in the transformative cultural impact of its alumni over the past half-century. CalArts’ imaginative yet rigorous curriculum has been a pioneer in the world of arts education for decades, and the Institute continues to distinguish itself as a place that offers boundless freedom to create, unfettered by conventional expectations.

Walt Disney imagined CalArts as an all-inclusive community, where artists can look outside their own métiers and collaborate with each other, across conventional categories, to conjure new expressions. By breaking through artificial barriers, this ongoing exchange of ideas and methods opens up fresh perspectives, sparks out-of-the-box innovation and energizes the creative community as a whole. For this reason, CalArts has always thrived on the diversity of its artists — representing not only multiple forms and styles, but also the horizon-expanding mix of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds and voices.

The chief human resources officer is the leading HR position at CalArts and reports directly to the Senior Vice President for Finance & Administration and CFO, Lori Husein. The CHRO is responsible for all HR operations including talent management and retention, compensation and benefits, performance management, workplace relations, leadership and organizational development, HRIS administration, and compliance and policy administration. In partnership with the SVP/CFO, the CHRO serves as a trusted advisor and strategic partner to CalArts’ President Ravi S. Rajan and the president’s cabinet. The leadership at CalArts prides itself on excellence balanced with approachability and open-mindedness. The president is on a first name basis with his entire team, makes mutual support of team members the highest priority, and emphasizes respectful treatment to every individual at the Institute. 

As the principal steward for the Institute’s human capital, the CHRO will be responsible for establishing and executing a strategic vision for HR that complements CalArts’ financial and operational plans while ensuring a high-level of innovation, transparency, collaboration, and accountability with stakeholders. The successful candidate will possess broad HR knowledge and expertise in strategic, collaborative, and consultative services to other organizational leadership, a commitment to best practices in compliance issues, and significant technical experience in key areas of HR.

This is an outstanding opportunity to join the leadership team of a groundbreaking and forward-thinking artistic community. The Institute seeks an innovative, ambitious professional who is connected and engaged with all staff and faculty while facilitating adoption and implementation of best practices in HR administration. At least five years of experience as a supervisor are required, as are a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 10 years relevant work experience (or its equivalent in progressively responsible HR positions). Candidates with deep experience in higher education and who possess and maintain SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) or SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) credentials are preferred. Additional information about the position, including a leadership profile can be found at

All applications, nominations, and inquiries are invited. For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by Thursday, May 6, 2021. Interested parties may apply to the WittKieffer candidate portal.

Applications should include, as separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest addressing the themes in the profile. For more information, questions or nominations, please contact CalArts WittKieffer consultant, Kim Brettschneider at:

CalArts recognizes diversity and inclusivity as fundamental to its community and integral to an arts education. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other protected characteristic as established by law. CalArts is an equal opportunity employer.