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Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer (4251)
Northern Illinois University
Northern Illinois University (NIU) invites applications for the position of vice president for diversity equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer (VPDEI)
seeks an accomplished, collaborative leader to advance its strong culture of inclusive excellence consistent with the university’s mission, vision and values
celebrates diversity in all its forms including gender, gender identity/expression, race, ethnicity, language, physical ability, socioeconomic status, faith, political belief, age and sexual orientation.
NIU is a student-centered, nationally recognized public research university with expertise that benefits its region, and spans the globe in a wide variety of fields. Located 65 miles from Chicago in DeKalb, IL, the university offers baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral and law degrees across more than 40 academic departments and seven colleges. NIU serves a large, diverse, urban, suburban and rural population, including many first-generation college students. NIU’s fall 2022 enrollment of 15,649 students consisted of 11,429 undergraduate students, 3,908 graduate students, 312 law students, and included 966 international students from 76 different countries. NIU is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a Doctoral University/High Research Activity (R2) and Community Engaged University.
Reporting to President Lisa C. Freeman, the VPDEI serves as the primary advisor to NIU’s president, provost and members of the university community on all matters related to maintaining and enhancing an inclusive campus environment, and provides strategic leadership and management in the development and implementation of relevant policies. The VPDEI is empowered to provide vision, leadership and counsel on strategies and priorities regarding DEI, as well as to ensure alignment of all DEI initiatives.
The VPDEI will join NIU at a time of great opportunity as the university transitions to a proactive, multiyear planning cycle that balances the institution’s need for financial stability with its high expectations and aspirations for students, faculty and staff. NIU has a strong $421 million budget, and has benefitted in recent years from the state of Illinois’ noteworthy support of an equity agenda that features significant investment in higher education, and financial aid for students from underserved and under-resourced communities.
The VPDEI will lead and provide strategic direction for the Division of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ADEI) — the unit that leads the charge in establishing an equity-minded community through its educational programs, resources, partnerships and collaborative engagement with offices, colleges and departments throughout campus. The VPDEI must be an experienced leader with progressive responsibility for initiatives focused on increasing DEI in the academic setting through research; student, faculty and staff engagement; curricular innovation; and policy reform. They must possess a keen sense of the various challenges facing higher education — especially those specific to a public research university of NIU’s size and complexity — and must have at least five years of senior-level leadership experience.
To submit a nomination or express personal interest in this position, please see Procedure for Candidacy.
position has dual reporting lines to the NIU
president and executive vice president/provost, and is a member of both the executive senior roundtable and the Council of Deans. Thus, the VPDEI
is uniquely positioned to collaborate with university leaders to advance the university’s annual goals
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
Strategy and Vision
- Provide vision, leadership and direction to guide and coordinate NIU’s DEI efforts; consulting regularly with university faculty, staff and administration to achieve organizational goals.
- Educate constituents within and outside the campus regarding the importance and advantages of a culture that values and supports each member of the community.
- Work in conjunction with faculty, staff and students to address equity and inclusion within the classroom and the campus community and to encourage the development of curricula that are appropriately inclusive in content and method.
- Provide strategic leadership and guidance to the presidential commissions which report to the president through the VPDEI.
- Consult with Division of Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications (EMMC) and contribute to NIU’s Strategic Enrollment Management team, and collaborate with college-level teams to improve student success and eliminate equity gaps in persistence and graduation.
- Collaborate with senior leaders, deans, directors, chairs and faculty to ensure NIU’s core values and value proposition for diversity, equity and inclusion are reflected appropriately among the strategic imperatives for the entire university, including at the level of schools, departments and units.
- Provide vison, leadership and coordination for universitywide DEI programming and initiatives, strengthening as needed.
- Collaborate with Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and other divisions of the university to develop and deliver programs that promote open dialogue about difficult topics, increase social justice awareness, and foster a welcoming and inclusive community.
- Collaborate with academic deans, department chairs, center directors and faculty leaders to promote curricular and cocurricular innovation in areas that include Women and Gender Studies, Latino Studies, Black Studies and Asian American Studies.
- Provide comprehensive leadership and planning for all student, faculty and staff social justice education, sexual misconduct awareness and prevention, ally training, cultural competency education and equity-minded professional development.
- Provide leadership to the assessment of institutional climate and diversity initiatives, using data to drive changes that support of faculty, staff and student diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Develop and oversee annual and multiyear budgets to support ADEI operations and initiatives.
- Seek diversity-related funding through private, local, state and federal sources with the assistance of the university’s development office.
- Supervise and coach professional and administrative staff for the Division of ADEI to ensure strategic priorities and goals are achieved.
- Consult regularly with General Counsel, Ethics and Compliance, Student Affairs, Administration and Finance, Research and Innovation Programs, Campus Police, Athletics, and Human Resources regarding university contracts and policies to ensure compliance with legal and institutional commitments related to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Collaboration and Outreach
- Collaborate with the Offices of the President and Provost, Human Resource Services, deans and vice presidents to increase academic equity, retention and graduation rates of all students from underserved communities.
- Provide encouragement, support and counsel to university leaders and hiring supervisors at all levels regarding efforts to recruit and retain faculty, staff and students from a broad range of backgrounds.
- Work with Academic Affairs, EMMC and Advancement to establish partnerships that help NIU achieve and sustain a diverse faculty, staff and student body, and prepare for status as an emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution.
- Engage actively and collaboratively with local communities, including the local government and all its departments, to support DEI and belonging at NIU and the larger university community.
- Develop and maintain active partnerships with advocacy groups, community-based organizations, foundations and alumni affinity groups.
- Other duties as assigned by the president and provost.
Minimum Required Qualifications (Civil Service)
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) (Civil Service)
Specialty Factors (Civil Service)
Preferred Qualifications (Civil Service)
Minimum Required Qualifications (SPS)
- A terminal degree in an academic discipline.
- Demonstrated understanding of the mission and goals of a research university; of academic culture and governance; of the needs and concerns of students, faculty and staff from underrepresented backgrounds; and of research and the national conversation on how best to promote equity, inclusion, diversity and equal opportunity.
- Experience in higher education leadership with a minimum of five years of senior level leadership experience, including direct supervision of director-level professionals.
Additional Requirements (SPS)
Preferred Qualifications (SPS)
- Demonstrated success as an effective collaborator and team leader advancing universitywide strategic initiatives.
- Proven ability to engage and manage multiple stakeholders in a collaborative, collegial manner.
- Experience promoting and sustaining a community that sees the values of equity-mindedness, inclusion, diversity and equal opportunity as fundamental parts of its mission.
- A record of thought leadership and administrative accomplishments, including a distinguished record of advancing diversity and equity in a complex organization.
- Experience as an influential communicator with the ability to clearly explain
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