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Job ID: 191127

Executive Director of Planning, Capital Projects & Real Estate
Tufts University

Date Posted Jul. 26, 2022
Title Executive Director of Planning, Capital Projects & Real Estate
University Tufts University
Medford, MA, United States
Department Tufts University
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Senior Executive Officer
  • Development/Institutional Advancement
    Senior Administration


The Operations Division at Tufts includes facilities, design and construction, campus and capital renewal planning, real estate, campus safety, dining, auxiliary services, and other related services on multiple campuses across 5.5 million square feet in 250 buildings. Operations services four campuses in Massachusetts: the main campus in Medford/Somerville, the health sciences and SMFA campuses in Boston and the veterinary school campus in Grafton. The Operations Division supports Tufts University’s mission in teaching, research, and clinics by providing stewardship, recommendations, services and advice in its primary areas of obligation: optimizing use of space and real estate, strategic and responsible management of the built environment, creating a secure campus environment and infrastructure, promoting best-in-class sustainability practices and policies, and creating exceptional community experiences that enhance Tufts’ reputation and brand.


The Division employs approximately 475 staff members across nine departments including three unions in public safety, dining, and facilities. The annual operating budget is $180 million, and the Division manages $180-200 million annually in capital projects including $60 million in capital renewal funding.

What You'll Do

This is an ideal time to join the Tufts University team as the inaugural Executive Director of Planning, Capital Projects, and Real Estate (ED). The ED will respond to the growing complexity and sophistication of operating Tufts’ four university campuses while supporting the advancement of Tufts’ strategic ambitions to increase innovation and sustainability.


Reporting to the Vice President for Operations, the ED will focus on linking the four high performing and high-profile areas in the Operations division to Tufts’ academic and research missions. As a result, campus planning, capital programs, real estate, and a yet to formed area, capital renewal and infrastructure planning will be more integrated and strategically focused. The future functional area will be created by separating the capital renewal planning function from campus planning and establishing a dedicated area with a newly defined intentional function of infrastructure and sustainability planning for the university. Not only will this newly formed functional area help advance the sustainability efforts of Tufts, but the ED will also integrate sustainability and its intersections with diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism into all aspects of the portfolio.

There is no shortage of potentially impactful initiatives and projects for the next ED to tackle. Success for the next ED will be measured by progress in many of the following areas:


Carbon Neutral Infrastructure Planning: The current goal for Tufts is 2050 but there is a push to shorten the timeline.

Integrating Schools and Partnerships: Opportunities to more closely integrate Tufts own schools and academic programs by sharing and optimizing space for cross-university collaboration; facilitating the growing partnership between the Health Sciences Campus and Tufts Medicine’s adjacent hospital; and to envision the Medford campus in a more integrated way (as opposed to separate schools) to attract and support a vibrant graduate student body and increase the research portfolio.

New gateway and residence hall for the Medford campus: Early design is underway for a new a mixed-use building (residence hall) located adjacent to a new MBTA green line stop (scheduled to open fall 2022). The addition of a T station near the center of campus will be game-changing for Tufts and an exciting opportunity to focus on placemaking, real estate strategies and community partnerships for the future.


Repurposing Workspace: Designing plans for post pandemic use of administrative space and determining how space can be reduced and repurposed.


Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine: The opportunity to collaborate with the veterinary school in Grafton around major clinical space expansion and rethinking teaching space and the teaching model exists.


Health Sciences Campus Renewal: Tufts is studying the strategic redevelopment of underutilized properties in key locations on the Health Sciences Campus in downtown Boston. Possibilities include development of a lab/life sciences project available to Tufts and strategic partners for new, innovative programs, as well as to other life science/lab commercial and institutional users.


New area within Operations: As mentioned above, the ED will lead the creation of a new area, the Capital Renewal and Infrastructure Planning area and will hire its first Director.


New Space Inventory System: Tufts is currently implementing a new GIS based space inventory system led by Campus Planning that will have capabilities beyond space utilization (facilities assets, infrastructure). The ED will be instrumental in working with Operations and School colleagues to maximize utility of the database over time.


Town-Gown: This position will play a visible role in facilitating communications across schools, and in promoting integration and optimization of Tufts’ physical resources at a university-wide level and in relation to its host communities, in partnership with Tufts Community Relations staff.


Key responsibilities of the role include:

  • Attend to the continual development of the team emphasizing more fluidity across related functions with an eye on leadership development and succession planning.
  • Leadership role in maintaining and/or creating an integrated approach to governance processes: Executive Capital Committee, Trustee, and Project Sponsor Groups.
  • Overseeing staff who plan and implement the $2.1 billion, 10-year capital plan.
  • Serves as a senior advisor and thought partner to the Vice President of Operations.
  • Supports and provides leadership, structure, and a data-driven framework for capital master planning that identifies long-range needs that align academic, research, administrative, and organizational priorities guided by implementation of the university’s strategic planning.
  • Develops planning principles related to space utilization, land use, environmental sustainability, open space, parking, circulation, and utility infrastructure.
  • Effective implementation of the capital plan. Strategic project delivery tailored to maximum benefit for the university for each type of project, or aggregated projects as needed.
  • Integrating campus space use planning and real estate strategy, working closely with government and community relations and with host communities on joint planning efforts for mutual benefit.
  • Communications improvements: web presence on capital programs and planning strategies, sustainability planning.
  • Ensures effective communication with key University stakeholders and decision-makers, ensuring program objectives are met, takes a leadership role to facilitate cross school initiatives and resolve areas of disagreement between project stakeholders.
  • Collaborates closely with Operations leadership, in particular: Facilities Services on integrating maintenance practices and information into facility condition index, infrastructure planning and day to day management, building performance standards.
  • Integrate larger real estate/campus planning and host community initiatives for mutual benefit. Leverage the offerings of Tufts’ unique locations into its long-range planning; position Real Estate moves to have greater impact on campuses and mutual benefits with host communities.
  • Integrate sustainability and carbon reduction into all aspects of capital renewal and campus planning and capital programs. Oversee the carbon neutral plan creation, tracking and implementation on all campuses; coordinate with Tufts Medicine on the health sciences campus and the MFA on the SMFA campus.

The Executive Director will oversee the following areas:


Campus Planning

The ED will be a major player in ensuring the capital planning project lifecycles are strategic and collaborative. Campus Planning works closely with the Provost’s office and School Deans and Executive Associate Deans on space governance and physical planning at the highest level. The ED will oversee the Director of Campus Planning, who presents to trustees and partners regularly with senior leadership and provides stewardship for the master plans for all campuses and schools to support the university academic missions with regard to the student experience, research, teaching, efficient operations, and diversifying revenue sources.


Additionally, Campus Planning leads the development of the university capital plan, spearheads the university space inventory, leads projects through ideation, feasibility and scoping stages, communicates with both School and Division leadership to enable synergies between physical planning and academic priorities, provides strategic stewardship of space and capital project governance processes for both long-range and short-term use; and supports sustainability initiatives and carbon neutral planning efforts. This team is comprised of a staff of 5-6 full-time employees and oversees maintenance of space and property inventory and databases, proactively using data analytics to support studies and initiatives.


Capital Renewal and Infrastructure Planning

Currently, Capital Renewal Planning is housed within the Campus Planning department and directs the implementation of the annual capital renewal fund of $60m/year. This includes a 10-year renewal plan, facility condition assessment and index tracking, including qualitative input from facilities colleagues and School leadership, and integration with carbon neutral planning. Utilities/infrastructure planning is currently happening in multiple areas in Operations and will ultimately be integrated with capital renewal planning, the overall capital plan, and energy.


Tufts plans to intentionally join capital renewal and infrastructure/utilities planning into one unified strategic functional area to provide increased focus and attention to this increasingly important area.


Capital Programs

The Capital Programs department manages approximately $180-200M/year in a capital projects portfolio. A recent reorganization combined two departments which integrated Capital Project Management, Capital Programs and Strategic Capital Programs, into a single unified Capital Programs department with three key areas; 3-4 large, complex projects/year with a combined value of more than $200M; approximately 60-70 projects/year costing $50,000 to $15M. The department leaders set the direction and manage risk for this function in partnership with a financial analyst.


Real Estate

The ED will amplify the vision of the development and redevelopment efforts to match the ambitious goals of the institution and will oversee the creation of a comprehensive real estate strategy. Real Estate Services is responsible for the acquisition or sale of real estate interests to support and advance the mission of Tufts; gifts of real estate, all leasing activity as tenant or landlord, as well as other real estate related matters. Additionally, the Director of Real Estate serves as the General Manager of Walnut Hill Properties Corporation, a wholly owned affiliate of Tufts which manages a taxable real estate portfolio of properties in close proximity to the Medford campus that are typically used for faculty, staff, and graduate student housing.

The department partners closely with senior administrators and local government officials to ensure that institutional growth is sensitive to the values, culture, and economy of our host communities. Additionally, the department advises University leadership regarding strategic property decisions, in particular acquisition decisions. Real Estate Services may also lead development or redevelopment projects, such as housing, repurposing assets, or other complex projects requiring business acumen and community relations sophistication.

What We're Looking For

The successful candidate will have excellent communication, leadership, and team-building skills. The ED must be strategic, collaborative, and have an integrative mindset. They should be experienced with generating and being receptive to new ideas and proactive about exploring and implementing them. The ED must be able to represent the University effectively while interacting with peers as well as various external constituencies.


The ED will be a team leader who breaks down siloes and creates pathways for the department. Tufts’ community is comprised of smart and capable individuals, and the ED will be someone who enjoys unlocking potential and identifying synergies.

While it is unlikely that any candidate will have all preferred experiences, competencies, and attributes the successful candidate will have many of the following:

  • Knowledge and skills as typically acquired through completion of a Master’s degree and extensive, progressive management related experience.
  • Experience leading large scale capital projects from planning through completion, and preferably within a campus setting.
  • A strategic, big picture, long term, and integrative orientation.
  • Excellent organization skills with an eye for detail.
  • Ability to multitask and prioritize tasks.
  • Mature judgment and discretion in maintaining confidential information.
  • Highly developed communications skills (written/verbal).
  • Strong interpersonal skills and demonstrated success with team building.
  • Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
  • Organizational and political agility.
  • Unquestionable personal code of ethics, integrity, and trust.
  • Able to successfully navigate within varying degrees of ambiguity in a fast-paced environment.

Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Tom Phillips of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express interest in this role please submit your materials here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.


Tufts does not discriminate in its educational programs or activities on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, age, religion or religious creed, disability or handicap, sex or gender (including pregnancy, sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct including acts of sexual violence such as rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation and coercion), gender identity and/or expression (including a transgender identity), sexual orientation, military or veteran status,  genetic information,  or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state or local law. Retaliation is also prohibited. Tufts will comply with state and federal laws such as M.G.L. c. 151B, Title IX, Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment and Rights Act, Executive Order 11246 and other similar laws that prohibit discrimination, all as amended. Tufts is an equal employment opportunity/ affirmative action employer. More detailed Tufts policies and procedures on this topic may be found in the OEO Policies and Procedures page.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.


For more information about Koya Partners, visit


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