CAO/VP for Academic Affairs & Executive Director of the Center for Public University Transformation

NW Washington
Negotiable, based on experience and qualifications
Feb 22, 2018
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Chief Academic Officer/Vice President for Academic Affairs:  APLU seeks a senior university administrator with experience in academic affairs and the knowledge of activities and scope of duties of a provost at an APLU research university. The incumbent will serve as the principal organizer and coordinator of the activities of the Council on Academic Affairs, the APLU group that brings together provosts from member institutions. S/he will serve as APLU’s liaison with other higher education associations and national organizations that influence federal policies and laws affecting academic pursuits and purposes. The incumbent will provide expertise concerning implementation and effectiveness of new and existing programs at academic institutions in support of various APLU initiatives. S/he will promote initiatives to improve degree completion and to enhance learning with technology.

Executive Director of the Center for Public University Transformation: The Executive Director will lead the APLU Center for Public University Transformation. The Center will work with 100 public research universities to scale and sustain innovative student success initiatives. One of the key early activities of the Center, which the Executive Director will oversee, is the creation of clusters of universities focused on greatly increasing undergraduate degree completion and closing the achievement gap while expanding access to low-income and underserved students. The individual hired for this role will have experience working at a university, expertise in institutional change and student success efforts, and a history of relationship management and fundraising success.

Types of Candidates:  The successful candidate will come from the ranks of current or recently retired provosts, senior-level associate provosts, and deans of large and complex colleges, which have a large undergraduate population and ongoing student success initiatives. 

Preferred Qualifications:

  • PhD or terminal degree
  • At least ten years of academic experience comparable to that of a tenure-track faculty member at a research university
  • Experience as a provost or senior administrator in the provost’s office of an APLU member university (e.g. vice provost, associate provost, or equivalent, or other senior academic administration role), or experience in a senior dean role.
  • Accomplishment in higher education policy, development, and implementation as well as publications in the candidate’s academic field.
  • Substantial fundraising experience with a record of securing large grants.
  • Substantial experience leading university change efforts related to retention, degree completion, equity, and/or student success.
  • Proven champion and advocate for student success, as demonstrated by the candidate’s prior development and leadership of on-campus initiatives.
  • Existing relationships with some key stakeholders in higher education.
  • Ability to innovate, both in ideas and implementation.
  • Collaborative leadership style and ability to serve as a unifying force for change.
  • Strong understanding of the determinants of student success and current challenges in the higher education landscape.
  • Excellent persuasive written and oral communication skills.
  • Willingness and ability to travel up to 20 percent of the time.

Duties and Responsibilities include the following:

Chief Academic Officer/Vice President of Academic Affairs: Keep abreast of trends in higher education, such as: student demand for higher education; relations with industry, state and federal governments; university funding models and governance; faculty composition, roles, and rewards; curricular and instructional design and delivery; research and regulation.

  • Organize and coordinate the activities of the Council on Academic Affairs (CAA) – APLU’s organizing body for provosts at member institutions -- including membership, and succession of leadership of the Executive Committee, the CAA Executive Committee Winter Meeting, CAA Summer Meeting, and CAA-sponsored sessions of the APLU Annual Meeting.
  • Advance degree completion by generating and leading initiatives to improve student retention and graduation at member institutions while coordinating with the activities of APLU vice presidents working in related areas. Provide academic perspective and judgment as needed for APLU initiatives in degree completion, institutional transformation, better use of data in decision-making, etc.
  • Working with the Executive Director of the Personalized Learning Consortium (PLC) at APLU, highlight and promote the use of information technology to enhance student learning.
  • As appropriate, serve as APLU’s liaison with other higher education associations (e.g. AAU, ARL, ACE, AASCU, AACC) and national organizations (e.g. Educause, Internet2, NILOA) that influence national policies and federal law affecting academic pursuits and purposes.
  • Provide policy analysis and policy recommendations for current and pending federal legislation pertinent to academic matters, such as Higher Education Act reauthorization.
  • Maintain or develop relationships and obtain grants, as appropriate, from private foundation and federal agencies to support APLU initiatives.
  • Oversees the grant development process, the review of grant proposals and grant reports in collaboration with colleagues.
  • In cooperation with other APLU leadership, design and organize key broad-audience sessions for the APLU Annual Meeting.
  • Lead specific projects and task forces in the academic arena as may emerge from the APLU agenda.

Executive Director of Center for Public University Transformation:


  • Lead the APLU Center for Public University Transformation.
  • Work with the APLU President, Vice Presidents, and Center Director to develop a strategic plan and structure for the Center.
  • Oversee the creation of clusters of universities to greatly increase undergraduate degree completion and close the achievement gap.
  • Work with other organizations to help coalesce degree completion efforts and support the clusters.
  • Supervise an initial staff of 2-5 other individuals, with expectation for growth. Work closely with other APLU staff who are managing existing degree completion projects.
  • Provide thought and policy leadership for the Center, which may include: presentations and panels, media interviews, authoring op-eds and journal commentaries, and serving as an expert in other capacities.
  • Develop innovative responses to challenges that arise while working with the transformation clusters.

Project Development

  • Provide high-level leadership for the transformation clusters and build relationships of mutual trust with presidents, provosts, and campus teams.
  • Work with other APLU leaders involved in degree completion to align those efforts and support the transformation clusters.
  • Supervise recruitment of members for a national advisory council.
  • Coordinate across APLU to develop strong partnerships with associations, nonprofits, government agencies, and other relevant actors in the higher education sector.
  • Engage regularly with APLU staff to develop collaborative projects and stay abreast of initiatives across program areas.
  • Articulate the Center’s role within APLU, and work to align Center goals with overall APLU goals.
  • Ensure Public Affairs and Congressional and Governmental Affairs staff are regularly informed about the Center’s work and accomplishments.


  • Identify and as appropriate seek opportunities to support current or new programming through grants from private foundations, government agencies, corporations, and other potential funders.
  • Oversee the Center’s solicitation of grants and review grant proposals.
  • Pitch ideas and share highlights from prior Center accomplishments with potential funders, both formally and informally.
  • Coordinate with other APLU staff when approaching funders; document all meetings/outreach activities using APLU’s CRM.

Supervision: The position reports to the President of APLU.

Salary: Negotiable, based on experience and qualifications

Start Date: Early to Mid-2018

To Apply

Please send a cover letter and resume electronically with the subject line: Chief Academic Officer to [email protected].

For more information, please visit  Application review will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.

APLU is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.


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