Director, Commencement and Special Events

Nashville, Tennessee
Aug 24, 2018
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Position Summary:

The Director of Commencement and Special Events is part of the Office of the Provost at Vanderbilt University and is a key leader responsible for the overall production of the commencement week’s main events and ceremonies and for coordinating the schedule of all related events. The position is also responsible for a series of other special events that take place over the course of the academic year. The Director will be advised by and work closely with a University Marshal and a standing Provost-appointed faculty commencement committee. This position has supervisory responsibility over office staff; the position reports administratively and functionally to the Assistant Provost.

Key Functions and Expected Performance:

  • Maintains the protocols and ceremonial richness of the commencement proceedings
  • Coordinates with the highest level of University administration (Office of the Chancellor and Provost) and the University’s Development and Alumni Relations teams.
  • Works hands-on and proactively as a very visible leader during the set ups and run up to the event.
  • Provides on-site coordination including problem-solving, decision-making, and interaction with assigned staff and vendors.
  • Oversees the supervision of personnel, which includes work allocation, training, promotion, enforcement of internal procedures and controls, and problem resolution; evaluates performance and makes recommendations for personnel actions; motivates employees to achieve peak productivity and performance.
  • Manages and markets commencement and special events by researching, reviewing, negotiating, procuring, and scheduling to fulfill annual calendar of events.
  • Establishes and implements short- and long-range organizational goals, objectives, strategic plans, policies, and operating procedures; monitors and evaluates programmatic and operational effectiveness, and effects changes required for improvement.
  • Represents the University to various institutional divisions as well as externally to vendors, students and their parents, and to the general public.
  • Participates in the development of annual operating budgets and provides fiscal direction to the unit.

Required Education and Certifications:

  • A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education.

Required Experience and Skills:

  • At least seven years of large-scale event design, multi-site, experience, implementation and execution.
  • Extensive knowledge of event logistics, budgeting, staffing, managing a core team and crews, scheduling, entertainment, presentations and client relations.
  • Experience managing and communicating effectively with multiple stakeholder groups ranging from executive leaders to volunteers, to donors to event guests (parents and families).
  • Sound and video stage production and scripting experience.
  • Knowledge of social and traditional media and current/emerging technologies in use in the field of marketing.
  • Experience managing and communicating effectively with multiple support and operational groups ranging from police, parking, transportation, safety, facilities operations, grounds, housekeeping, logistical support, printing, and catering.
  • Experience implementing complex volunteer plans including training and managing a large force.
  • Experience developing and implementing health, safety and accessibility protocols (working with security and other partners).
  • The ability to stay calm and handle high-stress situations.
  • Experience managing large budgets.
  • Strong vendor management and negotiation skills, strategic thinking and results orientation.
  • Strong analytical and creative problem-solving skills.
  • Collaborative spirit with ability to integrate cross-functionally.
  • A desire for and appreciation of a diverse, inclusive, and sustainable events, department and philosophy while recognizing accessibility as university priority.
  • Ability to effectively prioritize, organize, plan and manage a team with various projects and multiple deadlines.
  • Ability to remain flexible when presented with rapidly changing requests, priorities and/or deadlines.

Preferred Experience and Skills:

  • Commencement or other high-profile higher education event experience.
  • Highly proficient MAC user.
  • Mechanically adept, ability to manage/fix/operate set and event equipment and tools.
  • Marketing experience.
  • Knowledge of proper protocol and etiquette for events including national, state, city, and provincial governments, high-profile attendees, international cultures and protocols, etc.

For the Complete Job Description and How to Apply Go To:

Vanderbilt University has a strong institutional commitment to recruiting and retaining an academically and culturally diverse community of faculty. Minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and members of other underrepresented groups, in particular, are encouraged to apply. Vanderbilt is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.

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