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Director - Illini Union (147097)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, IL
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Director, Illini Union

Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is accepting applications and nominations for the position of Director of the Illini Union, a self-supporting auxiliary unit. The Union serves as the community center for a vibrant residential campus, offering a diverse array of quality student-led programming and many convenient services that cater to a diverse community.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of the original 37 public land-grant institutions created by the Morrill Act in 1862. It is located in east-central Illinois, about 140 miles south of Chicago, 125 miles west of Indianapolis, and 180 miles northeast of St. Louis. The flagship campus of the University of Illinois system has nearly 33,000 undergraduate students and just over 11,000 graduate students, hailing from all 50 states and 111 countries.

Construction on the Illini Union began in 1939 and concluded with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt dedicating the building in 1942. An addition was built in 1963 to accommodate services to the growing student population. To date, the Union has greeted over three million visitors. While rich in history and tradition, the Illini Union is a state-of-the-art facility featuring 25 meeting rooms, 68 hotel rooms, a food court, banquet facilities, retail outlets, a computer lab, and numerous study spaces. The Union provides office space for registered student organizations and provides a place for groups to work, collaborate, and come together. The Illini Union Bookstore is one of the largest independent college bookstores in the country and is focused on serving both students and the campus community. Beginning as a book exchange in the 1920s, it now offers textbooks, general books, apparel, gifts, souvenirs, and general merchandise. Proceeds from sales at the bookstore are used to promote student programming at the Illini Union.

Reporting to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Auxiliary, Health & Wellbeing, the Illini Union seeks a dynamic, visionary, and relatable leader with a proven ability to develop and implement comprehensive strategic plans that advance the Illini Union. The Director oversees the complete operations of the Illini Union, including the following departments: Student Programs and Activities, Building Operations, Business Affairs, Retail Services (Bookstore, Food & Beverage Operations, and limited services Hotel), Document Services, Campus Mail, Marketing, Information Technology, Human Resources, and Parent and Family Programs. The Director also serves as an ex-officio member of the Illini Union Board (student board).

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer that recruits and hires qualified candidates without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, disability, or veteran status. For more information, visit

Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Directs the day-to-day operation and maintenance of the Illini Union and its departments. The Union currently employs approximately 175 full-time employees and 500 student employees.
  • Oversees the development and supervision of a $33,000,000 budget, including pricing decisions for goods sold and services rendered.
  • Directs and monitors all major maintenance or renovation projects.
  • Establishes operating policies and procedures consistent with University policies and regulations, and state and federal law.
  • Directs short-range, long-range, and strategic planning efforts for the organization. Monitors all purchasing decisions.
  • Work closely with the Illini Union Board and assist the organization in building an inclusive campus community through social, cultural, educational, and recreational programs and activities. Attend weekly Illini Union Board meetings, solicit advice on building policy matters, and meet regularly with the Board president.
  • Serves as liaison between the Illini Union and other departments such as Facilities & Services, Public Safety, Purchasing, Alumni Association, Human Resources, etc., and organizations such as the Moms and Dads Associations. Advises the associations on an as-needed basis.
  • Maintains generally accepted cash handling controls, and accounting and auditing procedures.
  • Serves on Student Affairs and University committees as required.
  • Maintains relationships with external private vendors/operations.
  • Performs other duties and additional responsibilities as assigned.

Required education, experience, and qualifications:

  • Master's degree in Business Administration, Higher Education, or other appropriate disciplines.
  • Ten years of progressive experience with a minimum of five years in an upper-level administrative position in a comparable student affairs unit, plus five years of experience in the operation of a student union in a higher education institution.

Successful candidates will have:

  • Demonstrated ability to lead and direct a large and complex organization that provides programs and services that are essential to the campus community.
  • A thorough understanding of how the union functions as a part of Student Affairs and the University at large is necessary.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with diverse constituent groups.
  • Familiarity with centralized University services such as Human Resources, Purchasing, Accounting, Facilities & Services, etc., and be able to represent the Illini Union in any interactions with these areas.


Salary is commensurate with experience and the start date will be as soon as possible after the close of the search. This is a full-time (100%), a benefits-eligible academic professional position appointed on a 12-month basis.

Candidates must complete an online application at and upload a cover letter, resume, and names and contact information for three professional references. For full consideration, completed applications should be submitted by June 25, 2021. Initial screening of applications will begin immediately, and interviews may be conducted prior to the close of the search. However, no hiring decision will be made until after the close of the search.

To nominate an individual for this position or for additional information, please contact Jen Cochrane at [email protected].

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. Convictions are not a bar to employment. The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, visit Policy on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment. As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility.

College Name or Administrative Unit:Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Category:2-Administrative Title:Director - Illini Union (147097) Open Date:06/04/2021 Close Date:06/25/2021 Organization Name:Illini Union


Since its founding in 1867, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has earned a reputation as a world-class leader in research, teaching, and public engagement.


A talented and highly respected faculty is the University's most significant resource. Many are recognized for exceptional scholarship with memberships in such organizations as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering. 

Our faculty have been awarded Nobel Prizes, Pulitzer Prizes, and the Fields Medal in Mathematics.The success of our faculty is matched by that of our alumni: 11 are Nobel laureates and another 18 have won Pulitzer Prizes.

Academic Resources

Academic resources on campus are among the finest in the world. The University Library is one of the largest public university collections in the world with 11 million volumes in its 37 unit libraries. Annually, 53,000,000 people visit its online catalog. Students have access to thousands of computer terminals in classrooms, residence halls, and campus libraries for use in classroom instruction, study, and research.


Students and scholars find the University an ideal place to conduct research. The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology is a model for interdisciplinary research, where eighteen research groups from sixteen University departments work within and across three broadly defined themes: biological intelligence, human-computer intelligent interaction, and molecular and electronic nanostructures. The University is also home to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).

Undergraduate Education

The University has a fundamental commitment to undergraduate education. Nearly 28,000 undergraduate students are enrolled in nine undergraduate divisions, which together offer some 4,000 courses in more than 150 fields of study.

Undergraduate admission is highly selective. In the 2001 freshman class, students in the middle 50% had ACT scores between 25 and 30 and ranked between the 83rd and 96th percentiles of their high school graduating classes.

The University enrolls over 9,000 graduate and professional students in more than 100 disciplines. It is among the top five universities in number of earned doctorates awarded annually in the United States.

Also integral to the University's mission is a commitment to public engagement. Each year about 65,000 Illinois residents participate in scores of conferences, institutes, courses, and workshops presented statewide. Research and class projects take students and professors off campus to share expertise and technical support with Illinois farmers, manufacturing firms, and businesses. In a typical year, student volunteers log more than 60,000 volunteer hours.

The Arts

A major center for the arts, the campus attracts dozens of nationally and internationally renowned artists each year to its widely acclaimed Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. The University also supports two major museums: the Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion; and the Spurlock Museum, a museum of world history and culture. 

Other major facilities include the multipurpose Assembly Hall (16,500 seats); Memorial Stadium (70,000 seats), site of Big Ten Conference football games; and the Intramural-Physical Education Building, one of the largest recreational facilities of its kind on a university campus.

Inclusive Illinois, one campus, many voices

Inclusive Illinois is the University’s commitment to cultivating a community at Illinois where everyone is welcomed, celebrated, and respected. Illinois is about how we value difference to make a difference.

As evidence of the University’s commitment to enhance the working, living, and learning environment for faculty, staff, and students, the University will encourage a standard of conduct and behavior that is consistent with the values of inclusivity. In an environment of inclusivity, there is no place for acts of hatred, intolerance, insensitivity, bigotry, threats of violence, harassment or discrimination.

Inclusive Illinois, one campus, many voices

Inclusive Illinois is the University’s commitment to cultivating a community at Illinois where everyone is welcomed, celebrated, and respected. Through education, engagement, and excellence, each voice creates the Inclusive Illinois Experience.

How can we appreciate difference to make a difference?

Illinois is the place where we embrace difference. We embrace it because we value it. We value it because we know that we have so much to learn from each other in our living, learning, and working environment.

Illinois is the place where we recognize the power of possibility and where great potential is realized. Inclusive Illinois is the vision of that place: a vision made real by leadership and commitment.

Illinois is the place where consensus is forged by discourse and where everyone’s contributions are recognized: significant contributions that elevate us because they are informed and enhanced by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, age, physical ability, religion, class, and national origin. We are enriched by these perspectives, and we are united by the very discourse that brings these views together.

It is a process. It is transformative. And we celebrate the remarkable changes we set in motion here … taking an important step … crossing boundaries … starting with our own.

It all starts with each of us: with our willingness to embark on the journey in the search for answers, and with our openness and acceptance of the answers we find. Illinois is the place where it all comes together.

Learn more about how Inclusive Illinois promotes diversity here.

Commitment to Equal Opportunity

The commitment of the University to the most fundamental principles of academic freedom, equality of opportunity, and human dignity requires that decisions involving students and employees be based on individual merit and be free from invidious discrimination in all its forms, whether or not specifically prohibited by law. Among the forms of invidious discrimination prohibited by the University policy but not law is discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of sexual orientation. Complaints of invidious discrimination in violation of University policy are to be resolved within existing University procedures. The policy of the University of Illinois is to comply with all federal and state nondiscrimination, equal opportunity, and affirmative action laws, orders, and regulations. The University will not engage in discrimination or harassment against any person because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, disability, unfavorable discharge from the military, or status as a disabled veteran or a veteran of the Vietnam era. This nondiscrimination policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in University programs and activities

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