Director of Operations

Princeton University
Nassau Hall
Closing date
Jul 16, 2022

Job Details


Princeton is a world-renowned research university with a vibrant community of scholarship, research, and teaching that seeks to live up to its informal motto, “In the Nation’s Service and the Service of Humanity.” The University has a profound commitment to undergraduate education with a low student-to-faculty ratio and a curriculum that emphasizes learning, creativity, innovation, and collaboration with a program of liberal arts in the humanities, arts, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. Princeton similarly has a strong commitment to graduate education where students become part of a community of scholars at one of the world's leading universities. Each year, faculty members receive numerous national and international honors recognizing their scholarship and research. The current faculty includes ten Nobel laureates.


Princeton enrolls 5,267 undergraduate and 2,946 graduate students, employs 7,000 benefits-eligible staff members, and has 1,289 faculty members who are world-renowned scholars and teachers inspired by their research and driven to help all students grow as thinkers and world citizens. The historic campus, its physical and cultural assets, and university events attract more than 860,000 visitors to the campus annually. The campus consists of more than ten million square feet in more than 200 buildings on 600 acres and is located in central New Jersey. Ninety-eight (98) percent of undergraduates and 70 percent of graduate students live in university housing. The Princeton University Library and the Princeton University Art Museum hold extensive, world-renowned collections.



Reporting to the assistant vice president for public safety (AVP), the director of operations (director) serves as second in command in Princeton’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) and as acting assistant vice president in the AVP’s absence. DPS is a Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) and New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police accredited, full-service law enforcement department and operates 24/7. The director is responsible for the day to day leadership of DPS’s operations division, comprising patrol, the detective bureau, communications center, IT, and cultural property security, as well as its four-member leadership team. The director also leads DPS’s training and professional development initiatives, recruitment, coordinating the activities of the department’s sworn and non-sworn personnel, and serves as a key liaison with union representatives for the commissioned police and non- commissioned security officers who comprise more than half of the department’s 110 full-time members. This senior leader will leverage existing state-of-the-art technology and assist in the design and implementation of new systems and technologies to enhance the safety of the community. The director’s overarching role is to ensure DPS’s capacity to foster a deep connection with the campus community, with a focus on providing outstanding service to its constituents through a community caretaking approach to public safety.


In this highly visible role, the director will serve as a partner to the AVP and will collaborate with and serve as a key liaison and advisor to the campus on public safety issues and law enforcement operations. They will oversee the preparation, presentation, and dissemination of a wide range of internal and external reports related to public safety, ensuring effective communication and sharing of key information in a timely manner with appropriate stakeholders.


Further, the director will work closely with leadership and colleagues across the institution in the continuous improvement of emergency preparedness and management efforts. They will manage command of major incidents, emergency situations, and special events, and will work in close collaboration with town, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies and other safety and security services on a range of activities, including response to accidents, medical or fire emergencies, and requests for assistance. The director will also serve as the department’s representative with the media and liaison to the Communications Department.




The successful candidate will bring at least ten years of progressively responsible public safety experience, including five years at a management and supervisory level, preferably in a higher education setting; a bachelor’s degree is required. An advanced degree in a relevant discipline, along with New Jersey PTC police officer certification or capability to achieve same within one year of appointment is preferred.


The director of operations will be a highly collaborative manager and leader with outstanding interpersonal, oral, and written communications skills and proven ability to inspire and build relationships of trust and credibility. They will bring a strong record of achievement in safety and security, and embrace the department and University’s commitment to a community caretaking philosophy around public safety and the significant dedication of time and energy that it requires. The successful candidate will also bring demonstrated commitment to fostering an inclusive environment with a track record of working effectively in a richly diverse community and with individuals at all levels of an organization.


Princeton is particularly interested in candidates with a strong attraction to the environment of a complex university with strong ties to its immediate surrounding communities, as well as a genuine interest in students and a commitment to be visible and accessible to all constituents. Experience working with a unionized work force and a record of success establishing and maintaining positive labor/management relations, a proven ability to motivate a diverse workforce to succeed as a high-functioning team, and the capacity to inspire trust and confidence among staff will be key expectations for the successful candidate. The director will be expected to live within 45 minutes of Princeton’s campus.


Application and Nomination


Princeton has retained the services of Spelman Johnson, a leading national executive search firm, to assist with leading this search. Review of applications will begin Thursday, August 12, 2021 and continue until the position is filled. A resume with an accompanying cover letter that addresses the responsibilities and requirements described in the position specification may be submitted via the Spelman Johnson website at  Nominations for this position may be forwarded to Michel Frendian at [email protected] Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.


Visit the Princeton University website at and the Princeton University public safety website at


Princeton University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. EEO IS THE LAW

Standard Weekly Hours36.25Work Schedule, If Other Than Standard HoursThe Department of Public Safety is a 24/7, 365 day operation. The successful candidate will be on-call after hours and must be available on nights, weekends, and holidays as required. Eligible for OvertimeNoBenefits EligibleYesProbationary Period180 daysEssential Services Personnel (see policy for detail)YesPhysical Capacity Exam RequiredNoValid Driver’s License RequiredYes Experience LevelDirector#LI-ST1


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