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Vice President of Strategy & Planning & Senior Advisor to the President

Rhode Island School of Design
Providence, Rhode Island

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Job Details

Job Summary

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is seeking an exceptional leader to become Vice President of Strategy and Planning and Senior Advisor to the President. RISD's mission is to “…educate its students and the public in the creation and appreciation of works of art and design, to discover and transmit knowledge and to make lasting contributions to a global society through critical thinking, scholarship and innovation.” We are further committed to amplifying the power of social equity and inclusion in art and design to help galvanize and promote more just societies and change our world. We seek a colleague who will be energized by our mission and commitments and by the idea of joining RISD at a transformational moment and developing and defining this newly created position. Indeed, this is maker-space and our leading candidate will have exemplary organizational effectiveness bona fides, an entrepreneurial orientation, and will lead with curiosity and a commitment to collaboration. Under the leadership of President-Elect Crystal Williams and working with the Senior Leadership team and other internal and external partners, the VPSP, who is a member of the President's Cabinet, will oversee the work with Senior leadership to establish a strategy that aligns with the institution's overall strategic initiatives and institution-wide priorities and direct a comprehensive college-wide effectiveness program that includes strategic planning, and is in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations.

The successful candidate will lead and manage the development and implementation of Presidential Initiatives in accordance with emerging priorities and opportunities, and will establish, define, and lead the Office of Strategic Initiatives to ensure that planning and organizational efforts are integrated, coordinated for maximum efficiency and synergy, and culminate in capacity building and enhancement of institutional resource allocation. The VPSP will be responsible for the overall performance management and integration of initiatives to deliver upon performance goals. These goals will also include institution-wide ambitions set by the President and/or senior leadership team, such as goals to enhance national or global rankings. The VPSP will also oversee the President's Administrative Office, Trustee Relations and Community Relations.

The VPSP will play a critical role in helping the President to achieve maximum impact in her role by providing strategic and analytical support to the President, managing certain special projects from the beginning to the end, and assisting the President's Office and senior leadership team to function collaboratively. The successful candidate will bring forward-looking perspectives, nimble leadership, and with an entrepreneurial stance to drive performance across complex initiatives and inspire the RISD community to be leaders of change. The ideal candidate will identify strategic priorities through a series of discernment and distillation exercises and processes with a wide r

Required Knowledge/Skills/Experience:

  • High level of knowledge concerning trends and issues in higher education.
  • Strong background in managing/leading significant institutional and external collaborations. Proven track record in change management, strategy and planning, and institutional effectiveness processes.
  • Must have exceptional capacity to advance integration and organizational and operational effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Knowledge of institutional research models and methodologies, as well as principles and practices involved in the research, collection, analysis, interpretation and reporting of statistical data.
  • Understanding of compliance reporting requirements, awareness of emerging compliance issues and how these impact institutional planning and effectiveness.
  • Track record of advancing social equity and inclusion goals across many institutional areas.
  • Demonstrated sensitivity to, understanding of, and proven ability to work with people from a broad range of diverse interests and backgrounds, including but not limited to: socioeconomic, cultural, ability, gender, religious, generational, and racial/ethnic. Proven commitment to inclusive excellence.
  • Advanced analytic skills with knowledge of outcome measures and assessments, research design methodologies, and proven ability to advance the alignment between data and assessment, and institutional outcomes.
  • Ability to manage sensitive information with the highest degree of confidentiality; integrity, exemplary discernment and discretion; sensitivity and diplomacy to situations; well-developed interpersonal skills and high level of emotional intelligence and the ability to operate in a matrixed organization; ability to work collaboratively with colleagues, excellent management and team building skills, and top-notch organizational skills.
  • Proven leadership skills and the ability to work with faculty and staff at all levels of the organization, as well as other internal and external constituents.
  • Excellent writing, editing, reporting and presentation skills. Strong web/computer skills.
  • Proven ability in presenting complex information in different formats to various audiences, including senior management, faculty, staff, trustees, and external constituents.
  • Proven ability to keep a nimble, entrepreneurial, and forward-looking perspective to capture new opportunities and adjust to changing environments.
  • The ideal candidate will identify strategic priorities and processes with a wide range of stakeholders that fosters trust, transparency, accountability, and assessment.
  • Master's Degree.
  • Minimum of ten (10) years of progressive leadership in higher education administration, including strategy, planning, cross functional solutions, strategic planning, and project management.

RISD recognizes diversity and inclusivity as fundamental to its learning community and integral to an art and design education. We welcome candidates whose experience has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to diversity and excellence. RISD is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetics, or any other protected characteristic as established by law.



Founded in 1877, Rhode Island School of Design (or “RIZ-dee” for the acronym RISD) is one of the oldest and best-known colleges of art and design in the U.S. Each year approximately 2,300 students from around the world pursue a creative, studio-based education at RISD, which offers rigorous bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in 19 architecture, design, fine arts and art education majors.

The college is located on College Hill in Providence, Rhode Island, which offers its own vibrant art scene and is conveniently located between two other major cultural centers: Boston and New York.

The curriculum is studio-based, and the school offers bachelor's and master's degrees in 19 areas of study. Graphic design, illustration, and industrial design are the most popular majors among undergraduates. The school has a high job placement rate -- 96% of alumni have a job one year after graduation, and the majority of those jobs are related to the alums' majors. The RISD campus is home to the RISD Museum with its impressive collection of more than 86,000 works of art. Also notable is the Fleet Library.

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