Job ID: 207326

Senior Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer (28281)

Northern Illinois University

  • Mar. 16, 2023
  • Senior Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer (28281)
  • Presidents Office
  • Northern Illinois University
    DeKalb, IL
  • Open until filled
  • Available immediately
  • Senior Executive Officer
    Associate Vice-(Provost/Chancellor)
  • Human Resources
    Senior Administration


Northern Illinois University (NIU) is conducting a national search for a Chief Human Resource Officer (“CHRO”) who will serve as a transformative, strategic and engaged human resources leader, and who is committed to organizational development, relationship building and process improvement.

The CHRO will be responsible for advancing a collaborative and innovative human resource (HR) organization that positions NIU for long-term success as an employer of choice that maximizes each employee’s potential. In addition to providing oversight to HR services, practices and operations, the CHRO will be expected to approach HR from a strategic perspective, building upon current programs and service-delivery strategies to implement a comprehensive vision for HR that aligns with the university’s vision, mission and values. The university seeks a CHRO to lead a Human Resource Services (HRS) department that is a strategic and trusted campus partner across the university units and divisions.

The CHRO reports directly to the president of NIU and is a valued member of the president’s senior leadership team. The CHRO is expected to be an enterprise-wide thinker who works collaboratively with other senior leaders to further NIU’s strategic priorities. The CHRO is a critical partner of the vice president for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion/Chief Diversity Officer in initiatives and long-range planning related to campus climate, workplace culture, talent acquisition and retention and other efforts that further NIU’s ability to attract and retain diverse talent. In addition, the CHRO works in collaboration with the vice president/general counsel and the executive vice president/provost to support labor relations; the chief financial officer to align workforce planning to budget and finance; and the associate vice president of Institutional Communication to develop consistent and accurate communications related to HR functions. The CHRO also ensures that HRS is a collaborative, supportive and engaged partner and a service provider for department heads and unit and division leaders across the university. 

Position Summary

This position provides executive-level leadership, strategic vision and management for all of NIU’s HR functions, policies and practices. In addition, the CHRO works closely with a number of external agencies and vendors in Illinois (State Universities Civil Service System, State Universities Retirement System, Central Management Services). Functional areas that report directly to this position include position talent acquisition; affirmative action processing and planning; American with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) facilitation; payroll and benefits administration; employee wellness and coaching; leadership and professional development training; human resources information systems; civil service testing and processing; SURS; and employee life cycle processing, including onboarding, orientation, performance management and a variety of compliance functions.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Strategic Vision. Recognize and pursue opportunities to support organizational excellence at NIU with a focus on outcomes. Provide leadership toward better integration of the university’s core values into HR processes, improvements across the employee life cycle and development of processes and culture that increase the university’s ability to adapt in our dynamic environment.
  • Leadership. Inspire and guide members of the HRS team. Ensure that their work and priorities align with, and advance, the university’s goals. Plan for continual improvement that is reflective of effective practices in HRS and support the HRS team by providing professional and personal growth opportunities.
  • Exceptional Service Delivery. Leverage opportunities for process modernization; staff training and professional development; and effective communication. Ensure that HRS is celebrated across the NIU community as a collaborative, engaged partner and a service provider positioned to help NIU meet contemporary challenges.
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Use an equity lens to view and apply HR processes and procedures, especially those related to recruitment, hiring, developing and retaining talented employees, including student workers.
  • Collaboration. Promote and support a productive organizational culture through collaboration with units and divisions across campus. Develop relationships and partnerships that add value to the university’s HR function and further NIU’s mission. Provide consultative support, counsel and communication to all levels within the institution while aligning HR strategies to support the university’s needs. Develop productive relationships and work effectively with relevant external agencies.
  • Technology and Process Improvement. Steward resources by moving to efficient, effective HR systems and processes. Partner with Institutional Effectiveness and the Division of Information Technology to improve HR technology platforms and information systems. Utilize data, analytics and technology to support initiatives aimed at enhancing efficiency, resilience and long-term financial sustainability.

Minimum Required Qualifications (Civil Service)


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) (Civil Service)
Specialty Factors (Civil Service)


Preferred Qualifications (Civil Service)


Minimum Required Qualifications (SPS)

  • Master’s degree in human resource management, organizational development, public administration, higher education or related field or a bachelor’s degree and experience commensurate with a master’s degree; and
  • At least 10 years of progressively responsible professional experience in HR leadership, operations or strategy.

Additional Requirements (SPS)

  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion outcomes.
  • Excellent oral, written and other communications skills.
  • Demonstrated commitment to empowering and leading professional teams.
  • Demonstrated commitment to ethical leadership and experience with highly sensitive and confidential situations.
  • Proven success at delivering HR functions and programs that are service-oriented and responsive to organizational and employee needs.
  • Ability to lead HR in a complex, multi-faceted organization committed to strong shared governance.
  • Demonstrated experience working in a unionized environment and building relationships with labor unions.
  • Understanding of contemporary trends that promote diversity, equity and inclusion; Affirmative Action; and Equal Employment Opportunity; and experience supporting inclusive excellence goals within the work environment of a higher education institution or similarly complex organization.
  • Excellent relationship-building skills and demonstrated ability to work collaboratively as part of an effective team to negotiate, reach goals, solve problems and make decisions.

Preferred Qualifications (SPS)

  • Experience or in-depth knowledge of higher education.
  • Understanding of state and federal laws, statutes and regulations related to employment, and a commitment to ensuring compliance as business processes are improved.
  • SHRM-CP, SHRM-SCP. or PHR/SPHR preferred.

Physical demands/requirements

  • Regular office related duties.
  • Sitting for extended periods of time.
  • Using computer/electronic equipment for extended periods of time.
  • Occasional lifting and moving items weighing up to 25 lbs.

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