Western Washington University
Associate Vice President for Human
Academic Career & Executive Search is pleased to
assist Western Washington University in their search for Associate
Vice President for Human Resources.
For best consideration, please apply by
This is a wonderful opportunity for a metrics focused and
compassionate HR leader to join Western Washington University in
the critical position of Associate Vice President for Human
Resources (AVP). The successful candidate will be an accomplished
Human Resources senior leader that can proactively lead and support
the Human Resources function while inspiring employees to a renewed
level of engagement with the overall organizational mission.
The Associate Vice President is a strategic partner and provides
leadership and policy direction. The AVP also provides line
management oversight for all university human resource management
- Staff employee and labor relations
- Diversity outreach and engagement
- Organizational and talent development
- Recruitment and onboarding
- Employee Benefits including retirement and insurance
- Human resource information systems and data management
- Employee disability accommodations
- Staff classification and compensation programs
The AVP oversees and ensures compliance with the collective
bargaining agreements for classified employees, as well as
Professional Staff through the Professional Staff Organization
Handbook. The AVP uses a broad and deep knowledge and experience in
employee relations, compensation, organizational planning and
development, employment law, payroll, human resource information
systems, regulatory compliance, and professional development.
With unwavering integrity and strong change leadership skills,
the AVP functions in a constantly evolving setting with an
appreciation for and comfort with ambiguity. The AVP demonstrates
deep compassion, strong interpersonal skills, the ability to
influence at all levels within the university, and a firm moral and
ethical foundation, while functioning as an effective change
The AVP is an equity-minded practitioner with strong negotiation
and motivation skills, and the wherewithal to manage competing
priorities successfully. They are responsible for developing human
resource policies, procedures, programs, and services that foster a
high-performance culture of engagement and empowerment on behalf of
our workforce. The AVP serves as the university’s compliance
officer for laws and regulations related to employment, labor,
benefits, and privacy of employee records.
The AVP must be able to manage, inspire, and lead a team of
dedicated professionals in a people-focused human resources
infrastructure. Measuring the quality-of-service human resources
provides is of chief importance. The AVP must be able to monitor
employee needs, determine how well HR is meeting those needs,
identify gaps, and implement effective solutions that leverage
technology while streamlining processes. The AVP must have
demonstrated experience in creating and maintaining a workplace
that supports and respects accessibility, equity, inclusion, and
Reporting to the Vice President for Business and Financial
Affairs, the AVP serves as a member of the Vice President’s senior
management team and as the Chief Human Resources Officer for
Western Washington University. The division of Business and
Financial Affairs supports Western’s mission, which states that
together with students, staff, and faculty, WWU is committed to
making a positive impact in the state and the world with a shared
focus on academic excellence and inclusive achievement.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
- Provide leadership and strategic vision in serving as a
collaborative partner in implementing the university’s human
- Serve as a trusted advisor to the President and senior
leadership team in matters pertaining to organizational
development, employee relations, workforce analysis, and talent
- Maintain collegial and professional relationships with the
Office of Financial Management and other higher education human
- Fulfill leadership and mentoring responsibilities that provide
accessible, equitable, and inclusive working environments to all
employees, including the staff they supervise and the faculty,
staff, and students they serve and work with.
- Provide leadership and oversight in furthering the university’s
efforts to promote access, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Lead the human resources functions in service to the
- Develop long- and short-term goals to deliver optimal human
resources services to the university community.
- Manage, inspire, and lead a team of dedicated human resource
- Build key performance indicators to measure the effectiveness
of on-boarding, employee engagement, retention, access, diversity,
equity, and inclusion, ensuring they align with organizational
- Ensure professionalism, team building, and collaboration.
- Develop human resource policies, programs, and services
demonstrating the most promising practices, ensuring compliance
with applicable laws and utilizing an accessibility, diversity,
equity, and inclusion (ADEI) lens. Revise policies and procedures
as needed to comply with changes in legislation, directives, and to
reflect the university’s strategic goals. Coordinate all new human
resources policies with relevant university offices, as well as
governance bodies and their subcommittees.
- Serve as the university’s compliance officer for laws and
regulations related to employment, labor, benefits, and privacy of
- Demonstrate awareness of the institutional impact of employment
practices disputes, claims, and lawsuits as well as knowledge about
the means to mitigate these risks.
- Stay current on proposed and approved legislation, arbitration
decisions, professional literature, and collective bargaining
contracts that impact human resources services.
- Administer responsibilities in accordance with university
objectives, government regulations, and labor contract terms.
- Serve as chief negotiator or partner in labor negotiations for
classified staff labor contracts; provide administration of such
- Oversee resolution of non-discrimination-related personnel
complaints. Meet regularly and develop collaborative relationships
with Human Resources unit leaders and other university offices and
groups to maintain strong human resources services and collegial
- Oversee communication on human resources issues for the
university and communicate personally when needed and
- Operate as data owner of all employee-related data and
- Oversee the department budget of approximately $2 million.
- Perform other duties as assigned.
Core Attitudes and Values
- Unwavering integrity and a firm ethical foundation.
- An appreciation for and comfort with ambiguity.
- Deep compassion and strong interpersonal skills.
- Equity-minded human resources practitioner.
- Genuine commitment to open communication, collaboration, and
Core Skills and Abilities
- Strong change leadership skills and the capacity to function as
an effective change agent.
- Ability to influence at all levels within the university.
- Strong motivational skills.
- Strong negotiation skills.
- Well-versed in optimizing internal processes.
- Skilled in deploying technology to enhance the end user
- Ability to foster a workplace that supports and respects
accessibility, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The AVP will share workforce trends including but not limited
- succession needs and labor-market forces
- labor law and regulatory changes
- technological changes
- employee advocacy
- leadership readiness
- compensation and performance-based pay
- training and individual professional development
- turnover, staffing, and other human resource metrics
It is imperative the AVP serve as a trusted advisor to the
President and senior leadership in matters pertaining to
organizational development, employee relations and satisfaction,
workforce analysis, and talent management. They will need to build
key performance indicators including on-boarding, employee
engagement, retention, accessibility, diversity, equity, and
inclusion to align human resources and enterprise
Opportunities and Expectations for
Recognizing the challenges facing our society, the university
has developed an ambitious strategic plan (Strategic
Plan 2018-2025) to advance inclusive student success,
increase impact in Washington state and beyond, and enhance
academic excellence. To that end, the AVP will bring innovative
solutions to the following areas of opportunity:
Lead efforts to advance the recruitment and
retention of a diverse, talented workforce
The AVP will model and promote a culture where accessibility,
diversity, equity, and inclusion are embedded in university life
and operations. They will help Western adapt to the changing trends
in higher education and actively address evolving workforce needs.
The AVP must be an exceptional developer of talent, motivated by
facilitating the success and flourishing of others. The AVP is
responsible for instilling a value proposition that attracts talent
and adjusts to the labor market to sustain value.
Strengthen excellence and innovation in human
A leader and a partner
Candidates will need to exhibit significant experience leading
in a complex, people-focused human resources organization. The AVP
must be a highly collaborative partner in implementing the
university’s strategic priorities. They should be astute and
skilled, with a genuine ability to gain the respect of
organizational stakeholders. The AVP should have a successful
record of working with a diverse, unionized workforce and the
capacity to work with all the bargaining units in
negotiation/mediation. They should have a demonstrated track-record
of substantive engagement with accessibility, diversity, equity,
and inclusion initiatives.
Change leadership for a modern workforce
The AVP will foster an environment of strategic thinking around
employee engagement and satisfaction, organizational
transformation, talent acquisition and development, and workforce
strategy for the 21st century and through times of accelerating
change. The AVP should be a leader who is undaunted by the
ambiguity inherent in changing times, and someone energized by the
opportunity to envision and implement creative solutions.
Strong commitment to rigorous data analysis
While the AVP is expected to have a high level of emotional
intelligence and consideration for circumstances requiring creative
solutions, the AVP must also consider relevant data analysis in the
human resource decision making process. They will be a
results-driven leader who can assess current systems, resources,
practices, and processes, and develop a vision for a modern and
forward-looking human resources function in a higher education
- Bachelor’s degree and five years of years of progressively
responsible senior level experience in human resources, or
- Proven record of leadership and collaborative skills in
inspiring, leading, supervising, and developing a team of effective
human resources professionals.
- Confirmed strategic leadership proficiency in developing
caring, people-centric human resources policies, procedures,
services, and programs while maintaining and strengthening
relationships with a wide range of internal and external
- Demonstrated ability to affect transformative organizational
change while elevating employee morale.
- Documented record of cultivating an equitable workplace that is
inclusive of faculty, staff, students, and internal and external
stakeholders, with advocacy on behalf of those holding diverse
cultural backgrounds and social identities.
- Comprehensive knowledge of and experience in core human
resources functions, i.e., human resource planning; payroll and
Human Resources Information System (HRIS); compensation and
benefits; recruitment and selection; employee and labor relations,
performance management; health and safety; and, learning and
- Demonstrated awareness of the institutional impact of
employment practices disputes, claims, and lawsuits, as well as
knowledge of how to mitigate such risks.
- Clear evidence of the ability to negotiate and mediate complex
human resources challenges, while ensuring compliance with
applicable regulations and relevant collective bargaining
- Experience working with a unionized workforce.
- Effective communication skills, both written and
- Master’s in Human Resources Management or other graduate
- Specialized professional human resources certification such as
Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI), Certified Labor
Relations Professional (CLRP), or Society for Human Resources
- Experience in governmental civil service systems
- Senior human resource management experience in public higher
Conditions of Employment:
All employees must comply with the University’s Immunization
policies, including COVID
vaccination by time of hire and
Proof of Rubeola Measles Immunity within 60-days of hire.
Please reach out to HR@wwu.eduif
you need information regarding medical or religious exemption and
About the Institution
Western Washington University has over 16,000 students in seven
academic colleges, plus an Honors College and a graduate school. We
are nationally recognized for the quality of our academic programs
and because of our emphasis on social mobility, research, and
public service. The primary campus is in Bellingham, Washington, a
coastal community of 91,000. The city is 90 miles north of Seattle
and 60 miles south of Vancouver, British Columbia. Bellingham is
situated on the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples,
who have lived in the Salish Sea basin, throughout the San Juan
Islands and the North Cascades watershed, from time immemorial.
Living in the Area
With a population of 90,000, Bellingham is a welcoming and safe
community offering the advantages of a larger city and the charm of
a coastal town. Western students call Bellingham an adventure, a
breath of fresh air, and a great place to call home. A vibrant
downtown, thriving arts and music scenes, and an easy drive to
Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. all make Bellingham an ideal college
town. There's a lot to do in Bellingham all year round, but town
comes alive during the summer for Downtown Sounds. These weekly
summer block parties feature concerts and a laid-back festival
atmosphere. It's the perfect place to dance, snack, and hang out
Ranked #1 in Sunset magazine's top ten Farmers' Markets in the
West, this colorful, aromatic, music-filled festival is a beloved
destination for students and lifelong residents alike. Take a
Saturday morning walk to the Depot Market Square in
downtown Bellingham for fresh produce, local food, live music and
crafts, from screen-printed hoodies to pottery.
Whether you're a bike rider, bus rider, or a pedestrian,
Bellingham offers an outdoor lovers paradise. From epic snow days
at Mount Baker to beautiful sunsets on the beach, Bellingham is an
adventurer's dream town. Western was recently ranked third out of
the ten best colleges for people who love the great outdoors
by MONEY Magazine.
2022 Benefits Overview for Administrative Professional
For best consideration, please apply by
To be viewed by the search firm, you must apply directly
Please do not email applications.
Applications will be reviewed as they are received and should
include a CV and cover letter.
Western’s strategic plan places Access, Diversity, Equity and
Inclusion (ADEI) as a core value and a core goal of the
institution. Candidates advanced to initial video interviews will
be required to provide a diversity statement addressing what role
the AVP has in advancing ADEI as well as sharing an example of how
your work has advanced ADEI at a previous institution or
All applications are treated confidentially. Inquiries,
referrals, and nominations are treated confidentially:
Inquiries and questions: Please send to
Nominations and referrals: Please send to
Western Washington University (WWU) is an equal
opportunity and affirmative action employer committed to assembling
a diverse, broadly trained faculty and staff. Women, minorities,
people with disabilities and veterans are strongly encouraged to
apply. In compliance with applicable laws and in furtherance of its
commitment to fostering an environment that welcomes and embraces
diversity, WWU does not discriminate on the basis of race, color,
creed, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and
parenting status), disability, age, veteran status, sexual
orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status or
genetic information in its programs or activities, including
employment, admissions, and educational programs. See WWU’s Policy
Ensuring Equal Opportunity and Prohibiting
Discrimination and Retaliation.
Inquiries may be directed to the Office of Civil Rights and Title
IX Compliance, Title IX and ADA Coordinator, Western Washington
University, Old Main 345 (MS 9021), 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA
98225; 360.650.3307 (voice) or 711 (Washington
WWU is committed to providing reasonable
accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon
request. To request this document in an alternate format or to
request an accommodation, please contact
Human Resources Disability
Services, 360.650.3774 or 711
Please also see WWU’s Annual
Security and Fire Safety Reportwhich
is provided pursuant to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus
Security and Campus Crime Statistics
All new employees must comply with the immunization
policy and show employment eligibility verification as required by
the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service before beginning work at
WWU. A thorough background check, including a
sexual misconduct background
check, will be conducted on all new
hires and rehires.