Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) seeks an outstanding leader and manager to serve as Executive Dean. The Executive Dean is the chief administrative officer of HKS and reports to the Dean. The Executive Dean oversees HKS's financial operations, facilities, human resources, information technology, communications, library, research administration, security, and executive education. Those activities involve more than 160 staff members and are critical to the ability of HKS to advance its mission of improving public policy and public leadership around the world. Additionally, the Executive Dean coordinates closely with the leadership of HKS's twelve research centers to ensure effective support and administration for their activities.
We seek an experienced manager of organizations and strategy, who is a skilled and creative problem solver. The successful candidate is passionate about operations and making a mission driven institution – and its people – thrive. We are committed to enhancing diversity, inclusion, and belonging so that members of the community connect across their differences and benefit from their diverse experiences and perspectives; we seek candidates who share our values and commitment.
Working collaboratively with the Dean and other senior members of HKS's leadership, the Executive Dean is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the administration of HKS and for executing that direction to the highest standard. Specifically, the Executive Dean:
Oversees the financial management of HKS, ensuring that HKS uses resources efficiently, keeps a strong financial position, and makes strategic investments in people, projects, technology and facilities;
Guides significant capital projects, smaller enhancements in facilities, regular maintenance, security strategies, and the usage of HKS's facilities so that HKS maintains a first-rate physical plant and manages it effectively;
Oversees HKS's human resources strategy and management including recruiting, compensation, training, employee relations, engagement, and flexible work.
Oversees HKS's information technology strategy, ensuring that faculty, students, and staff have access to hardware, software, and services that are modern, powerful, flexible, robust, secure and straightforward to use;
Guides HKS's library and research services to effectively support the work of the faculty, students, fellows, and staff including data acquisition and publication support.
Oversees administrative aspects of research administration, such as adhering to sponsored research policies;
Guides the school's communications and public affairs activities, including external and internal communications and media relations;
Oversees HKS's executive education program to ensure that faculty and staff work effectively together and deliver the best possible learning experience for students;
Works closely with leadership of the research centers to support their activities, identify and address common areas of opportunity, and ensure effective administration consistent with Harvard and HKS policies;
Serves on the Dean's senior leadership team and collaborates with the Dean, Academic Deans, and other senior leaders of HKS in directing and coordinating the activities of staff, faculty, and students so that HKS advances its mission as effectively as possible;
Acts as a liaison to administrators across Harvard University, including the central administration, other schools, and affiliated institutions. Serves on University committees as requested.
Bachelor's Degree and at least 10 years of experience in senior management roles of increasing responsibility and complexity.
Additional Qualifications and Skills
Excellent management skills, including significant experience in developing strategies, effectively implementing programs and initiatives, directing and mentoring staff across disparate functional areas, a creative and proactive approach to problem solving, and the ability to mobilize and motivate a team and organization around shared goals.
Experience with budgeting and financial operations, facilities investments and maintenance, human resources, and information technology management.
Commitment to enhancing diversity, inclusion, and belonging so that members of the community connect across their differences and benefit from their diverse experiences and perspectives.
Ability to resolve crisis situations under pressure.
Solid understanding of the environment, practices, and values of a research university.
Commitment to HKS's mission of improving public policy and public leadership.
Ability to work both independently and collaboratively with faculty and staff colleagues at all levels in a decentralized institution.
Strong skills in public speaking and written communication.
The ideal candidate will be an accomplished operations leader with executive experience in the private, public, and/or nonprofit sectors. In addition, they will have a track record that includes:
Senior Finance and Operations Experience Ten plus years of experience in senior management roles of increasing responsibility and complexity. Complex Leadership Experience Experience managing relationships across a complex organization where building and influencing partnerships and alliances with many stakeholders is required. Experience leading senior-level leaders across a variety of functions. Strategic Thinker Experience serving as a strategic partner and advisor to a leadership team. Demonstrated experience seeing the broad implications – financial, operational and people – of institutional decisions, both in the short and long-term, particularly in an academic environment. Leading a Talented Team Experience as an effective manager with the confidence to delegate, empower and mentor a talented team, including best-in-class professional development opportunities for staff. Collaboration in an Academic Setting Appreciation for the values of an academic setting, and experience with (or commitment to building skills of) collaboration with faculty members. Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Demonstrated commitment to supporting an environment where diversity, inclusion, belonging and equity are key principles. Analytical Acumen Data-driven; strong analytical skills and systems thinker. Mission-Orientation Desire to be part of an organization with public service at its core. Strong Credentials Academic credentials, preferably including an M.B.A. or related graduate degree.
THE SEARCH PROCESS Harvard Kennedy School has retained Spencer Stuart to support the Executive Dean search. If you wish to submit your own application materials or nominate someone to serve as the next Executive Dean, please send an e-mail message with supporting materials to HKSExecDean@SpencerStuart.com.
Critical Leadership Capabilities
Collaborating and Influencing In a school with highly engaged faculty, administrators and students, the next Executive Dean will:
Bring a collaborative and consultative leadership and problem-solving style; build relationships with faculty, administrators, students and proactively solicit others' views and advice on key decisions;
Possess a deft touch and style; build effective coalitions within the School and across the University to gain input and support for the Dean's agenda and the School;
Achieve trusted-colleague and advisor status with academic and administrative leaders across HKS; and
Be accessible and responsive and serve others through collaborative problem-solving and openness to new ideas.
Leading People With a keen focus on the mission of HKS, the Executive Dean will:
Serve as a strong partner, trusted adviser, and enthusiastic leader who inspires and positively motivates others into action in support of Dean Elmendorf and the HKS agenda;
Attract, develop, empower, and mentor a strong team of diverse and talented leaders. Set high standards, assess performance, and excellence;
Model respect and partnership across all levels of the organization by seeking, including and embracing different thinking styles, cultures and backgrounds. Operate with clarity, appropriate transparency, and diplomacy; and
Maintain a collegial, solution-oriented and proactive work environment.
Driving Results As one of the executive leaders within Harvard Kennedy School, the next leader will:
Partner closely with Dean Elmendorf and his leadership team on translating strategic initiatives to actionable items, understanding and modeling the possibilities, as well as the consequences of operational decisions;
Bring a proven ability to optimize overall organizational performance. Think creatively and strategically about how to improve operational systems, drive efficiency and effectiveness while supporting the HKS mission, encouraging innovation and growth;
Set and communicate specific, compelling goals and priorities for improvement and incorporate accountability in all efforts; and
Bring a collaborative and consultative leadership style, communicating consistently and effectively to educate a wide range of constituencies regarding HKS' financial and operational strategies and initiatives.
We regret that the Harvard Kennedy School does not provide Visa Sponsorship. Harvard University requires pre-employment references and background checks. Harvard University is committed to supporting a healthy, sustainable learning and working environment.
The health of our workforce is a priority for Harvard University. With that in mind, we strongly encourage all employees to be up-to-date on CDC-recommended vaccines.
This is a hybrid position based on our campus in Cambridge, MA. As a campus-based institution, we place a high value on the in-person experience, cross-team collaboration, and strong community building in order to create a vibrant campus for our students, faculty, staff, and research fellows. The position is required to work in-person on campus a minimum of four days per week during the academic year. Specific days and schedule will be determined between you and your manager.
Paid Time Off: 4 weeks of accrued vacation time per year, 12 accrued sick days per year, 12.5 holidays plus a Winter Recess in December/January, 3 personal days per year (prorated based on date of hire), and up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents who are primary care givers.
Health and Welfare: Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision benefits, disability and life insurance programs, along with voluntary benefits. Most coverage begins as of your start date.
Work/Life and Wellness: Child and elder/adult care resources including on campus childcare centers, Employee Assistance Program, and wellness programs related to stress management, nutrition, meditation, and more.
Retirement: University-funded retirement plan with contributions from 5% to 15% of eligible compensation, based on age and earnings with full vesting after 3 years of service.
Tuition Assistance Program: Competitive program including $40 per class at the Harvard Extension School and reduced tuition through other participating Harvard graduate schools.
Tuition Reimbursement: Program that provides 75% to 90% reimbursement up to $5,250 per calendar year for eligible courses taken at other accredited institutions.
Professional Development: Programs and classes at little or no cost, including through the Harvard Center for Workplace Development and LinkedIn Learning.
Commuting and Transportation: Various commuter options handled through the Parking Office, including discounted parking, half-priced public transportation passes and pre-tax transit passes, biking benefits, and more.
Harvard Facilities Access, Discounts and Perks: Access to Harvard athletic and fitness facilities, libraries, campus events, credit union, and more, as well as discounts to various types of services (legal, financial, etc.) and cultural and leisure activities throughout metro-Boston.
Hybrid (partially on-site, partially remote)
Commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Harvard Kennedy School's Mission and Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Anti-Racism
At Harvard Kennedy School, fostering a diverse and inclusive community where everyone feels they belong is a matter of basic fairness consistent with our core values as an institution. It is also essential to our mission of improving public policy and leadership—because recruiting the best people and creating an environment where they can thrive make us better at what we do, because we learn more from people with different perspectives, and because we work in diverse groups and serve diverse societies.
EEO Statement We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, or any other characteristic protected by law.
Harvard University is devoted to excellence in teaching, learning, and research, and to developing leaders in many disciplines who make a difference globally. The University, which is based in Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts, has an enrollment of over 20,000 degree candidates, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Harvard has more than 360,000 alumni around the world. The University has twelve degree-granting Schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, offering a truly global education. Established in 1636, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States.