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Association of Public & Land-grant Universities
Office of Academic Affairs
District Of Columbia
Posted: 08/22/2018
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer

Title: Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer

Location: Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), Washington, DC

Supervisor: President, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)

Deadline to Apply: Applications will be reviewed as submitted

Start Date: January 1, 2019


The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) is seeking nominations and applicants for the position of Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer. This position reports to the President of APLU.

Senior Vice President (SVP) and Chief Academic Officer (CAO): APLU seeks a senior university administrator with experience in academic affairs and knowledge of activities and the scope of duties of a provost at an APLU research university. The CAO will contribute thought leadership in how federal policies affect public universities, the evolving role of a national higher education association in assisting member institutions to respond to changing societal needs, and the development of APLU program strategy and agenda. The incumbent will also serve as the principal organizer and coordinator of the activities of the Council on Academic Affairs, the APLU group that brings together provosts from member institutions. S/he will serve as an APLU liaison with other higher education associations and national organizations that influence federal policies and laws affecting academic pursuits and purposes. The incumbent will provide expertise concerning implementation and effectiveness of new and existing programs at academic institutions in support of various APLU initiatives. S/he will promote initiatives and collaborations to improve degree completion and to enhance digital learning.

About APLU

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) is a research, policy, and advocacy organization representing 237 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations. Founded in 1887, APLU is North America's oldest higher education association with member institutions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, Canada, and Mexico. Annually, member campuses enroll 4.7 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.2 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct $42.7 billion in university-based research.

APLU is dedicated to excellence in learning, discovery and engagement. The association’s mission is to support high-quality public higher education and its member institutions as they perform their teaching, research, and public engagement and service roles. APLU provides a forum for the discussion and development of policies affecting higher education and the public interest. It is collaboratively engaged in a wide range of grant-funded projects with its member institutions, and proposes through the new Center for Public University Transformation, to bring together and expand initiatives in support of student success.

Types of Candidates

We expect the candidate to come from the ranks of current or recently retired provosts, or senior-level associate provosts.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • A Ph.D.
  • Ten years of academic experience comparable to that of a tenure-track faculty member in a research university.
  • Experience as a provost or senior administrator in the provost’s office of an APLU member university (e.g. vice provost, associate provost, or equivalent).
  • Experience in transformative changes in a university context.
  • Accomplishments in higher education policy, development, and implementation, as well as publications in the candidate’s field.
  • Substantial fundraising experience with a record of securing grants.
  • Expertise in institutional or organizational change.
  • Understand the importance of data and data analysis in university decision making.
  • Existing relationships with some key stakeholders in higher education.
  • Ability to innovate, both in ideas and implementation.
  • Collaborative leadership style and ability to serve as a unifying force for change.
  • Strong understanding of the determinants of student success and current challenges in the higher education landscape.
  • Excellent persuasive written and oral communication skills.
  • Willingness and ability for some travel.

Duties and Responsibilities include the following:

  • Keep abreast of trends in higher education, such as: student demand for higher education; relations with industry and state and federal governments; university funding models and governance; faculty composition, roles, and rewards; curricular and instructional design and delivery; research and regulations.
  • Provide leadership on academic issues at APLU and across the association and in collaboration with other organizations focused on academic issues. Work to understand the needs of chief academic officers on APLU campuses and help campus leaders understand national issues that may impact their work.
  • Organize and coordinate the activities of the Council on Academic Affairs (CAA) – APLU’s organizing body for provosts at member institutions -- including membership, and succession of leadership of the Executive Committee, the CAA Executive Committee Winter Meeting, CAA Summer Meeting, and the CAA-sponsored sessions at the APLU Annual Meeting.
  • Serve as member of the APLU president’s administrative forum which provides administrative, financial and strategic guidance to the president. Additionally, working with president and forum, review annual objectives and progress of work by all vice presidents and their teams.
  • In cooperation with other APLU leadership, design and organize key broad-audience sessions for the APLU Annual Meeting.
  • Advance degree completion across the association through initiatives to improve student retention and graduation at member institutions, while coordinating with the activities of APLU vice presidents working in related areas. Provide academic perspective and judgment as needed for APLU initiatives in degree completion, institutional transformation, and better use of data in decision-making, etc.
  • Working with the Executive Director of the Personalized Learning Consortium (PLC) (Digital Learning) at APLU, highlight and promote the use of information technology to enhance student learning.
  • As appropriate, serve as an APLU liaison with other higher education associations (e.g. AAU, ARL, ACE, AASCU, AACC) and national organizations (e.g. Educause, Internet2, NILOA) that influence national policies and federal law affecting academic pursuits and purposes.
  • Provide policy analysis and policy recommendations for current and pending federal legislation pertinent to academic matters, such as Higher Education Act reauthorization.
  • Maintain or develop relationships and obtain grants, as appropriate, from private foundations and federal agencies to support APLU initiatives.
  • Oversee review of grant proposals and grant reports from the association staff for quality, coherence, and alignment with overall APLU objectives.
  • Support and participate in APLU’s NSF INCLUDES grant-funded work to assist campuses in improving diversity and inclusion with a special focus on faculty diversity and inclusion.
  • Lead specific projects and task forces in the academic arena as may emerge from the APLU agenda.

The following units report to the CAO:

  • Academic Affairs, which houses Student Affairs and the Digital Learning Initiative.
  • Data and Policy Analysis Office.

There are ten employees in these units with two more likely to be added on expected grants.

In addition, the CAO will provide leadership for the new Center for Public University Transformation and work closely with the Executive Director of the Center and, working with the Executive Director, convene joint meetings of the three units as needed. The Center will work with more than 130 public research universities organized into clusters and two state “system clusters” to increase degree completion, particularly for underserved students.

To Apply

Please send a cover letter and resume along with two writing samples to APLU’s Human Resources Department: with the subject line: “SVP & CAO.” Applications will be reviewed as submitted.

Salary is commensurate with experience. APLU provides a generous benefits package. For more information on APLU, please visit

APLU is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.