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Michigan State University
East Lansing
Website URL:
Posted: 08/23/2022
Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Operations

Michigan State University (MSU) seeks a visionary and collaborative leader with a deep commitment to interdisciplinary research to serve in the newly created role of Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives (AVPRI). Applications, inquiries and nominations are invited.

The Office of Research and Innovation (OR&I) promotes excellence in research at Michigan State University by providing a full range of research support while assuring the safety of researchers and ethical conduct of research, compliance with state and federal regulations, promoting technology transfer and external partnerships, supporting core facilities and implementing university policies for research and creative activities. 

The AVPRI is a leader/advocate in support of the full research agenda of the University. The AVPRI works closely with the VPRI, other Associate Vice Presidents in the leadership team, staff, academic colleges, research institutes and centers, research support facilities and other research units to coordinate investments in people and infrastructure to advance the research mission of the University. This leadership role will help to expand the University’s work as a leading research institution and the premier land grant institution where the faculty and staff create new knowledge and provide leadership to solve problems and create economic opportunities for Michigan, the U.S. and the world.

Primary responsibility for implementing the University’s commitment to research lies with the individual colleges and their departments/schools. The AVPRI supports and enables these efforts within the University in the following ways:

     supporting and advancing research that is inclusive of all fields and disciplines, communities and social identities;

     success through empowering people through our commitment to DEI Initiatives, effective performance feedback and succession planning and leadership development;

     facilitating partnerships and dialogue for research and innovation with partners throughout the University and beyond;

     developing an inclusive vision, plan and strategic goals for research and innovation;

     providing resources and support services to support the work of faculty and staff across the University;

     assisting in securing resources internal and external to MSU to support activities;

     advocating for policy/procedure revisions and organizational changes that will promote research and innovation work;

     publicizing our research vision and the work of faculty, staff and students who exemplify our dedication to research and innovation;

     supporting approaches that involve students in research and innovation to increase impact and enhance the student experience.


The AVPRI is a leader who models respectful and collaborative work with internal and external partners. This individual will facilitate collaborations and partnerships ensuring they can effectively access appropriate MSU resources when applicable. Finally, this individual should be prepared to work with others to ensure that the research enterprise is responsive to community-defined issues and to the needs of underrepresented communities.

The AVPRI reports to Vice President of Research and Innovation Douglas Gage and serves as a member of the OR&I leadership team. The AVPRI will serve as a critical leadership partner with unit leaders across the University, in particular the Research Associate Deans. The AVPRI will be intimately involved in helping to operationalize the University's 2030 Strategic Plan, advancing diversity and equity in all phases of the research mission and facilitating new cross-college and university-level research initiatives. Working with unit leadership and the VPRI, the AVPRI will help manage the OR&I budget along with major university hiring initiatives, such as the Global Impact Initiative. Additionally, the AVPRI will have oversight of university-level research centers and institutes. Other specific duties may be included depending on the skills and interests of the successful candidate.

WittKieffer is assisting Michigan State University in this search. For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by September 26, 2022.

Application materials should be submitted using WittKieffer’s candidate portal.

Nominations and inquiries can be directed to: Jessica Herrington and Natalie Song

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship, age, disability or protected veteran status.