Senior Associate Dean and Chief Operating Officer
Stanford, CA
Expert · Full time
Posted 2 years ago

About Us

Stanford is creating a new school focused on climate and sustainability, the first new school at the university in more than 70 years. Faculty, students, and staff will conduct research, education, and impact-focused activities that are inspired by, or helpful to, humanity’s urgent need to create a future in which humans and nature thrive together in concert and in perpetuity.

The new school will comprise academic departments (building on those in the existing School of Earth as well as other units), institutes (including the Woods Institute for the Environment and the Precourt Institute for Energy), and a sustainability accelerator, which will co-develop and translate policy and technology solutions at scale with external stakeholders. The scope of the new school will exceed that of existing schools in the sense that it will possess not only the superpowers of a school (e.g., hire and promote faculty, admit students, build and own curricula, and grant degrees) but also the superpowers of an institute (foster interdisciplinary intellectual communities and engage with external stakeholders). It will include faculty from the School of Earth, the School of Engineering, and other academic units at Stanford, as well as 60 new faculty. For more information on the new school please click here.  

We seek to hire a senior administrative leader to serve as the Senior Associate Dean (SAD) and chief operating officer (COO) for the new school. The SAD/COO will represent the Dean in operational and financial matters and will serve as chief advisor to the Dean. The person who holds this position will be the principal steward of the school’s financial, human, and physical resources, responsible for administrative and financial management including financial operations, budget and financial planning, facilities planning and management, human resources, information technology and security, faculty affairs, research administration, and health and safety. The responsibilities of the SAD/COO in the new school will differ from their counterparts in existing schools in the sense that they will oversee staff working on a broad spectrum of external affairs. This will include working closely with external technologists to better understand the market requirements for sustainability-related technologies and to transfer new technologies into the commercial sector at scale, or working with policy makers and resource managers that are co-producing solutions to environmental problems and to devise new policies based on those solutions.

Your responsibilities will include*:


  • Provide broad strategic leadership and steer direction for all operational and financial functions.
  • Lead, engage, and support staff to achieve the new school’s goals and objectives.
  • Cultivate strong collaborative relationships with faculty, university leadership, and staff.
  • Foster a positive work culture, develop strong teams, and strengthen morale.


  • Serve as a key contributor in strategic planning to advance the mission of the new school.
  • Oversee the Departments of Human Resources, Finance and Administration, Facilities Planning and Management, Health and Safety, and Information Technology.
  • Plan and manage financial strategy. Oversee consolidated budget and reporting.
  • Preserve and enhance financial assets. Oversee the consolidated budget, capital plan, annual capital budget, fund application, expenditures and compliance. Manage the allocation of reserves and endowment. Creative an environment that supports the new school’s efforts to secure external funding from federal agencies, foundations, industry, and other sources.
  • Oversee facilities planning and management, including school-related construction and renovation (Stanford intends to construct a new campus for the new school within 5 years.)
  • Oversee finances for all service centers, university-wide institutes, and a sustainability accelerator. Oversee the management of smaller units such as core facilities, multidisciplinary research programs, interdepartmental programs, and other interdepartmental or interschool entities as they may develop. Oversee collaboratively the management of all other academic and administrative departments. Ensure that shared research platforms, including instrumentation and data, operate successfully and satisfy academic needs.
  • Resolve complex management and operational issues and implement internal policies.


  • Execute on strategic goals and objectives.
  • Identify solutions and design best practices to increase workflow effectiveness.
  • Build infrastructural services, tools, and processes to support a growing organization.
  • In conjunction with the Dean, oversee faculty billets, faculty compensation, and related issues, possibly including faculty recruitment and retention.
  • Oversee the university’s programs on classification, salary, performance management, employment, staff training and advancement, and diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Ensure compliance with University guidelines and policies, as well as federal, state, and local laws and regulations that govern research administration. Enhance those guidelines and policies when necessary.
  • Institute guidelines and policies conducive to impact-driven research.  
  • Ensure compliance with federal, state, and local regulations governing health and safety.
  • Direct resource planning and implementation for facilities and information technology. Ensure that the new school meets its needs for computing, technology, and data security in a rapidly changing modern world.
  • Serve as the school's primary voice in university-level forums. Work closely with senior officers from across the institution to develop university policies, procedures, and systems.
  • Ensure a safe environment for faculty, staff, students, and visitors.

*The job duties listed are typical examples of work performed by positions in this job classification and are not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, tasks, and responsibilities. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary depending on department or program needs without changing the general nature and scope of the job or level of responsibility. Employees may also perform other duties as assigned.

To be successful in this position you will need:


Education & Experience:

  • Bachelor's degree and ten years of relevant experience in administrative and financial management or combination of education and relevant experience.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Demonstrated strategic leadership, planning, organizational management, change management, and process improvement skills.
  • Ability to demonstrate a high level of diplomacy in persuading and influencing a wide variety of people at various levels to achieve results in a collaborative decision-making environment.
  • Excellent strategic planning skills.
  • Excellent communication skills. Ability to influence people, solve problems, troubleshoot, think creatively, and resolve conflicts. Outstanding writing skills: ability to create compelling and widely read budget requests, funding agreements, and policy documents.
  • Advanced financial expertise in accounting, budget planning, and financial forecasting.
  • Advanced expertise in grants and contract administration.
  • Exceptional negotiation and conflict resolution skills, effective interpersonal skills, and political acumen.
  • Attention to detail and accuracy.
  • Expert analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Subject matter expertise for areas(s) of responsibility.
  • Excellent organizational skills and ability to multi-task and manage deadlines.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to cultivate strong, collaborative, trusting relationships with faculty and to anticipate faculty needs.

In addition, our preferred requirement include:

  • Ten years of experience working at a senior level in a university. Experience working on one of the seven schools at Stanford with a demonstrated history of strong leadership and management.

How to Apply

We invite you to apply for this position by clicking on the “Apply for Job” button. To be considered, you must submit a cover letter and résumé along with your online application.

Stanford University
Stanford University is a teaching and research university that focuses on graduate programs in law, medicine, education, and business.
Size:  10,000+ employees
Year Founded:  1885
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