Chief of Staff

Grand Forks, North Dakota (US)
Oct 20, 2020
Job Type


This position serves as a key advisor to the President, providing counsel on strategic and operational issues. The Chief of Staff leads strategic planning efforts, manages projects, and coordinates with the other members of the Executive Council. This position supports presidential outreach and communication across the campus, in the local community, with the ND University System/State Board of Higher Education, and with legislators, by maintaining connections and cultivating relationships. Reporting to the President, the Chief of Staff provides oversight and supervision to three members of the office staff.

Duties & Responsibilities

Advisor to the President

  • Provides support to the President, with the primary goal of implementing the UND vision and mission and Presidential priorities.
  • Works collaboratively with, and be a resource for, the Executive Council and UND leaders.
  • Counsels the President, provides a sounding board, advises on sensitive matters, and ensures the President has all information necessary to make informed decisions.
  • Convenes and sets the agenda for the Executive Council meetings in consultation with the President.
  • Provides guidance to the President on applicable laws, regulations, policies and procedures, based on legal advice provided by the designated Assistant Attorney General(s).
  • Understands and interprets SBHE, NDUS, and UND policies and procedures to ensure compliance and to guide decisions.

Strategic Planning

  • Participates with the President and senior leaders on institutional planning, policy development, and problem resolution.
  • Coordinates the revision, implementation, and assessment of the One UND strategic plan, working with goal leaders to drive progress.
  • Serves as a liaison to NDUS on strategic plan updates and alignment with system-wide strategic goals.
  • Assists in developing legislative priorities across university divisions and business units.
  • Works to ensure alignment between administrative leaders and with the President by examining, recommending, and implementing processes, systems, and communications between the President’s Office and the senior leadership team.

Project Manager

  • Supports projects and initiatives of the President and the Executive Council. Ensure those essential projects and initiatives stay on track and move forward as planned. Scope, plan, and execute multiple, often quick-turnaround projects.
  • Works with campus leadership to oversee complex, high-priority projects with responsibility for outcomes.
  • Reviews, researches, and summarizes a variety of information/data and prepares related reports and communications.
  • Presents ideas for special projects that might facilitate the President’s/senior leadership’s objectives.
  • Serves as the focal point for internal and external tasks assigned to members of the Executive Council.
  • Tracks action items from and responses to the Chancellor, NDUS staff, SBHE members, legislators, and the Governor’s Office.
  • Serves on select search committees.
  • Participates in Emergency Operations and natural disaster responses.

Outreach and Communications

  • Works with the Vice President for Marketing and Communications to develop a communications strategy for the President and members of the Executive Council.
  • Represents the President at internal and external events and meetings.
  • Maintains active connections with students, faculty, and staff.
  • Orchestrates content and data collection for key communications, including speeches and institutional reports.
  • Works with the UND Alumni Association and Foundation to connect UND’s strategic needs and Presidential priorities with philanthropic goals and alumni support.
  • Works to align additional 501I(3) foundations with the UND mission and vision. These include the UND Aerospace Foundation, the UND Center for Innovation Foundation, the EERC Foundation, and the UND Fellows.
  • Cultivates relationships with city, state, and national leaders.

Oversight of Internal Office Operations

  • Leads and manages the staff of the Office of the President to make the most efficient and effective use of the President’s time. This includes oversight of calendar, travel, briefings, State Board of Higher Education strategy, internal meetings, coordination with Marketing and Communications, and other related areas.
  • Supervises the Events Coordinator/Administrative Support, the Executive Assistant to the President, and the Assistant to the Chief of Staff. Ensure smooth operation of the Office of the President and its support to members of the Executive Council and the campus community.

Required Competencies

  • Where appropriate and required by circumstance, serves as a spokesperson for the University of North Dakota
  • Ability to respond to complex problems, issues, and situations that require the use of knowledge of existing processes / procedures / precedents, sound judgment, creativity, resourcefulness, adaptability and flexibility
  • Ability to establish effective relationships and interaction with key internal and external stakeholders
  • Ability to communicate effectively verbally or written
  • Excellent communication skills with the proven ability to educate and build trust across a wide variety of constituencies
  • Ability to be an active listener who can learn from the broad range of constituencies and interact productively in the exchange of ideas
  • Demonstrated skills in supporting and coordinating the creation of written communications, presentations, talking points and other similar materials
  • Demonstrated ability to handle complicated issues with tact and diplomacy while exercising discretion and maintaining confidentiality
  • Demonstrated ability to work independent of direct supervision and take initiative without specific instructions
  • Demonstrated commitment to work within a diverse environment and interact openly with individuals of different backgrounds
  • Demonstrated ability to interpret institutional policies, plans, objectives, rules and regulations, and to communicate the interpretation to others
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively, lead, organize, and prioritize in a complex and dynamic setting

Minimum Requirements

  • Bachelor's Degree and a minimum of ten (10) years of relevant experience, OR PhD, JD or equivalent terminal degree and a minimum of four (4) years of relevant experience
  • Experience managing multiple projects with strict deadlines
  • Expereince analyzing data to synthesize quantitative information to assist with decision making
  • Successful completion of criminal history records check

In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the US and to complete the required employment eligibility verification form upon hire.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience in higher education
  • Experience as a chief of staff either in higher education, private or public/NGO sector
  • Experience working in a comprehensive research university with an emphasis on the liberal arts
  • Significant experience in one or more of the following: strategic planning, strategic communication, legislative affairs, major project management, educational leadership, and/or C-level leadership

Minimum Hiring Salary/Position Classification

Salary for this position will be commensurate with experience and qualifications.

This position is full-time, benefited, and exempt from overtime.

Work Schedule/Start Date

The work schedule is Monday-Friday 8:00 am - 4:30 pm with additional evening and weekend hours when necessary.

The expected start date is January 4, 2021.


Includes single or family health care coverage (premiums paid for by the university), basic life insurance, EAP, retirement plan, tuition waiver, annual and sick leave. Optional benefits available: supplemental life, dental, vision, flexible spending account, supplemental retirement plans.

To Apply

Application reviews begin November 15, 2020. The position will be open until filled. For full consideration, please submit the following prior to November 15 through Recruiting Solutions:

  • Cover letter describing how you meet the duties and responsibilities of this position
  • Current CV or Resume
  • List of 3-5 references, including name, contact information and relationship


Additional Information

To find out why living and working in Greater Grand Forks is way cooler, check out Grand Forks is Cooler.

All information listed in this position announcement will be used by Human Resources, the Hiring Department, and EO/Title IX for screening, interviewing and selection purposes.

Confidentiality of Application Materials

Pursuant to NDCC 44-04-18.27, applications and any records related to the applications that identify an applicant are confidential, except records related to the finalists of the position, which are open to the public after the search committee has identified the top three finalists who will be invited to campus.

EEO Statement

The University of North Dakota is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or other protected characteristic. Women, minorities, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and members of other underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply. Applicants are invited to provide information regarding their gender, race and/or ethnicity, veteran’s status and disability status as part of the application process. This information will remain confidential and separate from your application.

Veteran’s Preference

Veterans claiming preference must submit all proof of eligibility by the closing date. Proof of eligibility includes a DD-214 or NGB 22 and if claiming disabled status, a current letter of disability from the VA dated within the last 12 months.

Clery Statement

In compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, the University of North Dakota publishes an Annual Security and Fire Safety Report. The report includes the university’s policies, procedures, and programs concerning safety and security, as well as three years’ of crime statistics for our campus. As a prospective employee, you are entitled to a copy of this report. The report and statistical data can be found online at You may also request a paper copy of the report from the UND Police Department located at 3851 Campus Road, Grand Forks, ND, 58202.

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