Job Posting

Vice President, Secretary of the Corporation and Chief of Staff, Tulane University

June 27, 2018
Location: New Orleans, LA

Founded in 1834 in New Orleans, Tulane University is one of the nation’s most respected educational and research institutions. Tulane stands apart from its competitors. Its beautiful campus is located in one of the most culturally diverse and environmentally significant regions in the world. As a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU) and a Carnegie R1 research institution, the university generated $140 million in research grant support last year alone. It is also the only research university that requires a public service component as part of its undergraduate curriculum.

Tulane is the largest employer in New Orleans with over 4,400 employees. The University is dedicated to attracting and retaining the very best faculty, staff and students as it advances its position as one of the world’s preeminent educational and research institutions.

With 10 schools and almost 14,000 students, Tulane has a rich selection of academic fields for students to explore and a tight-knit setting that invites lively exchanges between people with different backgrounds and interests. This intellectual diversity and engaging environment of Tulane – in its academics, extracurricular pursuits and social life – create an ideal setting for cultivating leaders with the kind of deep understanding needed in an interconnected, 21st century world.

Tulane is seizing these well-ingrained strengths and building on them to become a leader in higher education for its interdisciplinary, innovation-minded approach. Since the arrival of President Michael A. Fitts in July 2014, the university has embraced a new direction from a strong leadership team that has successfully implemented a strategic plan, brought financial health to the university, executed a comprehensive branding initiative, and launched the most ambitious fundraising endeavor in the University’s 184 years with a goal of raising $1.3 billion.  Campaign went public in December 2017, and Tulane has since raised over $913 million to fund university operations, with 14 percent of that allocated to its capital projects. The funds from the campaign will boost the university’s pioneering research; increase scholarships and financial aid to attract the best students from across the globe; recruit and retain the world’s best faculty and build a student experience that emphasizes innovation, firsthand research experiences and learning through civic engagement.

The Board of Tulane announced a new contractual agreement with President Mike A. Fitts that will run through the academic year ending June 30, 2023, citing his transformative leadership and a host of achievements that have dramatically increased Tulane University’s national ranking and reputation.

Position Overview

The Vice President, Secretary of the Corporation and Chief of Staff (the COS) will join the President’s Cabinet at an ideal time to make a personal and lasting impact on the University’s future. As Secretary of the Corporation, the COS is an officer of The Administrators of the Tulane Educational Fund.  In this role, the COS is responsible for the bylaws and working with the Board in its governance reviews.   She/he plans, coordinates and oversees the organization of the activities of the Board of Administrators for Tulane. The COS works with the President to plan each board meeting and the strategy of how best to engage trustees in the work of the University.  The COS also works with each senior officer to coordinate their presentations and agendas for the board committee meetings.    The Board Office responsible for keeping all official Board records and the corporate seal of the University report to the COS.

The COS works with the President to strategize about his goals and policy, and to ensure implementation of his vision. The COS creates and implements the communications strategy for the President, for both internal and external constituencies. She/he provides assistance and outreach to key stakeholders, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, members of the community and others. The COS anticipates and manages priorities for the President and coordinates university-wide events. The COS functions as the point person on behalf of the President for crisis management.  The COS is responsible for executive oversight and management of the operations of the President’s Office, including budgets, personnel and the workflow.  She/he works closely with the President, members of the President’s Cabinet and University leadership to ensure the President’s success.

The COS, on behalf of the President, will take on specific responsibilities related to current and future presidential initiatives, including serving on, chairing, or staffing presidential committees and commissions.

Essential Duties:

  • Serve as an Officer of the Corporation and oversee the Office of the Board keeping all official Board records and the corporate seal of the University.
  • Plan and coordinate all Board activity and Board governance.
  • Lead University strategic initiatives and handle a wide range of matters of institutional importance on behalf of the President.
  • Provide strategic advice to the President.
  • Create and implement President’s communications strategies with students, faculty, alumni, the Board, donors and the local community.
  • Oversee all operations of the President’s Office, including management of staff, budgets, administration, policies, and procedures.
  • Provide coordination and oversight in the development of defined core initiatives for the President’s Office.
  • Represent the President and the university to the external community, as appropriate.
  • Monitor emergency preparedness for the President, from hurricanes to active shooters.
  • Coordinate crisis management in response to campus emergencies, including crimes against students, suicides, student protests and weather events.

 Specific Responsibilities:

  • Advise the President and serve as a trusted thought partner on policy, organizational and sequencing issues.
  • Provide strategic advice.
  • Interact with administrators, faculty and professional staff to facilitate communication between the President and all campus constituencies.
  • Create and implement President’s communications strategy, from speeches to social media.
  • Plan, coordinate and organize the activities of the Board as established by the President.
  • Create strategy for the engagement of the Board with university governance.
  • Work with the leadership of each board or committee to establish agendas, oversee the planning of meetings, and prepare and assess background materials.
  • Oversee the Office of the Board for all logistical matters and maintenance of official board and committee records.
  • Coordinate Board governance review and maintain Board bylaws.
  • Proactively manage university’s reputation and relationship with the external community.
  • Communicate on behalf of the President with local and regional officials and agencies.
  • Oversee the President’s Office response to daily requests for President’s assistance in handling inquiries, correspondence, complaints, and human resource matters, or gather appropriate background information for President to make a decision.
  • Conflict resolution.
  • Respond to and meet with a broad range of internal and external individuals and groups, frequently related to matters of immediate concern.
  • Ensure compliance with university policies and procedures so that appropriate decision-making protocols are followed.
  • Oversee and manage the President’s priorities, with special emphasis on those that risk falling between organizational lines.
  • Take on specific responsibilities related to current and future presidential initiatives, including serving on, chairing, or staffing presidential committees and commissions.
  • Coordinate and monitor special initiatives established by the President to ensure timely and successful completion by all staff and administrators.
  • Seek and verify accurate information for the President on issues of importance and sensitivity.
  • Coordinate Cabinet meetings and retreats to maximize the Cabinet’s effectiveness as a deliberative body.
  • Coordinate Administrative Council meetings for key academic and administrative leaders who serve in an advisory capacity to the President and cabinet. Provide a forum for the exchange of information among the university’s senior leadership on important institutional issues, policies and strategies.
  • Manage President’s staff in producing briefing materials and information on all significant matters that require the President’s attention.
  • Create strategy for the use of the President’s event budget, and manage events staff.
  • Serve as the President’s representative on campus committees or to outside organizations as the President may direct.
  • Prepare and manage the budget for the President’s Office.
  • Make decisions related to the following: operation and management of the President’s Office; issues that reach the President’s Office related to students, faculty, or staff; issues arising through external inquiries; handling of crises, sensitive issues, confidential matters; planning, budgeting, carrying out a variety of short-term and long-term projects; and day-to-day problem solving.

Critical Qualifications/Skills:

  • BA/BS degree and advanced degree in business, higher education or a related field is preferred.
  • Broad experience with higher education, public policy, and/or healthcare.
  • Extensive experience and relationships with government valuable but not required.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills, highly intuitive, connector.
  • Ability to interact and influence at the most senior levels of an organization and to work collaboratively across functions, levels and departments toward shared objectives
  • Sound management skills, ability to think strategically while balancing several complex agendas.
  • A clear record of exceptional writing and editorial experience along with experience in strategic, tactical and crisis communication.
  • Adaptability, flexibility and diplomacy.
  • Ability to function independently, prioritize work, and manage multiple and competing priorities while meeting deadlines.
  • Broad knowledge and understanding of university policies and procedures is desired.
  • Solid understanding of budget preparation and fiscal management.
  • Sense of humor is essential.


  • Competitive salary and benefits package.


  • Occasional travel.

Tulane University is an EEO/AA/ADA/Veterans employer.