AVP of Human Resources

AVP of Human Resources

Mount Holyoke College

South Hadley, MA   |   July 13, 2021

Mount Holyoke College is seeking an Associate Vice President for Human Resources (AVP) who will play the key role in continuing, developing, and implementing strategies and initiatives that advance Mount Holyoke’s efforts to be an organization that is fueled by a skilled workforce, and a diverse, vibrant, and inclusive culture.

This is an exciting opportunity to work in close partnership with the President, Senior Leadership Team, HR team, faculty, staff, and students on campus to develop and implement a bold vision for Mount Holyoke as an organization that attracts top talent, ensures they are highly engaged in the mission of educating students, develops them in their careers, and maximizes their contributions.

About Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke College is a world-renowned women’s college that is gender diverse. Since 1837, it has built and fortified a spirited, engaged and intellectually adventurous community, taught by an innovative faculty dedicated to their students and passionate about their disciplines. The first and oldest of the Seven Sisters Colleges, Mount Holyoke prepares students with the skills necessary to become confident leaders in a rapidly changing world. Mount Holyoke is ranked consistently as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country by U.S. News & World Report, and its students go on to make a difference across a wide variety of professional and civic endeavors.

For more information on Mount Holyoke College, please visit website.

Strategic Plan

The College’s current strategic plan was developed in 2016 and is scheduled to be accomplished by 2023. To date, many of the objectives have been completed, and of particular note for employees have been critical achievements as the result of establishing the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Division, investing in employee development and training, and navigating a complex employee relations and staffing environment as the result of the pandemic.

Demographic Profile

Mount Holyoke has a rich tradition of enrolling an unusually diverse student body. Among its pre-pandemic enrollment of 2,200 students (a similar enrollment is expected in the coming academic year), 24% identified as students of color (U.S. citizens) and 27% were international students, making Mount Holyoke among the most diverse liberal arts colleges in the United States. Each year, students typically hail from 45 states and 84 countries. Approximately 17% of students represent the first generation in their families to attend college and 80% of incoming first-year students in 2019 were in the top 20% of their high school classes.

Financial Aid

Thanks to ongoing and generous support from alums, parents, and friends—both to expendable funds and the endowment—Mount Holyoke’s superior experience is available to students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. On average, Mount Holyoke meets 100% of the financial needs of its students through financial aid. In 2018-19, 60% of students received need-based aid, with the average financial aid package totaling $34,470 (of which $33,100 was Mount Holyoke grant aid). A total of $56 million in financial aid was awarded, including $48 million in need-based aid and $8.2 million in non-need-based aid. Student loans were $6.4 million and student work-study employment equaled $2.2 million.

Degrees Offered

Mount Holyoke offers the following degrees: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.); dual-degree program leading to a B.A. and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in engineering, in partnership with the California Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts, or Dartmouth College; dual-degree program leading to a B.A. and M.A. in a number of programs, in partnership with the Graduate Institute, Geneva; Masters of Arts in Teaching; and Masters of Arts in Mathematics Teaching. Students can select from more than 50 departmental and interdepartmental majors and minors. The majors of current students are: 31% humanities, 35% natural and applied sciences, and 34% social sciences. Of these, 35% are interdisciplinary, combining applied sciences with another discipline.

The Five College Consortium allows Mount Holyoke students to choose from more than 5,000 classes and offers more than a dozen certificate programs including international relations; ethnomusicology; culture, health and science; African, Latin American, Native American, or Asian studies; cognitive neuroscience; coastal and marine sciences; and neuroscience. A free bus service connects the five colleges, which are within a 12-mile radius.

Emerging areas of study include Data Science; Public Health; Critical Ethnic Studies, Entrepreneurship, Organizations, and Society; and Business.

With a student-faculty ratio of 10 to 1 and most classes averaging 10 to 20 students, faculty advisers can collaborate closely with students on academic coursework and research.

Accomplished Faculty

Among nearly 400 colleges nationwide, Mount Holyoke ranked in the top ten for its faculty, library, and classroom experience according to the 2020 Princeton Review. The College’s faculty of 200 includes members who speak more than 50 languages in addition to English. Nearly 60% are women; a quarter are faculty of color.

After College

Mount Holyoke alums are distinguished not only by their academic and professional achievements, but also by significant contributions to their communities and strong sense of public engagement. Over 79% of alums have enrolled in graduate or professional school within ten years of graduation. The College’s Career Development Center, with more than 1,000 employer connections, and the alum network of more than 30,000 individuals provide powerful resources for launching the next phase of students’ lives, whether graduate school or work in business and nonprofit sectors.

Financial Resources

The College enjoys a healthy financial position but one that requires careful stewardship and planning to maintain. The College has a robust endowment, currently estimated at just over $990 million. This is a significant increase over the previous year and has been fueled by extraordinary investment returns and the largest single-year gift activity in support of endowed scholarships in the College’s history.

As part of the College’s current strategic plan, the community committed to ensuring balanced annual operating budgets for the College each fiscal year. The College accomplished that goal in 2017 and has maintained it ever since, even during the pandemic. The Board of Trustees recently approved a $146 million operating budget for FY22 — this budget reflects a return to more typical, pre-pandemic in-person teaching, learning and operations.

The commitment of the entire community to the financial health of the institution is evident. Together, the community guided Mount Holyoke through an historic pandemic, one with lasting worldwide implications and now will launch a new fiscal year with resources in place to support a return to the fullest expression of our mission and to plan for the College’s future.


Mount Holyoke’s 700+-acre campus includes superb facilities, such as:

  • an 806,000+-volume
  • a first-rate sports and dance
  • a Community Center with a newly constructed contemporary dining commons that has   transformed our sense of place and
  • a Science Center that features interconnected classrooms and labs outfitted with advanced scientific instrumentation – such as spectrometers and DNA sequencing equipment – that at other schools is reserved only for graduate students.
  • The Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, ranked eleventh among the top 35 best college museums, serves as a nexus for object-based learning across academic disciplines and as a resource for the broader community through direct engagement with its collection of 17,000 objects from around the world and across the
  • Other arts facilities include Pratt Music Hall; a dance theatre and studios; and the Rooke Theatre as well as spacious, well-lit drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture art studios; a digital printmaking lab; and a senior studio with individual studios for senior art The newly expanded Blanchard Campus Center includes a student art gallery and multi-use performance and exhibit spaces.
  • The College’s new makerspace, Fimbel Maker & Innovation Lab, is used by a wide variety of disciplines to enhance curricular learning, increase technical literacy, and help liberal arts students create, invent and
  • The College Living Laboratory is also used by students and faculty across disciplines. With more than 700 acres of natural and engineered ecosystems, a four-mile network of trails, an online database housing decades of student and faculty monitoring obtained from 15 permanent water sampling stations, five weather stations and additional ecological field sites across campus, The Campus Living Laboratory offers countless opportunities for independent student research and inspiration, all right at home on the Mount Holyoke
The Opportunity

Mount Holyoke College seeks a mission-oriented collaborator and creative change agent to serve as the Associate Vice President (AVP) for Human Resources. The AVP’s strategic people-centered approach will contribute to advancing the College’s mission and goals. The AVP will guide the College’s HR program and policies and will be charged with implementing a forward-looking workforce strategy.

The AVP reports to the Vice President for Finance and Administration, provides leadership for a diverse team of approximately 11 staff (10 FTE), and manages an annual operating budget of approximately $2 million. The AVP will be responsible for leading the functional areas of employment, employee relations, labor relations, compensation, payroll, benefits, compliance, policy and procedure development, HRIS, and performance management and training.

The AVP will lead with imagination, empathy, and a people-centered approach, collaborating with administrative and academic departments across campus. The AVP will develop and implement effective HR policies and operations that support the College’s mission, foster an inclusive and collegial campus community, and position Mount Holyoke to attract and retain a highly qualified and diverse workforce. The AVP will be responsible for key campus compliance efforts that support employees, including Title IV, Title VI, Title VII Title IX and 504.

In addition to the bargaining units, the College uses a committee structure to manage the work of the College.  One key group that informs the work of the Human Resources Office is the Staff Council which functions as a voice of staff to the President and other college administrators by establishing avenues for addressing employee issues and concerns, advocating for an environment of respect, fairness, and security, and helping to build a sense of community.

The AVP will collaborate regularly with many committees on campus and will be responsible for leading efforts to maintain the positive culture and relations among the administration, staff, faculty, and students.

Mount Holyoke College is committed to the value of diversity in its faculty, staff, and student bodies and is actively engaged in anti-racism work. The HR team supports the mission of the College by providing programs and services that attract, develop, and retain a highly qualified and diverse workforce. The HR department provides leadership in identifying and responding to the community’s changing needs and provides guidance in the development, implementation, and administration of policies and procedures in support of the College mission.

There will be many opportunities for the new AVP to innovate and implement best practice approaches, with a constant eye toward increasing the effectiveness of employees in accomplishing the core mission of the College. The Associate Vice President will proactively address the following opportunities and goals:

  • Foster an equitable, diverse, open, and inclusive environment. In collaboration with the Office of Equity and Inclusion, the President’s Office, and the campus community at large, the AVP will play a critical role in ensuring that the ideals of equity and inclusion espoused in the college’s broader mission and strategic plan are upheld. The AVP will lead this through the continued introduction and support of quality staff development opportunities and a robust performance management system, create a context in which all employees feel encouraged to be valuable and productive contributors to the success of the College.
  • Build partnerships across the campus. The AVP will bring collaborative energy to campus constituencies to assess existing HR policies and practices and identify areas for improvement and enhancement which include but are not limited to remote work policies and others that support safety in the time of COVID-19 and beyond. The AVP will continue and enhance the close working relationship with the Office of the Dean of Faculty.
  • Lead through change. The AVP will help lead thoughtful and prudent change across the college, partnering with senior leaders, while supporting and driving creative ideas to foster better communication, collaboration, and connections campus wide. The AVP will improve and expand communications around HR policy development and implementation, ensuring consistency and clarity.
  • Serve as a trusted and transparent adviser. As a frequent partner to the President and cabinet level leaders, the AVP will build strong relationships with all levels of administration and multiple stakeholders and will act as facilitator and coach on key initiatives.
  • Guide talent management and workforce development and planning. The AVP will bring imagination to workforce development and planning. As a future-focused leader, the AVP will be responsible for the implementation of professional and workforce development and planning. The AVP will build capacity among managers and supervisors, both long-standing and new, in employment matters such as succession planning, performance evaluation, and compensation strategy. The AVP will partner and advise the Dean of the Faculty and other academic leaders on human resource functions such as merit reviews and compensation studies.
  • Direct a strong HR team. The AVP will lead a team of dedicated, experienced HR professionals. HR will offer the highest level of integrity to a high performing workforce, while creating a collaborative and trusted environment for the campus community.
  • Oversee HR technology capabilities and the implementation of data-driven strategies and solutions. The College has recently adopted a new Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and is considering next steps around its administrative technology systems which will impact the future operating system utilized to support human resource and payroll processing. This will be a major area of focus for the new AVP upon arrival at the College. The AVP will leverage data and innovative systems to build a culture that drives operational efficiency and optimizes the use of timely reporting and data analysis to present actionable intelligence for the department and the College.
  • Steward compensation, benefits, and compliance. The AVP will provide leadership on the development of sustainable compensation and benefits programs, balancing prudency while continuing to offer competitive compensation packages to attract and retain top talent. The AVP will oversee the College’s compliance with employment, tax, benefit related and civil rights laws and regulations and serve as Co-Chair of the College Compliance Committee.
  • Manage labor relations. The AVP will oversee and direct the College’s labor relations with four unions, including serving as lead negotiator on collective bargaining, administering and interpreting contracts, and advising department heads and supervisors on labor relations issues, laws, regulations, and policy interpretation.
Candidate Profile

The successful candidate is a trusted partner and advisor, with the courage and ability to inspire and manage change. The AVP is an excellent listener, supportive manager, and an articulate and tactful communicator. With senior leadership, the AVP will translate the College’s strategic vision into forward-thinking HR operational plans. The successful candidate will also bring many of the following personal qualities and professional qualifications:

  • An empathic leadership approach;
  • A robust understanding of HR best practices and trends;
  • Experience successfully improving processes and capabilities;
  • A proven record of leading strategic, organization-wide change initiatives in a manner consistent with institutional culture and values;
  • Demonstrated commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion;
  • Impeccable integrity and a reputation for a balanced, consultative approach;
  • A willingness to challenge conventional thinking coupled with the ability to collaborate, listen well, and to take the lead in problem-solving and consensus-building;
  • Proven ability to manage resources, human and financial, to maximize productivity and ensure work of the highest quality;
  • The ability to cultivate trust and credibility and to generate enthusiasm among diverse constituencies and individuals;
  • A record of success establishing and maintaining positive labor/management relations within a unionized environment;
  • A strong understanding of data collection methodology and analysis that will support data-informed decision-making;
  • Recent experience with a major system implementation is highly desirable;
  • Bachelor’s degree is required, preferably in a related field; Advanced training or PHR/SPHR certification is preferred; and
  • At least 10 years of progressively responsible experience leading relevant functions within a human resource department in an institution of higher education or a comparably complex setting.

Tom Phillips and Charlotte Harris of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


The College is committed to the elimination of all forms of discrimination whether based race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, handicap or disability, veteran/uniformed services status, or gender identity.  We have also committed ourselves to the active recruitment of candidates from diverse backgrounds.

Mount Holyoke College believes in the right, indeed the necessity, of free inquiry and free expression for every member of the college community. The College aims to provide an environment hospitable to open interchanges of knowledge and opinion in the terms of reasoned discourse. The citizen’s rights to free speech, free movement, free association, peaceful assembly, and orderly protest extends to every member of the College. So do the citizen’s responsibility to uphold the law and the civilized person’s obligation to respect the rights and feelings of others.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.