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University of Massachusetts Amherst Assistant Dean of Human Resources in Amherst, Massachusetts

Assistant Dean of Human Resources

Apply now ( Job no: 523795

Work type: Staff Full Time

Location: UMass Amherst

Department:Dean - Natural Sciences

Union:Non-Unit Exempt

Categories: Human Resources, College of Natural Sciences

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.

About the College of Natural Sciences

The College of Natural Sciences (CNS) includes 13 departments and 2 schools, serves 7,000 plus undergraduate students and nearly 1,000 graduate students, and has a presence in 18 buildings on Campus. In addition, CNS is responsible for five research and education farms and 13 extension offices throughout Massachusetts. At any one time, CNS maintains approximately 2,200 employee appointments. Appointment types include tenure system faculty, part-time and full-time lecturers, permanent and temporary staff members, post-doctoral research associates, research fellows, graduate teaching assistants, and student employees.

Job Summary

The Assistant Dean of Human Resources for the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) is responsible for the strategic and operational direction of the human resource function within the college. This role directs the CNS Human Resource office and provides leadership to administrative support staff throughout CNS, the largest academic unit on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus. The Assistant Dean establishes and maintains collaborative working relationships with campus partners and has primary responsibility for developing, leading, and managing initiatives of strategic importance while maintaining a productive, compliant and positive workplace.

Essential Functions

  • Identifies and creates immediate and long-term strategic plans for the CNS Human Resources function. Sets priorities and manages complex projects to continuously improve and advance the human resource function within the college.

  • Manages and effectively leads a matrixed human resource department while partnering with central offices to ensure alignment with the University, central HR, and CNS.

  • Ensures consistent and timely communication regarding HR priorities and related information. Keeps CNS staff and faculty abreast of best practices, emerging and changing policies and regulations, and other development opportunities in alignment with the goals and needs of CNS.

  • Identifies immediate and long-term staffing plans. Optimizes the organizational structure, increases effectiveness and efficiency. In collaboration with CNS Finance, develops staffing projections based on upcoming retirements, leaves, staffing patterns, succession plans, etc. Prioritizes new positions based on the strategic goals of the college. Makes recommendations to senior leadership and provides cost/benefit estimates.

  • Advises senior leaders, managers and administration on all classification and compensation policies, guidelines, and procedures.  Supports faculty and staff recruitment, promotion, and tenure processes. 

  • Establishes, maintains, and refines programing in support of employee onboarding, new leader assimilation, and employee development.

  • Manages compliance within the college as it relates to regulations and collective bargaining provisions. Develops and counsels managers how to identify, address and resolve employee issues. Advises managers regarding documentation processes for performance and/or other issues. Provides guidance on progressive discipline processes.

  • In partnership with Central HR and Labor Relations, assists managers with conducting meetings to resolve grievances or employee complaints. Participates in due process hearings and conducts investigations as needed.

  • Ensures managers have the tools and information needed to properly supervise employees. Provides advice on how to communicate work expectations, establish performance goals, and conduct performance appraisals.

  • Designs and oversees the employee exit process including the strategic analysis of exit interview data for faculty and staff. Assesses trends, creates retention strategies, and provides recommendations to leadership with the goal of improving the employment life cycle.

  • Conducts research; creates and hosts training, education sessions, and workshops. Collaborates with Workplace Learning and Development and the CNS Director of Faculty Development Programs to implement faculty and staff training/workshops.

  • Provides leadership and guidance to ensure and support uniform compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, campus policies, practices, and procedures.

  • Manages personnel deadlines for the college; establishes academic year schedule for the College Personnel Committee (CPC) and serves as an on-going resource for its members.

  • Safeguards and maintains confidential personnel records on behalf of CNS. Has signatory authority.

Other Functions

  • Understands responsibilities with respect to DEI, Title IX, Clery, and other compliance requirements.

  • Performs other duties as assigned in support of the mission and goals of the College of Natural Sciences.

  • Works collaboratively and effectively to promote teamwork, diversity, equality and inclusiveness.

  • Works in partnership with colleagues within the CNS community and across the campus to support the Dean’s strategic priorities.

Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Bachelor’s degree and seven (7) years of progressive and relevant experience in human resources. A master's degree in human resources, business/public administration, or related discipline may be substituted for two (2) years of the required experience.

  • Demonstrated leadership abilities, mentorship skills, and supervisory experience.

  • Ability to lead the creation and implementation of strategic plans as well as manage complex projects from inception to completion.

  • Executive presence, ability to formulate, present and execute complex strategies, policies, and programs. Excellent written and oral communication skills.

  • Advanced knowledge and experience in a wide range of HR disciplines such as state/federal employment law compliance, organizational development, performance management, employee relations, compensation, and HR best practice.

  • Superior interpersonal skills. Ability to work productively in establishing and maintaining harmonious working relationships with a diverse population of employees and students.

  • Commitment to inclusion and awareness; has an understating of diverse thought, cultures, race, gender, and other differences. Ability to work with all levels of employees.

  • Strong service orientation that demonstrates proactive relationship building. Ability to motivate others to drive functional performance.

  • Commitment to employee development and engagement.

  • Ability to take initiative, work independently, follow through and meet deadlines.

  • Proven record of developing and implementing new ideas. Ability to lead and manage change initiatives.

  • Ability to exercise discretion and judgment in matters of a sensitive or confidential nature.

Preferred Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • Certification from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-CP or SHRM- SCP) or the HR Certification Institute (PHR or SPHR).

  • Experience working in a unionized, public sector, and/or higher education environment.

  • Experience successfully working in and managing within a matrixed environment.

Physical Demands/Working Conditions

  • Typical office environment.

Additional Details

  • This position directly manages a team of HR staff and provides functional supervision of HR staff members in various departments throughout CNS.

  • This position reports to the CNS Associate Dean for Administration, Finance & Operations and has a dotted reporting relationship to the Central Office of Human Resources.

Work Schedule

  • Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 5:00pm.

  • Required to work occasional nights and weekends.

Salary Information

  • Salary commensurate with skills and experience.

Special Instructions to Applicants

Along with the application, please submit a resume, cover letter, and diversity statement (see below). References will be checked at the finalist stage. Please be prepared to provide contact information for three (3) professional references. Applications will be reviewed on a continuous basis until the position is filled. Early submissions are encouraged.

As part of a commitment to their own multicultural community, CNS seeks an individual with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and one who will understand and embrace university initiatives and aspirations. The Diversity Statement should identify past experiences and future goals. These contributions may result from lived experiences, scholarships, and/or mentoring, teaching, and outreach activities. (

UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, caste, creed, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, political belief or affiliation, pregnancy and pregnancy-related condition(s), veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, natural and protective hairstyle and any other class of individuals protected from discrimination in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University. To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans. It is the policy of UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

Advertised: Jun 7 2024 Eastern Daylight Time

Applications close: Sep 8 2024 Eastern Daylight Time