Assistant Dean, HR and Administrative Services - Nicholas School of the Environment - Military Veterans

at Duke University and Duke University Health System

Durham, North Carolina

Duke University:


Duke University was created in 1924 through an indenture of trust by James Buchanan Duke. Today, Duke is regarded as one of America’s leading research universities. Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke is positioned in the heart of the Research Triangle, which is ranked annually as one of the best places in the country to work and live. Duke has more than 15,000 students who study and conduct research in its 10 undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. With about 40,000 employees, Duke is the third largest private employer in North Carolina, and it now has international programs in more than 150 countries.


The Nicholas School of the Environment (NSOE) seeks an Assistant Dean of Human Resources and Administration (ADHR) (Duke Job: Human Resources Departmental Director) with at least 9 years of combined educational and on the job experience. Candidates must possess sufficient knowledge and experience to provide strategic and tactical operational leadership to these areas to ensure the School’s HR and administrative support needs are positioned for successful programs of NSOE.


Position is part of the senior administrative team of NSOE reporting to the COO/Sr. Associate Dean for Admin, & Fin. and has significant engagement with the Dean, other school leadership, faculty, staff and students at NSOE and the University. Position supervises a team of staff members providing HR, event planning and administrative support. Commitment to diversity and inclusion and ability to create a welcoming engaging environment for people of all backgrounds is required.


Position is located in Durham, N.C. / Position includes a combination of On-site and Remote work days


Occupational Summary


Develop, and maintain human resource and administrative operations that support the activities of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, at both the Beaufort and Durham campuses. Ensure consistent and accurate interpretation and application of human resources policies, practices, and guiding principles.


Provide oversight and leadership to the administrative functions of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment to include but not limited to: executive and administrative services to senior leadership, all faculty and divisions within the School, Dean’s Office operations, and event planning.


Liaise with all Duke University HR leaders as well as external partners to provide expertise on human resources functions and issues in areas to include but are not limited to: recruitment, orientation & exit interview, training and development, classification and salary administration, faculty and academic staff HR matters, interpretation of personnel policies, and employee relations functions. At times or when requested this support may be more hands-on and directive as well as consultative.


When applicable represent the Nicholas School on internal and external committees, projects, and/or panels that are human resource related or need a human resource perspective.


Direct and manage all major HR initiatives and oversee day-to-day operations of Dean’s Office administrative support, insuring excellent customer service.


Work Performed


Strategic Leadership

  • Serve as the lead administrator in the Nicholas School for human resources functions, which include: recruitment, employee relations, compensation and classification, policy interpretation and application, internal communications, compliance, and training functions.
  • Work to ensure consistent and accurate interpretation and application of human resources policies related to all types of employees, (faculty, staff, student and temporary), throughout the School.
  • Lead and/or participate in human resource projects that may be unit specific, apply to the School, or entire University. Prepare reports and deliver presentations when necessary.
  • Collaborate with the School’s committees, the Provost’s Office, the Office of Institutional Equity and others in the development and execution of strategies to promote excellence in diversity and inclusion.
  • Identify issues, trends, or needs that apply to the Nicholas School’s human resources functions and develop strategies to address them, including those that involve international activity of PIs and others in the School.
  • Routinely evaluate the effectiveness of the organizational structure and the human resource programs and make/recommend changes where needed. Ensure developmental and training programs are aligned with departmental objectives and needs. Proactively implement succession activities that promote internal growth and mitigate knowledge gaps due to attrition.
  • Oversee efforts related to the promoting an effective and inclusive work culture e.g., recognitions programs, social events, leadership forums and lunches, and employee surveys.
  • In partnership with central Recruitment, the Office of Institutional Equity, and the Provost’s Office, develop and implement recruitment strategies that promote diversity and inclusion.
  • Support and advise the Dean, COO/Senior Associate Dean for Administration and Finance and academic leaders on a number of HR and administrative projects.
  • Consult and provide HR perspective, advice and coaching to peer administrative leadership of the school.


Operational Management

  • Manage the Nicholas School’s Human Resources, Payroll and Administrative functions, determining priorities, supervising and mentoring staff, and establishing budgets for programs and events. Insure consistent best HR practices are exercised at both the Durham and Beaufort campuses.
  • Develop and coordinate activities that promote an inclusive and collaborative community within Duke.
  • Assess the Nicholas School’s supervisor and staff training needs and develop or coordinate training sessions as appropriate for human resources and management staff. 
  • Advise and assist management, faculty, and staff in the handling of employee relation issues, complaints and/or grievances along with determination of appropriate disciplinary actions. Collaborate with University attorneys as needed, represent the Nicholas School at grievance hearings, dismissal conferences, and arbitration when needed. 
  • Implement and ensure consistent, efficient, and cost-effective office processes and procedures that support the employees throughout the Nicholas School. 
  • Direct the performance management processes; provide reports and analysis around performance metrics, top and low performers, organizational structure, and effectiveness.
  • Manage effort certification processes and collaborate closely with grants and contracts administrators on sponsored effort.
  • Direct pay processes, including but not limited to: salary equity reviews, salary setting, non-compensation awards processed through payroll, and summer supplement administration. 
  • Provide oversight and management for Nicholas School administrative functions, which include executive and management clerical support, office operations, and event management in the Dean’s Office. Supervise staff.  
  • Collaborate closely with the Durham and Beaufort based business office staff to insure seamless administrative, payroll and HR services are provided at the highest quality to the school’s faculty and staff.  
  • Collaborate closely with Coordinator for Faculty Affairs on the HR aspects of faculty appointments and promotions, contracts, sabbaticals, leaves and other faculty HR matters are managed appropriately and according to best HR practices.  
  • Collaborate closely with the assistant dean for strategic reporting on the development of human resources reports (metrics) and analysis setting forth progress, adverse trends, faculty effort, and appropriate recommendations or conclusions.


Minimum Requirements


Education/Training:  Work requires a general business or personnel background generally equivalent to a bachelor's degree in a related field.


Experience:  Work requires five years of business and/or administrative experience, with exposure to human resources activities, to acquire knowledge of human resources policies and procedures necessary to manage the personnel activities of a major department or division.  OR AN EQUIVALENT COMBINATION OF RELEVANT EDUCATION AND/OR EXPERIENCE.


Preferred Qualifications and Experience

  • Nine or more years of progressive experience providing HR support to an academic organization, including significant supervisory experience overseeing payroll processes.
  • Master’s degree and SHRM HRCI certification (PHR or SPHR). 
  • Strong understanding of HR best practices for both faculty and staff as well as broad understanding of diversity, inclusion and equity issues as it relates to employee recruitment and retention.  
  • A high-level understanding of the spectrum of HR matters to include employee relations, recruitment, pay, performance, contract and legal matters.  
  • Experience with faculty, student, national and international employment matters.  
  • Committed to the mission of NSOE and a willingness to be an active participant in our community. 
  • Skilled team builder and manager; able to establish shared mission, outcomes/goals and create strong morale; Ability to manage difficult conversations, relationships, and other challenging situations that require thoughtful and effective communication, verbal and/or written; experience and expertise in working in matrixed management environments with complicated reporting relationships  
  • Discreet, diplomatic, and exhibits a commitment to engendering employee trust and maintaining confidentiality  
  • Effective delegator; skilled at empowering/trusting employees as well as sharing responsibility and accountability




Must have:

Breadth of knowledge/experience, demonstrated competencies in all HR disciplines

  • Salary administration
  • Job classification/job descriptions for variety of staff types
  • Performance management
  • Employee relations
  • Recruitment
  • Relevant laws, practices
  • Policy interpretation/implementation
  • Training –assessment of needs and/or conduct

Supervisory experience

Communications skills –with all levels of staff



Familiarity with Duke/Duke systems

Experience working with people from other cultures



Teamwork & Collaboration


Strategy, Goals and Task Management

Organizational Awareness

Listening and Handling Ambiguity



Duke is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual's age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.


Duke aspires to create a community built on collaboration, innovation, creativity, and belonging. Our collective success depends on the robust exchange of ideas—an exchange that is best when the rich diversity of our perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences flourishes. To achieve this exchange, it is essential that all members of the community feel secure and welcome, that the contributions of all individuals are respected, and that all voices are heard. All members of our community have a responsibility to uphold these values.


Essential Physical Job Functions: Certain jobs at Duke University and Duke University Health System may include essentialjob functions that require specific physical and/or mental abilities. Additional information and provision for requests for reasonable accommodation will be provided by each hiring department.


Durham, North Carolina

As a world-class academic and health care system, Duke Health strives to transform medicine and health locally and globally through innovative scientific research, rapid translation of breakthrough discoveries, educating future clinical and scientific leaders, advocating and practicing evidence-based medicine to improve community health, and leading efforts to eliminate health inequalities.

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