Founded in 1855, Butler University is a nationally recognized master’s comprehensive institution located in Indianapolis. Ranked #1 (tie) among Midwest Regional Universities, according to U.S. News & World Report, Butler was also ranked the #1 Most Innovative School among Midwest Regional Universities for the fourth straight year, as well as the top school for its commitment to undergraduate teaching.

The University’s six colleges offer more than 65 undergraduate areas of study, eight pre-professional programs, and 19 graduate programs. Around 4,800 students are enrolled at Butler, representing 45 states and 49 countries. Ninety-five percent of Butler students will have participated in some form of internship, student teaching, clinical rotation, research, or service learning by the time they graduate. This community-centered immersion is coupled with classroom learning that nurtures critical thinking, effective communication, cooperative teamwork, and ethical decision-making to prepare students for both professional success and to have lasting impact in their communities.

The Position

Responsibilities of the Position

The Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (AVP) serves as an important collaborative partner with students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and external constituencies to proactively develop and implement plans, programs, and activities that educate and motivate members of the University community to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion as core values to be collectively upheld in support of student learning and success.

With a primary emphasis on creating and sustaining an inclusive campus for Butler students, the AVP is a new position that reports to the Vice President for Student Affairs. The AVP serves as the institutional diversity officer and is a member of the Executive Council, along with the University’s vice presidents, academic deans and other administrative leadership, and has a secondary, dotted line reporting relationship to the President.

The AVP provides leadership for ensuring appropriate education, outreach, response, support, and communication regarding sexual misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator reports to the AVP and together they will support compliance, a safe and equitable process, and adherence to promising practices.

The AVP serves as the campus champion for inclusivity and diversity initiatives and oversees efforts to implement and assess the impact of these programs and activities for students, faculty, and staff. The AVP supervises the Efroymson Diversity Center, and also provides campus leadership for the Butler University Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series. The AVP works with senior administrative and academic leaders to make recommendations on how to maximize institutional strengths and respond to identified needs in order to maintain an intentional and sustained focus on achieving inclusive excellence.

Following are additional responsibilities of the position as outlined by the institutional job description:

  • Provide leadership to promote and advocate for a diverse and an inclusive campus community.
  • Use methods and metrics appropriate for measuring campus climate for diversity and inclusion.
  • Ensure university’s adherence to federal guidelines related to Title IX, and ensure appropriate education, outreach, response, support, and communication across the University.
  • Collaborate with faculty and staff to advance student learning about diversity through both the curriculum and the co-curriculum.
  • Launch the work of the University Council on Diversity and Inclusion. Provide leadership and oversight for the implementation, monitoring, and updating of university progress toward diversity and inclusion goals.
  • In partnership with Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Human Resources develop and support university-wide student, faculty, and staff development aimed at enhancing community members’ cultural competency and bias reduction to foster diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Provide vision, supervision, and budget management for University departments and personnel.
  • Champion improvements in Butler systems, policies, and procedures to facilitate equity and inclusion; provide transparency, promote fairness, and enhance accountability.
  • Advise on institutional data and reporting to ensure the appropriate measures and regular progress reporting of diversity and inclusion initiatives.
  • Provide leadership for the coordination, collaboration, and maximizing of resources across the University for the various student groups and departments planning diversity-related programming and speakers.

Characteristics of the Successful Candidate

This position is an exceptional opportunity for a collaborative, innovative, and action-oriented leader with a proven record of advancing inclusive excellence and supporting student learning and success. Butler seeks candidates whose education, perspectives, and personal and professional experiences have together prepared them to serve as an effective and collaborative leader of the institution’s efforts to foster a more welcoming, inclusive, and supportive climate for all members of the campus community.

Requirements include an advanced degree; an excellent command of contemporary diversity, equity, and inclusion concepts, issues, and best practices in higher education; substantial experience leading diversity and inclusion initiatives and achieving successful outcomes, preferably within residential and predominantly white institutions; understanding of Title IX and related best practices regarding sexual misconduct in higher education; proven ability to engage underrepresented populations, demonstrated ability to bridge differences through dialogue, and promote cultural competence across all constituencies; and demonstrated ability to facilitate partnerships and mobilize campus leaders around diversity, equity and inclusion goals.

As outlined in the current job description, the successful candidate will possess many of the following professional qualifications and personal characteristics:

  • Ability to establish and maintain strong, collaborative working relationships among students, faculty, staff, administrators, and external constituents.
  • Experience working directly and effectively with diverse student populations.
  • Demonstrated outcomes-oriented leadership.
  • Proven ability to build and maintain effective partnerships with individual faculty members and academic affairs
  • Excellent collaboration and consensus-building abilities, experience building effective teams and the ability to develop and empower staff to enable high performance and engagement
  • Demonstrated understanding of college student development
  • Understanding of the various laws, regulations, and policies related to equity and diversity in higher education.
  • Experience effectively managing personnel and budgets.
  • Understanding of Title IX and related best practices for education and support.
  • Understanding of complaints and investigations of civil rights violations including discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct under Title IX.
  • Experience implementing strategies to advance diversity and inclusion at Predominately White Institutions (PWIs).
  • Experience with and a desire to have a high level of engagement with students.
  • Highly developed skills in strategic planning, program development, and program assessment.
  • Experience with encouraging, learning from, and utilizing diverse perspectives, ideas, and approaches to inform diversity and inclusion strategies.
  • A record of transformational leadership, with an ability to manage organizational change while working in a collaborative environment as a positive change agent.

History of the Position

The Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a new position that reports to Frank E. Ross III, PhD, Vice President for Student Affairs. The AVP serves as the institutional diversity officer and is a member of the Executive Council, along with the University’s vice presidents, academic deans and other administrative leadership, and has a secondary, dotted line reporting relationship to President Jim Danko.

In the spring of 2017, Butler was actively recruiting a chief diversity officer/Title IX coordinator. Three finalists visited campus and participated in open forums that were available to students, faculty, and staff. The creation of the chief diversity officer position, as well as the search for the potential new hire, was led by the then vice president for human resources, diversity, and wellness who left Butler before a finalist was appointed to the position. The search was suspended and responsibility for diversity, equity and inclusion was subsequently realigned with the Division of Student Affairs and the Office of the President.

Likely Opportunities, Priorities, and Challenges of the Position

Butler seeks a seasoned administrator and diversity, equity, and inclusion advocate with a record of excellence in working with a broad range of constituencies to create a vibrant community whose members thrive. The successful candidate must possess in-depth knowledge and administrative experience within the academy and have the personal integrity and drive to partner with and complement Butler’s leadership team, as follows:

Lead with creativity and vision

The successful candidate will contribute to the University’s strategic discussions. The individual will advise the president, vice president for student affairs, and other senior leaders on strategic and institutional decisions, particularly as they relate to the ideals of equity and inclusion. This person will possess a deep understanding of the academy to contribute to senior-leadership conversations beyond diversity. The AVP will be expected to pose challenging questions and suggest insightful solutions on difficult topics in order to stimulate the very best thinking among Butler’s leadership.

Develop an implementation plan and execute it

The AVP will work with members of Butler’s community to create a plan to implement new initiatives to advance these goals. The successful candidate will build the capacity of the campus community and its offices to understand how their efforts connect back to diversity in meaningful and measurable ways. This entails, for example, formulating policy, evaluating progress, identifying opportunities and locating areas of concern across the campus.

Serve as a well-connected and collaborative campus partner

The AVP will accomplish the work of the position through influence and the strength of relationships, as well as the formal authorities of the role. To succeed in this environment, the AVP must be a relationship-builder who generates support for the work of the office by developing strong partnerships across the university with student leaders, faculty, staff, and administrators. Earning the confidence and respect of students, the AVP will serve as a visible and accessible presence on campus.

Build and lead a team in a collaborative environment

The next leader will have the opportunity to build a team. The AVP will lead and set the agenda for the University Council on Diversity and Inclusion, which will work to promote and achieve Butler’s diversity and equity goals and whose composition comprises faculty, staff, and students. The successful candidate will undertake a holistic review of current practices and policies, assess current programs and initiatives in collaboration with campus partners, and locate opportunities for improvement. The next leader will use this information to determine what resources are needed so that diversity is a value that is embraced and championed throughout the institution—from administrative and academic leaders to faculty, staff, and students.

Oversee Title IX compliance and enforcement of discrimination policies

The AVP also supervises the Title IX coordinator and evaluates policies and practices to provide recommendations about Butler’s approach to address Title IX and other antidiscrimination policies. Butler takes seriously its responsibility to foster an educational environment free of discrimination, acting vigorously on reports of concern and supporting those who have experienced it. The AVP will be responsible for educating the community about these issues.

Understand and improve the campus climate

This new leader will have a creative and entrepreneurial perspective, to take advantage of the strong culture of self-assessment and data-gathering at Butler. The successful candidate will generate ideas and initiatives for assessing, understanding, and improving the campus climate. To this end, this individual will develop or use tools and surveys to gauge the campus climate and the effectiveness of initiatives to create a more inclusive community. The AVP will collaborate with campus partners to collect, interpret, and disseminate data related to the campus climate to educate the Butler community on critical issues.

Division of Student Affairs

The Butler Division of Student Affairs fosters a positive environment that helps students grow, learn, and be the best version of themselves through BU Be Well, the foundation for a transformative and holistic student experience.

Butler provides students many robust opportunities to develop, both inside and outside of the classroom, through each of the eight dimensions of the BU Be Well model.

Organizational Structure of the Division

The Division of Student Affairs is a comprehensive division whose departments and functions are divided into five portfolios headed by an associate vice president, a dean of students, or an executive director. See the attached organizational chart for a depiction of the division’s senior leadership.

Student Affairs Departments:

  • Office of the Vice President;
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, including Diversity Programs, and Title IX;
  • Student Health & Recreation, including the Office of Health Services, Office of Counseling & Consultation Services, Office of Health Education & Outreach Programs, and the Office of Recreation & Wellness;
  • Student Involvement & Leadership, including the Office of Student Activities, Office of Civic Engagement & Social Justice Programs, and the Office New Student & Family Programs;
  • Student Living & Learning, including Office of Residence Life, Office of Greek Life, Office of Dining Services, and Faculty-in-Residence;
  • Student Rights & Responsibilities, including Office of the Dean of Students

Institution & Location

Institutional Background

Butler University is a liberal arts school with a history of doing things differently. In 1855, attorney and abolitionist Ovid Butler opened a school founded on the principle that everyone deserves an excellent education, regardless of race or gender—a bold idea in pre-Civil War America. He believed that experience is the best teacher, that a love of learning prepares you for success no matter what you do, and that anyone can achieve greatness if they’re willing to put in the effort.

Today, we’ve built on Butler’s vision to create a community of students and faculty that learn by doing. We are a community that values hard work as an essential building block for success, whether in the classroom, on the field, or out in the world.

More than 160 years after our doors opened, Ovid Butler’s ideals still ring true throughout our campus and beyond.

At Butler, the students, faculty, and staff are a passionate bunch. From the Geneva Stunts fundraiser, which has been a tradition for almost 100 years, to the Homecoming Chariot Race that pits fraternity against fraternity, they love taking part in our rich history.

But the passion doesn’t end at the campus borders. Butler’s commitment to fostering community involvement transforms students into responsible members of society and proud members of the Bulldog Nation. Whether they’re contributing to the local community through our campus-wide volunteer day or dancing into the twilight hours at the Spring Sports Spectacular to benefit the Special Olympics, everyone here is dedicated to making a difference in the world around them.



  • 295-acre campus with park-like setting
  • Historic Butler-Tarkington neighborhood
  • About 5 miles from downtown Indianapolis
  • Three miles from Broad Ripple
  • Less than 20 miles from Indianapolis International Airport

Indianapolis, IN

Indianapolis, the capital of Indiana, is the 12th-largest city in the United States. Located on land set aside for a state capital in the early 19th century, the city was modeled after Washington, D.C., with streets radiating outward from the seat of government. Although it is not located on a navigable body of water, the city’s central location—in relation to the state and to much of the country—has made it an important transport and distribution center since the 19th century. Over the past 40 years, Indianapolis has established a reputation as a sports center by constructing major athletic and visitor facilities and energetically promoting itself as a venue for a wide variety of amateur sporting events. However, its most famous athletic event remains the Indianapolis 500 motor race, held annually at the Indianapolis Speedway.

Indianapolis is by far one of our country’s most livable big cities. For those who reside and work here, Indianapolis has a quality about it that makes even the heart of a bustling downtown feel like home. Visitors are drawn from all over the globe to enjoy our top-notch professional sports venues, a thriving convention industry, and numerous cultural attractions. When visitors arrive, they too experience the Hoosier character and hospitality that make Indianapolis special.

For more information about Indianapolis, visit the Chamber of Commerce at and


Our mission is to provide the highest quality of liberal and professional education and to integrate the liberal arts with professional education, by creating and fostering a stimulating intellectual community built upon interactive dialogue and inquiry among students, faculty, and staff.


Butler University will be an innovative leader in the creation and delivery of transformative, student-centered learning experiences that prepare graduates to make a meaningful impact in the world.

Strategic Plan – Butler 2020

The Butler 2020 Vision and supporting strategic platforms have moved from planning to action since their inception in 2014. There has been particular momentum over the past year. Nine specific, measurable objectives designed to give rise to our success were developed and assigned to senior executive champions, who, in turn, assembled working teams to refine these objectives and build corresponding action plans.

Most recently, our champions compiled and incorporated the University community’s feedback into a set of defined initiatives. These initiatives serve as a roadmap to our broader ambition to not only keep pace as a leader among regional universities but to emerge as a national university with best-in-class academics, a robust career pipeline, a thriving community, and state-of-the-art campus amenities to better serve students.

A sampling of initiatives currently underway:

  • development of new, high-demand undergraduate and graduate programs
  • expansion of key student engagement practices, including study abroad, internships, experiential education, research, scholarship, and creative activities
  • enhancement of student retention and career services
  • active construction on the new Lacy School of Business building and planning for the expansion and renovation of Butler’s sciences facilities
  • creation of state-of-the art student housing options, including Fairview House, now home to over 600 students, and the construction of a second new facility expected to open by fall 2018
  • expansion of marketing and recruitment efforts to key regional and national markets, including the Big East

Our Butler 2020 web page is meant to provide real-time updates as progress unfolds, and collect real-time feedback, comments, and questions.

The strategic platforms are

  • Commit
  • Integrate
  • Engage
  • Prepare
  • Support
  • Evolve

For a more in depth look at the Butler 2020 strategic plan, visit


James M. Danko, President

James M. Danko is the 21st president of Butler University. Through the establishment of Butler 2020—the University’s strategic plan—Danko has set a course for advancing Butler as a world-class institution, building upon its strong foundation of undergraduate residential education while pursuing creative new programs and approaches. For example, Butler recently established a campus-sharing agreement with adjoining Christian Theological Seminary (CTS). This historic acquisition of land and buildings will allow Butler to grow and optimize its learning environment while bringing new vibrancy to 42nd Street and Sunset Avenue—especially with the College of Education’s upcoming move to the CTS campus.

An innovator at heart and in experience, Danko was a successful entrepreneur in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, for nearly two decades before beginning his academic career. He served in business-school leadership roles at institutions including the University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dartmouth College, and Villanova University before assuming the Butler presidency in 2011.

Danko is driving the transformation of Butler’s campus to enrich the student experience and strengthen national recognition for the University—including upgrades to academic, research, performance, and athletic spaces and the introduction of state-of-the-art residence halls and themed learning communities. Interest in Butler has reached a record high: the University received 15,000 applications in 2016, an increase of 50 percent over the previous two years.

In the 2017 U.S. News & World Report rankings, Butler was named the “Most Innovative School” among Midwest Regional Universities for the second consecutive year; tied for sixth in the Midwest for “Best Undergraduate Teaching”; and ranked second overall among Midwest Regional Universities. Butler’s placement rate for graduates is 97 percent, and in the recent Gallup-Purdue Index, Butler outperformed its peers across most items in graduates’ assessment of their student experience—including faculty support and experiential learning, affinity for their alma mater, and overall well-being.

In 2013, Danko successfully advocated for Butler’s membership in the Big East Athletic Conference, positioning the University in the company of outstanding peers both in the classroom and in athletic competition. Since joining the Big East, Butler has brought home four team championships: softball, women’s soccer, men’s soccer, and men’s tennis. Danko currently serves on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Presidential Forum and is vice-chair of the Big East Board of Directors.

Danko has also prioritized Butler’s central role in the Indianapolis community through the provision of educational, cultural, and professional resources and as a member of the Midtown Anchor Coalition and the Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association. The University is a founding partner of The Speak Easy Downtown, a member-based nonprofit that brings established companies and entrepreneurs together in the spirit of growth and acceleration. President Danko also serves as a member of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee and the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

In 2016, Butler experienced the most successful fundraising year in its history, receiving nearly $45.4 million in gifts and commitments. This included the largest single commitment in Butler’s history from an individual or family—$25 million from Andre B. and Julia Lacy to name the Lacy School of Business. Danko is now leading the University’s effort to raise the funds needed for a new business building and sciences complex.

Danko is an alumnus of St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland and John Carroll University, where he earned a degree in religious studies. He earned his MBA with highest honors from the University of Michigan. He holds a deep commitment to the Jesuit ideals of intellectual growth, social justice, and servant leadership.

Danko is the father of two grown daughters, both of whom reside and work in Indianapolis. He and his wife, Bethanie, live on campus and frequently host Butler students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends at their home. Danko is a loyal Cleveland sports fan and an avid reader of American political history. He and Bethanie are active supporters of the United Way and other nonprofits that work to improve lives in Central Indiana.

Frank E. Ross III, Vice President for Student Affairs

A strong advocate for all students, Dr. Frank E. Ross III has spent his career committed to social justice, diversity, access, and inclusion. His work has focused on enhancing the student experience in ways to support student retention and graduation. He brings twenty-three years of leadership in higher education administration, including student affairs, enrollment management, and academic support services that advance student success.

Ross joined Butler University during the summer of 2017 as the Vice President for Student Affairs, and is leading dynamic change to enhance the Butler student experience, including a comprehensive reorganization of the Division of Student Affairs. Prior to his time at Butler, Ross served as the Vice President for Student Life at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. Before that he was the Vice President for Student Affairs at Northeastern Illinois University, a public Hispanic-Serving Institution located in Chicago. For over ten years Dr. Ross served the students at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), most recently as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Life.

Ross completed his doctoral studies in higher education and student affairs at Indiana University. He earned a master’s degree in adult and community education from Ball State University, and a master’s degree in student affairs from Western Kentucky University. Ross earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ball State University. In addition, he completed the higher education management development program at Harvard University.

Ross contributes to the student affairs profession through volunteer leadership, primarily through NASPA: Student Affairs Educators in Higher Education. He served as a member of the NASPA Board of Directors, was the national director of Knowledge Communities, and also served as chair for the 2016 NASPA Annual Conference. He was a member of the James E. Scott Academy Board for senior student affairs officers, and currently serves as a faculty member for the NASPA Institute for New Vice Presidents.

Ross also advances the profession though scholarship. The majority of his presentations and publications have focused on student development and success in the first college year. He previously served as the Editor of the Journal of Learning Communities Research, and his last publication includes a chapter in Latina and Latino College Access and Choice: Critical Findings and Theoretical Perspectives for a Changing Demographic. He is currently the co-editor of a forthcoming book focusing on professional competency areas for student affairs educators.

He has received awards and recognition from NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the National Resource Center on the First Year Experience and Students in Transition, the National Academic Advising Association, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and the American College Personnel Association for his work and research. In addition, Ross received the 2016 Robert H. Shaffer Distinguished Alumni Award from Indiana University.

Ross and his husband David reside in Indianapolis with their son, Mason, who is a student at the Butler Lab School. They are supporters of the arts, avid sports fans, and volunteer with organizations that advance social justice and inclusion.

The Academic Program

  • Six academic colleges
  • More than 65 major academic fields of study
  • 18 master’s degree programs
  • Doctor of pharmacy program
  • 110-plus study abroad programs in 70 countries
  • 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio

The Student Body

  • More than 150 student organizations
  • Over 94 percent of students are involved in campus activities
  • Nearly 35 percent of students participate in Greek life
  • 20 NCAA Division I sports
  • 18 club sports
  • 14 intramural sports

Benefits Overview

Butler University offers a variety of benefits and services to meet the many needs of our employees, because we know comprehensive benefits have a positive impact on the lives of both our employees and their families.

These benefits include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Comprehensive medical, dental, and vision plans
  • Wellness incentives
  • Flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts
  • Employee assistance plan
  • Health and recreation complex
  • Tuition remission and exchange
  • Retirement savings plan
  • Life and accident insurance
  • Short- and long-term disability
  • Personal computer loan
  • Family medical leave

For a more in-depth look at benefits, visit

Application & Nomination

Butler University has retained Spelman Johnson to assist with this search. Applications received by October 25, 2018 will be assured full consideration. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Confidential inquiries and nominations for this position may be emailed to Ellen Heffernan or Jim Norfleet at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Butler University website at

Butler University is committed to enhancing the diversity of the student body and our faculty and staff. In addition, hiring decisions are made on the basis of an individual’s qualifications, past experience, overall performance, and other employment-related criteria. Butler University provides equal opportunities for employment and advancement for all individuals, regardless of age, gender identity, race, religion, color, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, national origin, or any other legally protected category.