RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT OF LEGAL AFFAIRS
Reporting to the president, the associate vice president (AVP) provides strategic guidance, consultation, and support to college leadership and other senior administrators on a broad range of legal, policy, and compliance matters and augments college efforts, policies, and programs. The AVP’s essential functions include serving as a liaison to external legal counsel and assisting in the management of legal services provided by external legal counsel; supporting the president, dean of students, human resources, and office of the provost in managing complaints and legal issues; and delivering training to the campus community.
The AVP collaborates with a wide range of campus partners to increase awareness of the importance of compliance and risk management and to develop and implement appropriate mitigation measures. A member of the president’s council, the AVP also serves as co-chair of the risk and compliance committee, staffs the trustee audit committee’s work on risk, and seeks to foster a culture of compliance across the college. The associate vice president oversees and coordinates the college’s compliance with Title VI, VII, IX, Clery, VAWA, and FERPA, including supervising the college’s Title IX coordinator.
The associate vice president of legal affairs:
- Reviews contracts, leases, and other legal documents and provides advice and support to campus departments in interpreting legal guidance and compliance with laws affecting their departments.
- Leads, oversees, and manages the college’s programs and policies developed to respond to and prevent sexual and gender-based misconduct on campus. Ensures institutional compliance with all related laws and regulations, including but not limited to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Violence Against Women Act (as amended), and the Clery Act, as well as other non-discrimination laws.
- Hires, trains, supervises, and manages the college’s designated Title IX coordinator and deputy Title IX coordinators and oversees and supervises investigations of allegations of sexual and gender-based misconduct and discrimination/bias.
- Provides oversight and guidance for the Title IX coordinator, who serves as a liaison and resource and provides training to offices managing Title IX matters, including administrators, investigators, student conduct, health and counseling, campus safety, and law enforcement.
- Provides oversight and guidance for the Title IX coordinator in contracting and managing external investigators, advisors, and decision-makers.
- Collaborates with the Title IX coordinator to oversee and manage the delivery and availability of appropriate resources and supportive measures to parties involved in reports of sexual and gender-based misconduct.
- Provides a long-term vision for compliance and community development which further enhances a safe and respectful environment that best supports the mission of Wheaton College.
- With the college’s chief financial officer, leads Wheaton’s institutional risk management system.
- Collaborates with a wide range of administrators, staff, and faculty to increase awareness of the importance of compliance and risk management.
- Identifies emerging risk or compliance vulnerability areas and works with pertinent staff and faculty to develop and implement appropriate mitigation measures.
- Supervises the Title IX coordinator and bias incident response officer, serves as a member of the president’s council, and staffs the board of trustees audit committee on risk matters
QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS
A Juris Doctor (JD), membership in or eligibility for admission to the Massachusetts Bar, experience administering a broad spectrum of legal issues, and proficiency in providing advice, counseling, and training on an array of policies, laws, regulations, best practices, and trends related to equal opportunity, non-discrimination, and other applicable laws and regulations impacting higher education institutions are required. Ability to build trust and work collaboratively and independently, and excellent interpersonal, written and oral communication, problem-solving, conflict resolution, planning, presentation, and project management skills are required.
Characteristics of the successful candidate:
- Possesses excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to manage confidential and sensitive matters with tact and discretion.
- Builds trust and collaborates with students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community partners.
- Exhibits excellent judgment and ability to work independently.
- Understands the residential, liberal arts college experience and is passionate about working collaboratively within a highly consultative campus culture.
- Builds rapport, works collaboratively with partners, and navigates complex issues across constituencies on and off campus, including students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
- Culturally competent and sensitive to the concerns and needs of the diverse student, faculty, and staff populations.
- Demonstrates sound judgment, objectivity, and integrity and is experienced in working with confidential and sensitive information, including conducting sensitive interviews.
- Possesses the talent for listening and facilitating difficult conversations, and effectively leads and inspires teams.
- Able to prepare and present detailed reports and design and deliver educational programs, training, and assessments.
- Excellent written and oral communication, problem-solving, conflict resolution, planning, presentation, and project management skills.
HISTORY OF THE POSITION
The previous AVP originated the role five years ago. During that time, the position evolved with growing responsibilities guiding a wide range of legal, policy, and compliance matters and overseeing the college’s compliance with federal regulations.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE
The new associate vice president has a tremendous opportunity to build upon a strong foundation, further define the role, and formalize relationships, policies, procedures, and risk mitigation strategies. The associate vice president provides cohesion to college leadership, ensuring consistent and compliant operations. This role serves the college similarly to that of a general counsel, but is advisory and does not represent the college in a court of law. This individual will liaise with outside counsel on those matters requiring legal representation. Individuals with a robust legal background seeking a generalist role will be intrigued by a dynamic, challenging position at the nexus of decision-making and strategy.
The college is highly relationship-oriented and committed to collective success resulting in a wealth of partners and collaborators. The AVP must capitalize on established collaborative partnerships, balance multiple priorities, and adapt to a dynamic environment to support advancing the goals of Wheaton College. Additionally, the new AVP must refine the role and develop and cement processes, structure, and training that allow them to stay “out of the weeds” while ensuring timely, efficient, and congruent responses. Training and education across the college will be instrumental in establishing reliable process operation and strengthening college-wide understanding of their collective responsibilities and expectations regarding applicable, and often intersecting, laws, regulations, and policies.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
- The AVP is sought out as a resource for best practices and facilitating the advancement of the college with judicious risk, and is known as a solution-oriented problem solver.
- Processes, procedures, and policies are formalized, efficient, timely, and sustainable.
- The AVP possesses strong relationships on campus and collaborates closely with community stakeholders.
- External stakeholders, such as parents and Norton community members, find legal affairs responsive, compassionate, and considerate of their concerns.
Wheaton is a private, four-year residential college in Norton, Massachusetts, consistently ranking among the nation’s best. Wheaton offers more than 100 career-connected majors and minors, providing guaranteed access to internship funding and highly personalized education in the liberal arts and sciences. The college’s innovative compass curriculum encourages students to find academic paths that fit their interests and goals, with structured advising and mentorship to help guide that passion to career success.
Located halfway between Boston and Providence, Wheaton draws students and faculty from around the globe. The location in southeastern Massachusetts is advantageous, providing easy access to numerous businesses as well as cultural and educational resources in the greater Boston and Providence areas. At the intersection of Routes 128 and 495, central arteries of the Massachusetts high-technology economy, southeastern Massachusetts has become the fastest-growing residential area in a very prosperous state.
Consistently ranked among the most beautiful in New England, the Wheaton campus mixes traditional Georgian-style brick buildings with modern designs. The original design of the campus is organized around a central quadrangle with a circular declivity, affectionately known as the Dimple. The beautiful 400-acre campus is welcoming and walkable and contains many innovative spaces for students to enjoy—a sculpture studio, maker and fiber spaces, an idea lab, and much more.
Wheaton College was founded as a female seminary in 1834 by U.S. congressman and local community leader Judge Laban Wheaton at the urging of his beloved daughter-in-law, Eliza Baylies Chapin Wheaton, who would nurture the school until her death in 1905. From its very first classes, Wheaton focused on rigorous liberal arts study, placing the institution at the forefront of a movement to offer women an equal education to men. It was the act of a changemaker, the first of many change-making acts the institution would take in the years ahead.
Chartered as a four-year liberal arts college in 1912, Eliza Wheaton championed rigorous education with practical benefits and intellectual satisfaction. These institutional traits still hold today. For example, in 1917, the college hosted the nation’s first conference on professional development for women, organized by then-undergraduate Catherine Filene Shouse; when the college established a center in 1986 to promote experiential learning as central to the liberal arts, it named the organization the Filene Center for Work and Learning in Shouse’s honor. Internships, community impact, and research continue to play a vital role in Wheaton’s experiential nature, led by multiple centers on campus including the renamed Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services.
The egalitarian impulse that established Wheaton as an educational institution for women has also shaped the college’s development. In the late 1970s and 1980s, the college’s faculty developed the influential Gender Balanced Curriculum Project, bringing scholarship by and about women from the margins to the mainstream of undergraduate education. And when Wheaton chose coeducation in 1987, it also instituted the first of a series of initiatives that has internationalized the college’s curriculum and student body.
Throughout Wheaton College’s history, its reputation for academic excellence has been a direct result of pioneering leadership. Today, Wheaton shares with past generations the rich academic tradition of the liberal arts and sciences. At the same time, it benefits from a host of curricular initiatives begun during the past few decades—new programs that help students explore ideas and concepts across academic disciplines, link academic study with learning outside the classroom, appreciate and celebrate diversity in all its forms, and see themselves as active members of a global community.
The Wheaton Community
The college currently enrolls approximately 1,700 students, representing 40 states and more than 50 countries. Approximately 6 percent of Wheaton’s students are international, and 27 percent are self-identified students of color, including Asian, Black, and Latinx students. First-generation students account for about 22 percent of enrolled students. Nearly one-third of Wheaton students participate in the college’s 23 NCAA athletic teams. In addition to over a dozen club sports and seasonal intramurals, Wheaton athletics also houses one of the world’s oldest-running artistic swimming programs.
Wheaton students take an active role in shaping campus life through their community engagement. The college’s approach to education acknowledges that learning in a residential liberal arts college extends beyond the classroom; thus, students are empowered—and expected—to teach as well as learn from each other in residence halls, on the playing fields, and at meetings of clubs and organizations. This expectation has long been a critical aspect of Wheaton’s culture. It reflects the college’s honor code, established in 1921 to guide academic and social life on campus. In keeping with the college’s character, Wheaton’s admission process is holistic, considering the whole student. The college adopted an optional standardized test policy in 1990, among the first national liberal arts colleges to take this approach.
Wheaton faculty are celebrated artists, renowned researchers, and gifted instructors who take their experiences into the classroom and ask students to apply their own experiences to the world. Wheaton’s student-faculty ratio is approximately 11 to 1, and the average class size is 15 to 20 students. Faculty members take an engaged and active interest in the Wheaton community, serving as formal advisors and informal mentors for students and as professional partners to staff, building relationships that last a lifetime. Faculty collaborate with their students on research projects and work with one another to build truly interdisciplinary courses and programs, with the aid, resources, and support provided by the center for collaborative teaching and learning and the Madeleine Clark Wallace Library, among others.
Staff members play a vital role in delivering the college’s educational programs, contributing directly to student learning in their capacity as academic advisors, global study counselors, co-curricular programming directors, formal and informal mentors, and so much more. Staff members across the college also help sustain the vibrant living-learning environment by providing supervision for the 50 percent of students with on-campus jobs.
For more information on Wheaton College, please visit: www.wheatoncollege.edu
THE STUDENT BODY
Total enrollment: 1,669
African American: 6%
Two or more races: 4%
Race unknown: 2%
The diversity, equity, and inclusion vision and mission statement was developed throughout the 2019-2020 academic year, and the entire community of students, faculty, staff, college leadership, and alumni contributed to its development. The mission and vision statement will provide a framework and an anchor for the campus to guide work as Wheaton College continually outlines new action steps and refreshes its diversity and inclusion strategic plan going forward.
Michaele Whelan, president
Michaele Whelan, an experienced and energetic higher education leader and a scholar of English literature, took office as the ninth president of Wheaton College on January 1, 2022. In her leadership roles, Whelan has excelled at collaboratively developing academic programs that address evolving curricular and student needs while strategically advancing the institutions she has served.
Whelan came to Wheaton from Emerson College, where she served as provost since 2013. During that time, she developed a reputation for increasing academic and inclusive excellence and equity through a broad array of initiatives. She is credited with encouraging a culture of collaborative pedagogy, fostering innovation in teaching, supporting research and creative work, deepening connections of the liberal arts with the professions, and increasing the institution’s global capacity.
- Dental insurance
- Vision insurance
- Legal insurance
- Group life insurance
- Long-term disability insurance
- Retirement plan
- Paid holidays, vacation, sick, personal leave
- Pre-tax savings accounts — health savings account, dependent care & health care flex spending accounts
- Wheaton nursery school discount
- Tuition benefits
- Computer loan purchasing program
- Verizon wireless employee discount
- Employee assistance program
- Liberty Mutual discounted auto/home insurance
- Free parking
- Library use
- Athletic facilities use and fitness center
For detailed information about benefits offered through the end of 2023, see the 2023 Benefits Guide (pdf).
Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. 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. Email nominations for this position or questions about the status of the search to Kara Kravetz Cupoli at email@example.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The public salary range for this position is: $150,000 to $170,000
Visit the Wheaton College website at https://wheatoncollege.edu/
Wheaton College is committed to providing equal opportunities to all employees and applicants as defined under federal and state law. Wheaton does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, mental or physical disability, national origin or ancestry, citizenship, age, religion, gender or sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital or familial status, veteran or military status, membership in the Uniformed Services, or any other characteristic protected by law.