The University of Chicago is a private, non-denominational institution with an extraordinary history of world-renowned research and education programs across a broad spectrum of fields. Founded in 1890 by John D. Rockefeller, the university has grown to encompass the undergraduate college, which offers 50 concentrations, six professional schools, four graduate divisions, the Oriental Institute, and the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies, which support over 80 degree programs. The university is one of the largest employers in Chicago, with over 23,000 faculty and staff on campus and around the world. More than 2,100 full-time academic staff teach or conduct research at the university, and Chicago faculty and alums have won 89 Nobel Prizes. The university enrolls over 5,000 undergraduate students and over 9,000 graduate and professional students. Chicago continues to build a strong global presence, with a university center in Paris and newly established centers in Beijing, Delhi, and Hong Kong. The university is consistently ranked among the finest universities in the world.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE POSITION
Reporting to the Department of Safety & Security’s’ (DSS) assistant vice president for campus safety and strategic initiatives and working collaboratively with the Laboratory School’s associate director of schools for finance and operations. The director of safety & security serves as the primary safety administrator for the Laboratory Schools, including leadership for developing, implementing, and maintaining a comprehensive physical security plan and school safety program, including emergency preparedness, for the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. The director aims to promote a safe and secure educational environment for students, staff, parents, and visitors. This position supervises and evaluates subordinate proprietary or contractual staff, provides recommendations for enhancements to school security and emergency preparedness systems, recommends and implements new school safety initiatives, conducts incident investigations, and conducts regular general safety and security assessments. The director must work collaboratively with both Lab and DSS leadership to develop, implement, and maintain programs that promote a safe and secure school and will serve as a key liaison between the Schools and DSS. Additionally, the director oversees a safety and security team comprised of 13 full-time employees.
Other responsibilities include:
- Oversees the development and implementation of security operation policies and procedures compliant with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement (CALEA) Campus Safety standards.
- Oversees the recruiting and hiring of proprietary security staff and coordinates with DSS’ Security Services division for any contract security.
- Develops and implements pre-service, annual in-service, and other ongoing career development for security staff in accordance with security best practices.
- Responsible for conducting incident-based investigations and ensuring security staff adhere to unit-specific policies and procedures.
- In collaboration with the University of Chicago police department, indirectly oversees the assigned UCPD school resource officers (SROs).
Emergency Management & Preparedness
- In collaboration with the DSS emergency management unit, responsible for developing and maintaining the School’s emergency operations plan.
- Responsible for developing and maintaining building-specific emergency action plans.
- Recommends, develops, and conducts an annual emergency preparedness training program for the faculty, staff, and students.
- Chairs the School’s emergency management committee, whose members assist in revising emergency operations plans and the development of emergency management and safety-related programming.
- With the associate director of schools for finance and operations, co-chairs the School’s emergency response team, which focuses on Lab Schools crisis response.
- Develops and conducts, at minimum, training on emergency protocols for Lab administrators as well as an annual emergency management tabletop exercise for school leadership in each of Lab’s four divisions.
Community Safety Education
- Recommends, develops, and conducts school safety education programs in partnership with Lab administrators and collaborates with other DSS divisions to coordinate specific safety education programs for the school community (e.g., active threat response, fire safety education, crime prevention safety, etc.).
Physical Security and Emergency Response Systems
- Conducts ongoing assessments of the Schools’ physical security and emergency management systems and recommends additions and/or improvements to that technology (e.g., cameras, card access, public address systems, etc.) to school leadership.
- Oversight for emergency management and emergency mass notification systems, including LabSafe and Rave.
- Works collaboratively with DSS’ Security Technology Unit to make enhancements or additions to physical security and emergency management technology.
- Serves as a member and the security & law enforcement liaison of the Schools’ threat assessment team.
- Maintains a working relationship with police, fire, and other safety and security-related organizations to ensure their assistance when responding to incidents.
- Collaborates with key internal stakeholders within DSS and the Laboratory Schools on safety and security issues.
- Works with the appropriate departments to maintain safe and secure buildings for after-hours programs.
- Reviews all incident reports and takes action when appropriate, which may include working with the local police or other law enforcement agencies.
- Promptly and routinely updates Lab’s director of schools and associate director of schools for finance and operations regarding safety and security incidents, personnel matters, communications, training, and preparedness.
- Responds to requests from key administrators, including principals, regarding school safety and security matters.
- Conducts, at minimum, a triennial assessment of the Schools’ safety and security program with a particular focus on security, technology, and emergency preparedness functions and makes recommendations to school leadership regarding any needed changes or enhancements.
- Performs all other duties as assigned.
QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATE
The successful candidate will possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, preferably in criminal justice or a related field such as emergency preparedness. Considerable experience managing an organization of comparable size in law enforcement, security, or other related fields is required. Other combinations of applicable education, training, and experience that provide the knowledge, abilities, and skills necessary to perform effectively in the position may be considered. The successful candidate must be familiar with current safety and security best practices, including physical security (to include electronic security systems), personnel security, emergency preparedness and response, risk assessment, local, state, and federal laws and ordinances related to school safety and security; and have the ability to plan, organize, monitor, and evaluate a comprehensive safety and security program. Preferred qualifications include professional experience in K-12th grade settings; ASIS Certified Protection Professional (CPP) or Physical Security Professional (PSP) Certification or the ability to obtain certification within one year; Incident Command System 200 Level and NIMS 800 Level Certification; and a valid Security Officer Registration Card (where applicable).
Additionally, stakeholders at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools identified the following characteristics and attributes when considering the position of director (in no particular order):
- Experience creating a unified vision, mission, and strategic plan to move safety and security in a positive direction.
- A proactive safety and security professional with a sense of curiosity and a desire to continually improve the Schools’ safety and security services, programs, and initiatives.
- Solid knowledge of security technologies and how to effectively implement them in a school setting.
- Ability to maintain a leadership/management style that is confident, approachable, and transparent, with a high degree of visibility throughout the Lab Schools’ community.
- Demonstrated experience creating and implementing effective policies and procedures that are fair, clear, enforceable, and widely shared with the Lab Schools’ community.
- An ability to connect with students in a friendly, thoughtful, and educationally purposeful manner with a genuine willingness to work with and for students by actively engaging with them.
- Strong understanding of and experience with emergency management plans, emergency preparedness, emergency communications, and critical incident response, and the skill to train/drill students, faculty, and staff on responding to emergencies.
- An understanding of the security team’s role and positions and an ability to successfully advocate, coach, and enhance their professional growth and development.
- An appreciation for and understanding of Schools’ unique mission, values, and culture.
- An understanding of best practices and trends in K-12 settings, awareness of the nuances of the different schools, and the ability to effectively work with all constituents through a lens of respect and humility.
- Ability to build a strong, empowered, exceptionally trained team with positive morale and job satisfaction.
- Demonstrated commitment to community engagement techniques as well as a solid customer service approach.
- A culturally competent leader with a genuine appreciation for and experience working with a diverse student population.
- An ability to serve as a knowledgeable information resource for the School’s staff, faculty, and parents, ensuring their needs/concerns are adequately addressed.
- Authentic communicator with exceptional interpersonal, oral, listening, and written communication skills and the ability to artfully present to various audiences while inspiring confidence in their abilities and those of the security team.
- Highly energetic individual with a strong sense of self and the ability to appropriately infuse humor and enthusiasm into the workplace and campus community.
- Team player with a high level of professional ethics, personal integrity, and the ability to inspire confidence in all constituents.
- A transformative, innovative, and collaborative leader with a readiness to take the initiative around new ideas and approaches.
- Passion for serving in an educational environment with high emotional intelligence and an ability to build a strong rapport with students, parents, faculty, and staff.
- A strong community collaborator capable of building bridges to departments, faculty, staff, students, and the larger community.
- Systems thinker with the ability to understand complex issues and devise well-thought-out solutions.
HISTORY OF THE POSITION
In 2013, after a series of assessments, the chief of UCPD determined the Laboratory Schools needed their own security team and created the director of security position as well as a dedicated security team. Initially, individuals currently employed with the UCPD were selected to serve the Lab Schools along with the assistance of contract security. The first director established a strong foundation for this position, diligently working to create sound policies and procedures while making genuine connections with the students, parents, faculty, and staff. After two years, this individual was promoted and assumed more responsibilities within the UCPD. Since the spring of 2015, this position has been filled by four different individuals, with the last director serving until September 2023. An interim director has been named until a new director is in place.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE
In transitioning to the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, the director will encounter the following opportunities, priorities, and challenges, as shared by key stakeholders:
- Having a director with both safety and security experience and strong people skills is vital as this director will work with a wide array of stakeholders, including young students and their parents. The director must understand how to effectively communicate with all stakeholders and inherently appreciate the complexities of these relationships and this position.
- While the Lab Schools’ community supports safety and security, change can initially be a bit challenging.
- The director must be apt to think broadly, critically, and creatively and envision best practices for the Lab Schools in numerous areas. While the director will be involved with the day-to-day management of the program, it is hoped that the director will take on broader leadership to emphasize emerging trends for school safety and security.
- The senior leadership team is extremely supportive of this position and its role as an educator as well as a safety and security professional. Their collaborative work and problem-solving will be beneficial to the new director.
- The director must clearly outline the vision, goals, expectations, policies, and procedures and share those openly within the Schools’ community.
- Stakeholders would welcome a highly visible director; one who is actively engaged within the Lab Schools’ community, attending functions to support the students, serving in an official capacity as needed, and providing educational programming to the students, parents, and faculty.
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential to the University of Chicago and Lab Schools’ community, and the director must be a leader in supporting these principles.
- Stakeholders want a director motivated by the opportunity to lead the security program at the Lab Schools. Staff and senior administrators want a progressive, proactive, and dynamic person who approaches the job with passion, curiosity, and enthusiasm.
- Evaluation of comprehensive operating policies and procedures will be expected, with recommendations for revisions or additions reflecting current national best practices for K-12 education security. The director should ensure that the appropriate constituency groups are well-informed of policies and procedures and that enforcement is uniformly practiced.
- The director must be able to create thorough training practices and improve all aspects of departmental training utilizing current techniques to ensure security staff is well-versed in best practices and protocols.
- The security staff needs a director who knows their work, values open communication, and will work to define roles and expectations better. They would like to receive timely information as well as to share their knowledge and opinions on topics impacting their work.
- The Lab Schools operate in a highly demanding environment with a unionized faculty and active parents. The new director must fully appreciate this and find ways to communicate and/or partner with all constituents effectively.
- The unique reporting structure of this position provides an interesting challenge, as the director essentially reports to three different supervisors while also listening to the needs of students, parents, faculty, staff, and the security team.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
At an appropriate interval after joining the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, the following items will initially define success for the new director. The new director will have:
- Become a key partner within the Schools through solid relationships at all levels of the School and the DSS and active engagement with the community.
- Learned the ebb and flow of an academic year to begin to proactively plan for events and security needs.
- Learned the culture and nuances of the different schools and how to most effectively work within this environment.
- Ascertained the values of the Lab Schools in terms of safety and security and will be working toward integrating these values in all endeavors.
- Earned the trust of the community and is viewed as an expert in their field, which will result in demonstrated confidence in the director and the team.
- Ensured that policies and procedures align with best practices and that the administration of all policies and procedures is fair and consistent.
- Worked toward a set of regularly scheduled activities focused on safety and security to enhance understanding, foster improvement, and maintain open communication while ensuring that the safety and security team is integrated within the schools.
- Established a professional, well-trained safety and security team with increased morale and efficacy that feels a part of the Schools’ community.
- Reviewed and updated the emergency plans and protocols and executed training drills and tabletops, along with the appropriate documentation of lessons learned to continue to improve safety and security.
OVERVIEW OF THE DEPARTMENT OF SAFETY & SECURITY
The Department of Safety & Security (DSS) encompasses emergency management, environmental health and safety, campus safety, transportation and parking services, and the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD). DSS is a unit within the Division of Finance and Administration, reporting to the vice president and general counsel, and is led by the associate vice president for safety and security. The department is tasked with developing and implementing comprehensive safety strategies that serve the university community, strengthen collaborations between the DSS and students, faculty, staff, and neighbors, and appropriately align with institutional values and priorities. The University of Chicago campus is part of Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, which contains a significant amount of off-campus University property. In addition to the students housed on campus and in the areas adjacent, more than a third of the University’s staff resides in areas surrounding the campus, and more than 50% of the University’s faculty resides in the Hyde Park area. By long tradition, the University works with the city of Chicago, providing safety and security options in Hyde Park and the surrounding neighborhoods.
Eric Heath, Associate Vice President for Safety & Security
Eric M. Heath is the associate vice president for safety & security. Eric has administrative and operational responsibility for the Department of Safety & Security, which includes the University of Chicago Police Department, environmental health and safety, emergency management, transportation and parking services, and Campus Safety. Eric graduated from the University of Arkansas with both a bachelor’s and master’s of arts degrees in Sociology, attended the Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff & Command, and served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Prior to returning to the University of Chicago, Eric was the assistant vice president for public safety and chief of police at George Mason University.
Michael Kwiatkowski, Assistant Vice President for Campus Safety and Strategic Initiatives
Michael Kwiatkowski is the assistant vice president for campus safety and strategic initiatives. In this role, Michael is responsible for operational oversight of Campus Safety, which includes the University of Chicago Charter School Security, the University of Chicago Laboratory School Security, the Allied Universal security services contract, security and law enforcement systems, accountability, and clery compliance. Michael is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command. Prior to assuming this role, Michael served as a deputy chief for the University of Chicago Police Department.
INSTITUTIONAL OVERVIEW – THE LABORATORY SCHOOLS
The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools (Lab) prioritize a sense of community and belonging to support students in nursery through Grade 12. Lab was founded in 1896 by John Dewey as a place for educators to develop novel approaches to teaching and learning. Today, academic rigor, experiential learning, and intellectual discourse are hallmarks of a Lab education. On two campuses, Lab provides a world-class education to over 2200 diverse, inspiring students. Lab’s 420 faculty and staff employees share a lifelong love of learning and care deeply about curiosity, inquiry, and creativity. Families who choose Lab are active and engaged in the school community. The unifying features of the Lab community, enshrined in our mission, are our commitments to scholarship, exhibiting kindness, and honoring diversity.
Victoria Jueds, Director, Lab Schools
Victoria Jueds joined the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools as director in summer 2021.
Jueds came to Lab from Westtown School, a P.K.–12 Quaker day and boarding school in Pennsylvania, where she served as head of School from 2017–2021. In addition to leading Westtown’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, Jueds forefronted goals in diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in the creation of a long-range strategic vision for the School, developed and consolidated resources for learning support and mental health, and worked towards three-divisional expansion of program areas including world language and the arts.
Jueds spent the decade prior at Princeton University in roles focused on students’ residential and academic lives, and taught for several summer sessions at Phillips Exeter Academy and at the George Washington University Law School, among other places. Earlier in her career, she worked as an attorney in New York and Washington, D.C., litigating cases involving civil rights and civil liberties issues.
She earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her A.B. in history and literature from Harvard College. As a committed lifelong learner, she has enjoyed religion and ancient Greek coursework since then.
Known among friends and colleagues as Tori, she is an avid practitioner of yoga, a cycling enthusiast, and a classically trained singer with a fondness for early music. Her household consists of a boxer mix named Phoebe and a spooky black cat named Wednesday. Jueds recognizes in Lab the lively spirit of inquiry and intellectual rigor that has greatly enriched her own life and welcomes conversation with all current and prospective community members about how Lab can support young people as they realize their unique gifts and grow into productive members of a healthy democracy.
The University of Chicago is distinctive in many respects, but perhaps in none more so than its singular commitment to rigorous inquiry that demands multiple and often competing perspectives. The nature of questions being asked and the perspectives being engaged are often a function of the diversity of experiences and outlooks of those participating. Diversity for the university is, therefore, particularly germane to the core perspective. The university ensures the scholarly community is composed of a rich mix of individuals who, through their own distinctive viewpoints, contribute to the intellectually challenging culture of the university.
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