Responsibilities of the Position

Reporting to the chancellor, the vice chancellor and chief human resources officer (VC/CHRO) will support the mission of the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) flagship campus by providing effective human resources programs and services. The VC/CHRO provides oversight and strategic leadership in the areas of talent acquisition and recruitment (selection and retention), compensation, human resources business partnerships, employee engagement initiatives, education and staff training/development, employee and labor relations, and other centralized day-to-day human resources operations so that centralized human resources services are fully engaged and consistent. In addition, the VC/CHRO will provide leadership and guidance to the institution’s 11 collective bargaining units representing over 90 percent of University employees. This position works across and with all of the campus’ decentralized human resources offices to transform the human resources function into an effective, strategic resource on campus with a true client service delivery model.

The VC/CHRO oversees between six and eight (6-8) direct reports and a dedicated staff of 76 with an annual budget of $6.4M.

Essential Functions

  • Establish the strategic direction for human resources by providing vision, leadership, strategic planning, and oversight in alignment with the University’s mission and strategic priorities.
  • Collaborate with senior campus leadership and constituents at all levels of the institution to translate the goals and initiatives of the University into human resource strategic and operational plans.
  • Cultivate a strong, results-oriented, data-supported, and respected human resources team that is proactive, operationally excellent, and viewed by the University as highly competent, collaborative, supportive, efficient, and innovative.
  • Define and implement a transformative human resources services delivery model that implements best practices, adopts technology advancements, updates legacy business practices, and improves communication channels with decentralized areas to deliver the highest quality customer service experience to campus constituents.
  • Promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and reinforce the campus commitment toward inclusive excellence; oversee employee retention programs that engage and retain a competent and diverse workforce; promote and support an increase in diverse talent at all levels at the University and be proactive in implementing and maintaining effective processes to develop a broad and diverse pool of talent.
  • Lead the development and implementation of university-wide organizational development and training initiatives, compensation, performance management, employee relations, and the management of human resource systems and analytics to advance the University as an employment destination of choice.
  • Manage and lead labor relations with 11 unions, including the negotiation of collectively bargained contracts in conjunction with the system office and other campuses as necessary; represent the campus’ interests in achieving fair and balanced agreements between management and the workforce.
  • Represent the campus on all human resource matters in policy decisions with the UMass system office and state employment boards; chair and serve on committees; and participate in drafting reports, strategic and capital plans, and position papers.
  • Ensure and maintain professional responsibility and stewardship of the University by adhering to ethical standards of professional conduct; act in a manner consistent with the University’s mission and core values of learning, community, diversity, responsibility, integrity, and quality comprehending and applying all University and departments policies, procedures, and legal requirements relevant to competently fulfilling the role of VC/CHRO.
  • Provide strategic consultation and guidance to all levels of administration, faculty, and staff concerning sensitive human resource matters with a high degree of confidentiality, integrity, ethics, initiative, and sound judgment.
  • Collaborate with the Office of Equal Opportunity and carry out responsibilities with respect to Title IX and other compliance requirements; possess a thorough knowledge of federal and state employment-related laws and regulations.


The Position

Qualifications and Characteristics of the Successful Candidate

The successful candidate must have a master’s degree and a demonstrated record of progressive and substantive responsibilities and management of human resource functions—including experience supervising and managing a team of human resource professionals in a complex organization with union employees and demonstrated experience in negotiations with large segments of a workforce. Broad knowledge of benefits, employment, compensation, human resources systems, organizational development, employee relations, labor relations, collective bargaining, recruitment, talent management, equal opportunity and affirmative action, and training and development are necessary. The successful candidate will ensure and maintain professional responsibility and stewardship of the university by adhering to ethical standards of professional conduct and act in a manner consistent with the University’s mission and core values of learning, community, diversity, responsibility, integrity, and quality comprehending and applying all university and departments policies, procedures, and legal requirements relevant to competently fulfilling the role of VC/CHRO. This position must cultivate influential and credible relationships with vice chancellors and deans across the campus and resolve difficult and personal employee, student, or leader (vice chancellor, dean, department head, etc.) issues in a composed, professional and confidential manner. The VC/CHRO must have a solid executive presence; demonstrated labor union experience; the ability to formulate, present, and execute complex strategies, policies, and programs; excellent overall business acumen; superior verbal and written communication skills; and the ability to effect transformative change.

Preferred qualifications include experience in higher education and/or the public sector, experience in leading strategic planning efforts, and HRCI or SHRM certification.

In addition to the qualifications stated above, key stakeholders identified the following capabilities and attributes of a successful candidate:

  • An authentic communicator who can support a wide variety of human resources functions and work closely with faculty and staff to support their human resources-related questions and needs.
  • Represent a goal-oriented, forward-thinking, data-driven, analytical approach to generating measurable outcomes and assessments of services.
  • Demonstrated systems thinker, creative problem solver, strategic risk taker, and confident decision-maker.
  • Significant experience working with labor unions using the skills necessary to de-escalate polarizing conflicts and issues.
  • Knowledge of evolving employment and employee relations trends and commitment to implementing those that best work for UMass.
  • Experience leading change processes in a complex, decentralized environment.
  • A seasoned, dedicated human resources professional of impeccable integrity and high ethical standards who inspires trust in others.
  • Ability to engage others and listen attentively to assimilate information and learn about the UMass environment, the needs of each school/department, and its work culture.
  • Possess an inclusive, empowering, and approachable leadership style with a keen sense of service to the entire institution.
  • Able and willing to establish credibility with all constituencies through excellent follow-through, responsiveness, and a highly collaborative approach.
  • An adaptable leader who can manage issues nimbly and keep projects, processes, and protocols moving forward.
  • Solid subject matter expertise in generalist human resource functions with proven abilities in designing, implementing, managing, and reviewing these functions.
  • A well-networked leader involved with professional associations who understands national perspectives and best practices in human resources.
  • Ability to think outside the box, generate innovative solutions to complex problems, set priorities to achieve objectives, and manage multiple projects concurrently.
  • A strong supervisor who clearly communicates expectations, delegates effectively, and supports professional development and lifelong learning.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the value of diversity, equity, and inclusivity in all human resources functions.
  • Solid ability to set priorities to achieve objectives and manage multiple projects concurrently.
  • Possess strategic change management skills coupled with strong organizational development abilities.
  • Ability to be transparent in acknowledging issues and prioritizing solutions and resources

History of the Position

The previous VC/CHRO served UMass Amherst for approximately six years before his retirement. During his tenure, he and his team worked on rebuilding campus confidence in the human resources department through efforts focused on customer service and more efficient processes and systems. He created a business partner system with partners assigned to various schools, colleges, and divisions. He leaves the department in a much better place than he first encountered, but much still needs to be accomplished. An interim has been named to provide leadership for the continued work of the department while the institution conducts a national search for this critical role.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

The next vice chancellor and chief human resources officer must possess a broad and deep understanding of national trends and best practices concerning human resources management, organizational change and development, labor relations, recruitment and selection, compensation, benefits, information system management, employee relations, and institutional equity in a multifaceted and constantly evolving university setting. The VC/CHRO should be a dynamic leader who is capable of leading through change, managing complex situations, committed to the well-being and support of the staff, faculty, and students, dedicated to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, and prepared to immediately contribute at both a strategic and operational level to a vibrant flagship institution.

This position requires high standards of excellence, great attention to detail, and a futuristic, forward-thinking, strategic mindset. To be successful in this role, the VC/CHRO should possess a strong passion for supporting those with whom they work in an empathetic and humanistic manner, the ability to understand and continuously advance all aspects of a modern human resources operation, and a comprehensive grasp of the changing needs of today’s workforce post-pandemic.

Process Improvements

UMass is seeking an innovative leader to bring change to the department’s processes and procedures through streamlining and creative efficiencies. With the complexity of the campus and some decentralized human resources functions, there is a need to create more consistency in the interpretation of policies and procedures and to provide support and a robust delivery model from centralized human resources to ensure interpretations and campus-wide processes are consistent, fair, and not cumbersome.UMass expects this new VC/CHRO to lead these necessary changes with informed decisions based on data, best practices, and the consideration of the nuances of UMass’ culture and needs. The VC/CHRO must take the time to have conversations with the faculty, academic departments, staff, and union leadership to clearly understand both frustrations and desires and incorporate this feedback into practical solutions for the overall advancement of the department and service to UMass. In some circumstances, a “one size fits all” approach may not be the answer; the VC/CHRO must be aware of how decisions impact the entire workforce, allowing for adaptability to serve the institution best.

Supportive Environment

This is an exciting time to join UMass. This leadership position presents an outstanding opportunity for the successful candidate to put their professional mark on human resources and to strategically build a contemporary, service-oriented department. There is tremendous support from the chancellor, peers/colleagues, and other campus leaders to develop and manage a dynamic, innovative, comprehensive, and forward-thinking human resources program. These campus partners will be available to assist in visioning and strategizing to promote an equitable and supportive environment for the institution. The VC/CHRO should be prepared to identify programs and services that are working effectively and those areas that are not as efficient or successful and be willing to add, enhance, or eliminate programs, processes, and procedures as necessary.

This VC/CHRO is primed to leave an indelible legacy at UMass by embracing the significant opportunities for positive growth and development. The campus community eagerly awaits this new leader and is optimistic about the future of human resources.

Labor Unions

Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of UMass and this role is the number of labor unions associated with the campus. With 90 percent of the institution’s workforce in one of 11 unions, this adds a layer of complexity to the department’s work. The VC/CHRO must have an understanding and experience with labor unions to effectively negotiate for the positive changes most crucial to the work of human resources. Additionally, the VC/CHRO needs the fortitude to challenge the existing policies and structures that contribute to convoluted processes. It is imperative the new VC/CHRO fosters a robust and respected partnership with the unions and seeks to both understand their needs as well as help the institution move forward,

The Team

The VC/CHRO has a committed team of professionals devoted to UMass and its needs. The ability to develop and mentor this high-functioning professional staff while building a solid and dedicated team will be critical for success. The VC/CHRO should prioritize getting to know the leadership and other departmental staff individually, learn their particular needs and goals, and develop trust and confidence across the organization. These efforts should continue to emphasize increasing staff knowledge and skills in current national best practices in human resources within an evolving higher education landscape, improving morale, and promoting confidence and an ethos of exemplary service. A positive work environment should be fostered, focusing on a healthy work/life balance for the staff.

Measures of Success 

The items listed below will define the new VC/CHRO’s success throughout the first two years of employment:

  • The VC/CHRO will have a solid understanding of the department’s structures and systems and have established goals and indicators to define the organization’s health.
  • The VC/CHRO has been actively working on advancements to ensure timely and efficient hiring processes with less friction and more flexibility.
  • The department is executing a vibrant strategic plan focused on modernizing the work of human resources and positioning the institution for continued success.
  • Considerable progress has been made in conducting a gap analysis of human resource processes, and improvements are underway.
  • The institution’s compensation system has been replaced with a highly functioning system.
  • The VC/CHRO has established a strong working relationship with all the unions built on mutual respect, active listening, and the understanding of the need to improve human resources functions for the campus.
  • The institution feels well-supported by the human resources department, evidenced by clear, effective communication, good rapport, and swift responsiveness to all University stakeholders.
  • The VC/CHRO has assessed the human resources organizational structure and department functions and put plans in place for improvements by bringing forward new and innovative ideas and identifying opportunities for greater efficiencies.
  • The department is viewed as highly service-oriented, one that people turn to for help and direction.
  • The new VC/CHRO will have infused a fresh perspective into the department’s work focused on innovation and the highest service standards across all functions.
  • The VC/CHRO is a highly regarded, credible, and effective campus leader.
  • The department’s staff feel valued and supported by the VC/CHRO and believe in the overall vision and goals of the department as they collectively work to enhance their services.

Institution & Location

Overview of Human Resources

Human resources’ mission is to meet the University’s workforce needs of today and tomorrow through robust programming, efficient processes, and a responsive partnership with the campus community.

The Office of Human Resources is comprised of the following functional areas that provide services and support to the campus community members:

  • Benefits
    Manages UMass employee benefit programs, including health, life, long-term disability, and dental insurance; retirement; workers’ compensation; unemployment; personnel records; employee family/medical leave; tuition discounts; and sick leave banks.
  • Employee Engagement
    Provides support to employees through training and development, employee recognition, and wellness programs. Includes Workplace Learning & Development, the Partnership for Worker Education, and the Employee Coaching and Counseling Office.
  • Talent Acquisition and Compensation
    Responsible for position classification, compensation, and talent acquisition services to campus partners.
  • HR Operations
    Maintains and provides technical expertise in HRIS systems, payroll, and all human resource transactions (including human resource data and reporting and system training and expertise).
  • HR Partnerships and Labor Relations
    Collaborates with campus partners to facilitate problem resolution and administer policies and collective bargaining agreements.

Human Resources Website

Organizational Chart

Institutional Overview

Founded in 1863, the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) was originally established as Massachusetts Agricultural College under the Federal Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act. Today, it is the flagship and largest campus in the University of Massachusetts System. With over 6,300 faculty and staff and more than 30,000 students, UMass is the largest public university in New England and is ranked among the top 30 public universities in the nation. UMass is dedicated to providing a world-class, accessible education and advancing progress for the people of Massachusetts and beyond. In addition, UMass Amherst has a rich history of supporting social justice and efforts to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus. Its LGBTQ+ and women’s centers were among the first established in the nation, and the campus is ranked as one of the best in the country for LGBT+ students. The campus, located on nearly 1,450 acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts, provides a rich cultural environment in a suburban setting yet close to major urban centers. 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.

The UMass Edge

Mission Statement 

Strategic Plan

Organizational Chart

The Student Body (Fall 2023)

Total enrollment: 32,045

Undergraduate: 23,936

Graduate: 7,874

Retention rate: 91%

Male: 48%

Female: 52%

World-Class Faculty

UMass Amherst is home to 1,949 faculty members, of which 1,064 are tenured system faculty and 1,444 full-time instructional faculty members, including 12 of the world’s most highly cited researchers (Clarivate Analytics, owner of Web of Science, 2022). They are creative and passionate researchers, teachers, and mentors striving to improve the world and empower the next generation through the pursuit of knowledge and innovation.

Distinguished faculty include 16 Guggenheim Foundation recipients and 25 National Endowment for the Humanities Grant Recipients. Faculty members have served as elected members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and 20 American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows.


The 4,592 staff members that work in various roles throughout UMass are critical to the institution’s mission. These individuals are integral to the everyday functioning of UMass and enhance the campus and student experience.

96% of the staff are full-time, and 87% are unionized, represented by one of the 11 collective bargaining units.

Diversity Statement

“The University of Massachusetts Amherst, as a public land-grant institution, has a responsibility to provide access and opportunities for all people, while demonstrating our commitment to inclusion of historically underrepresented groups. We believe that a culturally diverse campus is integral to academic excellence and that our students, faculty, and staff should reflect the diverse world in which we live.

The University recognizes and values the wide range of voices and perspectives in all spheres of the academic enterprise. The University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to policies that promote inclusiveness, social justice, and respect for all, regardless of race, color, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, age, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, political belief or affiliation, marital status, veteran status, immigration status, gender identity and expression, genetic information, or any other characteristic or status protected by state or federal laws.”

Institutional Leadership

Javier A. Reyes, Chancellor

Javier A. Reyes, Ph.D., became the 31st leader of the University of Massachusetts Amherst on July 1, 2023, following his selection as chancellor of the Commonwealth’s flagship campus by the UMass Board of Trustees.

Reyes is an economist who has devoted his career to the cause of public higher education, holding leadership positions at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), West Virginia University, and the University of Arkansas. He most recently served as interim chancellor of UIC, Chicago’s largest university campus. Born and raised in Mexico, Reyes is the first Hispanic person to serve as chancellor of UMass Amherst.

Before coming to UMass, Reyes served as interim chancellor of UIC, Chicago’s largest university campus, with more than 33,000 students and $440 million in research awards. Previously, he served as UIC’s provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, joining the campus in 2021. Leading UIC, first as provost and later as interim chancellor, Reyes initiated a redesign of UIC’s budget model and a restructuring of teaching innovation environments to position UIC for success amid a new era of innovative and accessible education.

Committed to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Reyes outlined a bold vision to address critical gaps in racial equity across the institution, with a specific focus on increasing Black student enrollment, retention, and graduation rates. Reyes served as dean of West Virginia University’s John Chambers College of Business and Economics from 2016–2021 and vice president for StartUp West Virginia from 2018–2021. He built impactful corporate partnerships to strengthen student placement and serve West Virginia’s land-grant mission. He spearheaded the transformation of the college into a pillar of inclusive entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic development for the university and the state.

Prior to moving to West Virginia, Reyes served as vice provost for online and distance education at the University of Arkansas and as the associate dean for undergraduate studies and executive education in the Sam M. Walton College of Business. He initially joined the economics faculty of the University of Arkansas in 2003.

Reyes has been a National Science Foundation proposal reviewer, invited lecturer, and visiting scholar at a number of institutions internationally, including the Clinton School of Public Service and the International Monetary Fund. He also has served as an academic scholar in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London, as a research analyst for the investment firm Value Casa de Bolsa, headquartered in Mexico.

He has served on the Board of Directors for the Field Museum, the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, Miller Industries (NYSE: MLR), and City Holding Company (NASDAQ: CHCO). He is actively engaged with the TIAA Diversity Council and the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA).

Reyes received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Campus Estado de Mexico, in 1998 and his doctorate in economics from Texas A&M University in 2003. He is actively engaged with the TIAA Diversity Council and the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA).

Benefits Overview

Benefits Overview

The University of Massachusetts Amherst offers services, support, and benefits, including health, dental, and vision insurance; life and long-term disability insurance; generous paid time off; tuition remission; and robust retirement options.

Application & Nomination

Application and Nomination

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. Nominations for this position and questions about the status of the search may be emailed to Heather J. Larabee at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email

 The salary range for this position is $300K – $360K.

Visit the UMass Amherst website at

 UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information 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 the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.