The Opportunity

Bradley University seeks a dynamic and transformative leader, skilled administrator, and collaborative campus partner to serve as its inaugural vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion and chief diversity officer. This is an outstanding opportunity for a talented and experienced individual whose education, perspectives, and personal and professional experiences will provide a foundation for effective and collaborative leadership of the university’s efforts to translate the ideals and goals of diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism into substantive and transformative practices across the Bradley community.

The Position

Role of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Reporting to President Stephen Standifird, who joined Bradley as its 12th president in May 2020, the vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion and chief diversity officer (vice president) will serve as principal advisor to the president on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), be a valued member of the university’s senior leadership team, and provide strategic and programmatic leadership for initiatives—including student, faculty, and staff recruitment, retention, and pipeline initiatives—that advance inclusive excellence as a part of Bradley’s core values.

The vice president will: (1) establish and oversee the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; (2) lead the development of a unifying strategic vision for DEI at Bradley; (3) guide the development and implementation of an overarching DEI strategic plan; (4) expand pathways for assessing, understanding, and improving Bradley’s climate; (5) establish and maintain a culture of assessment and evaluation in relation to DEI; and (6) serve as an ambassador for the university and its commitment to DEI externally in Peoria, central Illinois, and beyond.

While the role has a campus-spanning sphere of influence over many aspects throughout the Bradley community, there is acknowledgement that creating a more inclusive environment is not the responsibility of one person or one office alone. The vice president will collaborate with campus leaders and internal and external stakeholders, and establish a DEI advisory committee, to envision and pave the way toward a future for Bradley that is more diverse and inclusive, and actively working to eradicate racism and exploring intersections with gender, class, and other aspects of identity and positionality.

The official position description also includes the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Serving as a resource to each division as they develop and implement unit-level DEI strategic plans.
  • Forming and providing leadership to a campus-wide DEI committee to examine and provide recommendations to areas across campus.
  • Supporting and assisting in the creation and alignment of: enrollment management strategy (including the strategy for improving retention and graduation rates of underrepresented students), strategic marketing and fundraising campaigns targeted towards diverse populations, and search hiring and onboarding practices throughout the university.
  • Serving as a resource for academic leaders and faculty in implementing inclusive teaching efforts, curriculum development, and faculty programming.
  • Launching an on-going DEI education and training program for all students, faculty, and staff related to Bradley’s unique set of DEI challenges and opportunities.
  • Examining practices and policies to address systemic barriers, explicit and unconscious biases, and inequities.
  • Creating an assessment plan to monitor and evaluate DEI activities and impact on climate across the institution.
  • Communicating with the campus and the broader community the successes, challenges, and opportunities of the division and the university.
  • Managing an inaugural two-year operating budget of $500,000.

History of the Position

The vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion position is the result of several calls from different groups, individuals, and organizations on campus over the years, most recently from Bradley’s Racial Equity Advisory Group. As a new senior-level executive reporting directly to the president, the vice president will serve as Bradley’s chief diversity officer and will prioritize and focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and institutional change. With assistance from Spelman Johnson, Bradley is conducting an aggressive nationwide search for this inaugural position. The successful candidate will be expected to take office in January 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Opportunities and Challenges

The vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion will be expected to address the following opportunities and challenges, among others:

Establish and oversee the university’s Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Bradley is establishing a new division to drive the campus-wide vision for DEI. The division will work with trustees, senior leaders, and other individuals involved in shared governance of the university to increase awareness and understanding of DEI as an institutional imperative; to advance measurable and sustainable actions needed to counter systemic barriers, explicit and unconscious biases, and inequities; and to build institutional capacity to achieve inclusive excellence and support the flourishing of all members of the Bradley community.

President Standifird has authorized the realignment of the existing Office of Diversity and Inclusion (currently three FTE positions), has created a $500,000 two-year starting project fund to establish the new division, and will work with the vice president to develop additional funding for initiatives and staffing. The vice president will work with the university’s marketing and communications team to develop Bradley’s brand for DEI efforts and communicate regularly with the campus community regarding DEI activity and resources.

Lead the development of a unifying strategic vision for diversity, equity, and inclusion at Bradley University

The vice president will formulate and articulate a vision for DEI at Bradley for the present moment and as the university’s understanding of the needs and aspirations of its community evolves and changes over time. The vice president will provide campus-wide leadership, concrete steps, counsel, advocacy, and a point of connection and communication for achieving this vision. To that end, the vice president will conduct an inventory of existing DEI resources and initiatives in order to identify strengths, gaps, and opportunities, and work to bring them together into a cogent, powerful whole.

Guide the university in developing and implementing an overarching DEI strategic plan

The vice president will design, develop, and execute an overarching strategic plan for DEI in collaboration with all internal university partners, including senior academic and administrative leadership, faculty, staff, students and a diverse array of external partners and communities. The vice president will serve as a resource to divisions across the institution and assist them in developing and implementing their unit-level DEI strategic plans. This individual will convene partners from across the institution to coordinate, listen, and encourage productive collaboration toward a set of common goals. In order to do this effectively, the vice president will build mutually supportive relationships across the institution through engagement with faculty, staff, and students.





Expand pathways for assessing, understanding, and improving Bradley’s climate

The vice president 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 vice president will partner with Office of Institutional Effectiveness and the university assessment team to collect, interpret and disseminate data related to the campus climate to educate the Bradley community on critical issues.

Establish and maintain a culture of assessment and evaluation in relation to DEI

The vice president will work with senior academic and administrative leaders to establish systems of shared accountability of the university’s DEI goals, offer recommendations and course corrections, and measure impact by using data-driven metrics to measure success and disseminate information. The vice president will communicate results and use them to support future strategic planning.

Serve as an ambassador for the university and its commitment to DEI externally in Peoria, central Illinois, and beyond

The vice president will serve as an ambassador for Bradley, facilitating communication with external stakeholders regarding the messaging of the mission, initiatives, and strategies employed by the university in relation to DEI efforts. The vice president will create mechanisms for communicating with various stakeholders regarding the university’s messaging on and commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence. A critical part of the vice president’s role will be to enhance community engagement and be seen as a thought leader that will shape public discussion on DEI locally in Peoria, central Illinois, and beyond.

Measures of Success

Measures of success for the vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion are currently seen as including:

  • establishment of the new Division for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion;
  • formation and effective leadership of a DEI advisory committee;
  • creation of a unifying strategic vision for DEI and the development and implementation of an overarching DEI strategic plan for the university;
  • implementation of systems of accountability and assessment using data-driven metrics to measure progress towards DEI-related goals;
  • improved communication and collaboration across the Bradley community in areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion; and
  • effective planning and strategizing about community engagement as an integral and vital part of Bradley’s vision for DEI and the university’s core values.

The vice president will ultimately work with President Standifird to determine measures of success and their respective timetables.


Qualifications and Characteristics

Bradley University seeks candidates whose professional, educational, and lived experiences have prepared them to serve as an effective and collaborative leader of the university’s efforts to create a community that is actively committed to DEI and anti-racism. Requirements include a master’s degree and at least five years of experience advancing DEI and positive change in complex communities and/or mission-driven organizations.

The ideal candidate will demonstrate the ability to communicate and work effectively with internal and external constituencies; expertise in the areas of strategic planning, assessment, and evidence-based decision making; knowledge of best practices in diversity education and training; a deep understanding of the dynamics of difference, privilege, and power; and the vision, emotional intelligence, fortitude, and gravitas necessary to effect change and achieve ambitious goals.

While no single candidate will likely have all the ideal qualifications, candidates should possess many of the following qualifications and characteristics:

  • A record of collaborative and verifiable success that will inspire and earn the confidence of university constituents.
  • Ability to serve as a senior officer and be a forward-thinking problem-solver who efficiently evaluates risk and continually anticipates opportunities.
  • Success as a leader and catalyst on diversity.
  • Excellent interpersonal and public communication skills, including effective messaging to multiple and diverse audiences, internally and externally-facing, in a number of manners, including oral presentation, written communication, and digital communications.
  • Experience guiding the development and implementation of an overarching plan for inclusive excellence, establishing metrics, measuring progress, and adapting as necessary.
  • A complex intersectional comprehension of identity and inequality, with a fundamental capacity to listen with empathy to all perspectives and experiences.
  • A demonstrated ability to navigate complex organizational environments.
  • Ability to inspire and lead teams of faculty, staff, students, alumnae, trustees, and community partners who often have competing priorities and demands.
  • Ability to negotiate effectively, well-practiced in the arts of conflict resolution.
  • Ability to be a collaborator and a convener; to work with judiciousness and diplomacy; and the capacity to build bridges and consensus.
  • Ability to anticipate and address challenges to inclusion and diversity rather than simply reacting to them or fixing problems.
  • Ability to maintain the highest standards of ethics and integrity.
  • Ability to create an atmosphere of positivity and mutual respect.
  • An advanced degree and experience with leadership in a mission-driven organization, preferably in, but not limited to, higher education.

Institution & Location

Bradley University: An Overview

About Bradley University

Located in the historic West Bluff neighborhood, Bradley University is a mid-sized, private, top-10 Midwest Regional University in Peoria, Illinois, which offers students the opportunities and resources of a larger university and the personal attention and exceptional learning experiences of a smaller university. Bradley enrolls nearly 5,900 students (approximately 4,600 undergrads, 380 graduate students on campus and 900 graduate students online), employs approximately 1,300 people, and has an annual operating budget of $161 million and an endowment of $309 million.

The university has more than 185 undergraduate and graduate academic programs in business, communications, education, engineering, fine arts, health sciences, liberal arts and sciences, and technology. A Bradley education emphasizes innovation and interdisciplinarity that gives students opportunities to be leaders. To promote these goals, in 2019 the university opened a new $100 million-plus Business and Engineering Convergence Center. Additionally, Bradley links academic excellence, experiential learning and leadership development with an entrepreneurial spirit to provide a world-class education and a commitment to excellent teaching and student success.

Bradley has more than 240 student organizations, including the nation’s best speech team, with 42 team national championships and more than 160 individual national titles. On the athletic front, Bradley has a rich Division I athletic tradition within the Missouri Valley Conference with numerous championships. The university is home to 15 varsity sports and an active intramural and recreational sports program. The Braves’ men’s basketball program is an important link to the Peoria community, and in 2019 the team won the Missouri Valley Conference Championship, earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Athletics also garnered its third-straight conference All-Academic Award and a record 46 conference scholar-athletes.

Peoria, Illinois

Peoria, Illinois, is a metropolitan community of approximately 370,000 residents situated along the scenic banks of the Illinois River. Long-known for its wealth of industry and broad cross-section of American life, Peoria is quickly becoming one of the largest centers for biotechnical research and development in the Midwest.

Centrally located three hours from Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis, Peoria is home to a minor league baseball team, several multinational corporations, a major performance and convention center, a zoo, the Peoria Symphony Orchestra, the Peoria Riverfront Museum, a major healthcare system that includes a Level 1 adult and pediatric trauma center, and a campus of the University of Illinois College of Medicine. The city hosts a range of entertainment and cultural events, including Steamboat Days, the Peoria Blues and Heritage Music Festival and the Fine Art Fair.


Bradley University empowers students for immediate and sustained success in their personal and professional endeavors by combining professional preparation, liberal arts and sciences, and co-curricular experiences. Alongside its dedication to students, the university embraces the generation, application and interpretation of knowledge.


We deliver an engaging education that transcends traditional boundaries through scholarly and practical experience in a diverse, caring, and inclusive environment to prepare purpose-driven leaders who achieve success and build a better world. Bradley University: An investment in the life you want. 


At the heart of Bradley University is a community built upon valued relationships found among students, staff, faculty, administrators and alumni. At the core of these relationships are the values of student success, knowledge and discovery, inclusiveness and connectivity, and excellence.

  • Student Success: Bradley is a community that ensures student access to an individualized learning experience. This is characterized by broad opportunities for students to marry their passions and skills, by innovative academic programming, and by an exceptional level of engagement between students, staff and faculty, such that all students acquire the skills and dispositions essential to purposeful and productive living.
  • Knowledge and Discovery: Bradley is a community that prioritizes academic excellence by nurturing critical inquiry, research, creativity and technical skills development. The university works collaboratively to engage learners in high-impact practices, in scholarship and in leadership development opportunities to foster lives of purpose and advance a better world.
  • Inclusivity and Connectivity: Bradley is a community that strives to contribute meaningfully to understanding and resolving the problems in its community and the world. By embracing servant leadership, purposeful civil discourse, and an inclusive identity whereby the Bradley community understands that its differences are its strengths, the university lends its passions and knowledge to build valued relationships with local, regional and global partners.
  • Excellence: Bradley is a dynamic community committed to the continuous pursuit of excellence. As individuals, as units and across campus, the university community welcomes mutual accountability and is strengthened by its shared, collaborative efforts to ensure that its members are each exceptional and passionate stewards of Bradley University.


  • In U.S. News and World Report’s 2020 “America’s Best Colleges,” Bradley ranked number 5 in Best Regional Universities in the Midwest. The guide also recognizes the Caterpillar College of Engineering and Technology among the top 30 Undergraduate Engineering Programs in the country for non- doctorate degree offering schools. Also, among Regional Universities in the Midwest, Bradley ranks as the 3rd Most Innovative School, 3rd in Best Colleges for Veterans, and 6th for Best Value.
  • For the fourth consecutive year, the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education have ranked Bradley University as the top university in Illinois, and among the top 25 private universities in the nation, for Student Engagement in their 2020 college rankings.
  • The Brookings Institute ranks Bradley No. 19 in the country on its list of colleges adding value to alumni earnings.
  • In Washington Monthly’s College Ranking 2019, Bradley is ranked number 14 in the Midwest for “Best Bang for the Buck,” and number 50 of 606 nationally for Master’s Level Universities on contribution to the public good.
  • Bloomberg Businessweek has recognized Bradley’s Foster College of Business as the top private undergraduate business school in Illinois, as well as among the Top 50 business schools nationally, and among the Top 10 schools preparing students “for the jobs they want.”

Strategic Plan

Bradley University moving into Fall of 2021 has launched a new strategic plan for the university.  The strategic imperatives (listed below) encompass 11 key strategic action items to live out the imperatives, mission, and vision of Bradley University.

Our Strategic Imperatives:

  1. Welcoming, Caring, Diverse, and Inclusive: We are committed to understanding and creating a community within and beyond campus that allows you to feel welcome and included in your ability to participate in the learning experience.
  1. Personalized Life Path: We provide clear, supportive, and flexible paths with an array of enriching opportunities to realize the life you want.
  1. Return on Educational Investment: As one of our graduates, you can expect short-term benefits through career outcomes and long-term happiness from your investment.
  1. Boundary-Breaking Innovations: We will help you realize a purposeful plan to create the career and life you want by delivering engaged learning beyond your major and beyond the classroom.
  1. Financial Strength and Operational Excellence: Execution of the plan requires a strong foundation of financial strength and operational excellence.


Stephen Standifird, President

Stephen Standifird began his tenure as president of Bradley University in May 2020. Prior to joining Bradley, he served as dean of Butler University’s Andre B. Lacy School of Business since 2014. Previously, Standifird served as the dean of the business school at the University of Evansville. Earlier positions include associate dean of graduate and professional programs and director of undergraduate programs, both at the University of San Diego.

Standifird earned a BS in chemical engineering from Purdue University before graduating with an MBA from Northwestern University and a doctorate in organization studies from the University of Oregon. During his career in higher education, he served as a visiting lecturer at the Academy of Entrepreneurship and Management in Warsaw, Poland, published more than two dozen times in nearly as many publications, and presented at numerous conferences.

University Organization Chart


  • Average class size: 17 students
  • More than 340 full-time faculty members
  • Full-time faculty with doctorate or terminal degrees: 79% – 270/340 have doctorate or terminal degrees
  • Student/faculty ratio: 12:1
  • More than 185 undergraduate programs in five colleges:
  • More than 30 graduate programs, including:
  • AACSB-accredited MBA
  • Theresa S. Falcon Executive MBA
  • Doctorate of Physical Therapy
  • Online degree programs
  • Study abroad
  • Short-term academic programs with Bradley faculty and students
  • Extended study abroad opportunities at a number of distinguished universities and programs

Colleges and Schools

  • Foster College of Business
  • Slane College of Communications and Fine Arts
  • College of Education and Health Sciences
  • Caterpillar College of Engineering and Technology
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • The Graduate School
  • Academic Exploration Program
  • Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • The Charley Steiner School of Sports Communication

Bradley Students

  • Approximately 4,600 undergraduate and 1,300 graduate students
  • Students come from across the U.S. and 43 countries
  • Students of color: 30% of the freshman class
  • Men: 49% of undergraduates; women: 51%
  • Freshman enrollment: 1,027
  • Transfer enrollment: 185
  • Middle 50% ACT score: 23-28
  • Middle 50% SAT score: 1090-1260
  • Three-year average for graduates who started a career, graduate school, or other postgraduate experience within six months of graduation: 93%

Benefits Overview

  • Medical Insurance
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Plan
  • Pharmacy Plans
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Life Insurance
  • Long Term Care
  • Retirement Plans

To learn more:

Application & 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. Confidential inquiries and nominations should be directed to Jim Norfleet, Practice Leader and Senior Consultant, at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Bradley University website at

Bradley University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. The administration, faculty, and staff are committed to attracting qualified candidates from underrepresented groups.