Role of the Position 

Reporting to the senior vice president, chief operating officer, the vice president of public safety (VPPS) is responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive and integrated safety and security program across five campuses within the Philadelphia area, in close collaboration with the university’s stakeholders. The VPPS is a relationship builder who works with a diverse and multi-faceted community, collaborating with students, faculty, staff and the university’s neighbors in support of a positive campus experience for all. The VPPS provides comprehensive vision, strategic leadership, and effective management for the division of Public Safety, which includes a sworn police department, proprietary and contract security services, emergency communications, security technology and emergency management and preparedness. The VPPS implements current and emerging best-practices in the field of public safety; prioritizes prevention and community caretaking; utilizes procedural justice initiatives to ensure organizational impartiality, transparency, fairness, respect, and dignity; and serves as the university’s representative with external law enforcement agencies, other external entities on general public safety and emergency response issues. The VPPS manages a staff of 165 and oversees an annual operating budget of $28.7 million.

The Position

Qualifications and Characteristics

A bachelor’s degree and at least ten years of progressive experience in a related field are required. A master’s degree and experience in the field of public safety, law enforcement, or community engagement in a higher education setting; and at least five years of senior management experience are preferred. 

The candidate must internalize and demonstrate an unwavering commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. The successful candidate will possess significant knowledge of higher education safety and emergency response practices, excellent strategic and operational abilities, outstanding communication and interpersonal skills, high emotional intelligence, and a clear and demonstrated commitment to community caretaking as a core professional value. The ideal candidate will provide evidence of working effectively within a complex urban university environment.  

Key expectations for the successful candidate include skill in conflict resolution and creative problem solving; training and proficiency in the use trauma-informed care to support individuals and communities; experience working with a unionized work force and a record of success establishing and maintaining positive labor/management relations; a proven ability to motivate and build a diverse workforce to succeed as a high-functioning team; and the capacity to inspire trust and confidence among students, faculty, staff, parents and the neighboring community.

The following are additional desired characteristics, skills and abilities for the VPPS:

  • strong leadership and organizational development abilities that recruit, retain, and develop a diverse, cohesive, and inspired staff, while providing professional and personal development opportunities and promoting unity, teamwork, accountability, and retention throughout the organization;
  • demonstrated skills as an advocate and champion for diversity, equity, inclusivity, accessibility, and social and restorative justice, as well as a particular understanding of issues;
  • an excellent communicator who possesses comprehensive interpersonal skills, and the ability to effectively interact all levels of the university, including students, faculty, and senior leaders;
  • collaboration and relationship-building skills with internal and external stakeholders, and the ability to understand the importance of interconnectedness, empathy, and partnerships;
  • the ability to listen carefully, ask knowledgeable questions, learn the culture of the university and the division, accept input from others, possess the ability to “read the room”, respect differing opinions, and then make well-informed and sometimes difficult decisions;
  • an understanding of current trends affecting students and the student experience, including, but not limited to, trauma-informed care, mental health concerns, gender identity, suicide ideation, intervention, and sexual assault;
  • the ability to multitask with multiple stakeholders who have diverse needs, adapt rapidly to changing situations, and be solutions-oriented with a “can do” attitude at all times;
  • a strategic thinker who can develop both short- and long-term plans around the needs of the institution; formulate operational and assessment plans, and then lead their team to effectively implement those plans in a timely manner;
  • strong managerial and organizational skills in a law enforcement environment at a high level, with the unique ability to promote, develop, and maintain elevated levels of trust within the institution;
  • an innovator possessing technological savvy, problem-solving skills, and a willingness to try new opportunities, to remain informed on new trends and best practices, to look beyond the status quo, and to lead significant change processes;
  • politically astute with the proven ability to partner effectively with diverse stakeholders;
  • emotional intelligence, relatability, transparency, and responsiveness;
  • energy and enthusiasm for the role and the university, passion for the work, a positive attitude, a personable and approachable demeanor, even in the face of adversity;
  • ability to build a team, instill a desire to deliver best in class safety and security services, and become trusted members of the Temple and neighboring communities;
  • character, integrity, ethics, empathy, humility, and a consistent intent to “do the right thing” at all times;
  • operational knowledge of Clery, UCR, Title IX, VAWA, and other federal guidelines and regulatory requirements/expectations;
  • ability to lead the division through CALEA Accreditation;
  • experience with and an understanding of student activism, as well as how to engage with student demonstrations in a proactive and positive way;
  • awareness and advocate for de-escalation methods and training, non-lethal weapons, and mediation techniques that support effective, problem-solving policing.

History of the Position 

The vice president of public safety is a new position that was created as part of a restructuring of public safety functions at Temple. The division of public safety has been expanded to include a broader scope safety and security functions at the university. The executive director of campus safety was previously the senior safety and security position and Charles Leone served in the role for the past eight years. He resigned from the position effective April 29, 2022, and Denise Wilhelm serves as the interim. 

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

The VPPS must be an experienced leader capable of managing the complex needs of a large, public research institution; and equipped to contribute at both a strategic and tactical level to a vibrant, creative, and diverse community. They must possess a broad and deep understanding of best practices about community “guardian style” strategies, higher education culture, modern safety and security techniques and technology, and staff development. The VPPS must also have a thorough understanding of national best practices in the administration of campus safety operations, community engagement, emergency management, modern technology, and organizational and staff development in an urban university environment. The VPPS must be capable of managing complex situations and staffing, wholeheartedly and demonstrably committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, at the highest levels, possessing a deep understanding of current issues around the national conversation on police violence and reform. They must have the skills to effectively build relationships based on mutual understanding and respect to create an innovative 21st century approach to safety and security. 

It will be essential for the VPPS to commit to a comprehensive culture of collaboration and partnering, as well as clear and transparent communication within the department, across the campus community and with community members surrounding the Temple campuses and patrol zone. The VPPS will be required to consistently build and maintain solid and mutually beneficial relationships that foster ongoing positive interactions within the Temple and surrounding communities. 

The VPPS will be highly visible, accessible and external facing, prioritizing outreach and ongoing communication and transparency with all stakeholders.  This will include attending and sponsoring on-campus and off-campus events involving students, staff, faculty and community leaders with the goals of establishing/maintaining relationships, soliciting input and educating constituents on safety at Temple.   The VPPS must possess excellent communication skills with the ability to effectively communicate and collaborate across diverse partners with unique concerns.

The VPPS must bring a high level of cultural competence and the ability to actively listen and engage the diverse members of the university and surrounding community in order to build trust and confidence in the public safety team and the services they offer.  The VPPS works closely with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to forge positive and collaborative relationships. Temple Health – Temple University Hospital, Episcopal, Jeanes Hospital & the Fox Chase Cancer Center – adds a unique complexity to the role of the VPPS, which includes an interface with the hospital security teams, an understanding of the neighborhoods in which they are located, and the challenges of the hospital environment in providing a safe environment for staff, patients and visitors. 

The VPPS will develop and instill the understanding within the public safety team that staff serve as critical first line ambassadors for the university. The public safety team, must understand, embrace, and demonstrate the values of the university while serving its students, faculty, staff and neighbors, treating all with dignity and respect.

Measures of Success

At an appropriate interval after joining Temple, the items listed below will initially define success for the new vice president. 

  • the VPPS will have maintained a proactive, highly visible, well-respected, and established leadership presence on campus and this leadership presence will have been credible, collegial, collaborative, and positively received;
  • strong relationships, partnerships, and trust will have been established across a wide array of campus and external stakeholders; 
  • diversity, equity, and inclusion are foundational concepts throughout the division, in hiring and other internal practices, as well as outreach to the Temple campus, to ensure that underrepresented communities present at Temple feel valued, heard, and supported;
  • the VPPS will have analyzed, contributed to, and defined plans and goals that are best practices for the department and campuses moving forward;
  • the staff reporting to the VPPS will feel supported and valued, and be defined as a strong, highly functioning, well-regarded, and resilient team that works with synergy and shared provision of service; 
  • the VPPS will have assessed the impact of programs and services and utilized data-driven decisions for improvements in processes and operations;
  • strong collaborative relationships have been established, especially with the academic and administrative departments, faculty, students, parents, the senior administration, local partners in the community, and the Philadelphia police department.

Institution & Location

Overview of the Department of Public Safety

The current department of Public Safety includes a sworn police department, proprietary and contract security services, emergency communications, security technology and emergency management and preparedness. The department is part of a broad array of services to the Temple community overseen by the senior vice president and chief operating officer, ranging from finance and administration to university operations.

Department Mission Statement

We, the members of the Temple University Department of Public Safety, are committed to excellence. Our team of diverse and trained professionals is committed to nurturing a safe and desirable space for those who live, work and visit. We build partnerships to solve problems and improve public safety in a manner that is consistent, impartial, and transparent. 

Vision Statement

Temple University Department of Public Safety aspires to establish an environment for its community that is conducive to quality living, learning and working. We will accomplish this as a result of our level of professionalism, service, and excellence. We will distinguish ourselves as a leader in public safety, grounded in core principles and driven by innovative solutions. 

Core Principles

  1. Integrity: Integrity depends on consistently doing what is right, meaning that which is in the best interest of the organization and of others. 
  2. Professionalism: We will be professional in our daily actions, behavior, and performance and maintain high standards of training and expertise by keeping abreast of new trends, standards, and technology in the field of public safety. 
  3. Respect: We recognize the authority we hold and will treat others as we would like to be treated. We faithfully, and without bias, honor our obligations to the community. 
  4. Competence: We are skilled professionals, exhibiting a quiet confidence in the performance of our duties; demonstrating adaptability to all situations, accompanied by a desire for continuous improvement. 
  5. Customer Service: We will deliver to our community a high quality of service that is fair, courteous, responsive, and efficient. We also recognize the need to involve the community as partners in creating a secure and safe environment.


Ken Kaiser – Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

With nearly 30 years of dedicated service to Temple University, Ken brings extensive experience and deep institutional appreciation to the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer role, having served as Vice President, CFO and Treasurer from December 2013 until his current appointment by University President, Dr. Jason Wingard, in August 2021.

Previously responsible for Budget and Finance, Controller operations, Human Resources, Bursar, Risk Management & Insurance, Treasury and Investments, OWLcard, and Continuity Planning, Ken now oversees all of these areas as well as Public Safety, Facilities Management, Construction, Service Operations, Environmental Health & Safety, Sustainability, and Business Services.

Ken has worked at Temple University in two stints; briefly interrupted by three years of service as Vice President for Administration and Finance at Montgomery County Community College from 2005 to 2008. At Temple University, he has served as Senior Associate Vice President for Finance and Human Resources (2008 to 2013), Director of Finance and Administration for Institutional Advancement (2002 to 2005), University Privacy Officer (2003 to 2005), Director of Finance and Operations for Temple’s Ambler and Fort Washington campuses (1999 to 2002) and Senior Budget Analyst (1991 to 1999).

Ken’s connections to Temple University run deeper than his decades of service, having earned three degrees from Temple: a bachelor’s degree in Finance from the Fox School of Business in 1989, a MBA in 1994, and a master’s degree in Management Information Systems and E-Business in 2003.

Institutional Overview

Founded as a night school by Russell Conwell in 1884, Temple University has evolved into an international powerhouse in higher education and a top-tier research institution with roughly 37,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. As the largest university in one of the nation’s most iconic cities, Temple educates diverse future leaders from across Philadelphia, the country and the world who share a common drive to learn, prepare for their careers and make a real impact. Temple offers students a dynamic and nurturing learning environment with the support of a renowned faculty, dedicated academic advisors focused on setting a clear path to graduation and a broad curriculum of more than 500 academic programs. A longtime leader in professional education, Temple is also among the nation’s largest educators in the combined fields of dentistry, law, medicine, pharmacy and podiatry.

The Student Body

Head Count (Fall 2021)

  • Undergraduate 26,081
  • Graduate/Professional 9,819

Total Enrollment

  • Head Count 35,900
  • Full-time Equivalent 32,761
  • Female 20,337
  • Male 15,391
  • Not Specified 172

Enrollment by Race/Ethnicity

  • Hispanic/Latino 8.1%
  • African American 13.7%
  • American Indian/ Alaska Native 0.1%
  • Asian 12.7%
  • Pacific Islander 0.1%
  • Unknown/other 4.%
  • Two or more races 3.8%
  • White, non-Hispanic 51.4%
  • International 5.5%

Additional information on admissions, student success and degree programs is available on Temple’s at-a-glance document

Mission and Values

Mission Statement

Temple University educates a vibrant student body and creates new knowledge through innovative teaching, research, and other creative endeavors. The urban setting provides transformative opportunities for engaged scholarship, experiential learning, and discovery of self, others, and the world. The doors are open to a diverse community of learners and scholars who strive to make the possible natural.


  • Providing access to an excellent, affordable higher education prepares students for careers, further learning, and active citizenship.
  • Creating a collaborative community of outstanding faculty and staff who foster inclusion and encourage the aspirations of Temple students.
  • Promoting service and engagement throughout Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the nation, and the world.

Diversity Statement

Temple University is committed to building a diverse educational community founded on respect, open-mindedness and the appreciation of others.

Our policies, practices and programs exemplify our commitment to civility, non-discrimination and pluralism, encouraging dialogue that builds meaningful and collaborative relationships throughout the university.

Our shared responsibility is to enhance the quality of life for all members of the Temple community, providing a safe, welcoming and supportive environment in which to work, learn and grow, thus realizing the transformational power of being a part of the Temple community.

Benefits Overview

Benefits Overview

The university values the health and well-being of its faculty and staff by offering a comprehensive, competitive benefits package. Full-time team member benefits include a complete healthcare package, tuition remission, retirement savings program, and additional benefits, including voluntary options.

Application & Nomination

 Application and Nomination

Review of applications will begin May 27, 2022 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 may be emailed to Mark Hall at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email

Visit the Temple University website at

 Temple University values diversity and is committed to equal opportunity for all persons regardless of age, color, disability, ethnicity, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other status protected by law.