A leader in higher education in the nation and around the world for more than 250 years, Columbia University in the City of New York seeks to attract and engage the best minds in pursuit of greater human understanding, pioneering new discoveries, and service to society. Its distinguished faculty, alumni, and student body are expanding the boundaries of knowledge in medicine, science, the arts, the humanities, and the professions. The university comprises 17 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools, four affiliated colleges and seminaries, and a wide array of research institutes and global centers around the world. As a vital part of New York, the university’s research and teaching are enhanced by the vast resources of one of the world’s greatest cities. An intellectual community of over 50,000 students, faculty, and staff, Columbia is working continually to expand its mission of teaching, research, patient care, and public service.

 The Position

Reporting to the Executive Vice President of Columbia University Facilities and Operations, the Vice President of Public Safety (VPPS) supports an inclusive educational and working environment on campus, while building relationships and collaborating with students, faculty, and staff in support of a positive campus experience for all members of the Columbia University community. The VPPS is expected to provide a comprehensive vision, strategic leadership, and effective management for the department of Public Safety for the University spans across several campuses and works closely with other university affiliates at Barnard College, Teacher’s College and other neighborhood institutions. The VPPS will be responsible for developing and implementing current and emerging best-practices in the field of public safety and campus security; prioritizing prevention and community initiatives to ensure organizational transparency, impartiality, fairness, respect, and dignity. The VPPS will serve as the university’s representative with external law enforcement agencies, neighborhood security associations, and other external entities on general public safety and emergency response issues; and oversee and lead programs and services including but not limited to the oversight of educational awareness and crime prevention programs for students, faculty and staff; developing and implementing best practices, policies and procedures for institutional emergency response and preparedness. The VPPS manages approximately 302 full-time staff across three distinct functional areas – Operations, Administrative Services (Training Development) and Technology Projects and VPSS is responsible for overseeing and deploying approximately 300 contract guards.


A bachelor’s degree and at least ten years of progressive experience in the field of public safety, law enforcement or community engagement are required. An advanced degree, experience in a higher education setting and at least five years of senior management experience are preferred. The successful candidate will possess significant knowledge of higher education public safety and emergency response practices, excellent strategic and operational abilities, outstanding communication and interpersonal skills, and a clear and demonstrated commitment to community caretaking as a core professional value.

The ideal candidate will possess an appreciation for the complexity of public safety in the context of a residential and dynamic university campus with a significant international population in a major metropolitan area. In addition, candidates will demonstrate an unwavering commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in every facet of the department’s activities; skill in conflict resolution and creative problem solving; experience working with a unionized work force and a record of success establishing and maintaining positive labor/management relations; a proven ability to motivate a diverse workforce to succeed as a high-functioning team; and the capacity to inspire trust and confidence.

 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 may be emailed to Mark Hall at mah@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email info@spelmanjohnson.com.

Visit the Columbia University website at www.columbia.edu

 Equal Opportunity Employer / Disability / Veteran

Columbia University is committed to the hiring of qualified local residents