The Director of Commencement and Special Events is part of the Office of the Provost at Vanderbilt University and is a key leader responsible for the overall production of the commencement week's main events and ceremonies and for coordinating the schedule of all related events. The position is also responsible for a series of other special events that take place over the course of the academic year. The Director will be advised by and work closely with a University Marshal and a standing Provost-appointed faculty commencement committee.
About the Work Unit:
Each May, Vanderbilt University organizes three days of activities that culminate in a Friday graduation ceremony for all schools and colleges. These events engage more than 28,000 attendees that include graduates, their family members, faculty and staff. This is the culminating experience for graduates and their families and is designed to be a memorable and magical moment for all involved.
Duties and Responsibilities:
Maintains the protocols and ceremonial richness of the commencement proceedings.
Coordinates with the highest level of University administration (Office of the Chancellor and Provost) and the University's Development and Alumni Relations teams.
Works hands-on and proactively as a very visible leader during the set ups and run up to the event.
Provides on-site coordination including problem-solving, decision-making, and interaction with assigned staff and vendors.
Oversees the supervision of personnel, which includes work allocation, training, promotion, enforcement of internal procedures and controls, and problem resolution; evaluates performance and makes recommendations for personnel actions; motivates employees to achieve peak productivity and performance.
Manages and markets commencement and special events by researching, reviewing, negotiating, procuring, and scheduling to fulfill annual calendar of events.
Establishes and implements short- and long-range organizational goals, objectives, strategic plans, policies, and operating procedures; monitors and evaluates programmatic and operational effectiveness, and effects changes required for improvement.
Represents the University to various institutional divisions as well as externally to vendors, students and their parents, and to the general public.
Participates in the development of annual operating budgets and provides fiscal direction to the unit.
A desire for and appreciation of a diverse, inclusive, and sustainable events, department and philosophy while recognizing accessibility as university priority is necessary.
A Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher education is necessary.
At least seven years of large-scale event design, multi-site, experience, implementation and execution is necessary.
Extensive knowledge of event logistics, budgeting, staffing, managing a core team and crews, scheduling, entertainment, presentations and client relations is necessary.
Experience managing and communicating effectively with multiple stakeholder groups ranging from executive leaders to volunteers, to donors to event guests (parents and families) is necessary.
Sound and video stage production and scripting experience is necessary.
Knowledge of social and traditional media and current/emerging technologies in use in the field of marketing is necessary.
Experience managing and communicating effectively with multiple support and operational groups ranging from police, parking, transportation, safety, facilities operations, grounds, housekeeping, logistical support, printing, and catering is necessary.
Experience implementing complex volunteer plans including training and managing a large force is necessary.
Experience developing and implementing health, safety and accessibility protocols (working with security and other partners) is necessary.
The ability to stay calm and handle high-stress situations is necessary.
Experience managing large budgets is necessary.
Strong vendor management and negotiation skills, strategic thinking and results orientation is necessary.
Strong analytical and creative problem-solving skills are necessary.
Collaborative spirit with ability to integrate cross-functionally is necessary.
Ability to effectively prioritize, organize, plan and manage a team with various projects and multiple deadlines is necessary.
Ability to remain flexible when presented with rapidly changing requests, priorities and/or deadlines is necessary.
Commencement or other high-profile higher education event experience is preferred.
Highly proficient MAC user is preferred.
Mechanically adept, ability to manage/fix/operate set and event equipment and tools is preferred.
Marketing experience is preferred.
Knowledge of proper protocol and etiquette for events including national, state, city, and provincial governments, high-profile attendees, international cultures and protocols, etc. is preferred.
About Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt is a renowned private institution founded in 1873 and located in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee. The university's students, faculty, and staff frequently cite Nashville and the surrounding area as one of the many perks of being a part of the Vanderbilt community. Vanderbilt University is a place where your expertise will be valued, your knowledge expanded, and your abilities challenged. It is a place where your diversity is sought and celebrated. It is a place where employees know they are part of something bigger than themselves, take exceptional pride in their work and never settle for what was good enough yesterday. Vanderbilt was recently named the ‘best large employer’ in Tennessee and a top employer for women by Forbes, ranked #1 in the Princeton Review among 384 top colleges and universities for having the best financial aid in the nation – as well as #3 for ‘happiest students,’ ‘quality of life’ and ‘beautiful campus,’ #4 for both being in a ‘college city that students love’ and for having ‘great campus/city relations.’
About Vanderbilt Benefits
In addition to offering a lively community that encourages learning and celebrates diversity, Vanderbilt University offers a competitive, flexible benefits package including health, dental, vision, life, accidental death & dismemberment, disability insurance, paid time off, and a 403(b) retirement plan with employer match. Vanderbilt offers tuition assistance to employees, spouses and dependent children. Also, after five years of service, Vanderbilt will pay up to 55% of the tuition for up to three dependent children to earn a bachelor's degree. Learn more about Vanderbilt's benefits at VU Benefits Overview.
Key Characteristics of a Successful Team Member in this Work Unit:
Assumes Positive Intent – Assume that others are working and taking action with good intentions. They may not have all the information yet and asking thoughtful questions and providing information is critical to mutual understanding and moving forward with success.
Hard-Working – Is industrious as well as efficient (busy isn't the same as productive). Can juggle multiple competing priorities simultaneously without becoming overwhelmed.
Autonomous – Self-managing; self-motivated. Manages time, activities and outcomes well so that progress stays on track. Cleans up after themselves.
Believes – Believes in the work being done and in the importance of the organization's mission.
Creative Thinking – Goes beyond the boundaries of the job description, willingly takes on new challenges, and finds creative solutions rather than always awaiting direct instructions.
Internal Number: 1801490
About Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University is a center for scholarly research, informed and creative teaching, and service to the community and society at large. Vanderbilt will uphold the highest standards and be a leader in the quest for new knowledge through scholarship, the dissemination of knowledge through teaching and outreach, and the creative experimentation of ideas and concepts. In pursuit of these goals, Vanderbilt values most highly intellectual freedom that supports open inquiry, equality, compassion, and excellence in all endeavors.