Vermont Law School (VLS), a leader in graduate law and policy education, seeks a bold and dynamic president who shares our commitment to academic excellence, innovation, and community. As Vermont Law School embraces a bold new strategic plan, the president will lead the institution in providing a rigorous graduate-level law and policy education that responds to the needs of the 21st century.
Located in central Vermont, VLS is a private, independent law school, presently with 60 faculty members and a committed staff of 90 professionals who teach 432 juris doctor (JD) students and 200 residential and online master’s students. The faculty are dedicated teachers and scholars who believe that their teaching, service, and scholarship are important to address a wide-range of local, national, and international issues.
For fifty years, Vermont Law School has offered a core Juris Doctor program to students from across the country and internationally. In addition, it has developed leading programs in environmental law and justice reform.
The Environmental Law Center (ELC) at VLS houses one of the nation’s top environmental law and policy programs. The ELC offers more environmental courses than any other law school in the country and the ELC Summer Session attracts students, scholars, lawyers, journalists, and advocates from around the world. As one of the first law schools in the country to offer master’s degrees through online learning, the reach of the VLS environmental degree programs spans the globe.
The Center for Justice Reform at VLS offers the only master’s degree in restorative justice at a law school and is the home of the National Center on Restorative Justice. In the few short years since Vermont Law School embraced justice reform work, the program has hosted an international restorative justice conference and received multimillion-dollar grants to support its work.
VLS students graduate prepared to effect change across a broad spectrum of careers. Some 7,000 alumni carry forward the school’s motto, “Law for the Community and the World,” and work as attorneys, advocates, activists, and leaders—from Main Street to Wall Street.
Following an extensive strategic planning process the Vermont Law School board of trustees created the role of president for the school. Appointed by, and reporting directly to, the board of trustees, the president will be the chief executive officer of the school principally responsible for implementing the board’s policies and overseeing strategic planning, budget management, academic mission, resource development, fundraising, and institutional operations within an environment that supports the student experience. Reporting to the president will be the law school dean, the graduate dean, the advancement office, the chief financial officer, and the vice president for enrollment management, marketing, and communications.
Key roles and responsibilities of the president include:
Leading a school that currently has 60 faculty, 90 staff, 424 juris doctor students, and 151 online students.
Collaborating with committees, staff and faculty, students, trustees, and other stakeholders to the bold new strategic plan.
Building upon the distinctiveness and mission in environmental law and justice reform that is Vermont Law School.
Strengthening the philanthropic support for Vermont Law School and developing potential and long-term sources of support for operations and capital development.
Engaging and leading the VLS community in building a welcome, inclusive, and diverse community.
Overseeing the school’s operating and capital budgets during an era of rapid change in legal and higher education.
Ensuring accreditation, compliance, and risk management across the school and its programs.
Driving innovation and growth of the school in partnership with the board, faculty, and staff.
Serving as spokesperson for Vermont Law School before a variety of audiences, including existing and prospective donors, supporters, policy makers, and the media.
Identifying, building, and sustaining partnerships and collaborations both internally and externally.
Setting the direction for integrated and collaborative operations and administrative structures focused on academic mission and student support.
Engaging with the entire alumni community in advancing the aspirations of the school and in developing a culture of giving and support.
For this inaugural presidential role Vermont Law School seeks an accomplished, visionary leader who will embrace the school’s core of legal education and build on the school’s leading law and policy programs in environment and justice reform. The president will possess proven leadership skills, fundraising expertise, demonstrated financial and management experience, and the interpersonal ability to lead within a culture of shared governance.
The successful candidate for Vermont Law School’s president will possess the following:
A proven record of driving and implementing change.
Demonstrated development and fundraising experience including the cultivation of major gifts and sponsored projects.
An understanding of accreditation and development and delivery of academic programs.
Financial acumen including substantial experience in the development and effective management of human, fiscal, and capital resources.
A demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion along with an appreciation that diversity is essential to a robust community of faculty, staff, students, and society.
Direct experience successfully leading a mission-driven organization.
Strong presentation and communication skills with an ability to promote the purposes and activities of Vermont Law School to a range of audiences.
Demonstrated experience in the recruitment and retention of high performing teams.
Experience working closely and successfully with a governing board.
An ability to connect with alumni and to work with an active and engaged alumni board.
Minimum qualifications include a master’s degree and experience in complex organizations with financial oversight, supervision, and leadership of multiple units, and a working knowledge of fundraising and advancement.
The ideal candidate will possess a Juris Doctor or other terminal degree and a record of executive-level experience within higher education. The successful candidate will have an understanding of the current higher education landscape; demonstrated experience in leading organizational change; graduate and professional educational program proficiency; and, established success in fundraising and advancement activities. The new president must have a record of collaborative leadership and a confirmed ability to build and sustain a diverse and inclusive educational environment.
Review of applications will begin January 24, 2022 and continue until the position is filled. A resume with an accompanying cover letter may be submitted via the Spelman Johnson website atwww.spelmanjohnson.com/open-positions. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Ellen Heffernan at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kendra Dane at email@example.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.