Santa Clara University - Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

CA, Santa Clara

Santa Clara University, an institution that blends high-tech innovation with a social consciousness grounded in the Jesuit, Catholic educational tradition, seeks a strategic, collaborative, and compassionate leader to serve as its inaugural vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University has grown in size and stature and is increasingly recognized as one of the top Catholic universities in the United States. In U.S. News and World Report, SCU ranked No. 54 among nearly 400 national-level universities in the publication’s “Best Colleges” edition. SCU was also recognized for its undergraduate teaching (No. 23); education for veterans (No. 27); service learning (No. 32); and first-year experience (No. 88).

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara University is committed to the Jesuit, Catholic tradition of educating the whole person — mind, body, and soul — and preparing students to create a more just, humane, and sustainable world. Offering more than 50 majors, minors and special programs, SCU’s goal is to shape the next generation of leaders and global thinkers. In fall 2019, the University enrolled 5,694 students at the undergraduate level and 2,975 students at the graduate level. The community also includes over 919 faculty, over 1,082 staff members, and more than 104,511 living alumni. Santa Clara’s six schools and colleges demonstrate a commitment to undergraduate and graduate learning that stresses an understanding of the social, environmental and ethical implications of academic work and the ability to solve real-world problems.

Reporting to President Kevin O’Brien, S.J., who was appointed in July 2019, the new vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion will join Santa Clara at a pivotal and transformational time in the University’s history. SCU is at the final stage of Santa Clara 2020, its integrated strategic plan, and will soon begin work on a new plan. It is in the midst of a $1 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign, Innovating with a Mission: The Campaign for Santa Clara University, which is propelling the University into the ranks as one of the leading Catholic universities in the United States. The campus is also undertaking a period of tremendous capital expansion, including a new athletics center, recently-completed new residence hall, and the Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation — the new home for the sciences, engineering and mathematics. This is an exciting inflection point for Santa Clara, with many accomplishments behind it, and just as many opportunities that lie ahead.  To help address housing concerns among faculty and staff, in recent years, the University has made considerable progress in developing more affordable housing opportunities. This effort has included expanding transitional rental housing options, rolling out an enhanced rental assistance program, and introducing a shared-equity, down payment program. For more information on Santa Clara University, please visit

The new vice president will be a visionary and strategic thinker, giving shape to and defining the future of diversity, equity and inclusion for SCU. Harnessing the insights and energy of faculty, staff, alumni, and students, as well as the culture of innovation and entrepreneurialism of Silicon Valley, the vice president will set the tone and build a strategic plan for an environment that educates citizens and leaders of competence, conscience and compassion while fostering a strong sense of belonging for all. Over the years a number of efforts have laid the foundation for the work needed to continue to make SCU a more diverse, equitable and inclusive community. In close partnership with the president, provost and the senior leadership, the vice president will create an ethos of mutual trust and respect, openness, transparency, communication, and collaboration.

The ideal candidate will be an expert on diversity, equity and inclusion issues, and have a proven record of creative thinking around inclusive excellence, innovative applications of emerging and promising practices in a higher education context, and success in leading efforts for meaningful positive change in organizational climate. The vice president will possess highly effective communication skills; listen with empathy and concern; nurture positive, cooperative relationships; navigate difficult conversations and tough situations with sensitivity to each party’s perspective and practice a high degree of political acumen; and demonstrate skill in motivating and unifying people across campus around a strategic vision. Experience in using data and research to inform analysis, developing measurable goals, and creating systems of accountability will be assets in this role. An earned doctorate or other terminal degree is preferred. While the successful candidate will serve full-time as the vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, she or he could be eligible to hold a faculty appointment at Santa Clara University during her or his term in the role.

All applications, nominations and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as two separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest addressing the themes in this profile.

WittKieffer is assisting Santa Clara University in this search. For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by April 10, 2020.

Applications, nominations and inquiries can be directed to:

Shelley Arakawa, Christine Pendleton and Suzanne Teer at

Santa Clara University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer, committed to excellence through diversity and inclusion, and, in this spirit, particularly welcomes applications from women, persons of color, and members of historically underrepresented groups. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, status as a protected veteran, status as a qualified individual with a disability, or other protected category in accordance with applicable law. The University will provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with a disability.


Santa Clara University annually collects information about campus crimes and other reportable incidents in accordance with the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. To view the Santa Clara University report, please go to the Campus Safety Services website. To request a paper copy please call Campus Safety at (408) 554-4441. The report includes the type of crime, venue, and number of occurrences.