Montana State University (MSU) is conducting a national search for a Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) who will serve as an adaptable, client-oriented human resources leader, committed to service excellence, strategic partnerships, employee engagement, leadership development and administrative and organizational alignment.  This position offers an exciting opportunity, as the CHRO will work in a success-oriented environment focused on educating students, creating knowledge and art, and serving communities by integrating learning, discovery and engagement.


MSU Vision


Montana State University is as remarkable as its setting. Created as a land-grant institution, it is a welcoming, adventurous community of students, faculty and staff distinguished by its commitment to address the world's greatest challenges. MSU, the largest university in the state of Montana, energizes individuals to discover and pursue their aspirations. It inspires people to engage with the university to improve the human prospect through excellence in education, research, creativity and civic responsibility.

MSU Human Resources

University Human Resources (UHR) provides mission-critical service to the campus community, which includes MSU Extension Service, College of Nursing and Montana Agricultural Experiment Station staff across the state. UHR provides campus support services for payroll, benefits, compensation and classification, recruitment and onboarding, professional development and training, and labor and employee relations. The CHRO also plays a critical role across the Montana University System, working closely with MSU’s three affiliate campuses and the Office of the Commissioner for Higher Education (OCHE), which oversees the Montana University System.

Over the past year, UHR has been developing and testing a new shared service model, realigning resources to establish shared service capabilities across common HR transactions and establishing a new human resources business partner role to expand HR consultation to colleges and administrative units. The new CHRO will play a key role in continuing to implement these human resources best practices and new service model to attract, develop and retain talented faculty and staff.

The CHRO is a results-driven position for which accountability, effective partnership, and institutional success are paramount, as well as aligning with University objectives and University System policies.  The CHRO will provide strategic HR leadership by fostering innovation through organizational improvement, change and problem solving while ensuring regulatory compliance. 

Montana State University’s Commitment to Diversity

To acknowledge and honor the tradition of the land-grant university, Montana State University is committed to developing and sustaining a culture of inclusion, social justice and diversity. We believe that excellence at Montana State University is best achieved through a culture of intellectual and personal growth that is diverse and inclusive.

Position Overview

Reporting to the Vice President for Administration and Finance, the Chief Human Resources Officer is a member of the President’s Executive Council.  The CHRO will lead with integrity, enthusiasm, and dedication to excellence in service in a highly collaborative manner with constituencies at all levels of the institution. 

The Chief Human Resources Officer will be expected to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to foster strong relationships with administrators, faculty and staff, campus leadership groups, and other key stakeholders, and ensure that Human Resources services are of high quality, equitable, effective and efficient
  • Provide vision and senior leadership by collaborating with University departments to develop and deliver transparent, accountable, and service-oriented programs for all University employees.  Excellent communication skills and a strong desire to interact with others is paramount
  • Oversee development, implementation and communication of policies, programs and processes to ensure adherence to relevant employment statutes, regulations, policies, and procedures in coordination with the Office of the Commissioner for Higher Education and the Board of Regents
  • Develop creative problem solving strategies within the intent of these controlling boundaries, provide options with cost/benefit analysis, prioritize and recommend, and advise on risk of options
  • Coordinate and implement a strategic plan for Human Resources, incorporating constituent and management input that results in support for university goals. Develop measurements or metrics that will guide current and future investments in human capital management 
  • Develop and retain a highly committed and results-focused Human Resources staff
  • Manage and direct approximately 40 staff and a $2,000,000 annual budget

Other essential functions and primary duties of this position include:

  • Strategic planning, development and administration of University Human Resources activities and campus support services, in alignment with shared institutional strategies
  • Promote effective change management, collaboration and innovation across campus
  • Provide guidance, assistance and best practice recommendations to campus leaders and units undergoing organizational transitions, such as shared services initiatives, to facilitate successful implementations and ensure both employee and business needs are met.
  • Implement best practices to build and maintain a contemporary, leading edge Human Resources organization, utilizing optimal technology
  • Provide leadership to the Human Resources department while optimizing organizational performance
  • Design and implement Human Resources process improvement resulting in ever increasing service quality and efficiency
  • Implement federal and state regulations, state statutes, and university system and campus policies and procedures to ensure compliance with all aspects of human resource functions, including but not limited to employment, training, employee relations, diversity, compensation and benefit programs
  • Actively partner with the Senior Diversity and Inclusion Officer and other campus leaders to advance diversity and inclusion initiatives
  • Serve as an active and participatory member of University and statewide committees, as determined appropriate and necessary for the success of the department and University
  • Be an effective partner with other units serving as University support functions, including planning, budgeting, facilities, space management, and analysis

The successful candidate must display:

  • Completion of a Bachelor’s degree in human resources, business or public administration, or related field from an accredited institution
  • Demonstrated senior level management experience, with financial and resource management, in strategic human resources service planning and delivery such as: administration, policy, program and procedure design and delivery, development and implementation of effective Human Resources functions
  • Evidence of successful experience implementing or, effective use of, human resources integrated administrative information systems and related computer-assisted processes 
  • Verifiable success as a team player, including the ability to foster consensus and commitment to the success of others that resulted in successful initiatives or accomplishments
  • Demonstrated experience effectively deploying and leading personnel with a high volume of work in a fast-paced environment
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Demonstrated experience using data and analysis to inform decision making

Preferred Qualifications include:

  • Master’s degree in relevant field from an accredited institution
  • Demonstrated senior level human resource management experience at an institution of higher education
  • Knowledge of and ability to provide guidance in collective bargaining process
  • Experience with problem solving, conflict resolution and grievance resolution processes
  • Certification from either SHRM or HRCI

The Search Committee invites letters of nomination, applications (letter of interest, full resume, and contact information of at least five professional references), or questions to be submitted to the search firm assisting Montana State University.  Review of materials will begin immediately and will continue until the appointment is made.  It is preferred, however, that all nominations and applications be submitted prior to September 1, 2018 to:

Laurie C. Wilder, President
Porsha L. Williams, Vice President
Parker Executive Search
Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 2900
Atlanta, Georgia 30019
770-804-1996 ext: 117 ||

Montana State University is committed to providing a working and learning environment free from discrimination. As such, the University does not discriminate in the admission, access to or conduct of its educational programs and activities nor in its employment policies and practices on the basis of an individual’s race, color, religion, national origin, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran’s status, sex, age, political ideas, marital or family status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. In support of the University’s mission to be inclusive and diverse, applications from qualified minorities, women, veterans and persons with disabilities are highly encouraged.

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