Job Location:
Chicago, IL


PSD Administration

About the Department

The Physical Sciences Division (PSD) has a rich history of advancing and defining new fields of discovery in the physical sciences and mathematics, and this tradition of innovation continues today. Our inquiry and impact spans from the edge of the observable universe to human-computer interaction, from biophysical materials science to the geologic record of seawater composition, from gravitational waves to geometric flows, and beyond. The division includes the academic departments of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geophysical Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, and Statistics. In addition, PSD includes a number of interdisciplinary research institutes and centers, including the Enrico Fermi Institute, the James Franck Institute, the Kavli Center for Cosmological Physics, the Institute for Mathematical and Statistical Innovation, and the Data Science Institute. Many of our scientists have joint appointments at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory as well as joint affiliations with other Chicago-based research institutions such as the Toyota Technological Institute of Chicago, Adler Planetarium, The Museum of Science and Industry, and the Field Museum. Our students build connections with world-leading scientists, collaborate across disciplines, and enjoy the dynamic Chicago and University communities.

Job Summary

Reporting to the Associate Dean, the Director of Human Resources provides leadership and oversight in all aspects of staff human resources for the Physical Sciences Division (PSD) which includes 7 academic departments and 6 institutes. Lead’s the Division’s efforts to improve and optimize human resources support including strategic planning, employee/labor relations, organizational effectiveness, change and performance management, leadership coaching, and communication planning. Partners with leaders and individuals at all levels to align HR strategies with Divisional priorities. Directly supervises the PSD HR team to ensure a high level of service is provided to all of the Division’s units and develop improved systems, accountability, tracking, and training. Leads the Division’s talent acquisition efforts by developing a more effective approach to recruitment across units. Ensures HR support is optimized and the PSD team is in compliance with University guidelines. Develops improved workflows, procedures, and training in collaboration with Unit leaders. Serves as a member of the Dean’s office senior staff with a focus on advising the Dean and Associate Dean on ways to ensure we retain talent and increase staff diversity. Ensures the HR team is prepared to support the growth of the PSD across multiple educational and research areas. This position is eligible for a partially remote work schedule.


  • Serves as the PSD’s Senior Human Resources leader, providing expertise, guidance and support to Divisional leadership at all levels on a full spectrum of Human Resources issues.

  • Manages the growing Human resources team (currently 5 FTEs) to drive excellence and process improvement initiatives across key HR practices.

  • Establishes performance goals, assesses performance, and provides regular feedback to the team.

  • Solicits feedback from PSD leaders and ensures that the feedback drives continuous improvement to Divisional processes and procedures.

  • Leads and optimizes talent acquisition, developing ways to improve the quality and diversity of the applicant pool and recruit in areas of critical need.

  • Oversees the Division’s strategy on compensation in consultation with the Associate Deans and University compensation team, ensuring we maintain equity across our units and departments and can keep up with changing external compensation trends.

  • Uses a deep knowledge and understanding of best practices in employee/labor relations (ELR) to lead the Division’s ELR efforts.

  • Develops capacity through skill building, mentorship, professional development, and training for each individual member of the team.

  • Improves and automates standard HR processes to streamline HR functions such as onboarding, offboarding, performance management, recruitment/retention, employee engagement, and compensation activities.

  • Provides leadership and oversight of all PSD Human Resources planning, processes, policies, and practices.

  • Performs a wide range of strategic HR duties from strategic planning, employee/labor relations, organizational effectiveness, change and performance management, leadership coaching, and communication planning.

  • Partners with Department Chairs, Institute Directors, and Departmental Administrators to align HR strategies with Divisional and Unit priorities.

  • Represents the Physical Sciences Division’s HR goals and strategies on University-wide committees and work groups.

  • Consults with PSD leadership to provide customized and practical HR and talent solutions to challenges across a range of HR functions including talent management, organizational design and effectiveness, engagement and culture, diversity, and staff compensation.

  • Serves as a thought leader for major organizational challenges including succession planning, new initiatives, merging or changing organizational structure, and leadership development.

  • Stays abreast of federal, state, and local employment laws and regulations and advises departmental management and professional staff on policy matters. Communicates with Divisional leaders including chairs, institute directors, and departmental managers regarding any changes to policies and procedures.

  • Serves as a key member of the Dean’s Office leadership team, advising the Dean and Deputy Deans on critical issues and projects including how to appropriately staff new initiatives, sunset or merge existing programs, support and promote staff within the Division, and ensure the Division can recruit and retain staff to support its growth.

  • Serves as a key advisor to Divisional leaders on critical ELR functions including performance management tools, performance improvement plans, lay-offs, and terminations.

  • Ensures that the PSD protects both the University’s interests as an employer and ensures fair and equitable treatment of employees.

  • Advises unit leaders on best practices for handling grievances, complaints, or legal issues, and works with the appropriate University offices to coordinate resolutions.

  • Evaluates PSD policies and practices to ensure we consult with and align with University and state and local policy as well as advice from legal counsel with the goal of protecting the institution from liability.

  • In consultation with the Associate Dean, works to continue to improve the performance management process for the Division including revising our performance evaluation form, developing opportunities for manager training, and ensuring there is broad participation in this process each year.

  • Broadens the PSD’s approach to performance management to develop and implement strategies for improving the mentorship and performance management process for postdoctoral scholars.

  • Develops and advises on a compensation strategy for the Division that ensures salaries remain competitive within the University and the labor market.

  • Leads the Division’s annual merit compensation process, providing guidance to the Dean and PSD leaders.

  • Working with the Associate Director, ensures that staff positions across the PSD are appropriately classified within the University’s job architecture framework.

  • Oversees the development of internal job descriptions that are aligned with the University’s framework and customized to meet the unique needs of the PSD.

  • Broadens our approach to talent acquisition by developing new approaches to advertising positions and new tools for outreach.

  • In collaboration with the Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, identifies and implements new strategies to increase the diversity of our applicant pool.

  • Develops new employee retention strategies and professional development opportunities.

  • At the request of the Dean or Associate Dean, develops and runs complex workday reports and analyzes data trends related to hiring, terminations, promotions, and compensation across the PSD. Uses these reports and analyses to inform policy and procedure changes within Human Resources.

  • Tracks PSD data over time and develops new approaches to ensure PSD HR uses data to drive decisions.

  • Manages employees by establishing annual performance goals, allocating resources, assessing annual performance, and determining individual merit, incentive and/or promotional increases.

  • Stays abreast of federal, state, and local employment laws and regulations and may advise unit management and professional staff in matters relating.

  • May represent the unit in grievances, complaints, or legal issues, and works with the appropriate University offices to coordinate resolutions.

  • Performs other related work as needed.

Minimum Qualifications


Minimum requirements include a college or university degree in related field.

Work Experience:

Minimum requirements include knowledge and skills developed through 7+ years of work experience in a related job discipline.


Preferred Qualifications


  • Supervisory experience.

  • Experience working in a University environment.

  • Human resources experience including managing complex Employee/Labor Relations situations.

  • Experience working across a large unit to build consensus and implement policies.

  • Experience communicating complex policies and procedures to a diverse audience.

  • Experience working in the area of diversity, inclusion, and equity.

Licenses and Certifications:

  • Society of Human Resource Management certification.

Technical Skills or Knowledge:

  • Strong and broad computer skills (word processing, database, spreadsheet, e-mail, and web), including a strong knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite.

  • Experience with Workday including running reports and completing the lifecycle of the hiring and termination process for employees.

Preferred Competencies

  • Excellent organizational and communication skills including a demonstrated high degree of emotional intelligence and effective strategies for handling sensitive communications.

  • Ability to maintain a high degree of confidentiality at all times and exercise discretion in highly sensitive situations.

  • Demonstrated ability to manage complex workflows and processes.

  • Ability to juggle competing deadlines and prioritize.

  • Ability to build consensus and create buy-in.

  • Ability to analyze complex data sets and identify trends.

  • Strong presentation skills, including the ability to speak to senior leadership and distill complex policy or procedure into action items.

  • Excellent problem-solving skills.

  • Strong customer service skills and ability to interact with and serve a diverse population with tact, courtesy, clarity, and diplomacy. 

  • Ability to handle sensitive and confidential situations and information with absolute discretion. 

  • Ability to take initiative and organize and complete projects with minimal supervision. 

  • Attention to detail.

  • Supervisory experience.

Working Conditions

  • Eligible for a partially remote work schedule.

Application Documents

  • Resume (required)

  • Cover Letter (required)

When applying, the document(s) MUST be uploaded via the My Experience page, in the section titled Application Documents of the application.

Job Family

Human Resources

Role Impact

People Manager

FLSA Status


Pay Frequency


Scheduled Weekly Hours


Benefits Eligible


Drug Test Required


Health Screen Required


Motor Vehicle Record Inquiry Required


Posting Statement

Employees must comply with the University’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements. More information about the requirements can be found on the University of Chicago Vaccination GoForward.

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law. For additional information please see the University’s Notice of Nondiscrimination.


Staff Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should call 773-702-5800 or submit a request via Applicant Inquiry Form.


We seek a diverse pool of applicants who wish to join an academic community that places the highest value on rigorous inquiry and encourages a diversity of perspectives, experiences, groups of individuals, and ideas to inform and stimulate intellectual challenge, engagement, and exchange.


All offers of employment are contingent upon a background check that includes a review of conviction history.  A conviction does not automatically preclude University employment.  Rather, the University considers conviction information on a case-by-case basis and assesses the nature of the offense, the circumstances surrounding it, the proximity in time of the conviction, and its relevance to the position.


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