Vanderbilt University Executive Director, Vanderbilt Institutional Research Group in Nashville, Tennessee

Executive Director, Vanderbilt Institutional Research Group (Job Number: 1801009)


About the Role

The Office of the Provost at Vanderbilt University is seeking an experienced professional to serve as the next executive director for the Vanderbilt Institutional Research Group (VIRG). It is an exciting time at Vanderbilt as the university expands its analytical capabilities and advances a culture of data-driven innovations. As the entity responsible for overseeing Vanderbilt’s academic institutional data, VIRG is a leading strategic partner in providing timely data and analytics to enable evidence-based decision-making for the academic strategy. The next VIRG leader will have a proven track record in leading institutional research organizations with experience in strategic planning and strong skills in presenting and communicating data and analysis in a variety of formats.

Duties and Responsibilities

Under the supervision of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the executive director will be responsible for all university-level academic institutional research activities. In addition, the executive director will serve as an essential strategic partner to leadership across the institution by advancing evidence-based decision making and by contributing to the development of academic strategic plans informed by integrated data and analysis.

Specific responsibilities and oversight includes:

  • Executive Management - Serve as the leader over the Vanderbilt Institutional Research Group team which manages and analyzes data for external and internal reporting and for producing reports to yield actionable information to guide decision making in various contexts across the academic enterprise.

  • Strategic Planning with Leadership – Work directly with the Provost and the Deans, as well as being a collaborative partner with other senior administrators, to support executive decision making and academic planning by providing information, data analysis and visualizations in a timely manner; be proactive in defining projects and suggesting areas of examination.

  • Strategic Partner and Consultant to Academic Affairs Units – Work with units within the Provost’s Academic Affairs (Student Affairs, Career Center, Schools and Colleges, etc) to enhance assessment efforts and facilitate internal data analysis; support efforts of decisions-makers by offering guidance, consultation and support regarding their data or surveying efforts to ensure quality and consistency, and drive the collection of new data elements needed for enhanced analysis; conduct research analysis related to enrollment, retention or graduation metrics; partner to University Enrollment Affairs for enrollment support.

  • Lead efforts to expand institutional data analysis and visualization to enhance capabilities across academic units.

  • Academic Strategic Plan/New Initiatives and Innovations - Working with Academic Affairs units, utilize data to identify emerging trends that will lead to the development of innovative programs or services that will advance the university’s Academic Strategic Plan or other initiatives. Working with campus partners, utilize data to help assess the impact of various initiatives.

  • Vanderbilt Surveys and Survey Research – Administer surveys for academic units, integrate results with data systems, other surveys, and utilize data with strategic reports, academic mission, ad hoc analysis, and trending.

  • Utilize data from multiple sources to build historic trends, perform statistical analyses visualizations, and produce annual reports and other official and strategic reports

  • External Surveys, Rankings, Reporting and Analysis: deliver data submissions to external surveys (e.g. for membership in national associations; American Association of Universities (AAU), Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE), etc.), work to maximize Vanderbilt’s reputation; analyze external survey rankings; develop targeted strategies to enhance institutional reputation across a variety of rankings, guide books, and higher education resources.

  • Business Systems Reporting and Information Distribution – Oversee data-marts, reporting environments, and dashboards to get academic data to the Vanderbilt consumers that need it for academic and business operations.

  • IPEDS Federal Reporting – Analyze ongoing reporting requirements, produce or gather data, calculate official statistics, meet all IPEDS deadlines so that Vanderbilt is in compliance with the Federal Government’s reporting requirements

  • Data Consortiums – Supply data to Vanderbilt consortium partners, analyze consortium data for use in strategic decision making; ensure compliance with consortium regulations.

  • Academic Data Governance - Work with the members of the Provost’s Office and the university at large to gather and standardize data definitions; maintain the highest standards for data privacy and security; identify and organize data stewards and work with data sharing procedures; recommend policies and procedures related to disseminating academic data

  • Accreditation support and analysis – Partner with other Vanderbilt offices to ensure reaccreditation and successful implementation of accreditations related analytical activities.


  • Master’s degree in relevant field and at least 7 years of successful management of an institutional research office at a leadership level is required; a doctorate or terminal degree is preferred

  • Experience in institutional research, data reporting, governance, management and analysis

  • Demonstrated competency in use of higher education technologies and other tools for analysis

  • Skills in research design and statistical analysis

  • Experience with standard external reporting requirements (government, accreditation, rankings, agencies, etc.)

  • Superior organizational and data management skills, verbal and written communication skills, and the ability to articulate and present data and strategic analyses to various audiences

  • Demonstrated commitment to enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion on campus via institutional research methods and practices

  • A commitment to customer service and a “can-do” attitude

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 at .

About Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt is a renowned private institution founded in 1873 and located in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee. The university’s students and faculty 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 ranked #2 for “best quality of life” and “great financial aid,” #5 for “best run colleges” and “beautiful campus,” and #6 for both being in a “college city that students love” and having “great campus/city relations.”

This position requires a Masters degree and seven years of experience or the equivalent.

Primary Location: United States-Tennessee-Nashville

Organization: 11100 - Institutional Research

Job: Administrative Unit Heads / Professionals