Search Firm Opportunities

Iowa State University periodically partners with a variety of Search Firms for some searches. Applicants who wish to be considered for these positions must apply via the Search Firms application instructions below.


Director of Equal Opportunity

Professor and Director of the School of Education

Ames National Laboratory Director

Director of the Memorial Union

Director of Equal Opportunity

Iowa State University (ISU) is a student centric leading university serving 30,177 students. ISU is classified as a Carnegie Foundation Doctoral/Research University-Extensive, ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top public universities in the nation. As a land-grant institution, ISU is a global and culturally diverse institution committed to providing a supportive environment for both learning and employment— variety in experience and perspective is vital to advancing innovation, critical thinking, solving complex problems, and building a comprehensive academic community. Students thrive in learning communities and actively engage in 800-plus student organizations, undergrad research, internships, and study abroad. They learn from world-class scholars tackling some of the world's biggest challenges—feeding the hungry, finding alternative fuels, and advancing manufacturing. ISU is located in Ames, Iowa, a community of 67,000 situated 30 minutes north of the state capital of Des Moines and was recently voted as the number one "Best College Town in America" by in June 2023.

The Position

Reporting to the president, the director of equal opportunity will define, assess, and promote the university's objectives in the areas of equal opportunity, affirmative action, and compliance. The director serves as the Title IX coordinator, affirmative action officer, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator, assuring compliance with the law, regulations, and university policies.

The director of equal opportunity will be responsible for leading and managing all aspects of the Title IX, Title VII, equal opportunity, and affirmative action programs at the university, including compliance with federal and state laws, executive orders, and university policies and procedures; overseeing the university's non-discrimination and anti-harassment policy, which includes campus education as well as enforcement of the policy through complaint resolution and investigations; and compliance with affirmative action requirements, including the university's annual affirmative action plan.

It is critical for the director to work in close collaboration with many offices across Iowa State, including but not limited to human resources, general counsel, provost, public safety, dean of students, intercollegiate athletics, and student affairs. In addition, the director will develop policies and programs relating to equal opportunity, affirmative action, and related compliance efforts and is responsible for implementing, monitoring, and reporting these programs. The director oversees the office of equal opportunity's administrative and operational activities, with a talented staff of six professionals and a $900K+budget.


The successful candidate will have a formal university education coupled with extensive experience as a senior leader of an organization of substantial size and complexity. The ideal candidate will have experience in Title IX investigations and resolutions and comprehensive EEO/AA compliance expertise. In addition, the next director will have a highly collaborative management style and a demonstrated interest in promoting a culture of openness and transparency with experience in report preparation and analysis, policy development and implementation, budget development, and staff supervision. Preferred qualifications include experience working in equal opportunity in a higher education institution; cooperating in the creation and delivery of educational programming; working with federal and state compliance agencies; investigating and/or resolving complaints of discrimination and harassment; and working in a highly decentralized environment of similar size and complexity.

The director of equal opportunity will bring a compliance-based problem-solving approach to this role with a collaborative mindset that invests in developing their team as well as contributing across the broader university to train, educate, and live the institution's philosophy around equal opportunity, affirmative action, and compliance. A solid ability to work with and manage the work of others while also overseeing and completing multiple projects with critical deadlines and strong presentation skills to reach a broad audience with varying learning and communication styles is necessary. Further, excellent verbal and written communication skills and a strong consultative and collaborative approach are key to effectively communicating with all levels of the organization, from senior leaders to a broad manager and employee base, as well as students.

Application Instructions
Review of applications will begin October 18, 2023, and continue until the position is filled. A resume with an accompanying cover letter may be submitted via the Spelman Johnson website at 

Nominations for this position may be emailed to Heather J. Larabee at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email

Professor and Director of the School of Education

The College of Human Sciences (CHS) at Iowa State University seeks a Professor and Director of the School of Education (SOE). Applications are sought for a visionary leader with a commitment to excellence and innovation and demonstrated capacity to lead the school in support of the College’s mission of expanding human potential across all mission areas: in the education of undergraduate and graduate students, interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary research, and extension and outreach.

In serving undergraduates, the school houses the elementary education program and is the primary provider for coursework in literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, and special education. The school collaborates across three colleges and multiple departments for delivery of secondary educator preparation programs. The SOE’s teacher education program benefits from a sizeable relational network of schools and districts, within and beyond Iowa. Educators and educational leaders prepared by the SOE are highly-regarded across the state and nation.

At the graduate level, the school offers doctoral, master’s and certificate awards in a variety of program areas including educational technology, special education, science, literacy, leadership and administration, social and cultural studies, math, learning sciences, higher education, and student affairs.  While some of the school’s graduate programs remain in-person, others are delivered through hybrid or fully online modes to reach distance students and working professionals. SOE research draws on a variety of methodological approaches to address local and national educational concerns and has a strong record of funding from a variety of federal agencies. Many SOE faculty have interdisciplinary areas of expertise that integrate theory with practice.

The Director is the designated executive officer of the school with multiple responsibilities for leadership, including the creation and implementation of a strategic vision and plan, guiding the efforts of tenure-eligible and term faculty and staff, and administration of the Center for Teaching and Learning

Technology (CTLT), the Research Institute for Studies of Education (RISE), and Science Bound. Successful candidates are skilled leaders, with demonstrated capacity in strategic decision-making, creative problem-solving, and transparent and timely communication. A record of success in navigating complex systems and articulating and advocating for the role of education from a state and national perspective is expected. Successful candidates will have a record of supporting and embracing a culture that cultivates an environment where students, faculty, and staff flourish. It is anticipated that the new Director will initially focus on building a new shared school identity and hiring and retaining faculty who are poised to address the emergent needs of schools and communities. Ushering in new programs and approaches that reflect a changing local and national educational landscape are also priorities.

Required Minimum Qualifications:

  • Ph.D or Ed.D. in disciplines or fields of study within the School of Education.
  • A record of scholarly accomplishment consistent with an advanced tenured associate professor or professor to qualify for tenure in CHS at the rank of professor and reflective of ongoing engagement with issues related to K-12 and/or higher education.

The successful applicant for this position will:

  • Provide visionary leadership for the school to serve the needs of faculty, staff, students, stakeholders and citizens to fulfill the land-grant mission of the school, college, and university;
  • Be a collaborative member of college leadership teams across all missions of the college and school;
  • Communicate effectively the mission, vision, and strengths of the school and college within Iowa State University and to external stakeholders and collaborators in the public and private sectors;
  • Manage budget, personnel, and other resources on a daily basis to achieve the mission of the school and comply with college and university-level policies and practices;
  • Facilitate the professional development of others and provide mentorship;
  • Foster an environment in which all faculty and staff work toward the school’s purposes and are evaluated for their contributions;
  • Build a collegial transparent culture and environment where students, faculty, and staff flourish;
  • Keep faculty and staff informed about policies and expectations that may affect them;
  • Facilitate excellence and impact in all aspects of teaching, research, extension/outreach, and service;
  • Assist faculty, staff, and graduate students to attain resources through extramural funding by encouraging a culture of collaboration and innovation;
  • Recruit and retain the best possible people in all school positions, while promoting a local-to-global outlook;
  • Recruit and retain a robust and thriving student body of undergraduate and graduate students;
  • Nurture and maintain good alumni relations with the ISU Alumni Association and the ISU Foundation to support the full spectrum of the school’s activities, such as raising funds for endowments to support all missions; and
  • Participate in representational activities on behalf of the school and college.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated accomplishments in mentoring, facilitating the professional development of others, and team building;
  • A commitment to creating and maintaining environments where faculty, staff, and students flourish;
  • Demonstrated evidence of collaboration and goal planning;
  • Demonstrated evidence of personnel and budget management;
  • Demonstrated experience with fundraising and engagement with potential donors;
  • Demonstrated experience in working with external stakeholders and building and expanding partnerships and coalitions with public and private organizations;
  • Leadership experience with strong skills in interpersonal communication, oral and written communication, budget management and organization;
  • A commitment to undergraduate, graduate, and professional student education; and
  • Demonstrated capability in curricular planning and development, knowledge of accreditation, and understanding of advancing research and extension and outreach enterprises.

Position details:

  • Initial Director appointment is for five years with formal review during year four. This appointment serves at the pleasure of the dean, in an at-will position, and will be filled as a 12-month appointment. Proposed Start Date:  July 1, 2024 (negotiable)

Application Instructions

Buffkin / Baker, an executive search firm, is assisting the university in the search. Inquiries of interest, nominations, and applications should be submitted electronically, in confidence, to:

Mr. Martin M. Baker, Managing Partner
Dr. Pelema Ellis, Associate Partner
Buffkin / Baker

  • Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. However, to receive full consideration, applications should be received by October 31st, 2023.

Candidates should submit the following materials:

1) Cover letter and Curriculum Vitae.

2) Contact information for five professional references. References will not be contacted without permission from the applicant.

3) Vision statement (no more than four pages) which articulates the candidate’s vision relevant to the school and program areas, on the following topic areas:

  • Leadership, innovation, and communication,
  • Research,
  • Teaching,
  • Extension and outreach

Ames National Laboratory Director

Ames National Laboratory seeks applications and nominations for its next Laboratory Director to lead and enhance its ongoing world-class, mission-driven research of delivering critical materials solutions to the nation. Ames National Laboratory conducts fundamental science addressing chemical and materials challenges, with a focus on three long-term strategic directions: critical materials and upcycling science, atomistic and molecular design and control for energy and chemical conversion, and novel synthesis to manufacturing.

Minimum Required Qualifications:

  • Ph. D. in an area aligned with the research activities of the Laboratory
  • Outstanding scientific credentials and accomplishments to merit a faculty position at ISU

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Established record of visionary, collaborative scientific leadership and effective organizational management
  • Track record with, and a commitment to, diversity and inclusion and an understanding of the benefits that diversity, inclusion, equity, allyship, and accessibility bring to the Ames National Laboratory and ISU communities
  • Passion for and the ability to energize and sustain the multi-disciplinary culture of Ames National Laboratory
  • Demonstrated evidence of and commitment to developing and retaining talent within a research environment
  • Demonstrated evidence of a commitment to the safety, security, and well-being of employees, assets, and the environment
  • Ability to cultivate relationships and develop programs with the DOE’s Office of Science, other DOE offices, leadership of other national laboratories, and public stakeholders, including the State of Iowa, and other private customers to further the mission of the Laboratory.
  • Understand federal funding agencies and, preferably, have prior experience with and knowledge of the DOE: its culture, how funding decisions are made, and the environment of and partnership with federal funding agencies
  • Interpersonal skills needed to be a spokesperson to diverse stakeholders in promoting the mission, vision, and accomplishments of Ames National Laboratory. As needed, the Director will travel to DOE headquarters and other locations for direct interactions with relevant stakeholders.
  • Ability to leverage and build upon the unique opportunities afforded by the partnership of Ames National Laboratory and ISU, while also respecting their differences

Application Instructions

The complete application should contain a cover letter, résumé/CV, and list of references (as a single PDF file). The committee will begin reviewing materials immediately and will continue until the position is filled.  Priority will be given to applications received by August 1, 2023.

Contact Information for Applicants

All inquiries, nominations, and applications may be sent c/o the search firm at For a complete position description and information about how to apply, please refer to

Director of the Memorial Union

Iowa State University (ISU) is a student-centric institution serving 30,177 students. ISU is classified as a Carnegie Foundation Doctoral/Research University-Extensive, ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top public universities in the nation. As a land-grant institution, ISU is a global and culturally diverse university whose students thrive in learning communities, undergraduate research, internships, and study abroad. They learn from world-class scholars tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges—feeding the hungry, finding alternative fuels, and advancing manufacturing. ISU is located in Ames, Iowa, a community of 67,000 situated 30 minutes north of the state capital of Des Moines and was recently voted as the number one “Best College Town in America” by in June 2023.

Initially constructed in 1927 and built as a memorial to those who lost their lives in World War I, the Memorial Union (MU) is a central gathering spot and activity hub at the heart of campus. The MU’s mission is to complete the college experience by developing leadership, community, and career readiness through service, inclusion, creativity, innovation, and lifelong learning. At a total 316,000 square feet with 37,634 square feet of reservable event space, the MU recently completed the renovation of three of its floors and is currently transforming an additional 20,000 square feet, scheduled to be completed in October of 2024. The MU serves approximately 800 registered student organizations, houses 14 campus departments, advises the Student Union Board and a few other key organizations, sponsors almost 2,000 hours of service learning opportunities, and provides entertainment opportunities through the Maintenance Shop performance venue, Cybowl & Billiards, the Workspace craft center, the MU Art Gallery, and more.

The Position

Reporting to the Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Director of Residence and serving as a vital member of the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs' Cabinet, the Director of the Memorial Union oversees and administers all facilities, programs, activities, products, services, and tenant relations within the MU. The operational and programmatic areas within the MU include Capital Projects, Deferred Maintenance, Student Engagement, Business Office, Event Management Office, Custodial Services, Mechanical Services, Parking Ramp, IT/AV, Tenant Services, Marketing, and Personnel. The Director cultivates and executes the MU master plan and the overall strategic planning process; develops and implements strategies for improvements, major repairs, new construction, and additions to the MU; devises and applies policies and procedures for the MU, student organizations, and student activities; and collaborates with student organizations and their advisers in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of events and activities for the campus community. As a critical leader in the Division of Student Affairs, the Director promotes and fosters a culture of collaboration and a campus climate where all individuals can thrive. The Director works closely with and serves as a member of the ISU Memorial Union Advisory Board, whose principal purpose is to provide advice to the university on all policies and priorities for facilities use and programming involving the MU.

The Director leads and manages a professional and contracted staff of 44, including five direct reports, and effectively administers an annual budget of $13 million.

Preferred qualifications include experience in human resource management, budget administration that incorporates revenue generation and resource allocation, and program management involving student development and assessment. The successful candidate will demonstrate an understanding of current issues, best practices, and emerging trends in the university student union and the importance of and ability to generate revenue that strikes a balance between student and operational needs. Additionally, the ability to work effectively with persons from culturally diverse backgrounds, including students of color, international students, non-traditional students, and returning learners; sensitivity to and demonstrated competency for diverse issues in a university community; and strong organizational skills, including the ability to plan strategically, are expected.

This position serves at the pleasure of university administration and is exempt from certain P&S policies.

Application and Nomination

Review of applications will begin November 17, 2023, and continue until the position is filled. A resume with an accompanying cover letter may be submitted via the Spelman Johnson website at Nominations for this position may be emailed to J. Scott Derrick at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email