Director, Operations

University of Chicago

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL, USA
Posted on Thursday, August 17, 2023


CSL Housing and Residence Life

About the Department

The University of Chicago is one of the nation's leading institutions of higher education and research. Campus and Student Life (CSL) carries the core mission of the University to all aspects of life outside the classroom. It enriches the lives of its students, staff, and faculty and academic staff members and contributes to a vibrant, collaborative, and diverse campus community that inspires excellence and sustains the University’s culture of inquiry, innovation, and continuous learning. The unit also works to support the overall well-being of students, including their health and safety. This happens in the context of a campus located in a dynamic, thriving city, in which opportunities abound for students to learn from, contribute to, and engage with their urban environment. CSL is importantly charged with the dual task of promoting the interests of students in the University, and managing multiple campus departments and services that serve the entire campus community, including Athletics & Recreation; the Office of the Bursar; Center for Identity + Inclusion; Center for Leadership and Involvement; Disciplinary Affairs; Housing & Residence Life; International House; Office of International Affairs; Office of the University Registrar; Rockefeller Memorial Chapel; Spiritual Life; Student Centers; Student Disability Services; Student Wellness; UChicago Dining; and UChicago HELP. The University of Chicago community includes approximately 7,000 undergraduates and 10,500 graduate, professional, and other students and there are over 400 recognized student organizations working together to create a vibrant and dynamic student life.

The University of Chicago is located in the Hyde Park/South Kenwood neighborhood, a racially and economically diverse residential community of 43,000 people on the shores of Lake Michigan, about fifteen minutes south of downtown Chicago.

The core mission of Housing and Residence Life is to help develop and support inclusive communities that engage residents in exceptional living experiences within secure and well-maintained environments that foster a sense of belonging and support the academic initiatives of the University. The primary strategy for the delivery of such an environment is through a residence life program that which aims to develop strong residential communities that are self-regulating, supportive of academic success; provide a strong sense of belonging, and rich opportunities for personal, cultural, social and intellectual development. The leadership of residential faculty and adult staff in fostering these experiences is key to the success of the mission.

Job Summary

The University of Chicago Housing and Residence Life (HRL) is currently seeking a visionary leader for the position of Director, Operations. This is an exciting opportunity to join a newly restructured unit and take on a pivotal role in shaping the future of our residential facilities.

The Director, Operations at the University of Chicago oversees operations and services for seven residence halls, providing a safe, secure, and inclusive environment for approximately 4,550 undergraduates. Reporting to the Executive Director for Housing and Residence Life, they manage 1,957,259 sq. ft. of residential space and an annual budget of approximately $16 million to support the growth and enhancement of our residential facilities. In this key position, the Director will be accountable for essential operations, including front desk services, building security, common area management, contracted hall services oversight, and liaisons with physical plant management. Collaboration with various university departments and stakeholders will be essential to accomplish departmental objectives and uphold the mission of HRL, all while delivering excellent customer service to students, staff, and faculty.

As a vital member of the Housing and Residence Life senior leadership team, the Director will actively participate in setting and executing residence hall strategic planning and decision-making. They will work closely with the professional staff within Housing and Residence Life and UChicago Dining to develop and implement goals, policies, and procedures for the University residence halls. Additionally, the Director will directly interact with residential faculty and staff, assessing the quality of the physical environment, managing front desk operations and services, and ensuring compliance with residence hall policies and procedures.

The Director will play a crucial role in fulfilling the mission of Housing and Residence Life, supporting the academic initiatives of the university, and fostering inclusive and exceptional living experiences for students. Their strong vision for the future of a modern university, combined with their leadership in planning and supervising construction projects, will be instrumental in successfully managing and expanding our operations unit. Applying their knowledge and skills in facilities management, the Director will ensure the effective planning, execution, and completion of capital projects while adhering to APPA Standards and Codes and ACUHO-I Core Curriculum for Facilities Management. Their strategic approach will also extend to maintaining existing facilities, ensuring they meet high standards and contribute to student well-being.

This role calls for a dynamic and forward-thinking individual who can lead and supervise diverse teams, fostering their growth and development. The ideal candidate will bring experience in planning and supervising construction projects, a passion for student success, and a strong commitment to delivering outstanding residential experiences at the University of Chicago.


  • Directly supervises the Associate Director of Facilities and Project Management and the Associate Director for Desk and Mail Operations.
  • Indirectly supervises 5 Assistant Directors of Operations and one Assistant Director of Desk and Mail Operations.
  • Indirectly responsible for the performance of approximately 100 front desk clerks (unionized work force) and directly responsible for 1 courier (FTE) in the delivery of residence hall operations and services.
  • Supervises and leads managers and staff by developing programs and initiatives that meet staff professional and technical training needs, provides coaching and guidance, conducts or oversees the annual performance appraisal process, and proactively addresses performance issues as required.
  • Applies knowledge and skills in facilities management to ensure the effective planning, execution, and completion of capital projects. Implements strategies and standards to assess and maintain existing facilities in accordance with APPA Standards and Codes and ACUHO-I Core Curriculum for Facilities Management.
  • Serves in an on-call capacity to support senior staff emergency response during evenings, weekends, and holidays.
  • Guides the implementation of assessment activities, identifies key performance, and ensures the regular tracking of key performance indicators to support continuous improvement in services.
  • Each residence hall has a 24-hour front desk staff which supports building security through visitor approval and registration, manages mail and package delivery, provides recreational and cleaning equipment and supplies to residents, receives and triages information regarding building emergencies from residents, makes appropriate notifications, and generates incidents reports regarding physical plant and resident emergencies or unusual community events. Coordinate annual opening and closing of the residence halls, including quarterly breaks.
  • Works with the Executive Director, Director of Occupancy and Administration and Director of Residence Life in the implementation of policies and procedures governing the use of common space within the residence halls. Ensures the effective administration of these policies and procedures.
  • Works closely with resident staff to support their residential experience and the student housing program they are responsible for providing in both private living quarters and common spaces. Where applicable, serves as a liaison directly with other units and departments that have space allocated to them in the buildings.
  • Participates and works in close collaboration with staff in HRL, UChicago Dining, International House (IH), the Office of Civic Engagement, the Office of Event Services (OES) and the related departmental human resources and finance staff members. These working relationships will involve regular and episodic collaboration and consultation across departments.
  • Develops and maintains 24-hour building emergency plan to preserve student health and safety.
  • Responds to and resolves facilities housing matters and questions from students, parents, and staff.
  • Communicates and disseminates emergency procedures and guidelines to staff.
  • Adheres to Campus and Student Life core values, including, but not limited to student development, customer service, collaboration, efficiency and effectiveness, credibility, responsiveness, quality, accountability, professional development, and mutual respect.
  • Collaborates with various Facilities Services units including Capital Project Delivery, Sustainability, Operations and Maintenance, and Building Services in delivery of a full scope of physical plant services and operations, including energy use management and provision of campus utilities.
  • Supports the Executive Director to manage the development of plans for facilities renewal to include both long-range master planning and the development and preparation of the annual capital projects submittal. Ensures a preventative maintenance plan for appliances, furniture replacement rotation, and turn schedule is in place and operational.
  • Maintains room readiness for occupancy and room assignments, overseeing operational processes such as damage billing and key inventory.
  • Manages the budget process including budget forecasting, development, management, and reporting.
  • Develops facilities maintenance policies and procedures. Plans renovation and other facilities-related projects, including ensuring projects are completed on time and within budget. Receives requests for facilities services and supervises delivery of appropriate services.
  • Manages movement of equipment and materials, maintains building security, and maintains information on building blue prints, space utilization data and equipment.
  • Perform 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


  • Master’s degree in college student personnel, student development, higher education, counseling, management, public administration, sociology, or related education field.


  • Experience with housing and residential life programs.
  • Minimum of seven years of relevant work experience at a university or other housing operations.
  • At least three years of experience supervising staff in a service delivery environment.
  • Significant customer service and vendor relations experience.
  • Supervising full-time union staff in a service delivery environment.
  • At least three years of experience managing collective bargaining agreement (union) staff.


  • Valid Illinois driver’s license upon offer of employment and pass the University’s motor vehicle records process.

Technical Skills or Knowledge:

  • Significant knowledge of short and long-term facilities capital project planning and priority-setting.
  • Knowledge of industry standards for residential building services, repairs and maintenance.
  • Basic knowledge of building mechanical systems.
  • Read and understand blueprints, sketches, diagrams, and technical publications.
  • Proficiency with information systems and project management software. Proficiency with Windows based computers, including the Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel and Outlook).
  • Proficiency with residential management software programs.
  • Budget management skills.

Preferred Competencies

  • Demonstrated strategic leadership skills in a university setting.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the developmental objectives of the college student residential environment.
  • Demonstrated commitment to cultural competence.
  • Demonstrated crisis management skills.
  • Supervisory skills; supervise, train and evaluate the work of others.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of customer service skills, reception/front desk services and functions in a residential or hospitality setting.
  • Excellent interpersonal, verbal, written, and listening skills, including the ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of constituencies in a diverse community.
  • Manage multiple projects simultaneously, set priorities, and meet deadlines.
  • Significant knowledge of the higher education profession and climate.
  • Success in planning, executing, and completing residence hall or apartment turnover and common area projects on time and on budget.
  • Well organized, detail-oriented, focused, timely, and efficiency skills.
  • Decision-making, organizational skills.
  • Work independently with a high degree of initiative and on a team.

Working Conditions

  • Work evenings and weekends, as needed.
  • The standard work week is Monday through Friday with expectations for evening and weekend work typical of a senior student affairs leader responsible for housing operations.
  • Available for consultation after-hours, weekends, and holidays; and immediately available on-campus for emergency response, as needed.
  • May be asked to provide and use own vehicle, insured in accordance with University requirements.
  • Travel around building’s interior and exterior.
  • Use computers and standard office equipment.

Application Documents

  • Resume/CV (required)
  • Cover Letter (preferred)
  • References Contact Information (3)(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

Facilities Management

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

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, military or 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.

The University of Chicago's Annual Security & Fire Safety Report (Report) provides information about University offices and programs that provide safety support, crime and fire statistics, emergency response and communications plans, and other policies and information. The Report can be accessed online at: Paper copies of the Report are available, upon request, from the University of Chicago Police Department, 850 E. 61st Street, Chicago, IL 60637.