Administration, Higher Education, Social Justice and Advocacy

Assistant Vice President, Institutional Equity

  • Seattle University
  • Seattle, WA

This position has been filled.

Seattle University seeks an equity-minded, trusted, and collaborative leader to serve as its Assistant Vice President, Institutional Equity (AVP). The AVP will support institutional efforts towards excellence and the strategic and effective implementation of university policies related to prohibited discrimination and harassment and serves as Title IX coordinator, Chief EEO Officer, and ADA/504 Coordinator. The AVP is a critically important role that carries broad responsibility for effecting equity and inclusion in the University’s culture, policies, practices, and systems. The AVP provides practical counsel and advice to senior leaders and other offices engaged in non-discrimination and harassment work. The position engages key stakeholders, builds consensus, and employs data and best practices to craft a more proactive posture for the University as it seeks to build a learning and working community that is free from discrimination and harassment. This role is one of two leadership opportunities open in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion that will play an important role in contributing to the University’s commitment to creating an inclusive and positive culture.

About Seattle University

Founded in 1891, Seattle University (SU) draws upon the Jesuit tradition of moral and intellectual development to educate critical thinkers and compassionate leaders. Located in the heart of a dynamic city and region and educating over 7000 students, SU strives to become one of the most innovative Jesuit and Catholic universities in the world in fulfillment of its mission to educate the whole person, provide professional formation and empower leaders for a just and humane world. The Assistant Vice President, Institutional Equity will play a key role in shaping institutional culture and will demonstrate capacity to lead and prioritize within the distinctive culture and needs of a higher education workplace and to communicate and deepen a strong sense of the University’s culture in accordance with the values and traditions as a Jesuit institution.

Seattle University offers 65 undergraduate programs, 31 graduate programs at both the masters and doctoral levels, and more than 30 certificate programs, granting degrees through eight schools and colleges: Arts and Science, Business and Economics, Education, Law, Nursing, Science and Engineering, Theology and Ministry, and New and Continuing Studies. Students are taught by outstanding, experienced faculty and the average class size is 18 students. Scholarship is enhanced by the work of specialized centers and institutes, including the award-winning Sundborg Center for Community Engagement, the Indigenous Peoples Institute, the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture, the Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Engagement, and the Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability. Experience in teaching is fostered by the outstanding Centers for Faculty and Development and Digital Learning and Innovation.

Awards and high rankings for academic rigor, sustainability, and community engaged learning are among SU’s touchstones of excellence. SU has more than 90,000 alumni in 98 countries. Seventy percent remain in Washington after graduation, contributing to the state economy and talent pool.

In addition to rigorous and engaging academic programming, SU offers a host of programs and services to support, engage and educate its students. These programs and services include housing and residence life; academic and professional development resources including career engagement and education abroad; physical, emotional, and spiritual support such as Counseling and Psychological Services and Campus Ministry; student involvement opportunities such as intercollegiate athletics, recreational sports, community engagement, and student government; and communities of support, including the International Student Center, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Disability Services, and the Veterans and First Gen Outreach Center. Seattle University is included among top universities nationally in rankings by the US News and World Report, The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education, Forbes, Washington Monthly, and Princeton Review

The distinctive quality of Seattle University’s academic programs and student experience attract diverse, talented, and motivated students who are committed to the institution’s mission and Jesuit values. Over 40 percent of SU’s students identify as persons of color and 10 percent are international students. To reduce financial barriers, SU awards financial assistance to 92 percent of undergraduates, 70 percent of graduate students, and 93 percent of law students. The University’s vibrant and inclusive campus environment and experiences foster engagement and community for its students, faculty, staff, and alumni. SU sponsors 20 intercollegiate sports at the NCAA Division I level. SU views athletics as a key component of the Jesuit philosophy of educating the whole person.

SU is committed to fostering a diverse and thriving university community within a supportive and respectful environment. SU believes that the diversity and lived experiences of the faculty, students, and staff are essential to their success in the University’s teaching, research, and service dimensions as a leading university with a global reach, and that diversity of perspectives is an integral part of institutional excellence.

The Seattle University Mission and Vision

Seattle University is dedicated to educating the whole person, to professional formation, and to empowering leaders for a just and humane world. Their vision is to be one of the most innovative and progressive Jesuit and Catholic universities in the world, educating with excellence at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels with an emphasis on encouraging interdisciplinary approaches and employing Ignatian pedagogy. Goals include strengthening professional formation for all and enhancing the student experience. Please read the full strategic plan here: Reigniting Our Strategic Directions 2022-2027

With an imperative to Promote Inclusive Excellence in the original Strategic Directions document, the new plan amplifies the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the LIFT SU initiatives in the Inclusive Excellence Action Plan for Racial Equity and Antiracism. The AVP will have many opportunities to advance initiatives through both of these plans.


This is an exciting time to join Seattle University under the new leadership of President Eduardo Peñalver who is nearing completion of his first year. Prior to being named Seattle University President, Peñalver served as the dean of Cornell University’s Law School from 2014 until 2021. Peñalver is a Rhodes Scholar and a professor of law who clerked for former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Peñalver received his bachelor’s from Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences in 1994 and his law degree from Yale Law School in 1999. As a Rhodes Scholar, he received his Master of Arts in Philosophy and Theology at Oriel College, Oxford.

In addition to Cornell Law School, Peñalver has held faculty appointments at Fordham Law School and the University of Chicago, where he was the John P. Wilson Professor of Law. He has also been a visiting professor at Harvard and Yale law schools. Peñalver’s work on property law has been published in scholarly law journals at Yale University, the University of Michigan, Cornell, and the University of Pennsylvania. He is considered a leading voice in the “progressive property” movement, deriving many of his insights from Catholic social teaching.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) is led by the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, Natasha Martin, and aims to promote inclusive excellence in the University’s teaching, research, and service dimensions. ODI’s mission is to foster an institutional culture where there is no dichotomy between the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion and the goals of educational quality and excellence.

The office embraces an intersectional framework for defining diversity in its broadest sense, including differences in gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, generational history, culture, socioeconomic class, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship status, political perspectives, geographic origin and neurodiversity and physical ability. In 2017, Natasha Martin was appointed as the inaugural Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion for Seattle University where she is a tenured member in the School of Law and has taught on numerous topics. In addition to her teaching and scholarly engagement, Vice President Martin is an active contributor and thought leader in many professional settings. A frequent presenter at national conferences, she is an engaged contributor to academic and community dialogues on diversity, equity, and inclusion matters. Dedicated to broad notions of inclusivity, Martin was appointed twice to the Washington State Gender and Justice Commission and was named to Lawyers of Color’s 50 Under 50 list of minority law professors making an impact in legal education in the 2014 Law School Diversity Issue. Vice President Martin was selected and recently completed the American Council of Education Fellows Program, a premiere higher education leadership development program. 

For more information on Seattle University, please visit their website.

The Opportunity

The Assistant Vice President, Institutional Equity supports the University’s commitment to a safe, inclusive, and productive campus community in alignment with federal and state laws, as well as the University’s policies. As the Title IX Coordinator, the AVP supports the community through policy, response, prevention education and professional development, manages the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, and collaborates with multiple units and departments on providing resources for those affected by sexual misconduct as well as educational opportunities for the prevention of sexual misconduct. The AVP manages concerns and complaints from all community members related to sexual misconduct and issues of anti-discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, and oversees the timely responses, investigations, and resolutions of complaints in accordance with university policies and high-impact practices for prevention and in collaboration with other offices and units on campus. The AVP reports to the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, serving as a key dimension of promoting inclusive excellence at Seattle University. This role is one of two leadership opportunities, the other being the University Ombudsperson, open in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion that will play an important role in contributing to the University’s commitment to creating an inclusive and positive culture.

Responsibilities include:

  • Coordinate and implement the University’s Title IX investigative, education, compliance, and training efforts and help strengthen a culture that supports a safe and respectful learning, working, and living environment.
  • Conduct and/or oversee the prompt, effective, and equitable investigation, and timely resolution of all complaints of sexual misconduct and gender-based discrimination involving members of the University community employing trauma-informed interviewing protocols.
  • Lead the University’s education, training, prevention, and outreach efforts related to Title IX and sexual misconduct including a communication campaign to inform SU faculty, staff, students, and special populations. The AVP will develop and implement education, training, and risk reduction programming to address the prevention of sexual misconduct including but not limited to sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, gender-based harassment, and retaliation.
Desired Qualifications

A bachelor’s degree in legal studies, public policy, higher education, public administration, or a related area, is required; an advanced degree is preferred. Relevant direct experience may substitute for required educational credentials.

In addition, the ideal candidate will offer the following key skills, experiences, and competencies:

 Functional and Technical Knowledge

  • Experience conducting discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other governmental/ internal investigations with demonstrated success implementing recognized best practices for investigations.
  • Progressively responsible experience in the areas of civil rights and equal opportunity with experience leading an equal opportunity office in similarly complex organizations. Substantive subject matter expertise and/or advanced knowledge of some or all of the following: Title IX, Violence Against Women Act, Clery Act, Title VI, Title VII, equal employment opportunity and affirmative action, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other relevant federal and state laws.
  • Demonstrated ability to conceptualize, analyze, and interpret compliance issues, policies, and regulations as well as complex written materials and data while communicating results of analyses in formats accessible to diverse groups.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and experience in complaint resolution, investigations, and grievance processes.
  • Knowledge of high-impact practices as they relate to higher education compliance with Title IX regulations.

Strong Interpersonal and Relationship Management Skills

  • The ability to handle personal, confidential, sensitive, and complex information and maintain the highest level of confidentiality with composure and sound judgment.
  • Record of working effectively and respectfully with all campus constituencies in a large, diverse organization, comprising students, staff employees (including law enforcement) and academic employees, including faculty.
  • A demonstrated ability to manage complex and sensitive matters with cross-functional teams in a timely and responsive manner.
  • Open, collaborative style with a willingness to consider alternative ways of addressing issues.

Critical Thinking, Sound Judgement, and Analytical Ability

  • Strong acumen in critical thinking skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct neutral intake, investigation, and resolution activities.
  • Strong organization, planning, analytical, and problem resolution skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills including ability to deal with confidential and sensitive information.
  • Ability to act independently, take initiative, and exercise sound judgment.

Commitment to the Values of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusivity as well as the ability to work with a wide range of constituents with diplomacy and tact.
  • Commitment to the highest ethical, integrity, and professionalism standards.
  • Facilitates a work environment that encourages knowledge of, respect for, and development of skills to engage productively across a range of differences including with those of other cultures, backgrounds, or experiences.
  • Impeccable integrity, emotional intelligence, and deep passion for the scope of work the position entails.
Compensation & Benefits

Salary is competitive and commensurate with this position’s scope, stature, and level of responsibility.


Beth Schaefer, Euris Belle, and Alyssa Perez Leal of Koya Partners/DSG have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential. 

Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Partners, visit

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