Spencer Stuart Recruits CHRO for Harvard Law School

October 15, 2019 – A number of universities have turned to search firms to find new CHROs. Spencer Stuart recently placed HR veteran Roxanne Armbruster as the new assistant dean and CHRO of Harvard Law School, the oldest continuously operating law school in the U.S.

The search firm was seeking someone with at least 10 years of progressively responsible experience in human resources, business and/or higher education administration as well as substantial staff management experience. Ms. Armbruster fit the bill with nearly two decades of experience in human resources and business operations across a variety of settings.

Most recently, she served as the director of business operations at Ropes & Gray after transitioning from the firm’s human resources department. Before Ropes & Gray, Ms. Armbruster worked at TJX Companies as a human resources business partner. She began her career in human resources on active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard, where she served for eight years.

In her new role, Ms. Armbruster is a member of the Harvard Law School senior management team and serves as a key advisor to the dean and the broader school community. She directs the human resources team, overseeing all operational aspects of human resources. She works closely with university-wide human resource leaders, including Harvard human resources.

In addition, Ms. Armbruster will provide strategic HR consulting services in the areas of complex employee relations matters, organizational design and development, change management, recruitment, compensation, training and development strategies, diversity initiatives and efforts related to improving the work environment.

“I enjoy working with people,” Ms. Armbruster recently told Harvard Law Today. “I enjoy helping people. And I enjoy solving problems and partnering on thoughtful outcomes. I think that HR is here to help Harvard Law School achieve its goals through its people. It is the people who create our value, our product, who make all of this possible.”

“I view our job as aligning the people to—and engaging people in—the strategy and mission of Harvard Law School,” she said. “Making sure we have the right people, in the right places, doing the right things to succeed, in an environment where they feel safe and fulfilled.”

Harvard Law School, established in 1817, is home to the largest academic law library in the world. The law school has 328 faculty members.

Stick Rate

Spencer Stuart’s education practice works with research universities, liberal arts colleges, graduate and professional schools, independent schools, research centers and institutes. Ninety-six percent of the firm’s executive search placements in academia and research in the past five years are still in their roles today, said Spencer Stuart.

The practice has placed leaders across all functions with a particular focus on presidents, provosts, deans, CHROs, chief financial officers, chief information officers and vice presidents. Spencer Stuart has placed senior leaders at schools such as Brown, Colgate, Cornell, Northwestern, Wesleyan and Yale.

Universities Turning to Search Firms

A number of universities have turned to search firms to find new CHROs. Here is a sampling from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:

Community college executive search firm Gold Hill Associates was recently selected by the College of Southern Nevada (CSN) to lead its search for a new CHRO. Search consultant Dennis Michaelis is leading the assignment. The incoming leader should have seven years of progressively responsible human resource experience with at least five years of experience as a senior human resources professional.

West Hartford CT-based Academic Career & Executive Search was recently tapped by the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) to help find its next chief human resources officer. The Dallas County Community College District wants a highly accomplished, collaborative leader and change agent with a successful track record in the areas of talent acquisition, development…

Koya Leadership Partners recently placed Lorraine Goffe as the new VP for human resources and CHRO of Penn State. Managing director Liz Neumann and vice president Beth Schaefer led the assignment. “We started the search last summer and finished the last interviews before Thanksgiving so there would be plenty of time to have an offer accepted by the middle of December,” said Ms. Schaefer. 

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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