Chief, University Planning and Design

Cambridge, MA

Posted: 1/14/20
Deadline: 3/30/20

About This Organization

Harvard University

Harvard University one of the world’s preeminent research universities. Founded in 1636, Harvard is the oldest university in North America. The University has grown from nine students with a single master to an enrollment of more than 6,600 undergraduate students and over 14,000 graduate students in the University’s ten graduate and professional schools. An additional 3,000 students are enrolled in one or more courses in the Harvard Extension School. Over 18,000 people work at Harvard, including approximately 2,300 faculty. An additional 10,000 people have faculty appointments in Harvard’s affiliated teaching hospitals.

Job Duties

Harvard University ( seeks a strong planning professional to assume the role of Chief, University Planning and Design and lead an approximately 35-person team in the management and provision of planning services to Harvard University Schools, administrative units, and the wider Harvard community. Reporting to the Executive Vice President (EVP) and working closely with direct reports and key stakeholders across the University, the Chief Planner will facilitate physical master planning for the Cambridge, Allston (including the support of the planning for the recently established Harvard Land Company) and the Longwood Medical Area. The Chief Planner will be a member of the EVP’s leadership team and will take responsibility for the coordination of the University’s overall physical planning processes. The incumbent will work in collaboration with Harvard’s twelve University Schools, departments, units and with external regulatory agencies. This will include leading the successful integration of the Harvard Planning Office and Harvard Allston Initiatives into one cohesive unit as well as advancing coordinated planning processes and procedures to be deployed across Harvard’s highly complex, urban, 27 million square foot campus. The Chief Planner will also serve as the subject matter expert for Harvard’s campus planning and design efforts.

The Harvard Planning Office enhances, sustains, and optimizes the physical assets—land and buildings—of Harvard University and provides analyses and context for decision making about the allocation of these resources in support of Harvard’s academic mission. Largely, but not exclusively, focused on the University’s Cambridge campus, the Harvard Planning Office provides physical planning services to promote excellence in campus planning and design and to optimize the allocation of its land and buildings. It also offers the full range of technical expertise necessary to preserve and enhance the distinct character of Harvard’s campuses to address future growth and change in an environmentally and fiscally sustainable manner. Harvard Allston Initiatives is responsible for coordinating the planning and development efforts for Harvard’s Allston Campus, home to Harvard Athletics and the Harvard Business School for over a century. In the Fall 2020 Allston will become home to the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Allston Initiatives supports the University’s Allston-related institutional and non-institutional strategies and projects including the non-institutional development of Harvard’s Enterprise Research Campus (ERC) within the Allston Campus. Created in 2018 to spearhead the development of the ERC, that effort is led by the Harvard Allston Land Company (HALC) and as a separate entity is focused on the University’s development of the ERC. HALC will rely upon the expertise and will work collaboratively with the new Planning and Design Office.

Required Qualifications

A Bachelor’s degree in architecture, construction engineering or related field, or equivalent related experience is required. In addition, the Chief Planner will bring:
• Advanced knowledge of architecture, urban design, city planning or landscape architecture. Prior experience in building design or planning in a large-scale public or institutional setting. Experience in a major city.
• Ten years’ experience managing multiple and diverse projects and five years of demonstrated management/supervisory experience in a matrixed environment and/or higher education.
• Demonstrated capacity to lead, manage, develop, and inspire staff.
• Advanced organizational, analytical, interpersonal, and communication skills. Strong negotiating skills and highly developed political acumen.
• Ability to provide overall executive direction through a network of senior management leaders.

Other Info

Harvard University has engaged Opus Partners to support the recruitment of this position. Jim Hess, Partner, and Katie Dean, Associate Partner, are leading the search. Confidential inquiries, applications, and nominations should be submitted by email to Marisea Rivera, Senior Associate, at

Harvard University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.