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.



Iowa State University, one of the nation’s leading land-grant universities, and home of the first Cooperative Extension System in the United States, invites nominations and applications for the position of vice president for extension and outreach (VPEO). Iowa State University is ranked by numerous organizations as one of the nation’s top public universities.  It enrolls 30,000 students who are served by 6,300 faculty and staff.  Iowa State is classified as a Carnegie Foundation Doctoral/Research University–Extensive and is classified as a Carnegie engaged institution.  The university is located in Ames, an exceptional community of 66,000 ranked as one of the ten most livable small cities in the nation.  See Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is one of the most impactful programs of its kind in the nation in serving the needs of its state’s citizens through building healthy economies, environments, and people.  To build on this strength, the university seeks candidates who are entrepreneurial and creative, with the ability to develop and effectively allocate resources and provide leadership for building excellence in extension and outreach programs that support the university’s strategic plan (2022-31). The vice president reports to the senior vice president and provost and works closely with the president, provost, the vice president for research, and the deans of Iowa State’s seven colleges to integrate teaching and research programs with the university’s extension and outreach programs.  The VPEO is responsible for approximately 1,200 employees located on campus and across the state’s 99 counties, works with the Iowa Association of County Extension Councils, and has a $95 million annual budget. The vice president for extension and outreach serves as director of Cooperative Extension, which has signature programs in agriculture and natural resources, communities and economic development, human sciences, and 4-H youth development


Candidates for the position must have professional experience commensurate with that of a vice president, an academic dean or private sector executive-level position, and/or a documented record of leadership, administrative, and academic or equivalent professional accomplishments.  The successful candidate will demonstrate strong skills in planning, communication, organizational development, and fiscal management.  Administrative experience, a commitment to enhancing and implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and initiatives, and demonstrated ability to represent the university in extension and outreach to diverse constituencies across the state’s 99 counties are also essential credentials.  Candidates must have a doctorate or terminal degree and be qualified for a tenured faculty appointment in an appropriate academic department.

Application and Nomination

The Search Committee will accept confidential applications and nominations until the position is filled.  Screening of candidates will begin immediately.  For best consideration, applications and nominations should be provided before September 5, 2022.  An application should include a letter describing relevant experiences and interest in the position; a curriculum vitae; and the names of five references. References will not be contacted without permission.  Submission of materials as a PDF attachment is strongly encouraged.  Individuals wishing to place names in nomination should submit a letter of nomination, including the name and position of the nominee.  Buffkin/Baker, an executive search firm, is assisting the university in the search.  Applications and letters of nominations should be submitted to: Mr. Martin Baker, Managing Partner or Dr. Pelema Ellis, Principal  at

Senior Vice President

Reporting to the President, the Senior Vice President (SVP) for Operations and Finance serves as a key member of the senior leadership team with the responsibility to develop financial and operational strategies that will support the University's academic mission. The SVP is responsible for overseeing the divisional units through a focus on operational excellence and service. These units and areas of responsibility are: Finance- institutional budget development & financial management, controller's office, treasurer’s office, finance delivery, accounts receivable, procurement, and payroll, benefits, and tax accounting. Operations- facilities services, campus planning, design and construction, utilities enterprise and sustainability initiatives, specialty business services and cultural arts which includes, Reiman Gardens, Postal and Parcel Services, Logistics & Support Services, Transportation Services, Printing Services, ISU Bookstore, Veenker Golf Course, and University Museums. The successful candidate must demonstrate a record of strong leadership skills in a complex organization; the ability to act in the best interest of Iowa State University by identifying opportunities for improvement and generating strategies and solutions to bring about change.

Required Qualifications

Bachelor’s degree and 15 years of progressively responsible financial and administrative experience in large complex organizations

Preferred Qualifications

  • Advanced degree in finance or accounting or other relevant advanced degree from an accredited institution, MBA, MAcc and/or other financial related professional accreditation such as CPA.
  • Ten (10) or more years of experience in a fiscal leadership role.
  • Demonstrated expertise and success in managing complex facilities and infrastructure.
  • Demonstrated expertise in financial management and forecasting to evaluate industry-specific fiscal conditions (current and future) and guide policy and business decisions.
  • Demonstrated ability to foster a community with a culture of inclusiveness where community members create and support diversity.
  • Proven ability to lead and achieve change and improve processes and systems in a large, multi-area organization.
  • Demonstrated success in developing and implementing innovative and creative ideas in an operational or financial setting.

Nomination and Application Process

The Search Committee invites letters of nomination, applications (letter of interest, full resume/CV, and contact information of at least five references), or expressions of interest to be submitted to the search firm assisting the University. Review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment is made. It is preferred, however, that all nominations and applications be submitted prior to October 3, 2022. For additional information, and for application submission, please contact: Porsha Williams, Vice President at or Erin Raines, Senior Principal at

Associate Vice President for Campus Life

Iowa State University (ISU), a place where adventurous minds are encouraged to accomplish amazing things, 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, and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU). As a land-grant institution and the largest university in the state, ISU is a global and culturally diverse institution committed to providing an inclusive, equitable, and diverse environment for both learning and employment—diversity in experience and perspective is vital to advancing innovation, critical thinking, solving complex problems, and building an inclusive academic community. At Iowa State University, these values are translated into action by seeking individuals who have experience working with diverse students, colleagues, and constituents. The University expects that all employees will demonstrate a contribution to diversity and inclusion as embodied in ISU’s Principles of Community. Big 12 Conference sports and a tradition of cultural and popular performances make campus life an adventure to remember. Iowa State University is located in Ames, 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 and among the “Top 10 Best Places to Live in America.”

The Position

Reporting to the Associate Vice President for Campus Life, the Director of ISU Dining manages and administers the Department of Dining Services operations, which provides for approximately 30,000 students and more than 6,000 staff and faculty, totaling more than 3,250,000 meals per year. The Director provides strategic vision and leadership for all aspects of a comprehensive food service enterprise, including four all-you-care-to-eat residential dining facilities, retail operations, vending, catering, conference services, culinary, and food stores. The Director is responsible for all fiscal and operational procedures of a department with annual operating revenue of $43,000,000 and has administrative responsibilities for the budgetary/financial management, facilities maintenance, personnel, programmatic/service development, and educational and nutritional programming aspects of ISU food service.

The Director leads the development and execution of the departmental strategic plan and all policies and procedures; conducts special operating analyses and prepares reports for University administration, state government officials, and the ISU Board of Regents; establishes and implements marketing plans for sales of board contracts, dining dollars, conference and catering activities, and retail operations; and represents the interests of Dining Services in connection with the University identification card administration. The Director serves as an advocate and campus liaison to peer departments and works to align departmental strategies to ensure Dining Services is an effective partner with other campus constituencies and stakeholders. The Director integrates the University’s mission and auxiliary services planning into operational strategies for the department to work effectively within the University environment and represent Dining Services to the University, Board of Regents, Big 12, NACUFS, parents, and alums of Iowa State University. The Director of ISU Dining leads, motivates, and supports a dynamic staff of 204, including nine direct reports, and manages a student staff of 1,400.


A bachelor’s degree and eight years of leadership experience in a large food service operation are required.

The successful candidate will possess progressive supervisory experience; demonstrated ability to manage various types of food services within one umbrella organization; skill in developing collaborative relationships with clients and colleagues to achieve goals; and the capability to utilize business systems to manage a large, complex retail operation effectively. Exceptional communication skills, including public speaking; the ability to successfully use financial models appropriate for a multifaceted food service operation, including budget development, forecasting, fiscal controls, and pricing methods and techniques; experience establishing and maintaining safety and compliance standards; and demonstrated success in strategic planning and the execution of short- and long-term plans are required. Preferred qualifications include a master's or terminal degree, ten years of experience in food service or a comparable area within hospitality or student affairs, and experience in higher education food services.

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 October 21, 2022, 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