Sally Parker, senior assistant provost, has been named chief of staff in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Government and Community Relations, effective May 3, Vice Chancellor Nathan Green has announced.
“Sally’s work in and with various nonprofit and government sectors spans 20 years and ranges from higher education to the military to economic development and industry associations,” Green said. “As chief of staff, she will use that experience to be a key driver in our collaborative initiatives. I’m excited to have her on board.”
In a role that is new for Green’s office, she will have responsibility for overseeing the division’s operations and for managing strategic projects requiring cross-team collaboration. She will serve as a member of the vice chancellor’s core leadership team and will work closely with other members of the university leadership to provide meaningful synergy for external community activities. She will also serve as the vice chancellor’s liaison or representative in institutional initiatives and other university-wide projects as needed.
“I look forward to working with Vice Chancellor Green and the Government and Community Relations team,” Parker said. “Over the past almost seven years, I’ve had the pleasure of being part of a diverse set of strategic initiatives and programs at Vanderbilt that have positively impacted the student experience and advanced research, scholarship, the arts and more. I now hope to leverage those experiences and my prior work in public affairs for the benefit of Vanderbilt in a new way.”
As senior assistant provost, Parker has served as the primary strategic project manager for Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente since October 2014. She was responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Academic Strategic Plan, and in support of that plan, launched the Office of Cross College Initiatives, which manages a number of internal funding programs in support of faculty research and scholarship. Namely, she oversaw the administration of the six-year, $50 million Trans-Institutional Programs initiative and managed the early planning for the Wond’ry, Immersion Vanderbilt and the Data Science Institute on behalf of the provost. She’s also responsible for the provost’s communications, Board of Trust engagement and serves as the provost’s liaison on capital projects.
“Sally has been a trusted partner working closely with me since I began as provost, helping to advance and inform our community of some of our most important initiatives,” Wente said. “I’m excited for her to begin this new chapter and know she will be an asset to Nathan’s team.”
Parker joined Vanderbilt as a special project manager in 2014. Prior to joining the university, she worked at Hall Strategies, a strategic communications and public affairs firm based in Nashville, where she managed client accounts in industries ranging from automotive manufacturing to the life sciences. Formerly based in Tampa, Florida, she worked in strategic communications for Booz Allen Hamilton, where she served as senior editor of the Africa Defense Forum, a three-language publication produced on behalf of the U.S. Military’s United States Africa Command. Her work in consulting and public affairs began in Washington, D.C., where she worked for an international economic development firm and a public affairs and grassroots lobbying firm.
Parker served as visiting professor at the University of South Florida in the Department of Government and International Affairs from 2009 to 2010. She earned her Ph.D. in political science from Florida State University and her bachelor’s degree in political science and French from Belmont University.