EXCEPTIONAL LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
Reporting to the Dean of the College and the Dean of Students in the University in Campus and Student Life, the successful candidate will supervise and lead all residential life programs and services, facilitating the integrative personal and intellectual development of students outside the classroom. This is a tremendous opportunity for a visionary higher education leader committed to providing the very best residential and programmatic experience for the University of Chicago’s undergraduate students.
As the University of Chicago continues its remarkable transformation of undergraduate life, the AVP/Associate Dean will play an active role in reinforcing its excellence. The institution aspires to grow its undergraduate housing population, and the next AVP/Associate Dean will lead the development of new residence halls and dining commons. Additionally, this person will manage major student service enterprises, including residence halls, dining commons and several retail food facilities, and have the demonstrated acumen to be a respected, influential, and creative advocate for housing and community life.
The Assistant Vice President for Campus Life and Associate Dean will serve as a critical member of CSL, fostering campus life in support of the mission of the University along with other CSL colleagues and in close collaboration with the Dean of the College. He or she will lead campus-wide strategic initiatives and possess the financial, strategic, and operational skills to guide high-level divisional planning projects. This person will also possess the interpersonal skills to work effectively with a broad range of individuals, including directors, managers, senior administrators, trustees, faculty, students, and staff (both within and outside of CSL), in advancing the University’s mission and goals.
The AVP/Associate Dean will be responsible for an expense budget of approximately $37 million and set strategic direction for College Housing and Residential Services and UChicago Dining; Additional responsibilities include overseeing a staff of over 160 and two direct reports.
CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Provide visionary leadership.
The successful candidate will work closely with the Dean of Students in the University, other leaders and professional staff in CSL, the College dean of students, students, faculty, alumni, the Board of Trustees and other constituents and stakeholders. He or she will serve as a senior student affairs administrator for the University and be a critical partner to the Dean of the College in implementing the vision and educational objectives for undergraduate life. This person will be a critical adjunct to College Admissions, and anticipate and respond to the needs of a new generation of incoming students in innovative and creative ways.
Effectively manage a high-performing team.
The current leadership team was recently constituted following a reorganization to better align structure, mission and College priorities. The next AVP/Associate Dean will inherit a high functioning team focused on improving services and delivering high quality experiences to students. This group possesses significant expertise and institutional knowledge. The AVP/Associate Dean will be tasked with further defining the team’s portfolio both internally and to the broader campus community. The AVP/Associate Dean will also be charged with shaping priorities, managing auxiliary student services and enhancing the residential and dining components of the University’s summer conference and events program. This person will steward the traditions and mission of UChicago during a period of transition. The successful candidate will be adept at both strategy and operations and will be a persuasive voice in senior-level conversations.
Develop and execute the institution’s strategic plan for housing.
Two state-of-the-art housing facilities have been recently built with the AVP/Associate Dean providing strategic oversight of each of the building’s programmatic needs and input into the design and construction process. The University of Chicago aspires to grow housing for its undergraduate population. To this end, the AVP/Associate Dean will be involved in strategic planning, capital building projects, and fundraising efforts. She or he will be expected to develop critical partnerships across a campus, building support and momentum for future building projects and alternative housing scenarios that achieve the stated housing goal.
This person will also help plan the strategic allocation of resources for high impact program development and building creation. This will include analysis of enrollment trends and space capacity, development of a sustainable financial plan, and evaluation, prioritization, and alignment of capital projects with the institution’s strategic plan.
Maintain the centrality of housing and residential life during a time of growth.
During this time of change, the University of Chicago has placed a greater focus on undergraduate education; invested in its commitment to College Houses; and aligned the role of Campus and Student Life to support University priorities. The next AVP/Associate Dean will also ensure that as the campus grows it maintains a vibrant student community. To this end, this person will have the demonstrated acumen to be a respected, influential, and creative advocate for housing and residential life.
She or he will also have the political skills to build on the organization’s current successes and strategic vision to understand and articulate how current efforts will affect the institution’s strategic goals over the next five, ten, and fifteen years. This will include supervising and guiding the efforts of College Housing, Residential Services and UChicago Dining at the highest levels.
Strengthen the curricular and co-curricular connections.
College Housing at the University of Chicago in many ways is an extension of the classroom. The successful candidate’s vision for campus life must cohere with the academic mission of the University. The AVP will cultivate high-quality living environments for students to pursue rigorous academic work while simultaneously stimulating their intellectual, social, and emotional growth.
In close partnership with the Dean of the College, the AVP/Associate Dean will provide leadership and support to the Resident Masters. Leadership and support includes recruitment and ongoing support of their individual programs and needs developing a social system that conjures intellectual high-level social discussion in a deliberate way. In addition, the next leader in partnership with the Dean of the College will evaluate the current process for recruiting Resident Masters and determine the best system that meets the future demand for Resident Masters due to the development of new residential communities.
The AVP/Associate Dean will also work with this group in their capacity as an advisory body for the College, and as advocates for College Housing with the Dean of the College and the rest of the faculty.
THE SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATE
While no one person will embody them all, the successful candidate will bring many of the following professional qualifications and personal qualities:
- A graduate degree is required; a doctorate is strongly preferred.
- A minimum of ten years of leadership experience in a complex operation that is student-focused is required, and a minimum of seven years of progressively responsible leadership experience in higher education or a comparable setting is preferred.
- The Assistant Vice President for Campus Life and Associate Dean of the College should have demonstrated housing supervision and management experience; proven project management experience and strong administrative experience; excellent writing, presentation, and communication skills; strong research, financial analysis, and budgetary skills; and considerable skill in working both independently and as part of a team.
- Understanding and appreciation for the mission and goals of university housing programs. Knowledge of campus dining programs and retail operations.
- Significant and demonstrated knowledge of short and long-term facilities capital project planning and priority-setting.
- Knowledge and ability to establish cohesive learning communities.
- Demonstrated understanding of the developmental objectives of the college student in a residential environment.
- Evidence of effective and sustained engagement in campus life issues and a record of providing support and opportunities for students. The ability to assess, understand, and advocate persuasively for students’ interests.
A strong grounding in campus crisis management and emergency response and demonstrated knowledge and a general understanding of student mental health issues, student conduct and discipline, and legal issues in higher education.
- Ability to serve as “the face of the University” to a variety of internal and external constituent groups. Experience communicating with students, parents, family members, and University leadership during difficult circumstances.
- The maturity, presence, and gravitas to engage effectively with all constituencies, including members of the faculty, communicate broadly across the University and work across boundaries, cultivate and sustain collegial relationships, and build unity around difficult issues.
- Proven skills as a senior manager, open in; demonstrated ability to lead, mentor, motivate and supervise staff; someone willing to roll up their sleeves, but not a micromanager.
- Drive and intellectual curiosity; a willingness to work hard; a quick learner in a fast-paced environment; experience working with talented, driven, hardworking students; and a good sense of humor.
- Excellent oral/written/digital communication and presentation skills.
- Experience in program evaluation and audits, and strategic planning.
Financial skills and a record of advocating for and using resources with fiscal responsibility.
- A commitment to diversity and the ability to develop and support inclusive communities.
- Devotion to the highest ethical standards. Personal and professional integrity above reproach. Ability to maintain confidentiality and to respond appropriately to sensitive institutional or interpersonal problems.
APPLICATIONS AND NOMINATIONS
The University of Chicago has partnered with Keeling and Associates, LLC (K&A) in this search process. Applications should include a letter of interest clearly addressing the position requirements, and a resume or curriculum vitae and must be sent, preferably as PDFs, to recruiting@KeelingAssociates.com. Review of applications will begin on April 10, 2017 and continue until the position is filled. Confidential inquiries and nominations should be addressed to Dr. Jan Walbert, Vice President and Senior Consultant for Executive Search, Keeling & Associates, at jwalbert@KeelingAssociates.com.
The University of Chicago does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, or veteran status, and does not discriminate against members of protected classes under the law.