Project Description

The University of California, Santa Barbara is seeking a dynamic and forward-thinking student life professional to serve as the Executive Director of Residential & Community Living (RCL). This is a distinctive role for an experienced leader who is committed to fostering a respectful and responsible residential learning community that promotes the academic success and wellness of all residents within a diverse and culturally pluralistic community. The Executive Director must have deep and current knowledge of and familiarity with residence life and housing programs, processes, and policies.

The Executive Director provides vision and strategic leadership for a comprehensive student life program across eight residence halls and nine apartment complexes. Housing over 10,000 residents, RCL is part of the division of Housing, Dining, and Auxiliary Enterprises (HDAE). With a strong focus on student development, leadership programs, conduct, and accountability, the Executive Director supervises and mentors a team of significant size and scope and manages a program unit budget of $8.5 million. The Executive Director serves as a member of the HDAE Senior Management Team, oversees resident placement through University & Community Housing Services, and shares responsibility for a robust auxiliary services operation. 

Successful candidates will demonstrate skills and experience in supervision, management, problem solving, innovation, and collaboration. A deep understanding of, and dedication to, student development, diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice is essential. 

Position Summary

Under the general direction of the Associate Vice Chancellor of Housing, Dining & Auxiliary Enterprises, the Executive Director shares responsibility for an auxiliary services operation with annual operating and capital budgets of $180 million, capital and major maintenance reserves of $50 million, and housing over 10,000 students, faculty, and family residents on campus. 

The Executive Director has full responsibility for creation, administration, and management of the RCL program unit within HDAE. This includes policy management, budget development, resource coordination, and personnel administration. The Executive Director is responsible for the development of world-class services and programs for a growing campus-wide program that produces a quality residential experience for students, staff, faculty, and family members residing in the University’s residence halls and apartments.

In addition, the Executive Director:

  • Provides leadership and strategic vision for a comprehensive and robust resident student development program;
  • Creates communities of learning and excellence supporting UCSB’s academic mission;
  • Sustains a healthy living community for University members living in communities adjacent to the campus;
  • Has fiscal responsibility for a program unit budget of $8.5 million and responsibility for approximately 160 FTE, which includes 71 regular, contract, and limited appointment employees and more than 300 student employees; and
  • Has full and independent management responsibility for developing, organizing, directing, and controlling the year-round student life functional areas within the housing program, including the following.
    • Residence Halls
    • Undergraduate Student Apartments
    • Graduate Student Apartments  
    • Family Student Apartments
    • Resident Student Governments  
      • Residence Halls Association
      • Single Apartment Community Council
      • Graduate Student Apartment Council
      • Tenants’ Union Association
    • Student Conduct & Mental Health
    • Placement, Contract & Assignment Services – Community Housing Office
    • RCL Administrative Services

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities

  • Master’s degree in related area and/or equivalent experience/training (required)
  • A minimum of seven years of related experience (required)
  • A minimum of four years of supervisory and managerial experience (required)
  • Demonstrated knowledge of student life as a specialization
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and familiarity with principles and procedures involved in risk assessment and evaluating risks as to likelihood and consequences
  • Able to plan for facility development and physical improvements that enhance the quality of resident student life; demonstrated leadership competencies including business acumen, innovation management, interpersonal savvy, organizational and strategic agility, and vision management
  • Strong skills in monitoring/assessing people, processes, and services to make improvements
  • Skilled at collaborating with a variety of constituents including students, faculty, and staff to work towards shared goals supporting the mission, vision, goals, and objectives of the campus
  • Strong skills in project management, leadership development, and human resource management
  • Demonstrated knowledge of best practices, with an eye toward next practices, in higher education, specifically residential life and housing
  • Demonstrated experiences and abilities in problem identification, reasoning, the development of original ideas to solve problems, persuasion, leadership, and intercultural competence
  • Demonstrated understanding of student development theories and practices
  • Demonstrated understanding of mentorship and development techniques, as well as professional competencies
  • Demonstrated ability in working constructively with a diverse and culturally pluralistic student body, staff, and community clientele
  • Knowledge of social justice competencies and practices and demonstrated record of infusing diversity, equity, and inclusion into daily work
  • Advanced knowledge of advising and counseling techniques
  • Advanced knowledge of common residence life specific computer application programs
  • Previous experience in supervising professional/career staff
  • Demonstrated ability in the recruitment, training, and performance management of personnel; able to successfully lead, direct, mentor, evaluate, and motivate staff utilizing clear and effective interpersonal skills, providing mentorship and demonstrating solid leadership and problem-solving skills
  • Able to provide leadership in the development of long-term planning strategies
  • Able to establish priorities, perform effectively under pressure, and complete projects on time

Application Process

UC Santa Barbara has partnered with Keeling & Associates in this search process. Confidential inquiries and nominations should be addressed to Jeff Ewing, Senior Consultant for Executive Search, at Applicants must submit their qualifications online here (or Job #35140).  All materials received by June 13, 2022, will receive full consideration. The process will continue until the position is filled. 

About Housing, Dining & Auxiliary Enterprises

Housing, Dining & Auxiliary Enterprises (HDAE) serves 21,000 customers daily in its retail and board dining programs; manages the University Center and University Bookstore; hosts 150,000 guests annually for conferences and meetings; manages a major events center; oversees the administration of transportation, parking, and fleet services; manages IT services for Administrative Services (ARIT); and oversees The Club & Guest House. Residential & Community Living is one of eight departments within this division. 

About UC Santa Barbara

The University of California, Santa Barbara is a leading research institution that also provides a comprehensive, liberal arts learning experience where teaching and research go hand in hand. UC Santa Barbara students are full participants in an educational journey of discovery that stimulates independent thought, critical reasoning, and creativity. The academic community of faculty, students, and staff is characterized by a culture of interdisciplinary collaboration that is responsive to the needs of a multicultural and global society. All of this takes place within a living and learning environment like no other, drawing inspiration from the beauty and resources of the University’s extraordinary location at the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

With an enrollment of over 26,000 students, the UC Santa Barbara community is inquisitive, curious, community driven, and globally focused. The University offers over 200 majors, degrees, and credentials and takes pride in its renowned faculty, including six Nobel Laureates. UC Santa Barbara boasts distinguished rankings nationally and worldwide, including recognition as a Green School, a 21st Century Technological Leader, and a global leader in the sciences, among other distinctions. For more information, please visit

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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