The University of California, Santa Cruz is seeking a transformational student affairs leader and experienced manager committed to making a difference in the lives of students by providing leadership and vision as the Associate Dean of Students for Leadership and Engagement (ADOS). Joining a Student Affairs team dedicated to student success in an inclusive environment, the successful candidate will have the opportunity to provide management, supervision, and support to staff while working regularly with dynamic and high achieving students. The ADOS and their team will center equity, social justice, and anti-oppression frameworks in their work and will cultivate spaces that are welcoming, inclusive, and accessible.

Competitive candidates will possess demonstrated experience working with a high degree of diplomacy, political acumen and cultural fluency when supervising staff and interacting with students and other constituents/stakeholders across campus. The ADOS will serve as the campus leader/point person for engagement and response related to student protests and demonstrations. They are also assigned a variety of ad hoc projects by the AVC/Dean of Students that concern a broad and complex range of student life issues, problem resolutions, communications, and policy analysis/development. The successful candidate serves as operational back up to the AVC/DOS when they are unavailable and will be responsible for representing the AVC/DOS and/or providing analytical and organizational support at key university, systemwide and external events, meetings, and committees.

About UC Santa Cruz

The University of California, Santa Cruz, was founded in 1965 as a bold experiment in higher education, blossoming in a short time into a global research university and a creative powerhouse.

From 652 students in 1965, the campus has grown to its current (2020–21) enrollment of more than 19,000 students. Undergraduates pursue bachelor’s degrees in 66 different majors supervised by divisional deans of artsengineeringhumanitiesphysical and biological sciences, and social sciences. Graduate students work toward graduate certificates, master’s degrees, or doctoral degrees in 64 academic programs under the supervision of the divisional and graduate deans.

A campus with world-class facilities and one of the most visually spectacular settings in higher education, UC Santa Cruz offers rigorous academic programs and cutting-edge research opportunities that guide students in how to think, not what to think.

United by the pursuit of social and environmental justice and driven by passion and curiosity, our students, faculty, staff, and alumni innovate across disciplines, seek to push the envelope of knowledge, and deploy their expertise and voice to advocate for transformative change. We are bold in our ideas, determined in our pursuits, and distinguished for our societal impact.

Position Summary

This position reports to the Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students (AVC/DOS) and also serves on the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Success’s cabinet. The ADOS will supervise the Assistant Dean of Students for Leadership & Engagement and be responsible for oversight of a diverse and exciting assemblage of departments, programs, services, and spaces, including Student Organization Advising & Resources, Student Media, Cultural Arts & Diversity, the Quarry Amphitheater, campus radio station, Student Volunteer Center, campus spiritual life, and the undergraduate student government. This position will serve as a key collaborator with a broad range of university offices. The ADOS will make strategic decisions and steward resources in ways that further UC Santa Cruz’s commitment to providing all students with a transformative and unparalleled education. They will imagine and execute on new possibilities for student life, student leadership and student engagement, and develop systemic ways to develop, implement and assess successful student-centered policies, practices, and initiatives.

Functional Areas Responsibilities

The following departments and programs are the functional areas and responsibilities managed by the ADOS:

Student Organizations Advising & Resources (including Greek life), Student Media, and Cultural Arts & Diversity (aka SOMeCA): Provides oversight, strategic guidance, and support to a dynamic team of professional and student staff that see organizations as transformative learning environments vital to the educational mission of the university, and offer students opportunities to engage as leaders that make a difference. SOMeCA creates programs and productions that build community, foster a sense of belonging and facilitate campus-wide discourse via organizational and leadership programs, the arts and multiple student media publications and platforms. SOMeCA provides training and advising to all registered student organizations, supports multiple student run media outlets on campus and engages in vibrant cultural arts and diversity initiatives (including the African American Theater Arts Troupe and Rainbow Theater).

Quarry Amphitheater (QA):  Supervises and partners with the General Manager to develop, manage and bring the QA to its fullest potential. The QA is the largest venue on campus with a seating capacity of 2800. This auxiliary sub-unit carries substantial responsibility related to risk and serving the public – especially in a post pandemic world in which outdoor venues have become primary event venues. The QA serves as a center for campus life, community engagement, and a place that cultivates a sense of belonging for students through cultural events, concerts, and student activities.

KZSC Radio 88.1FM: Oversees and provides strategic guidance to KZSC leadership by providing management support for KZSC operations, funding/development, and the pursuit of KZSC’s academic mission. Serves as a champion for the radio station with university stakeholders and campus community members.

Undergraduate Student Government: Through the Assistant Dean of Students for Leadership & Engagement (who supervises the Student Government Operations Manager & Advisor), maintains high level oversight of all training, advising, support with event planning, fiscal and human resources, budget planning, policy analysis and administrative support for the Student Union Assembly (SUA), the undergraduate student government at UC Santa Cruz.

Student Volunteer Center: Through the Assistant Dean of Students for Leadership & Engagement, provides high level oversight for the Student Volunteer Center, a student-run center which serves as a resource for students to connect them with volunteer opportunities, while also acting as a hub for volunteer education and connecting local/state organizations with passionate and dedicated students who are seeking civic engagement opportunities.

Spiritual Life: Through the Assistant Dean of Students for Leadership & Engagement, stewards the partnership between UC Santa Cruz and the University Interfaith Council (UIC) and supports the Assistant Dean of Students in their work as campus liaison for UIC members, ensuring members have access to campus resources and space as they provide services to UCSC students. This includes management of the UCSC Reflection Center, a space for prayer, meditation and contemplative practices.

Student Leadership and Engagement Responsibilities:

  • Develops and executes on innovative and creative ideas to promote and support leadership, engagement and sense of belonging amongst the student body.
  • Establishes and maintains strong relationships with students, student leaders, student activists and student organizations, and contributes to a vibrant and welcoming campus experience for all students by being involved, visible, and engaged in all aspects of campus and student life.
  • Centers equity, access, social justice and anti-oppression frameworks in all student programming and engagement efforts.
  • Continually assesses student needs and interests, as well as remains abreast of current trends and best practices in the field of student affairs (and adjacent fields) related to student leadership, engagement, identity development, civic engagement, mental health and sense of belonging.
  • Utilizes relevant data, scholarship, and student development (and other relevant) theories/models when planning and developing programs and services designed to foster and support student learning and growth.
  • Leads internal and external committees and task forces related to special projects/initiatives focused on student leadership, engagement and belonging.
  • Effectively manages crises and politically challenging situations with and in the absence of the AVC/Dean of Students.
  • Serves as campus lead for protest and demonstration engagement and response.

Unit-Wide Leadership and Project Management Responsibilities:

The Associate Dean of Students for Leadership and Engagement will take on unit wide leadership and organizational development responsibilities including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Develops and implements systems of assessing the quality and effectiveness of all programs and establishes ongoing quality improvement methods. Creates and implements systems to improve quality and manage risk, including staff professional development programs, regular assessments of student satisfaction, and methods for engaging with students about campus climate and the student experience.
  • Initiates all aspects of organizational planning for the Student Engagement & Leadership cluster and supports the AVC/DOS with doing so for the unit. Conducts organizational design analysis and planning to optimize individual and organizational effectiveness and develops staff training and development programs.
  • Analyzes organizational issues, identifies solutions and provides recommendations supporting organizational goals and objectives; and develops performance management programs.
  • Prepares reports, presentations and other related materials for AVC/DOS and campus stakeholders.
  • Represents the Student Develop and Engagement unit and the Division of Student Affairs and Success on key campus, system-wide and external committees and task forces.
  • Conducts research and analysis and/or takes on special projects as delegated by the AVC/DOS in response to unit, division, campus, system-wide or Office of the President (including state and federal requirements) needs.
  • May serve as a special hearing officer for student conduct appeals, interim actions, and student grievances.
  • Serves as operational back up to the AVC/Dean of Students when the AVC/Dean of Students is unavailable.
  • Serves as a campus leader and subject matter expert regarding issues of student engagement, student activism, student leaders/organizations, campus climate and protest response, and regularly provides consultation and guidance related to issues management on these topics.
  • Other duties as assigned by the Associate Vice Chancellor & Dean of Students, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs & Success, Executive Vice Chancellor and Chancellor.
  • Serves as Campus Security Authority as outlined by the Clery Act.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities


  • Master’s degree in higher education, student affairs, public administration/policy or related field.
  • Highly experienced in the areas of strategic planning, organizational development, assessment, and evaluation in advancement of organizational goals within a complex institution of higher education.
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze complex information, problems, and processes in an objective manner and formulate conclusions to provide a sound basis for establishing priorities, selecting appropriate courses of action, and making recommendations.
  • A high degree of political acumen regarding sensitive and highly visibility issues; ability to establish and manage delicate balances that must be achieved among competing variables and interests in a diverse, and complex university environment.
  • Demonstrated experience leading, supervising, and developing professional staff, including skills related to team building, coaching and performance management.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively and develop trust with college students, student leaders, student activists and student organizations.
  • Knowledge and applied praxis of effective models/philosophies in higher education and student affairs, and of student development theories related to leadership and engagement; sense of belonging; free speech expression; protest and demonstration response; and issues of diversity, equity and social justice.
  • Excellent interpersonal, cultural fluency and conflict resolution skills.  Ability to effectively communicate and collaborate with people of diverse backgrounds.
  • Excellent judgment and discretion in handling confidential and sensitive issues and information.
  • High level of acumen related to understanding, interpreting, and applying University regulations, policies and procedures.
  • Ability to deliver clear, informative, and persuasive presentations to internal and external stakeholders.
  • Strong oral communication skills with ability to work effectively in group processes. Excellent writing skills to produce clear and concise reports, policies, procedures, grant applications and general correspondence, as well as to convey support and care in the wake of campus, local, national, or global incidents that impact students and the campus community.
  • Experience with fiscal management, budget development and oversight of multiple fund sources, including student fees and referenda.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of, commitment to, and experience working with, members of African, Black & Caribbean; Asian, Asian American & Pacific Islander; Chicanx/Latinx; Native/Indigenous; South West Asian & North African; Disabled; Neuro Diverse; Trans & Non-Binary; Queer; Undocumented and other historically marginalized or underrepresented communities.
  • Knowledge of different religious and spiritual traditions that intersect with many of the identities above and demonstrated praxes grounded in intersectional understanding and approaches to cultivating a sense of belonging for all students and the campus community.


  • Demonstrated expertise with crisis management, crisis intervention and case management on college campuses.

About the Division of Student Affairs and Success

The UC Santa Cruz Division of Student Affairs and Success (DSAS), led by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Success, consists of nearly 250 team members spanning 3 major units and 21 departments. In addition to Student Health and Wellness, the Student Success and Equity and Student Development and Engagement teams are each led by an associate vice chancellor.

Our division provides campus-wide coordination and leadership for student success programs, activities, and initiatives. We also do our work through a range of resource centers dedicated to providing direct student support. Our work is grounded in educational equity, institutional responsibility, and an unfettered commitment to supporting the whole student. We aspire to ensure every student feels welcome, supported, and a sense of belonging during their time on campus.

Our efforts are informed by robust and dynamic relationships with campus leadership, faculty, students, and staff from across the campus, reflecting the broad campus commitment to ensuring student success. Beyond UC Santa Cruz, our team is involved in numerous professional organizations and highly engaged in the local community.

Application Procedure and Timeline

UC Santa Cruz has partnered with Keeling & Associates in this search process. Confidential inquiries, questions, and nominations should be addressed to Dr. Shadia Sachedina, Senior Consultant for Executive Search, at Applicants must submit their qualifications online at this site. Candidates are encouraged to submit their materials as soon as possible; all applications received by April 17, 2023, will receive full consideration. The search will continue until the position is filled.

Equal Employment Opportunity

The University of California is an Equal Employment 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, disability, age, or protected veteran status. UC Santa Cruz is committed to excellence through diversity and strives to establish a climate that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes respect for the contributions of all students and employees.

Download a copy of the position profile, click here.