Exceptional opportunity for a dynamic and visionary recreation leader 

With great excitement and anticipation, the University of Arizona announces a national search for its next Director of Campus Recreation. The Director will provide vision and dynamic leadership in overseeing a high-functioning department with exemplary facilities, programs and services to meet and exceed the needs of the campus community. As part of the Division of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management, Academic Initiatives and Student Success (SAEM/AISS), Campus Recreation plays an increasingly important role in supporting student wellbeing and success, and the Director will have the opportunity to expand these efforts through key partnerships throughout campus.

Keeling & Associates is pleased to be a partner in this search for a collaborative, innovative, experienced, and skilled professional who will assume ultimate responsibility for a department that is responsive, inclusive, and results-oriented. The current Student Recreation Center is a LEED Platinum building that provides many options for students and members, and demonstrates the University’s dedication to student success by including a tutoring center, computer lab, and health-focused eatery. This facility will be supplemented by two new projects to be completed in the next four years. The Director, as a key member of the University of Arizona Healthiest Campus Coalition, will be integral to identifying and implementing strategies around building a culture of wellness for students and other members of the campus community.

The University

The University of Arizona, a premier public research university and AAU member, serves over 40,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Founded in 1886, it was the state’s first land-grant university though it was almost 30 years later that Arizona became a state. It is an exciting time at the University as President Robbins is in his first year and has quickly gained a reputation for being a visible leader on campus. He recently launched a strategic planning effort that will be broadly inclusive and will identify the University’s future path.

The University is located in Tucson, a city of 750,000 residents in southern Arizona. The city is known for its climate, reasonable cost of living, many options for outdoor recreation, and, of course, as the home of the University of Arizona, its largest employer. Tucson has been recognized as the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the United States, was recognized by Business Insider as one of the 2017 top 10 most popular cities to live in, and is also among the sunniest cities in the country.

The Division

Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Academic Initiatives and Student Success (SAEM/AISS) consists of programs and services that engage and support students through their entire experience from exploring college options through graduation. This holistic approach to student success encourages collaboration and innovation among the staff and recognizes the role that each department and every individual plays in meeting the needs of students so they are able to fulfill their goals. Within SAEM/AISS, Campus Recreation, the Student Union, and the Bookstore report to the AVP for Entrepreneurial Services and Business Development. This arrangement allows for current and future partnerships for programs and services.

Campus Recreation

The staff in Campus Recreation are dedicated to providing exemplary opportunities for participation and engagement. With 30 full- and part-time professional staff and approximately 300 student workers, the Department offers diverse programs for students, faculty, staff, and guests. Campus Recreation consists of ten major functional areas: Facilities Operations and Special Events; Membership and Retail Operations; Intramurals; Club Sports; Fitness and Wellness; Aquatics, Youth and Family; Outdoor Recreation, and Marketing, Outreach and Sponsorship. The Department boasts innovative and extensive facilities that span the UA campus, including three gymnasiums, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a 30,000 sq. ft. weight room, tennis courts, athletic fields and an award-winning expansion of the main recreational facility including newly designed and renovated all gender locker rooms. The budget for the Department is approximately $10 million and is funded through mandatory student fees, membership fees, and fees for some programs and services. The Student Recreation Center records over 1 million entries during an academic year with high levels of satisfaction among users. Research has demonstrated a positive link between student retention and participation in Campus Recreation.

Reflecting the goals of the Division and University, the staff in Campus Recreation take their commitment to student development seriously. The students who work in the Department receive leadership training, professional development opportunities, and work in significant positions that provide them with experiences that support their growth as professionals in their chosen fields. The students who participate in Campus Recreation programs and/or utilize the facilities learn skills that will support an active and engaged lifestyle.

The new Director will have the exciting opportunity to participate in the planning for and opening of two new facilities in the near future. In Fall 2019, a 50,000 sq ft Recreation and Wellness Center will open in the University’s new Honors Village. This facility will provide not only recreation facilities to all students, but will also include space for Student Health Services thereby supporting a holistic approach to wellness. The second project, slated to be completed in 2020, is a student success district that involves renovation of the historic Bear Down gym and incorporating two libraries that flank the structure to provide a comprehensive approach to provide a single experience that attends to intellectual, emotional, and physical well-being.

The Position

The Director of Campus Recreation is the chief administrative officer for the Department and is expected to lead the strong and committed staff in serving a campus community of over 50,000 individuals. The Department provides this diverse community of students, staff, and faculty with programs that cover the competitive, informal, social, cultural and instructional aspects of recreational activities. Campus Recreation also provides students a learning laboratory for personal growth and the development of life long skills through active experiences and a focus on well-being. Campus Recreation is part of a Division dedicated to student well-being which supports retention and success, and the Director will play a significant role in envisioning and implementing strategies to meet this commitment. 

The Director is responsible for a wide variety of administrative and supervisory duties will utilize a broad range of programmatic, financial, personnel, and facility management skills while overseeing: facility design and construction; program and policy development; leadership development; program assessment; strategic planning; facility scheduling and coordination; retail operations; budget; personnel; maintenance; security; and risk management.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Provide visionary leadership in hiring, directing, supervising, and evaluating a leadership team of five professional staff responsible for providing strategic direction in program area coordination; through direct reports, provide direction and supervision for staff of 30 full/part time staff and over 300 student managers and employees.
  • Cultivate a culture of innovation and dedication to effective student development outcomes.
  • Administer a $10 million budget and secure partnerships and other alternative sources of funds to enhance and expand programs and services.
  • Direct the leadership team in strategic planning and ensure all program areas effectively develop long range planning that relates to the department’s overall strategic plan.
  • Communicate information regularly to the University and external community regarding Campus Recreation and all programs and facilities.
  • Develop, facilitate and promote effective collaborative relationships among faculty, staff and students; academic and student support units; community groups; and national, regional, and local professional recreational sports associations to build strong partnerships with Campus Recreation programs and services.
  • Develop and direct research and assessment efforts regarding student satisfaction for Campus Recreation programs and services and other user groups, being mindful of the importance of campus recreation services to student recruitment and retention efforts.
  • Oversee the Recreation Advisory Committee and co-lead the Health and Wellness Fee Advising Committee.
  • Provide oversight and direction for all retail operations and develop corporate sponsorships in cooperation with the Division of Student Affairs.
  • Consult and advise senior leadership regarding issues, needs and concerns for Campus Recreation programs and services.


The Director of Campus Recreation at the University of Arizona must be a skilled administrator with an understanding of personnel management, budget and finance, and facility planning and management. The Director must be able to contribute to the University’s efforts to support student well-being and possess an understanding of the role that Campus Recreation can play in these efforts beyond offering traditional programs. To be successful, the Director must be able to: communicate effectively and positively with all constituencies on campus; develop relationships that lead to collaborative efforts; work successfully in a diverse community and ensure a welcoming and inclusive environment for staff and patrons; develop and enforce performance standards for staff and facility policies for patrons, soliciting input from affected populations as necessary; and seek innovative solutions that are supported by data or research.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • A master’s degree in Recreation, Health and Physical Education, Public Health, Sports Management, Higher Education, Business Administration, or a related field.
  • A minimum of seven years of demonstrated experience in the development, administration, implementation and assessment of an innovative and comprehensive recreation program, or a program of similar breadth and complexity, with experience in managing and supervising professional staff.
  • Be a highly motivated, energetic, self-starting team player with a proven record of success in administering a broad-based recreation or similar program with extensive facility management experience and expertise.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the value of and a commitment to building a culture of well-being for the entire campus community that extends beyond the programs offered in Campus Recreation.
  • Possess effective communication skills, including strong consultative, collaborative and mediation skills; excellent presentation and writing skills; and proactive and responsive interpersonal skills.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to professional development of self and staff members, including experience with professional associations.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • A PhD, or equivalent, in Recreational Sports Administration, Public Health, Physical Education, Higher Education or a related field.
  • Possess experience working in a campus recreation program or in another campus-based program of similar breadth and complexity.
  • Retail and operational management experience within recreation facilities.
  • Have experience in a program operating multiple facilities.


Click here to download the full position profile, including information about the University.

Application Process

The University of Arizona has partnered with Keeling & Associates, LLC for this search. Applications should include a letter of interest clearly addressing the position requirements, and a resume. Materials must be sent, preferably as PDFs, to recruiting@keelingassociates.com with subject heading “UA Campus Recreation.”

For best consideration, please submit materials before January 26, 2018. Review will continue until the position is filled.

Confidential nominations and inquiries should be forwarded to Jeff Ewing, Senior Consultant for Executive Search, Keeling & Associates, at jfewing@keelingassociates.com.

At the University of Arizona, we value our inclusive climate because we know that diversity in experiences and perspectives is vital to advancing innovation, critical thinking, solving complex problems, and creating an inclusive academic community. We translate these values into action by seeking individuals who have experience and expertise working with diverse students, colleagues and constituencies. Because we seek a workforce with a wide range of perspectives and experiences, we encourage diverse candidates to apply, including people of color, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities. As an Employer of National Service, we also welcome alumni of AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and other national service programs and others who will help us advance our Inclusive Excellence initiative aimed at creating a university that values student, staff and faculty engagement in addressing issues of diversity and inclusiveness.