Seeking an Experienced and Inspirational Leader

University of the Pacific is pleased to announce the search for the Vice President for Student Life (VPSL), an integral senior leadership role at a comprehensive institution that is deeply committed to students and their success in and out of the classroom. The VPSL leads a team of professionals dedicated to providing programs and services that support the needs of students in order for them to fully engage as learners in the campus community. As a visible institutional leader, the VPSL is expected to provide vision and direction to the staff, partner with administrators, faculty, and students across the institution, and participate in critical conversations at the senior level as part of the President’s Cabinet. With direct responsibility for departments that regularly interact with students, the VPSL must be prepared to balance competing demands, skillfully lead a team, advocate for students, and facilitate an approach to serving undergraduate, professional, and graduate students on the three campuses that make up the University.

The Vice President for Student Life reports directly to the President and leads the Division of Student Life; the Division is responsible for providing a safe environment in which students can learn, thrive, and be well. In order to be successful, the VPSL must be able to easily and effectively develop collaborative relationships that lead to a student experience that focuses on individual needs rather than institutional structures. While the VPSL has a significant role, and is located, on the Stockton campus with undergraduate, graduate and professional student populations, it is  important that the Vice President work closely with Deans and staff on the San Francisco and Sacramento campuses to support both graduate and professional students on those campuses.

University of the Pacific

Drawing on its rich legacy as the oldest chartered university in California, University of the Pacific (Pacific) is a student-focused, comprehensive educational institution that produces outstanding graduates prepared for personal and professional success. Our student body thrives in Pacific’s small classes and dynamic cultural environment, while our distinguished alumni are transforming their communities every day.

University of the Pacific is a nationally ranked university with three distinct campuses united under one common goal: to educate and prepare the leaders of tomorrow through intensive academic study, experiential learning, and service to the community. The university offers more than 80 undergraduate areas of study in 11 schools and colleges, more than 30 graduate and professional programs and 12 accelerated programs.

The university’s distinctive Northern California footprint includes its Stockton Campus, widely recognized as one of the most beautiful private university campuses in the West; its San Francisco Campus, home to the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and graduate programs in health care and technology fields; and the Sacramento Campus, home to the Pacific McGeorge School of Law and graduate programs in health, education, public policy, public administration, data science and organizational behavior. The student population is made up of more than 3,600 undergraduates and more than 1,300 graduate and professional students. Pacific students benefit from small class sizes with an average class size of 18 and a student-faculty ratio of 13:1.

Position Overview

Reporting directly to the President, the Vice President for Student Life provides vision, leadership, strategic direction, and administrative oversight for the Division of Student Life. The VPSL works collaboratively across divisions with University administration, faculty, and staff to ensure an engaging, safe, healthy, and inclusive campus environment. Close collaboration with the Academic Division is particularly important to achieve integration of co-curricular opportunities with academics to support student learning, retention, and overall student success as everyone has a role and responsibility for preparing Pacific students for lasting achievement and responsible leadership in their careers and communities. While focused predominantly on undergraduates, the VPSL must understand and be responsive to the needs of non-traditional learners and graduate/professional students and collaborate with individuals across all three campuses to serve these student populations. 

The VPSL is responsible for the administrative and programmatic oversight and the coordination of the following departments: housing and Greek life, student government advising, student leadership services, health center, counseling center, chaplaincy services, public safety, assessment of whole person learning, crisis response, recreation and fitness, wellness, publications, diversity programs, TRIO/SUCCESS programs, career resources center, disability services, student conduct, and center for community involvement. As the leader of the Division of Student life, the VPSL is responsible for 141 staff and a budget of $28 million (including housing and dining).

Essential Functions

The Vice President for Student Life:

  • Reports directly to the President and is a member of the President’s Cabinet; participates in decision-making and policy formulation at the institutional level.
  • Provides professional leadership in recruitment, development and evaluation of Student Life staff.
  • Provides effective mentorship and coaching for Student Life staff, especially direct reports.
  • Leads strategic and long-range planning efforts in the Division of Student Life.
  • Collaborates regularly with Cabinet, deans, and faculty and staff to promote and implement the strategic direction for the University.
  • Supports a seamless experience for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students on all three campuses, and leads the staff in ensuring the needs of all students are addressed.
    • Develops strong working relationships with Deans and key staff on all campuses and in all programs.
    • Facilitates the provision of opportunities for student reflection and learning through out-of-classroom programs, projects, and services.
    • Fosters Student Life partnerships with faculty to develop opportunities for students’ experiential learning.
    • Leads Student Life assessment of program effectiveness and student learning, including planning, staff training, strategy, and implementation of program review and learning outcomes assessment aligned with University-wide learning outcomes and strategic directions.
    • Provides support for an optimal campus climate that serves the educational, physical, social, cultural, psychological, spiritual, financial needs and development of all students, including appropriate support programs, personnel, policies, procedures, and resources.
    • Oversees University safety and security provisions and response, including awareness education, crisis response, emergency procedures, campus advisories, reporting of Clery statistics, and compliance with other federal mandates.
    • Manages the fiscal and material resources allocated to the Division in a manner that is consistent with institutional goals and applicable policies and procedures.
    • Cooperates, communicates and coordinates with other internal divisions, external organizations and constituencies that enhance University conditions and processes that contribute to student development and success.
    • Provides input for appropriate policies, procedures, and programs in support of the general welfare of the University community and which enable students to attain academic and personal goals.
    • Champions University diversity efforts; embodies a commitment to equal educational opportunity and affirmative action for inclusive excellence.
    • Represents the needs of students by serving as a resource and advocate for student requests with faculty, staff, and other constituents of the University.
    • Regularly teaches courses in undergraduate general education and in graduate courses in education.
    • Represents the University through leadership in professional national and regional associations.
    • Serves as an internal consultant to the President and Board of Regents on matters pertaining to areas of oversight and responsibility; provides staff support to the Academic-Student Life Committee of the Board of Regents.
    • Serves on a variety of standing and ad hoc University committees.
    • Performs other duties as assigned by President.

This position serves as Campus Security Authority (CSA) as outlined by the Clery Act. CSAs have federally mandated responsibilities to report crimes that are reported to them.

Minimum Qualifications

    • An earned doctorate
    • Seven (7) to ten (10) years progressive student affairs leadership responsibility
    • Effective and significant supervisory and development experience
    • Demonstrated record of research and professional publication

Preferred Qualifications

    • Ability to achieve goals in a dynamic and changing educational environment by providing vision, collaborative leadership, and effective mentoring
    • Demonstrated ability to engage complex problems and address them with transparency, integrity and commitment to the highest ethical standards
    • Demonstrated ability to educate university students within and beyond the classroom
    • Knowledge of trends and current issues in higher education, and federal law as it affects university students
    • Demonstrated experience, skills, and ability to mentor others in strategic planning, budgeting, program review, and learning assessment
    • Demonstrated strong understanding of student development theory and issues and effectiveness in implementing goals, vision and ethos of whole person learning
    • Demonstrated ability to foster an ethos of teambuilding and successfully manage complex projects by engaging, motivating, and using the talents of a diverse staff
    • Excellent written, oral, and listening communication skills
    • Demonstrated ability to use these skills when communicating with students and their families, faculty, staff, and community members — in person, and in presentations
    • Commitment to communicate with inclusiveness, transparency, and consensus building
    • Demonstrated experience with or strong knowledge of the needs of graduate and professional students
    • Ability to partner effectively with students and their families, faculty, alumni, trustees, staff, and members of the community to address student learning and development and to ensure student success
    • Demonstrated commitment to promote and enhance diversity and inclusion for students throughout the University
    • Knowledge of legal proceedings and contractual responsibilities; ability to mentor the campus community during student mental and physical health emergencies, campus safety response, Title IX and Clery Act compliance, disabilities accommodation, Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act compliance and other legal and policy direction
    • Ability to manage a complex portfolio within a dynamic University including addressing student priorities on three campus locations
    • Working knowledge of related information systems and the ability to evaluate systems needs in program analysis and evaluation
    • Energetic, action oriented

Application Process

The University of the Pacific has partnered with Keeling & Associates in this search process. Application materials should include a resume and a letter of interest and must be sent, preferably as PDFs, to The subject line of the email should read “Pacific – VPSL.” A confidential review of applications will begin on March 13, 2019, with materials received by that date receiving full consideration.

Confidential inquiries and nominations should be addressed to Dr. Jan Walbert, Vice President and Senior Consultant for Executive Search, Keeling & Associates, at

University of the Pacific is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or other legally protected characteristics.