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Job Title

Senior Vice President for Student Affairs


William Spelman Executive Search


Syracuse, New York

Job Description

Syracuse University, a private research university located in Central New York, invites inquiries, applications, and nominations for the position of Senior Vice President for Student Affairs. This is a unique opportunity for a visionary and innovative leader to join the Chancellor’s Executive Team in crafting systemic institutional change that will further the University’s trajectory to excellence.

Reporting to the Chancellor and a member of his Executive Team, the position of Senior Vice President for Student Affairs is a new position. It is part of an enhanced leadership structure within the University and is the result of a self-analysis, examining how the institutional structure including the Division of Student Affairs can be most effectively aligned to support the Academic Strategic Plan and campus framework. With the overarching goal of providing all students with a world-class learning experience that prepares them for future success, the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs will re-imagine, reconfigure as necessary, and achieve support for an organizational structure that best supports the Division’s effectiveness in achievement of institutional goals and outcomes.

About the City of Syracuse

Syracuse is the economic and educational hub of Central New York, a region with over a million inhabitants. The city’s population of approximately 144,000 is culturally diverse with approximately 49% of people of color. Eight of the area’s top eleven employers are in education or the service industry, and the region has the third highest concentration of colleges and college students in the country.

The city is a center for cultural, recreational, and artistic venues and events including Syracuse Stage which is Central New York’s premier professional theatre, Symphoria, one of two co-op orchestras in the country, the nationally known Everson Museum of Art, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, and festivals such as JazzFest and Winterfest. Located on the shore of Lake Onondaga, Syracuse is within 20 miles of the beautiful Finger Lakes region and 30 miles from Lake Ontario.

About Syracuse University

Founded in 1870 and located on a 708-acre campus, Syracuse University is a private, coeducational research institution. Today, approximately 22,000 graduate and undergraduate, full and part time students are enrolled in the University’s 11 academic colleges and its numerous centers for research and scholarship. Approximately 15,000 students are undergraduate students, and 7,000 are graduate students. Approximately 70 percent of university students live on campus. Students of color represent 25.6 percent of the total student population, and international students comprise 19 percent of the total. Approximately 40 percent of Syracuse University students study in another country. The University offers a rich mix of academic programs, alumni activities, and immersion opportunities in numerous centers in the U.S. and around the globe, including major hubs in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.

Kent Syverud, the University’s 12th Chancellor and President, took office in January 2014. In June 2014 he introduced Fast Forward Syracuse, a multi-year process with several planning and implementation goals:

ü Creation of a Strategic Plan to lay out a common vision for Syracuse and clear investment in priority areas;

ü Development of a Campus Master Plan to address the University’s infrastructure needs in order to support a dynamic academic environment; and

ü Implementation of the Operational Excellence Program to ensure the financial health of the University and help the institution operate more efficiently and effectively.

As part of the development of the Academic Strategic Plan, the University has refined its institutional focus to address existing and future challenges in a way that better positions it to flourish in the years ahead. Along with the University’s Campus Master Plan and Operational Excellence Initiatives, the Academic Strategic Plan also outlines a structure for institution-wide decision-making while charting a course forward. Broad-based involvement of campus community members in setting the agenda for the future reflects the priority of the institution on developing a connected community that enhances a holistic student experience.

Additional information about Fast Forward Syracuse can be found at

About the Position

The Senior Vice President for Student Affairs provides vision, leadership, and support to unit staff members while focusing the programs and activities of the Division on the following objectives:

· Sustaining a caring, understanding and connected community that reaffirms students as the primary focus of everything the university does, while at the same time advancing a culture of mutual respect, honesty, community safety, and accountability for all to act with ethical integrity;

· Enhancing and nourishing the whole student by promoting the academic, physical, spiritual, emotional and relational well-being of students;

· Sustaining a culture of inclusion and engaged citizenship that builds community participation and global understanding;

· Promoting positive learning outcomes for students via an array of experiential opportunities designed to build leadership, self-awareness and engagement with the community.

As a member of the Chancellor’s Executive Team, the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs is an active and involved participant in developing the institution’s strategic plan as well as its assessment plan. Working closely with the Provost, the Senior Vice President will support and further develop collaborative relationships that support institutional goals and enhance the student experience.

Primary responsibilities include:

· Oversight of the Division’s strategic planning, assessment planning, and daily operations;

· Fostering positive and sustainable collaborative relationships with campus and community constituents in addressing matters of common concern, including:

o The enhancement of institutional commitment to an inclusive and accessible community of learning and opportunity for a richly diverse student body, including international students, students with disabilities, underrepresented students, and veterans;

o The improvement of retention and graduation rates;

o Improvement of quality and frequency of communication among campus constituencies;

o Strengthening internal communication structures to promote campus-wide engagement, collaboration, and investment in institutional success;

· Assessing the quality and effectiveness of Division initiatives intended to strengthen institution-wide commitment to an inclusive environment for all members of the community, and ensuring that Division assessment plans include ongoing monitoring of these specific initiatives;

· Ensuring that Divisional decisions are data-driven;

· Providing frequent, comprehensive and data-focused oral and written reports to campus and community constituents on the progress of the Division in reaching the goals and outcomes of its strategic plans;

· Ensuring that Division supervisors are proficient in overseeing the staff under their responsibility, including holding staff members responsible for achievement of their goals, providing regular and comprehensive evaluations of staff performance, and developing professional development goals for staff members;

· Ensuring that unit activities support institutional and Divisional goals;

· In collaboration with the alumni and advancement offices, establishing and implementing processes for seeking sponsorships and grants in support of quality programs within Student Affairs.

The Senior Vice President oversees a Division of approximately 230 full time employees in 26 units which are organized in four portfolio areas: Health and Wellness; Inclusion, Community and Citizenship; Discovery and Engagement; and Central Services. The Senior Vice President develops and manages a budget of $45M including personnel funds. Further information about the current Division structure is available at


Candidates must possess a Ph.D. or Ed.D. in Higher Education, Student Personnel Administration or a related field. A minimum of seven years of experience in the role of Vice President for Student Affairs or other similar cabinet level position is preferred.

Prior Experiences

The candidate’s professional experiences must include:

· Success as a creative and innovative Vice President whose work is informed by effective strategic planning, assessment, and staff development. Demonstrated success with improving retention and graduation rates among other specified outcomes;

· Evidence of successful collaborations with the Provost and the Division of Academic Affairs;

· Extensive experience and evidence of outstanding success in determining appropriate staff size and competitive staff salaries, hiring, training, developing, supervising, and assessing and evaluating staff performance in the achievement of Division and unit goals;

· Demonstrated ability to develop and implement assessment plans, including the ability to use assessment results to improve the effectiveness of services and programs for students;

· Responsibilities for policy development and implementation, along with interpretation of university policies;

· Demonstrated effectiveness as a culturally competent professional with broad experience interacting with and supporting the needs of a diverse student population;

· Evidence of broad experience and success in assessing and realigning a Divisional organizational structure, with the goal of achieving maximal effectiveness in supporting both institutional and Divisional goals and stated outcomes;

· Development and implementation of fund raising and development initiatives in Student Affairs;

· Experience working directly with Boards of Trustees on specific Student Affairs issues.

Knowledge and Competencies

The successful candidate will be a strong, outgoing, persuasive, charismatic, and articulate leader known for his/her resourcefulness and creativity in developing and presenting sound and well thought out ideas.

Additional attributes include:

· A highly respected leader in the eyes of the President and members of the President’s Executive Team;

· Comprehensive knowledge of best practices as well as success in creating a seamless experience for students as they interact with support services across the campus;

· Ability to keep leadership well informed;

· High emotional intelligence including the ability to recognize and make full use of the field expertise of staff members within the Division;

· A proven record of responding promptly both verbally and in writing to issues of the day;

· Current knowledge in areas of compliance with state, regional and federal requirements;

· Strong experience in the interpretation of policies related to risk management, student conduct, and Title IX requirements.

Finally, the successful candidate will be one whose values align with those of Syracuse University as a caring, understanding, inclusive and connected university.

How to Apply

Nominators should send their nomination along with contact information for the person nominated.

Interested individuals should send a letter of application that relates the applicant’s skills and experiences to the stated qualifications for the position along with a resume that reflects notable achievements.

Applications and nominations should be submitted electronically to The subject line in the email should be SUSVP.

Confidential inquiries should be made to Leila Moore, Vice President, William Spelman Executive Search. Telephone number: (603)978-0316.

For full consideration, all materials should be received by Monday, January 25, 2016. Materials arriving after this date will be reviewed and considered until the position is filled.

The new Senior Vice President for Student Affairs will be appointed in early Spring 2016 with a starting date in Summer 2016.

Syracuse University is interested in candidates who have the communication skills and cross-cultural abilities to maximize their effectiveness with diverse groups of colleagues, students and community members. Women, military veterans, individuals with disabilities, and members of other traditionally underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply. Syracuse University is an equal opportunity employer, as well as a federal contractor required to take affirmative action on behalf of protected veterans.

Position Type


Job Functions

Vice President


Student Affairs


Salary Range

Travel Level


Graduate Degree

Minimum Experience


Professional Designation

Contact Name

Leila Moore

Contact Phone


Contact Fax

Contact E-mail Address



Approval Date

12/14/2015 12:00 AM
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