RESPONSIBILIES OF THE POSITION
Reporting to the associate vice provost and dean of students, the assistant dean of students for community and inclusion (AD) serves as a key leader in the division of Student Affairs and as a member of the Student Affairs senior leadership team. With an equity-based mindset, the AD provides leadership for advancing the division’s strategic focus on improving students’ social and academic development through community. The AD supervises the community and inclusion team within Pitt’s Student Affairs, which comprises the following areas: Belonging and Inclusion, Fraternity and Sorority Life, PittServes, and Student Media (Newspaper and Radio). The AD will be an innovative leader responsible for: (1) strategic leadership of student community and inclusion, especially interdisciplinary collaboration, (2) supervising staff in the community and inclusion team, (3) coordinating high-level student programming and development opportunities, and (4) managing high-level financial and other budgetary overview.
Specific responsibilities as outlined in the university job description include:
- Provide strategic leadership, vision, direction, and management of administrative and development aspects of fraternity and sorority life, PittServes, the Office of Inclusion and Belonging, and student media organizations (student newspaper and radio station), including the intentional curation, integration, and implementation of student programming and opportunities.
- Provide leadership in crisis management response to high-level issues to foster a safe and inclusive campus community.
- Assist the dean of students with resolving complaints and concerns by serving as a lead case manager, which includes gathering information; liaising with and referring to investigative departments; coordinating resolution; and managing communication to involved parties and other community members as appropriate.
- Foster a vision that supports students through a strong culture of equity and inclusion; convey to stakeholders the importance of a sense of belonging for all students and the need for diverse opportunities in the campus environment.
- Provide high-level leadership and direction to Student Affairs for the integration and enhancement of community and inclusion initiatives across campus.
- Adopt and develop unifying frameworks that foster interdisciplinary collaboration, universal language, and shared theoretical understandings of student community and inclusion.
- Strategically partner with a wide range of departments across campuses to promote and integrate community-building opportunities and programming.
- Serve as a champion for all students and strongly advocate for student-centeredness in institutional planning and policy development.
- Build and maintain a cohesive student community and inclusion team and facilitate effective collaborations across Student Affairs to accomplish departmental and divisional goals and priorities.
- Supervise directors and unit leaders within their portfolio and create synergies among direct reports and other community and inclusion staff to create an intentional, inclusive approach to student support and programs.
- Direct data and assessment-informed strategic planning for supervised units and in coordination with other community and inclusion units.
- Oversee compliance and accreditation activities across the community and inclusion units to ensure proper adherence to requirements.
Coordinate Student Programming/Development Opportunities
- Lead and oversee high-level student programming and initiatives.
- Lead the integration of community and inclusion policies, programs, and initiatives across Student Affairs departments to ensure efficient, effective delivery of programming and accessible, equitable, and inclusive opportunities for students.
- Research, develop, and collaborate to create diverse opportunities for student community and inclusion. Network and systematize current programs for efficiencies, easier access, and greater impact.
- Develop and lead advisory boards for student community and inclusion, including one that is student-populated and one that is professional/staff/community members-populated, to ensure the division of Student Affairs makes well-informed decisions.
- Identify strategies to increase opportunities, support, and advocacy for all student populations and ensure the delivery of antiracist, culturally responsive, and equity-centered student programming to meet the diverse needs of specific student populations (e.g., racially minoritized communities, students with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ students, veterans, first-generation students).
- Serve on a high-level administrator duty rotation with other assistant and associate deans for serious and life-threatening incidents.
- Maintain a deep understanding of key national trends and best practices in functional areas of reporting and ensure that units are on the cutting edge of student programming and engaged in continuous improvement to ensure that offerings are responsive to changing needs of students and the campus.
Manage High-Level Financial and Facility Oversight
- Direct long-range budget forecasting and assessment of complex budget portfolio; develop and maintain a fiscal philosophy to ensure optimal utilization of existing revenue and resources and development of new revenue and resources; ensure effective, efficient operations of supervised units through ongoing evaluation and continuous improvement; guide community and inclusion units and external funding to support division-wide goals.
- Support university and divisional fundraising efforts through participating in the development of relevant materials, attendance at philanthropic and alumni relations events, engagement in donor meetings, stewardship, and other initiatives; seek grants and other funding opportunities.
- Leverage department-level assessment plans and results to efficiently use resources, identify points of collaboration, and effectively communicate contributions to student learning and success.
QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS
The position requires a master’s degree in higher education administration, counseling/human development, business or public administration, or a related field from an accredited institution of higher education. Doctorate degree preferred. The ideal candidate will possess at least six years of relevant, progressive leadership and professional experience that includes demonstrated success in managing and supervising student programs or services or a closely related area of administration. Experience working with diverse populations is strongly preferred.
Successful candidates will also possess the following:
- Knowledge of student preferences, experience with and ability to effectively implement and lead an inclusive model for student engagement.
- Proven record of success and commitment to working with issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Knowledge of local, regional, and national issues, trends, and best practice standards in student engagement
- Current understanding of student issues and considerations for privacy, confidentiality, and risk management.
- Genuine appreciation for student development theory and an intentional approach to building a campus community that is inclusive and supportive.
- Demonstrated excellent leadership, personnel management, communication, interpersonal, and public speaking skills, including the ability to work effectively with people of diverse backgrounds.
- Understanding of and/or direct experience in a college or university setting.
Additional capabilities and attributes identified as important by Pitt stakeholders include the following:
- A communication style that builds trust and collaboration with students and staff.
- A passion for equity and social justice.
- Ability to articulate a sophisticated understanding of current student affairs trends and best practices and the key issues facing today’s college students.
- A visionary who can translate division strategy into operational goals.
- Possess a high level of emotional intelligence, empathy, and concern for others, including the ability to navigate controversy with civility and respect.
- Attentive to cultural issues across campus.
- Strong collaborator—able to work with the administration, as well as faculty, staff, students, and partners in the community.
- Aggressive and forward-thinking in advancing student success.
- The ability to be flexible and pivot when needed to serve students better.
- Advance forward-thinking and innovative ideas to keep the institution at the forefront of trends and best practices to serve students.
- Possess a commitment to professional growth and development for the division staff members.
- Approachable, visible, and engaged in all facets of campus life.
- Maintain a willingness to take action when necessary, based on the values and priorities of student access, social justice and equity, and student learning and engagement.
- A liaison to departments across campus for greater collaboration.
- Skill at developing equitable policies and processes.
HISTORY OF THE POSITION
Student Affairs professionals are expected to be prepared to work with all students, particularly our minoritized students in the context of an PWI. The AD position was previously held by Linda Williams-Moore, who now leads our division-wide staff diversity, equity and inclusion training and education efforts. The assistant dean of students for community and inclusion position has been vacant since the November of 2022.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE
The assistant dean of students for community and inclusion must understand best practices while being a thought leader capable of innovative and creative solutions. They will be charged with building a cohesive team among their units and supporting all areas within student areas. Additional opportunities and challenges for the assistant dean are as follows:
Trust and confidence of students. The assistant dean will be charged with relationship-building with undergraduate and graduate students. The assistant dean must promote a culture of accessibility, transparency, and accountability through policy, communication, and practice.
Advocacy. The assistant dean will be a champion and advocate for students while motivating faculty and staff to understand the purpose of that advocacy. They will promote policies and practices that uphold equality and a greater sense of belonging among the student population.
Change management. The assistant dean will be courageous in advancing new ideas, thinking outside the box, and pushing the unit to address challenges with creativity, systems, and futuristic thinking.
Team building within the unit. It will be necessary for the successful candidate to help communicate the function of the unit within the division and the university. It will require relationship-building within the individual offices and staff. It will be essential to highlight the value of the collaborations relating to serving students.
Collaboration. The assistant dean will forge significant partnerships with Student Affairs leadership team and all division staff through a defined strategic plan, training programs, programming initiatives, and student engagement.
Amplify and build upon the work of the unit. The assistant dean will be able to assess current programs and build upon them with expanded collaborations, programs, and relationships.
Strategic planning. The assistant dean must demonstrate a leadership style that is credible and collegial while being highly effective. The assistant dean is expected to develop the strategic plan and direct initiatives to increase support for students’ academic and personal success.
Location. The location will be desirable for many candidates since it offers proximity to both urban and suburban living. Costs of living could be a factor for some depending upon their preferred housing costs and commute. There are good opportunities for job relocation for candidates with partners and many strong local school systems for those candidates with school-aged children.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
At an appropriate interval after joining the University of Pittsburgh, the following will initially define success for the assistant dean of students for community and inclusion.
- The assistant dean is an essential team leader and collaborator with students, faculty, and staff working toward achieving division and institutional goals.
- The assistant dean is a visible and engaged leader throughout campus, building bridges between students and programs that serve them.
- The assistant dean has analyzed, contributed to, and defined plans that are best practices for the unit, the division, and the campus moving forward.
- The assistant dean has assessed the impact of programs and services.
- The assistant dean has expanded the professional development, training, and mentoring of staff within the unit.
OVERVIEW OF THE DIVISION OF STUDENT AFFAIRS
The Division of Student Affairs strives to provide students with experience, learning, and growth opportunities at Pitt. Student Affairs cultivates a campus environment that is vibrant, challenging, nurturing, and inclusive. In the areas of student experience, student community and inclusion, student engagement and professional development, and student health and wellness — Student Affairs complements Pitt’s academic excellence and institutional mission.
Beginning in 2021 the Division underwent a comprehensive assessment and reorganization of our programs and services to better meet the current students’ needs. The result of this assessment was the creation of new teams of focus — student experience, student community and inclusion, student engagement & professional development, and student health & wellness — these teams support Pitt student development, well-being, and success. The area of community and inclusion, formally the office of cross cultural and leadership development, has been re-imagined to reflect the current campus climate as well as the evolving expectations from our students. The Division and the Community and Inclusion Team aims to facilitate students’ full engagement in the campus community by providing diverse learning experiences, social opportunities, and important wellness services so that students thrive and feel a sense of belonging at Pitt.
The University of Pittsburgh thrives in forging new paths to mold better futures, embracing each setback as fuel for something greater. Because at our core, we’re focused on human impact and the relentless pursuit of change, for good.
STUDENT AFFAIRS LEADERSHIP
Kenyon R. Bonner – Vice Provost for Student Affairs
Dr. Kenyon Bonner plays a pivotal role in helping the University of Pittsburgh achieve one of its fundamental missions—educating the whole student. In addition to leading the Division of Student Affairs and over 200 professional staff members, Dr. Bonner serves as the liaison to Student Affairs for Pitt’s regional campuses and sits on the Chancellor’s senior leadership team.
Dr. Bonner joined Pitt in 2004 as Assistant Director of Residence Life and served 11 years as Director of Student Life, seven of which were also Associate Dean of Students. In January 2015, he was appointed Interim Vice Provost and Dean of Students, earning a permanent appointment in March 2016 after a competitive national search.
Dr. Bonner earned his EdD in Higher Education Management at the University of Pennsylvania, his MEd in Rehabilitation Counseling at Kent State University, and his BA in Psychology and Philosophy at Washington and Jefferson College. His research interests include Black male student success, retention and graduation, college student mental health, and diversity, equity, justice, and inclusion. He is the recipient of Washington and Jefferson College’s Waltersdorf Award for Innovation Leadership (2017) and the University of Pittsburgh’s Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence in Service to the University (2013).
In his free time, Kenyon likes to spend time with his family, attend his children’s athletic events, watch movies, listen to music, and run. He also serves as the United Way Impact Cabinet’s co-chair and sits on the Board of Directors for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Red Cross and Family House Pittsburgh.
Carla M. Panzella – Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Students
Dr. Carla Panzella has served as the Dean of Students since August 2021 and as Associate Vice Provost since December 2022. As Dean of Students, Dr. Panzella provides leadership for innovative co-curricular programs, activities, and services that promote student well-being, sense of belonging, engagement, and diverse learning experiences. She is also responsible for strategically directing and managing the Student Experience, Student Community and Belonging, Student Wellness, Student Engagement, and Professional Leadership Teams.
Dr. Panzella holds a Ph.D. in higher education from Seton Hall University, where she completed her dissertation research on “Postsecondary Pathways: A Study of Low-income Black and Latino Students,” an MA in organizational psychology and leadership from the Teachers College of Columbia University, and a BS in psychology from Saint Peter’s University.
Carla believes it is vitally important for public universities to advance and promote inclusive excellence and to be student-ready institutions that anticipate and meet students’ needs. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her Bernadoodles, Bean and Finn, and exploring Pittsburgh’s many great restaurants.
Founded in 1787, The University of Pittsburgh is a public state-related research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The University is composed of 17 undergraduate and graduate schools and colleges at its urban Pittsburgh campus, which serves 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The University earns national accolades for its highly ranked School of Medicine, School of Education, and Swanson School of Engineering. The School of Medicine is particularly well regarded for its research, working in conjunction with the highly ranked University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and the institution receives one of the highest amounts of funding from the National Institutes of Health. Pittsburgh is home to powerhouse professional sports teams, such as the Steelers and Penguins, and dozens of unique cultural centers, like the Andy Warhol Museum and the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
Pitt thrives in forging new paths to mold better futures, embracing each setback as fuel for something greater. Because at our core, we’re focused on human impact and the relentless pursuit of change, for good.
Patrick Gallagher – Chancellor
As the University of Pittsburgh’s 18th chancellor, Patrick Gallagher directs one of the nation’s premier public institutions for higher education and research. In this role, Gallagher oversees a community of nearly 34,000 students at five distinct campuses. He also supports the work of more than 14,000 faculty and staff members who are committed to advancing the University’s legacy of academic excellence, community service, and research innovation.
Under his leadership, Pitt has strengthened its status as one of the nation’s premier public institutions for higher education and research, including being named a top public school in the nation by US News & World Report.
Prior to his installation at Pitt, Gallagher spent more than two decades in public service. In 2009, the president appointed him to direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology. While in this role, Gallagher also served as acting deputy secretary of commerce before leaving for Pitt in the summer of 2014.
Gallagher has also completed terms on a wide range of community boards and committees, including the president’s 12-person Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity in 2016. He currently serves as a member of the Cybersecurity Advisory Committee for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
THE STUDENT BODY
Total enrollment: 32,277
Retention rate: 93%
African American: 5%
Two or more races: 4%
Race unknown: 1%
A strong commitment to diversity and inclusion is a fundamental value of the University of Pittsburgh and is critical to achieving its mission as a public research university; diversity encompasses a broad range of differences and evolves over time. To view the whole diversity statement from the University of Pittsburgh, see it here.
Faculty and staff can take part in our education benefits, review retiree benefits packages, and explore health and wellness options. Pitt’s benefits offerings are among the region’s best, including a medical plan with no deductibles, tuition remission, life insurance, optional dental and vision coverage, a contributory retirement plan, and more. Information on all available insurance plans can be found in the Health & Wellness section.
For more information on the benefits offered at the University of Pittsburgh, see here.
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Visit the University of Pittsburgh website at www.pitt.edu.
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