The Position


Reporting to the vice president for student affairs (VPSA), the associate vice president (AVP) and dean of students (DOS) provides leadership and strategic direction for student advocacy and support programs that lead to individual student success in support of the university’s MPACT25 system-wide strategic plan. This position collaborates with colleges, faculty, staff, parents, and community agencies to provide resources and address concerns in the best interest of students. As a VPSA leadership team member, the AVP/DOS provides vision, leadership, and oversight of the office for community standards, the CARE program, the student parent help center, the student conflict resolution center, the Aurora Center for advocacy and education, and student advocate services. The university relies on the AVP/DOS and designated units to provide urgent crisis response and problem-solving services to students and other staff and faculty working with students. This position supervises 21 full-time staff and six direct reports and manages a budget of $2.26 million.

Additional responsibilities and duties include:

  • Reaching out to students who have been victims of serious crimes or accidents, been hospitalized for mental health issues, or experienced other unexpected events which can impact their student success.
  • Working to coordinate the university responses to student deaths.
  • Serving as the point person for emergency/crisis management; responding to and assisting with student crises or emergencies.
  • Serving as the liaison to UMPD on safety issues.
  • With staff from the office for community standards, actively promoting student responsibility and encouraging honesty, integrity, and respect among UMN students through presentations, publications, education, compliance with community standards of behavior, and support of individual and group rights.
  • Implementing the parental notification policy by meeting with students hospitalized due to excessive alcohol use and determining when to contact parents.
  • Assisting in developing area annual budgets, monitoring spending throughout the year, and approving transfers of funds needed from various discretionary accounts.
  • Supervising and evaluating the work of direct reports; overseeing employee hiring and training.
  • Serving as a member of the office for student affairs (OSA) leadership team; serving on OSA and university committees/workgroups as needed; serving as consultant and liaison to university departments.
  • Supporting and advising the President’s Initiative on Student Mental Health (PRISMH), Boynton Health and student counseling services regarding students’ mental health and wellness needs.
  • Responding to problems and concerns of various stakeholders, including students, staff, faculty, and parents.
  • Creating, overseeing, and managing the OSA on-call rotation process (including training and debriefing of staff).
  • Reviewing, amending, and developing university policies related to student conduct, advocacy, and support.


The position requires a master’s degree (doctorate preferred) in college student personnel, higher education, counseling, psychology, or related fields and significant leadership experience in a college or university setting with a focus on student advocacy and support programs. The successful candidate will have experience working with diverse populations (including students and department staff), and a demonstrated, active commitment to justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging. In addition, experience in crisis intervention and response, student conduct, and conflict resolution engaging students, faculty, staff, and families is required. The AVP/DOS will be a strategic, collaborative leader who can infuse emerging trends and best practices into a complex unit of offices, programs, services, and initiatives to meet students’ needs. Further, the ideal candidate will have demonstrated supervisory experience and an analytical mindset embracing the use of data to make informed decisions.

Additionally, stakeholders at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities identified the following characteristics and attributes when considering the position of the AVP/DOS (in no particular order):

  • The ability to maintain a highly engaged, trustworthy, accessible relationship with students and a visible profile throughout the campus community.
  • A deep passion for working with and advocating for students.
  • An excellent and transparent communicator with strong public relations skills and the ability to reach all levels of the university, including students, faculty, parents, alums, and upper-level administration.
  • A strong leader capable of managing crises and complex situations, unwaveringly committed to the well-being and support of students and staff and equipped to contribute at a large institution’s strategic and operational level.
  • A proven track record of experience and knowledge about crisis management and emergency preparedness in higher education and experience working with conflict resolution, emotional support, and advocacy.
  • Strong knowledge of and experience with student conduct policies and complex cases involving individual students and student groups.
  • Committed to continuing a student-centered, educational approach to learning and engagement throughout the units’ programs and services; knowledgeable about mental health issues and laws impacting campus professionals and students.
  • Remains calm, constructive, and sensitive to multiple constituents in response to crises while leading others during those critical times.
  • The ability to manage multiple competing priorities and take initiative in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
  • Prioritizes working collaboratively with a team of colleagues and representing the OSA in various contexts.
  • Practical public relations skills and the ability to communicate effectively with students and family members in crisis and under duress.
  • Extensive diplomacy, high-level tact, and persuasion in discussing critical issues substantially impacting the university.
  • Demonstrated skills as an advocate and champion for diversity, equity, inclusivity, accessibility, and intersectionality, along with a willingness to stand up for these values.
  • Experience in diplomacy, political savviness, mediation, and the ability to develop consensus around difficult issues.
  • The ability to make difficult decisions when necessary, to conduct difficult conversations when pertinent, to listen to all sides of an issue, and to remain “cool under pressure” in all situations.
  • Natural energy and enthusiasm for the role, passion for the work, a positive attitude even in the face of adversity, a personable and approachable demeanor, charisma, and the ability to have fun on the job, even though the subject matter can be heavy.
  • An innovator with a futuristic orientation and a willingness to try new opportunities, remain informed on new trends and best practices, and lead significant change processes.


With the departure of the last assistant vice provost for advocacy and support, it was determined that the position would be advanced to associate vice president and include the dean of students role. This enhanced role demonstrates an elevated focus on policies and student advocacy, support for the entire student population, and broader divisional leadership responsibilities.

The university is searching nationwide for this energetic, compassionate, skilled leader to empower and direct the units within student advocacy and support as they continually seek to encourage and safeguard student well-being and success.


The AVP/DOS is responsible for the coordination of services that pertain to immediate, short-term, and major student crises, disturbances, and emergencies. This position oversees critical offices that help, support, and educate the UMN community and its system campuses. From programs, services, and activities to assist student parents in achieving academic, personal, and professional success to providing sexual assault and relationship violence intervention and support, as well as the proper enforcement of the student code of conduct, this AVP/DOS and their team are tasked with helping students when assistance and empathy are needed most. The AVP/DOS will be responsible for providing a strategic vision and shared goals informed by care and support for students’ development, well-being, and success. To advance this vision, the AVP/DOS will work closely with each unit to design measurable strategies and interventions and to ensure collaboration, communication, and problem-solving across all units.

In transitioning to, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, the AVP/DOS will encounter the following opportunities, priorities, and challenges, as shared by key stakeholders:

  • The AVP/DOS helps identify process and policy improvements to remove barriers for students.
  • The AVP/DOS will thoroughly evaluate the institution’s crisis response policies and protocols and make appropriate changes to most efficiently and compassionately work through a crisis.
  • The AVP/DOS must be highly collaborative and willing to establish credibility with all constituencies through excellent listening, communication, and relationship-building skills.
  • The units reporting to the AVP/DOS are busy and fast-paced, serving as a repository for an array of student issues and concerns. At times, this position will need to assist with cases to facilitate timely processing.
  • The AVP/DOS must continue to evaluate student conduct policies, mapping out specific steps to dealing with student group conduct issues and the influx of academic integrity cases.
  • The University of Minnesota Twin Cities is a large, comprehensive, complex, decentralized university, such that collaborations and relationships are essential to moving agendas forward. Developing and maintaining strong relationships with faculty and academic leadership is particularly important.
  • The AVP/DOS is a highly visible leader on campus and plays a significant role in relationships in the greater Twin Cities area.
  • The AVP/DOS advocates for students but also knows when to challenge students to address their issues and understands that not all concerns are resolved to the student’s satisfaction.


At an appropriate interval after joining the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, the following items will initially define the success of the new AVP/DOS:

  • The AVP/DOS will have strong relationships with the vice president for student affairs, colleagues on the executive leadership team, and other leadership within the OSA.
  • The AVP/DOS will have a high profile at the university, engaging in dialogue and collaborations with a broad group of stakeholders.
  • The AVP/DOS will maintain a solid professional network and be aware of emerging best practices to continually honor the needs of the students and the staff’s work.
  • The AVP/DOS will be well-known and well-regarded by students, having earned respect and credibility by consistently being fair and empathetic.
  • The AVP/DOS will have maximized existing programs and introduced creative, robust programs to advance the work of the units.
  • The AVP/DOS will have strong relationships across campus, including academic deans and administrators, faculty members, university police, athletics, legal counsel, the Title IX office, and university relations, among others.
  • The AVP/DOS has learned to effectively work within a decentralized institution while building relationships and gaining influence with the student affairs units within the different colleges.
  • The staff in all units feel well supported, valued, and cared for by the AVP/DOS.
  • The AVP/DOS will have a strong, cohesive team of direct reports based on a shared vision for student success and well-being, from which directors can develop specific goals and strategies within their unique contexts.

Institution & Location


Across programs, services, and initiatives, the office of student affairs aims to keep students well, help solve problems in the face of adversity, and prepare them for careers in a global, complex society. By providing the necessary care and support needed to be physically and mentally able, student affairs collaborates on and solves large, complex issues of the university.

Strategic plan, mission, vision, and values

Organizational Chart

Student Affairs Advocacy and Support

The advocacy and support units are a group of six units that provide resources and support to students as they navigate complex situations. They provide support, problem-solve, advocate for students, and assist with navigating concerns.

The six units are as follows:

  • The care program provides coordinated care, support, and resources to students as they navigate the university and pursue their academic and personal goals. The care managers work to foster student development and well-being by offering a supportive, personalized response when difficulties arise.
  • The office for community standards works with students, faculty, and staff to uphold the Student Conduct Code as it applies to both academic and non-academic behavior and expectations.
  • Student parent HELP center offers programs and services designed to promote access, retention, and academic success for U of M undergraduate students who are also parents. Programs include child care assistance grants, advocacy and referral, support groups, lounge space, computer center, and programs.
  • The student conflict resolution center (SCRC) provides confidential, impartial, and informal conflict resolution services to all Twin Cities campus students experiencing university-related problems or concerns. An SCRC staff person can help clarify the nature and scope of the problem and identify options for resolution.
  • Aurora provides crisis intervention, advocacy, information, referral services, emotional support, engaging presentations, and training regarding issues of sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, and harassment. They serve students, faculty, and staff of all genders, both those who are victims/survivors and those who are allies/concerned persons.
  • Student advocate services provide assistance to students who have been accused of or charged with violating the Student Conduct Code, university housing policy, or other academic or conduct policies including scholastic, behavioral, and sexual misconduct.


The flagship of the University of Minnesota System, the Twin Cities campus, is Minnesota’s only land-grant university and one of the most prestigious public research universities in the nation, with over 50,000 students. Founded in 1851 near Saint Anthony Falls on the banks of the Mississippi River, it is one of five universities in the nation with an engineering school, medical school, law school, veterinary medicine school, and agricultural school all on one campus. Located at the heart of one of the nation’s most vibrant, diverse metropolitan communities, students on Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses benefit from extensive partnerships with world-renowned health centers, international corporations, government agencies, and arts, nonprofit, and public service organizations.

Mission statement


Total enrollment: 52,107

Undergraduate: 36,061

Graduate: 15,956

Retention rate: 93%

Male: 46%

Female: 54%


Diversity is a core value of life at the University of Minnesota. The campus community comprises students and staff with different backgrounds, interests, and experiences. Living and learning in a diverse community prepares everyone for a future in a global society.

The university community is strengthened by students, staff, professors, and alums representing different races, economic backgrounds, geographic origins, ages, genders, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, abilities, talents, and beliefs, as well as those with disabilities apparent and non-apparent.


Joan T.A. Gabel, President

Joan T.A. Gabel is the 17th president of the University of Minnesota, where she has led the creation and metric-driven implementation of the university’s comprehensive strategic plan, MPact 2025. The plan has resulted in record-setting annual research expenditures, as well as unmatched start-ups, patents, and private giving, including the completion of the $4 billion Driven capital campaign at 10 percent over goal. Transformational collaborations, such as NXT GEN MED, a ground-breaking partnership between the university, the Mayo Clinic, and Google, have enhanced the university’s impact. President Gabel also drew on MPact 2025 priorities to advance PIPSM, the President’s Initiative to Prevent Sexual Misconduct, and launch PRISMH, the President’s Initiative on Student Mental Health.

In spring 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic became a key focus in President Gabel’s work. She led efforts to address the challenges of the pandemic while reimagining opportunities for the university to advance its 170-year legacy, including areas such as next-generation health sciences education, clinical care and research, sustainability, and in establishing a new blueprint for the region’s agro-food ecosystem. She has deepened the university’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This commitment included undertaking a review of university public safety, establishing a new building naming process, creating a voice arts & community series, and renewing relationships and engagement with Minnesota’s 11 tribal nations.

Executive leadership organizational chart



Calvin D. Phillips, DEd, Vice President for Student Affairs

Calvin Phillips is the vice president for student affairs at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and serves as the chief student affairs officer of the University of Minnesota multi-campus system. Calvin provides strategic leadership for the 20 units and more than 500 employees that comprise the office for student affairs on the Twin Cities campus. He is a part of the university’s executive leadership team and works collaboratively in this capacity to advance the university’s mission and strategic plan. He began in this role at UMN on March 1, 2021.

Prior to his current role, Dr. Phillips served as associate vice president for student affairs at Eastern Michigan University (EMU). He had leadership responsibility at EMU for housing and residence life, student well-being, new student orientation and campus life, student conduct, international student services, diversity and community involvement, and the Children’s Institute. Prior to joining Eastern Michigan, he served as vice president for student affairs at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Dr. Phillips has also held positions at the University of Texas-Pan American, Winston-Salem State University, University of Northern Iowa, Shippensburg University, and Slippery Rock University.

Dr. Phillips earned a Bachelor of Science in secondary education social studies from Oklahoma State University. He earned a Master of Arts in student personnel from Slippery Rock University and a Doctor of Education in administration and leadership studies from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

He has held many leadership roles in the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, and currently serves on the prestigious James E. Scott Academy Board. Dr. Phillips also serves on student affairs planning and programming committees for the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

He is the father of five children, and was born and raised in western Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Sharia, have been married for 25 years.


The university offers employees total rewards with meaningful benefits, including medical and dental, life insurance retirement savings, flexible spending accounts, tuition benefits, and an award-winning well-being program. To learn about the full benefits offered at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, see here.

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position and questions about the status of the search may be emailed to Heather J. Larabee at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email

The public salary range is $145K – $155K with relocation assistance to be negotiated.

This position follows a hybrid weekly work schedule.

Visit the University of Minnesota Twin Cities website at

The university recognizes and values the importance of diversity and inclusion in enriching the employment experience of its employees and in supporting the academic mission.  The university is committed to attracting and retaining employees with varying identities and backgrounds.

The University of Minnesota provides equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.  To learn more about diversity at the U: