The Opportunity

Now operating in its third century, the University of Michigan (U-M) continues its mission to serve the public through preeminence in creating, communicating, preserving and applying knowledge, art, and academic values. Currently, the main campus in Ann Arbor, comprised of 3,200 acres, has approximately 44,000 faculty and staff and an enrollment of 48,000 students, about a third of whom are in graduate and professional studies. U-M is consistently ranked among the top institutions of higher education globally with 102 graduate programs ranked in the top 10 nationally. The associate vice president will join the student life executive leadership team in advancing the mission and core work of the division, a team of over 25 departments/units, 1300+ full time staff and 3,000+ student employees. Student life’s mission is facilitating student learning and the development of the whole student while cultivating a diverse and inclusive campus community.

The Position

Role of the Associate Vice President for Student Development, Learning, and Social Change Education for the University of Michigan

Reporting to the vice president for student life, the associate vice president for student development, learning, and social change education (AVP) oversees and leads the achievement of goals and vision for the Ginsberg Center; first year experience office (shared reporting with housing); international center (IC); multi-ethnic student affairs (MESA); M-LEAD collective (co-supervised by MESA, Ginsberg Center and center for campus involvement); office of student conflict resolution (OSCR); program on intergroup relations (IGR); spectrum center; Trotter Center; and university career center (UCC). The AVP is responsible for hiring and retaining staff, career coaching, and personal development for direct reports and is accountable for the performance of approximately 100 regular employees, and a budget of approximately $10 million.  The staff includes a high performing team of leaders dedicated to innovation and building new best practice initiatives while also preserving a legacy of flagship programs.  Several of these programs have earned national recognition for excellence and contributions to the field.

History of the Position

The associate vice president for student development, learning, and social change education is a new position established following the retirement of Simone Himbeault Taylor who most recently served as senior associate vice president for student life.  Taylor joined U-M in 1977 and has served as associate vice president for student life from 2001-2017, and senior associate vice president from 2017-2020.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

The primary areas of focus for the AVP role are:

  • advance the mission and core work of student life as part of the division’s executive leadership team;
  • academic partnerships;
  • student development, leadership, and personal development;
  • education for social change;
  • community/civic engagement;
  • intervention, support, and advocacy.

The student life division at U-M expects to “set the standard” and establish national best practices across all of its departments. In this position there is a legacy of higher order thinking and a sophisticated, passionate and innovative group of directors committed to the learning agenda. Each of the units has received national recognition and is seen as a flagship program in their given area of core work. Much of this performance is directly attributable to the seasoned and knowledgeable directors at the helm.

The AVP must bring strong management skills to the position in order to maintain the expected level of engagement with students and oversee the operations of the portfolio. The AVP must be a secure leader who is dedicated to supporting and developing a talented staff of professionals. Effective delegation of responsibilities to the unit leaders will be critical to the success of this position.

 

 

Additional opportunities and challenges of the role include:

  • Through programs, services, facilities and partnerships, student life provides opportunities for students’ transformation and educational enrichment. The division’s core work includes community development, educational programming, health and wellbeing education, student intervention, support and advocacy and essential services. With a focus on providing support for students as they navigate a transition back to campus within the context of a racial justice movement and emergence from a global pandemic, student life’s current strategic plan and priorities include advancing wellbeing, harm reduction, diversity, equity and inclusion, understanding, documenting and improving impact, inspiring adaptable talent management and strengthening partnerships. The new AVP will join student life as the organization approaches an exciting new leadership era and will assist in the co-development of a new strategic plan.
  • Utilizing evidence-based decision-making the AVP, together with the student life executive team, will establish policy, resources, and operations to effectively and efficiently manage the divisional mission, spanning a comprehensive and diverse array of over 25 general fund and auxiliary operations with an annual budget of $270 million.
  • U-M students are empowered, activated, and vocal on social issues and the AVP will work extensively with students to provide safe and secure environments in which to express their views. The AVP must have experience and understanding with the positive support of student voices.
  • As a member of the student life divisional executive team, the AVP provides leadership and vision for the student experience, advances a cross-unit agenda devoted to strengthening academic partnerships, student development, leadership, and personal development, education for social change, community/civic engagement and intervention, support and advocacy.
  • The AVP will actively guide student life’s institutional impact on student learning and development, create a climate conducive to the learning of all students, address critical and timely student issues and incidents, and advance divisional efforts across all functional and cross-functional areas toward preparing students to lead in a diverse democracy.
  • A search is currently underway for the next director of the Ginsberg Center. The new staff member will likely begin their roles in the spring semester and will need to be integrated into the leadership team.

The most recent annual reports of the departments in the portfolio are available at the following links:

Spectrum Center:
https://spectrumcenter.umich.edu/end-of-year-reports

Program on Intergroup Relations:
https://igr.umich.edu/article/annual-reports

Edward Ginsberg Center:
https://ginsberg.umich.edu/files/gb/Ginsberg%20Annual%20Report%202021.pdf

International Center:
https://internationalcenter.umich.edu/about/vision

Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs (MESA):
https://mesa.umich.edu/year-in-review

Office of Student Conflict Resolution:
https://oscr.umich.edu/article/annual-reports

University Career Center:
https://careercenter.umich.edu

Measures of Success

At an appropriate interval after joining U-M, the following items will initially define success for the new AVP:

  • The AVP has developed strong relationships with staff, faculty, and students, and is deeply familiar with the all departments within the portfolio and the student life division.
  • The university plays an important role in the Ann Arbor community. The AVP will be expected to connect with key stakeholders and be visible in the local community.
  • There is a common understanding of the role the departments in the portfolio should play in achieving the division’s priorities, and institutional mission is evident across all stakeholders.
  • Trust has been developed among staff across the portfolio. Responsibilities are delegated to the appropriate departments, and leaders are held accountable for outcomes.
  • Leadership is shared with senior staff.
  • Decision-making processes are efficient, inclusive, and transparent.
  • Departments are fully staffed.
  • There is a strong sense of shared vision and collegiality within the portfolio.

Qualifications

Qualifications and Characteristics

An advanced degree and at least ten years of progressively responsible leadership and supervision including administrative and financial management experience.  Experience supervising units with complex legal compliance obligations is desired. A doctorate and leadership experience at a large decentralized academic institution, including experience with academic partnerships, student development, leadership, and personal development, education for social change and intervention, support and advocacy are preferred. The ideal candidate will possess demonstrated specific knowledge and expertise in intercultural and interfaith student learning, first year experience, career, international, democratic engagement and service-learning, intergroup relations, student conflict resolution through the lens of restorative justice, and outreach, education, advocacy and support through the lens of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Candidates will also possess demonstrated  knowledge of social identity and social justice and evidence of ensuring maximum participation of diverse campus communities to create a positive learning environment for all students; knowledge of student development theory and of concerns, challenges, interests and issues currently prevalent among undergraduate and graduate students; and a proven ability to work in an inclusive and consultative way with faculty, staff, peers, students, parents, and the broader external community.

Additional desired skills and abilities include:

  • Demonstrated experience supervising units with core work associated with complex legal compliance obligations, including student conduct and international education and immigration services.
  • Demonstrated strategic leadership, planning and change management skills.
  • Outstanding oral and written communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to review and monitor financial performance of the reporting units and initiatives and as part of the divisional leadership to engage in strategic budget planning.
  • Exceptional interpersonal, negotiation and political acumen skills. Ability to influence people, solve problems, trouble shoot, think creatively and resolve conflicts.
  • Proven analytical and problem solving skills.
  • Strong knowledge of higher education standards, trends and regulatory requirements.
  • Ability to effectively engage a variety of constituencies, including students, parents, faculty, community groups and alumni, and to appreciate the interests and concerns of each group.

In addition, campus stakeholders identified the following characteristics, skills, and abilities as important for the next AVP:

  • Personal and professional integrity in the highest degree.
  • A strong student advocate and compassionate mentor who demonstrates a proactive approach in dealing with student issues and experience in the handling and resolution of conflict and the willingness to spend time in support of student activities and interests.
  • Appreciation for and ability to lead effectively within a non-hierarchical, de-centralized and highly collaborative campus community.
  • Good political acumen with a keen sense of how and when to engage the participation of different constituencies and the ability to build productive alliances.
  • Skill in working with administrators, faculty, staff and students in a climate of openness and transparency, integrity, trust, mutual respect and collaborative problem solving.
  • Understanding of and commitment to the academic, research and service missions of a residential public university and to enhancing the quality of student learning at the graduate, undergraduate and professional levels.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence; sensitivity to individuals and ability to work effectively with and understand the interests of students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds.
  • Ability to transform ambiguity into clarity; to articulate student and campus needs with persuasion and conviction
  • Excellent listening skills; capacity and willingness to engage in rigorous debate and an ability to assert themselves confidently.
  • High degree of energy, initiative and organization.
  • Self-confident, creative and willing to take risks and to pilot and evaluate new programs.
  • Knowledge of national best practices in student life, including the ability to use research, data and assessment to guide decision-making.
  • Approachable, optimistic, intellectually curious with personal warmth, generosity of spirit, a can-do attitude, strong resilience in the face of criticism and a good sense of humor.
  • Ability to select, develop, motivate and win the respect and loyalty of staff; strong mentoring, coaching and team-building skills with proven success in developing professional staff and creating an effective team.
  • Deep immersion in theory coupled with an understanding of compliance and the granular issues that accompany the position.

Institution & Location

Overview of the Division of student life

Student Life Mission

Student Life is committed to facilitating student learning and the development of the whole student while cultivating a diverse and inclusive campus community. Through our programs, services, facilities and partnerships, we provide opportunities for students’ transformation and enrich their education.

Core Work

  • Transformative Learning Experiences: We strengthen existing and initiate new opportunities to enhance student learning and development.
  • Community Development: We build community and foster an environment that respects and appreciates the value of both differences and similarities, which supports the well-being, safety, growth and success of all community members.
  • Social Justice Education and Intercultural Development: We develop a deeper understanding of diversity, social identity and privilege as they relate to ourselves and others, and educate ourselves and students in order to create a more global, socially just and inclusive campus and world.
  • Health and Well-Being Education: We enable students to learn and practice immediate and lifelong behaviors that promote positive physical, emotional, social, intellectual, environmental, financial, occupational, mental and spiritual health and resilience.
  • Leadership Education and Personal Development: We enable students to learn about, reflect on, and practice skills and behaviors, and develop values and beliefs that enable them to lead and succeed during and after their university experience. We develop ethical leaders and citizens who create positive social change in an inclusive fashion.
  • Student Intervention, Support and Advocacy: We resolve issues of significant complexity presented by students through our advocacy, services, and compliance.
  • Essential Services: We maintain facilities, create inclusive spaces, provide services and promote programs that are responsive to the physical, social, psychological, academic, and recreational needs of the campus community.

Values

  • Student Centeredness: We plan, implement and evaluate quality programs and experiences that manifest student learning, development, access and academic success. We share a commitment to these areas in all Divisional work, especially through student-centered educational offerings, administration and services positively impacting students individually and collectively.
  • Accountability and Stewardship: We assume complete ownership for our duties, responsibilities, and actions. We approach our work with an understanding of our areas of influence, cognizant that the work we do individually and unit-wide impacts others within the Division, University, and broader community. We recognize our limits while imagining our possibilities. We serve as stewards of our resources, act within an ethical framework, value environmental sustainability and meet the needs of our multiple constituencies as we keep students at the center of our work.
  • Collaboration: We utilize teamwork, partnerships, cooperation and structural collaboration to achieve synergy and positive results in our work. We work together and effectively utilize resources to provide students with high quality education, services, programs, facilities, and resources.
  • Inclusion: We recognize and respect social identities that are different from our own and those of the groups to which we belong. We develop and promote awareness of, and educate ourselves and the community, about identities such as race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, and disabilities. We actively participate in the creation and sustenance of equitable communities that affirm and value all members.
  • Integrity: We operate from an ethical frame of reference. We adhere to a standard of conduct which is consistent with the overall values of our Division and the University community, and act on our conscience, behave with honesty and fairness, promoting justice, admitting errors, and acting in alignment with our asserted mission, principles and values.
  • Excellence: We do quality work, provide outstanding service, continually develop our staff, and achieve excellent results that meet the needs and exceed the expectations of those we serve by using healthy, developmental, and dynamic approaches. We believe a healthy approach is supportive, balanced, and flexible; a developmental approach is inclusive of lifelong learning, risk-taking, balances challenge and support, and professional judgment and leadership; and a dynamic approach is energetic, creative, passionate, respectful of differences and enjoyable.

https://studentlife.umich.edu/article/mission-core-work

Leadership of the division

Martino Harmon, Vice President for Student Life

The University of Michigan Board of Regents appointed Martino Harmon as vice president for student life on March 26, 2020.

A longtime advocate for student success, Dr. Harmon previously served as the senior vice president for student affairs at Iowa State University, where he provided strategic oversight for the student affairs division with a budget of more than $300 million, 800 staff members and 36 departments.

Prior to joining Iowa State University, Dr. Harmon was the executive director of student success and retention at Cincinnati State Community College, dean of student development at Rhodes State College and dean of admission, retention and student life at Washtenaw Community College. Dr. Harmon began his career in student life at the University of Toledo, serving in increasingly responsible roles over a span of 11 years, including interim assistant dean of students, director of the African-American student enrichment office, director of freshman admission, associate director of admissions and multicultural recruitment, and coordinator of campus visits and admission counselor.

Dr. Harmon earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in marketing management, a Master of Education degree in human resource development and educational technology, and a Ph.D. in higher education and administration, all from the University of Toledo.

https://president.umich.edu/leadership-team/executive-officers/martino-harmon/

Institutional Overview

The University of Michigan was founded in 1817 as one of the first public universities in the nation. It was first established on 1,920 acres of land ceded by the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi people “…for a college at Detroit.” The school moved from Detroit to Ann Arbor in 1837, when Ann Arbor was only 13 years old. The city had a booming population of 2,000, a courthouse and jail, a bank, four churches and two mills. It had been established in 1824 by two Easterners, John Allen and Elisha Rumsey. The town was named to honor the wives of the founders, Mary Ann Rumsey and Ann Allen, and the natural arbor created by the massive oaks in the area.

It took four years to build the necessary facilities for the new campus in Ann Arbor. The buildings consisted of four faculty homes and one classroom-dormitory building. (One of the homes is still standing and is now the President’s house.) Cows owned by the faculty grazed over much of campus. As late as 1845 the campus was covered in the summer with a crop of wheat, grown by a janitor as part of his remuneration. Faculty families harvested peaches from the orchard of the old Rumsey farm, and a wooden fence ran along the edge of campus to keep University cows in and city cows out.

In its first year in Ann Arbor, the University had two professors and seven students. There were more Regents (nineteen) than faculty and students combined. The reorganized University did not have a president, but the faculty elected a presiding officer each year from their own ranks.

Freshmen entering in 1841 (women were not admitted to the University until 1870) took admissions examinations in mathematics, geography, Latin, Greek, and other subjects. They also had to furnish “satisfactory testimonials of good moral character.” Students paid an initial admissions fee of ten dollars but no tuition.

In 1866, Twenty-five years after the move to Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan became the largest university in the country, with 1205 enrolled students. In 1867, the enrollment reached an all-time high of 1255 students. At that time, the University was comprised of the Medicine Department, with 525 students; the Law Department, with 395 students; and the Literary Department, with 335 students. There were 33 faculty members.

Today, the University of Michigan remains one of the most distinguished universities in the world and a leader in higher education. It is consistently ranked among the nation’s top universities, with over 51,000 students and 5,600 faculty at three campuses. The University of Michigan boasts of one of the largest health care complexes in the world, one of the most extensive university library systems in the country, and the some of the best computer access for students and faculty of any campus in the world. Over 5,500 undergraduate courses are taught each term in over 200 programs. Undergraduate, graduate and professional students have a choice of 19 separate schools and colleges, hundreds of majors, over 1000 student organizations, and thousands of concerts, recitals, speakers, symposia, films, and readings each year.

The students at the University of Michigan come from all 50 states and over 100 foreign countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Michigan’s teaching and research staff is considered one of the top five faculties in the country. They have included an astronaut, distinguished world authorities, Pulitzer Prize winners, internationally acclaimed performing artists and composers, Supreme Court Justices, best-selling novelists, artists, and filmmakers. Michigan has more than 100 named endowed chairs.

Michigan receives over $700 million in research expenditures annually. The diversity of the University’s research activities, from medical to social to cultural, is a major contributor of Michigan’s capacity for growth and development. And, through their teachers, Michigan students are often among the first to learn the applications of such research findings.

The University of Michigan’s size, complexity and academic strength, its impressive array of resources and opportunities, the quality of its faculty and research institutes—all these elements contribute to the rich environment where students learn and challenge themselves as they come into contact with people, cultures and ideas from all over the world.

https://campusinfo.umich.edu/article/um-history

Ann Arbor, MI

Ann Arbor is many things, including a bustling university town, culinary hotspot, and a tech hub with a walkable downtown that includes world-class arts and culture. Located in southeast Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, Ann Arbor lies at the center of a greater collection of communities in Washtenaw County. With so many thriving communities nearby, Ann Arbor has become a cultural melting pot and urban oasis.

https://www.annarbor.org/

Mission

The mission of the University of Michigan is to serve the people of Michigan and the world through preeminence in creating, communicating, preserving and applying knowledge, art, and academic values, and in developing leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future.

https://president.umich.edu/about/mission/

Leadership

Dr. Mark S. Schlissel, President

Dr. Mark S. Schlissel is the 14th president of the University of Michigan and the first physician-scientist to lead the institution.

Since beginning as president in July 2014, he has launched initiatives including Academic Innovation; Biosciences; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Poverty Solutions; and Precision Health. As part of his commitment to college affordability, President Schlissel in June 2017 announced the Go Blue Guarantee, a new financial aid program that provides up to four years of free undergraduate tuition to in-state students from families in Michigan making $65,000 or less. U-M is perennially the nation’s top public university in research productivity and is consistently ranked as the No. 1 or among the top public universities in the nation.

A graduate of Princeton University (A.B., summa cum laude, 1979, Biochemical Sciences), he earned both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (1986, Physiological Chemistry). He completed residency training in internal medicine at Hopkins Hospital and conducted postdoctoral research as a Bristol-Myers Cancer Research Fellow under David Baltimore at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Whitehead Institute. President Schlissel is a board certified internist.

President Schlissel previously was provost of Brown University, where he was responsible for all academic programmatic and budgetary functions within Brown’s schools and colleges, as well as its libraries, research institutes and centers.

President Schlissel began his career as a faculty member in 1991 at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he earned a number of awards and fellowships for his research and teaching. He moved to the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California-Berkeley in 1999 as associate professor, advancing to full professor in 2002, and serving as the department’s vice chair from 2002 to 2007. He taught undergraduate and graduate courses in immunology, as well as a large introductory course in biology for life science majors.

He was UC-Berkeley’s dean of biological sciences in the College of Letters & Science beginning in 2008 and held the C.H. Li Chair in Biochemistry until his appointment as Brown’s provost in 2011.

His research has focused on the developmental biology of B lymphocytes, the cell type in the immune system that secretes antibodies. His work has contributed to a detailed understanding of genetic factors involved in the production of antibodies and how mistakes in that process can lead to leukemia and lymphoma. He is the author or coauthor of more than 100 scientific papers and has trained 21 successful doctoral candidates in his lab.

Nationally, he has served as member and chair of the Immunobiology Study Section at the National Institutes of Health and on the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Scientific Review Board. President Schlissel was elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigators in 1998 and the American Association of Physicians in 2013.

He has been a member of the American Association of Immunologists since 1992. He was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2013 and as Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2015. He has helped organize major international scientific meetings and is a frequent seminar speaker at universities through the United States.

In January 2018, the Rainbow PUSH Automotive Project presented President Schlissel with one of its inaugural Let Freedom Ring Awards, in recognition of the Go Blue Guarantee and for his proactive work in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion on the Ann Arbor campus. The awards pay tribute to the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for his legacy in uplifting the human condition.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., President Schlissel is married to Monica Schwebs, an environmental and energy lawyer. They have four grown children.

https://president.umich.edu/about/biography/

Campus Rankings

  • #3 NATIONAL UNDERGRADUATE PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT (2020)
  • #1 BEST SMALL COLLEGE TOWN IN AMERICA, WALLETHUB (2019)
  • #1 U.S. PUBLIC UNIVERSITY, QS WORLD UNIVERSITY RANKINGS (2019–2020)
  • #15 WORLD REPUTATION RANKINGS, TIMES HIGHER ED (2019)

Academics

  • 102 Grad programs in the top 10 — U.S. News & World Report (2019)
  • 97% Freshman retention rate
  • 92% Of students graduate within six years
  • 19 Schools and colleges
  • 275+ Degree programs
  • 15:1 Student to faculty ratio

https://umich.edu/facts-figures/

Graduate schools and Colleges

  • Architecture & Urban Planning
  • Art & Design
  • Business
  • Dentistry
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Environment and Sustainability
  • Information
  • Kinesiology
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Music, Theatre & Dance
  • Nursing
  • Pharmacy
  • Public Health
  • Public Policy
  • Rackham School of Graduate Studies
  • Social Work

https://umich.edu/academics/

The Student Body

Please visit the student profile link:

https://admissions.umich.edu/apply/first-year-applicants/student-profile

Benefits Overview

  • Health Plans
  • Prescription Drug Plan
  • Dental Plan
  • Mental and Emotional Health
  • Vision Plan
  • Occupational Health Services
  • Retirement Savings Plans
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Long-Term Disability Plan
  • Life Insurance Plans
  • Legal Services Plan
  • Business Travel Accident Insurance
  • Emergency Hardship Program
  • Retirement Plans

For more information, please visit:

https://hr.umich.edu/benefits-wellness

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 may be emailed to Mark Hall at mah@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the University of Michigan website at www.umich.edu

The University of Michigan is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.