ROLE OF THE POSITION
Reporting to the Associate Vice President of Enrollment and Retention and serving as part of her leadership team, the Dean of Retention and Engagement provides comprehensive leadership and guidance for Academic Advising, Testing Services, and the New Student Orientation program, developing innovative and forward-thinking strategies for student retention, engagement, and success. The Dean coordinates the ongoing operations of an integrated student services approach to the access, retention, and completion of students; supervises the implementation and operation of dynamic student service programs; and effectively partners and collaborates with the leadership of Academic Affairs and Student Success and Equity, student services staff, and other college administrators to provide overall campus leadership in fostering an outstanding student experience. Additionally, the Dean develops budgets, exercises financial oversight for the departments in their purview, and coordinates marketing programs, services, events, and outreach activities associated with retention and engagement. The Dean of Retention and Engagement manages an annual budget of approximately $86,000 and directs, manages, supervises, and provides training and professional development activities for five direct reports.
QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS
The position requires a master’s degree (doctorate preferred) from an accredited institution in student affairs, counseling, or a related area, significant and progressive supervisory experience in student services areas of higher education, and a demonstrated record of leadership experience. Other requirements include a professional history of support for diversity, equity, and inclusion; a commitment to the flexible nature of the community college in serving students with diverse backgrounds, abilities, and purposes; the ability to coordinate diverse programs in student services; and a commitment to professional growth as related to this position. The successful candidate will possess experience with project management, higher education leadership, strategic planning, academic advising, testing services, and student assessment programs. A student-centered focus, strong collaboration skills, strategic thinking, and effective interpersonal and communication abilities will be expected.
Other desired characteristics, skills, actions, and abilities noted from the stakeholder discussions include:
- Administrative and managerial experience at progressive levels in a student affairs/student support setting (higher education/community college experience preferred), with the ability to plan strategically, globally, and operationally.
- The ability to build collaborative partnerships across the various departments and physical locations of Tulsa Community College (TCC).
- An innovator and scholar-practitioner with a futuristic orientation, intense curiosity and confidence, and someone willing to try new opportunities, remain informed on recent trends and cutting-edge ideations, and lead effective change processes as necessary.
- Emotional intelligence, charisma, energy, and passion for the job and the College.
- Sound leadership, supervision, managerial, and organizational development abilities that inspire and develop staff, provide professional and personal development opportunities, promote unity and teamwork throughout the department, and build a strong organization of professionals who work together to improve the student experience.
- The ability to comprehensively assess the strengths and needs within the organization and make adjustments over time where necessary.
- Sound knowledge of retention initiatives, with demonstrated excellence in creating best practices around student retention.
- Flexibility, adaptability, and solid problem-solving skills.
- Strong political savviness and diplomacy skills.
- The ability to listen carefully, ask knowledgeable questions, learn the units and their intricacies, accept input from staff, and then make well-informed decisions.
- A practitioner of the best academic advising practices in the nation for community colleges, with a demonstrated ability to understand and connect with faculty, enhance the connection and partnership between Academic Affairs and Engagement and Retention, communicate how this department supports the College’s academic mission, and continuously seek to improve the TCC advising system.
- An excellent communicator and active listener, with the ability to reach all levels of the College, respond quickly, and share a vision for future success.
- The ability to make difficult decisions when necessary, conduct difficult conversations when pertinent, listen to all sides of an issue, build consensus, and remain “cool under pressure” no matter the situation.
- An ardent supporter of students, with the ability to relate to, engage, and connect on all levels, understand the changing needs of today’s post-COVID student body, particularly at a community college, and consistently broaden access to a wide array of students.
- A willingness to serve as the “face” of the entire department, consistently advocate for the needs of the staff and units, remain proactive and visible on the various campuses, participate in the daily life of the College, and engage at all levels.
- A commitment to promote and support the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion at all times, as well as an interest in the specific needs of traditionally underserved student populations.
- A strategic and data-informed decision-maker with solid assessment skills who can collect and analyze data, process and manage information effectively, follow up systematically, and implement ideas successfully.
- A commitment to professional development in both themselves and the staff.
- An understanding of and experience with comprehensive testing programs.
- Knowledge of current new student orientation practices and how these practices contribute to student retention.
- The ability to review major processes, policies, and procedures to look for efficiencies and opportunities to combine, collaborate, share, develop, or discard antiquated functions and practices.
- Approachability, relatability, honesty, openness, humility, and a positive, optimistic, and respectful attitude.
HISTORY OF THE POSITION
A March 2021 College-wide reorganization created the Dean of Retention and Engagement position and brought together the critical areas of academic advising, testing services, and new student orientation. The previous Dean, who was the first individual to fill the role, left the position in August 2022 to become a full-time faculty member but remains supportive of the department and the College’s student success efforts. At this time, Tulsa Community College has partnered with Spelman Johnson to fill this critical role.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE
The next Dean of Retention and Engagement at Tulsa Community College must possess a broad and deep understanding of national trends and best practices concerning academic advising, testing, and student orientation practices, organizational design and development, and student retention models in a multifaceted and constantly evolving environment. The Dean should be a dynamic leader who is capable of managing complex situations and conducting difficult conversations; committed to the well-being, professional development, and ongoing support of the staff under their purview; dedicated to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of its forms; and equipped to contribute strategically and operationally in support of the mission and goals of the institution.
To be successful in this role, the Dean should possess a comprehensive grasp of the changing needs of today’s college students in a post-COVID world, a strong passion for assisting students in persevering and completing their journey in an educational and empathetic manner, and the ability to understand and continuously evolve systems, programs, and services in a modern, progressive community college operation.
Identifying a capable, experienced, and visionary individual who can promote, organize, and develop the professional staff, set departmental priorities, and successfully lead the current program to the next level is critical. The following were identified as possible opportunities, priorities, and challenges that will face the new Dean of Retention and Engagement.
- The ability to grow, develop, and mentor a dynamic professional staff, while building a solid and dedicated Retention and Engagement team, will be critical for success. To succeed in this area, the new Dean must be a strong motivator with high-level supervisory and staff-development skills. Support and empathy for the staff are critical, and professional development at all levels is expected. Navigating through the current team’s needs, meeting with each unit individually, getting to know the people who comprise each unit, and spending quality time in each area will be essential tasks for the Dean upon arrival.
- Tulsa Community College has an institutional culture that emphasizes a strong sense of community and a collaborative work environment, so the Dean of Retention and Engagement should work quickly to build rapport with the various staff under their purview, the Division of Enrollment and Retention, and other partners and colleagues throughout the four campus locations. It will be essential that the Dean commits to a comprehensive culture of collaboration, as Tulsa Community College is committed to building strong, healthy, and mutually supportive relationships as a foundation of the institutional culture. Upon arrival, the Dean should conduct a comprehensive “listening tour” to foster open communication, increased transparency, opportunities for feedback, and stakeholder involvement. Relationships and collaboration on the TCC campuses create an interconnectedness that fosters a very collegial environment, so the Dean should work diligently from day one to develop and promote these partnerships. The Dean will find a supervisor and peers who staunchly promote this collaborative networking, are incredibly welcoming, and encourage open communication across the board.
- Because TCC encompasses four physical campus locations, the Dean should be politically savvy and able to coordinate services and collaborations across these various sites and institutional units. The ability to multitask across these four campuses, each having its own “personality” and culture, will be critical for success. In the listening tour mentioned above, the Dean will want to learn the characteristics and nuances of each distinct location to discover the most effective delivery of programs and services best suited for each.
- The Dean should be a knowledgeable, forward-thinking, student-centered professional who is wholly committed to student success principles and is current on trends and best practices in the department’s units, particularly in a post-COVID environment. While the successful candidate needs to have demonstrated experience in at least one of the professional areas over which they are responsible, it is most critical that the Dean has some level of understanding and working knowledge around academic advising and the impact advising has on student satisfaction levels, persistence, and completion. The primary objectives of the Dean will be to ensure no need is overlooked, that resources are plentiful and readily obtained, and that the mission and goals of TCC are at the forefront of their priorities. On the other hand, there must also be balance in prioritizing the three units within the department, and the Dean will need to ensure that each area of oversight receives the proper focus and attention at all times.
- Diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect are essential components of the TCC community, and the Dean should provide bold leadership in fostering a campus climate that supports, embraces, integrates, and nurtures these concepts at all times. There are many underrepresented populations throughout the institution, and the departments that the Dean oversees should be models for maintaining a strong sense of equity and an unbiased environment. The Dean should champion diversity, equity, and inclusion in all its forms and strive to nurture and embrace these concepts throughout the organization and its processes.
- The Dean will be expected to be very visible and engaged with staff and students and subsequently serve as the expert on and the “face” of Retention and Engagement at TCC. Working side-by-side with the professional team promotes unity, camaraderie, and a sense of community within the department. Also, it shows the students that the Dean, a high-level administrator, is willing to work on their behalf no matter the situation or circumstance. The Dean should prioritize getting out of the office and being seen, attending student events, participating in official Tulsa Community College activities, collaborating across academic and student life, and spending quality time among the campus community. To accomplish this, the Dean should have excellent communication skills and be able to articulate the “story” of Retention and Engagement across the College. Because the role also requires close interaction with students, the ability to be empathetic, understanding, and transparent in all student encounters is essential for success.
- This is an exciting time to join Tulsa Community College and push Academic Advising, Testing Services, New Student Orientation, Enrollment and Retention, and the larger Division of Student Success and Equity forward, strategically building a contemporary, 21st century, future-centric, and student-focused Retention and Engagement department. The College has recently undergone a significant reorganization, with one result being the creation of this position, so there is an excellent opportunity to enter at a fresh starting point. The Dean should seek opportunities to benchmark other successful programs and services and research innovative trends and best practices that raise expectations and standards in all areas. Involvement in professional organizations (such as NACADA and NODA, among others) will provide the Dean with these opportunities, and, as priorities are developed and plans are initiated, the Dean should work with the staff to identify programs and services that are working effectively, as well as those areas that are not as efficient or successful, and be willing to add, enhance, and sunset programs as necessary. With great excitement and expectation around this position, the Dean should be prepared for a fast pace and to “hit the ground running” from day one. As only the second individual to serve in this still relatively new role, there is a unique opportunity for the Dean to put their professional mark on the program and the institution, to grow professionally with a great deal of support, and be able to implement a variety of new and creative ideas along the way.
- The Dean can look forward to visioning and strategizing with the Associate Vice President of Enrollment and Retention, Vice President of Student Success and Equity, President, peers and colleagues, and the internal staff to promote an exciting and dynamic student success environment. The TCC stakeholders reiterated that they enjoy working at the College and living in Tulsa, are very supportive of each other, are motivated by the vibrancy and pace of TCC, feel much collegiality, and believe that there are many opportunities to make a big difference in this role. Being a good colleague is an essential priority to the stakeholders of this position, so the Dean of Retention and Engagement should bring a positive, engaging mindset to the role.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
At an appropriate interval after joining Tulsa Community College, the items listed below will initially define success for the new Dean of Retention and Engagement.
- Retention, persistence, graduation, and transfer rates are strong and rising.
- Operational and strategic plans have been clearly and transparently established for the Dean’s units, and these plans include straightforward objectives and measurable outcomes that are assessed effectively and efficiently; subsequently, adjustments are regularly made based on these assessments, and robust feedback is solicited and utilized to affect the process in the future.
- The professional staff is working together cohesively as a team, morale is high and rising, staff vacancies are being filled as quickly as possible, staff retention is improving, the Dean is consistently available and willing to listen to staff, communication is abundant, and professional development opportunities are readily available.
- The advising, testing, and new student orientation programs at TCC are recognized as comprehensive and student-friendly; communication between students and staff, particularly in the area of advising, is robust and frequent; qualitative surveys show that student satisfaction with these areas is at a high level; and steps are being taken to ensure all three areas are increasingly accessible to Spanish-speaking students and their families.
- The Dean has conducted a comprehensive listening tour, built positive relationships internally and across all four campuses, is engaged and enthusiastic, spends a great deal of time out of the office at events and with staff/students, and is recognized as the “face” of Engagement and Retention.
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion are foundational concepts throughout the Dean’s units, the Dean is engaged in ensuring that underrepresented communities at TCC feel valued, heard, and supported, and, as a result, retention rates, particularly of underrepresented populations, are rising.
- Faculty and Academic Deans are fully engaged in the mission and goals of Retention and Engagement, strong partnerships are being facilitated across all areas of Academic Affairs, and communication between the department and faculty is open, transparent, and abundant.
OVERVIEW OF THE DIVISION OF STUDENT SUCCESS AND EQUITY
“Student affairs champions student success” is the mission at the heart of the Division of Student Success and Equity. In collaboration with campus and community partners, the Division supports student needs from application to graduation, offers diverse student organizations, activities, mental health and wellness programming, and so much more. Whether in the classroom or out, Student Success and Equity provides critical services that address gaps in equity and help students excel academically, engage in transformational learning experiences, and celebrate every student on their path to success.
Eunice Tarver – Vice President of Student Success & Equity
Eunice Tarver oversees an expanded collaboration between student and academic affairs with Dr. Angela Sivadon, TCC’s Senior Vice President and Chief Academic Officer. They work to design a student experience that is both responsive to the shifts from the coronavirus pandemic and, at the same time, supports an inclusive and equitable learning experience.
Joining the College in 2010, Tarver served as an Academic Counselor and, two years later, was promoted to Director of Student Development for the Metro Campus. She was also an adjunct faculty member in the Developmental Psychology and Human Relations department. In 2015, Tarver was named Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and was promoted to Provost in 2017. Before joining TCC, Tarver served as Site Director of the YWCA’s north Tulsa location.
Eileen Kenney – Associate Vice President of Enrollment and Retention
Eileen Lally Kenney has served Tulsa Community College for fifteen years, currently as the Associate Vice President of Enrollment and Retention. She provides cabinet-level leadership to the areas of Admission and Prospective Student Service, College Registrar, Centralized Scheduling, Academic Advising, Testing Services, and New Student Orientation. Kenney’s background includes enrollment management leadership at a comprehensive four-year university and a rural community college. She is a strong advocate for student access, equity, and student success.
Serving approximately 21,500 students, Tulsa Community College is Oklahoma’s largest multi-campus community college, located on four fully-equipped campuses in the Tulsa area (Metro, Northeast, Southeast, and West) and several other community campuses in the suburban areas. Founded in 1970, TCC consistently ranks among the elite of the nation’s 1,309 community colleges in associate degrees awarded, serves more college students in northeastern Oklahoma than any other public college or university, and reports one of the largest first-year classes in Oklahoma every year. With an average age of 24 and an underrepresented student population of over 46%, TCC offers over 120 associate degree and professional certificate programs. In 2021, TCC was recognized with two prestigious national awards from the American Association of Community Colleges: exceptional work in student success outcomes leading to higher graduation rates and the institution’s strategic efforts in safety preparedness and planning.
Leigh B. Goodson, PhD – President and CEO
Leigh B. Goodson has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Tulsa Community College since July 2014. As President at TCC, she successfully launched and met the College’s $20 million campaign, developed Oklahoma’s first “early college high school program,” gained TCC acceptance into the American Association of Community College Pathways Project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and is a key contributing member of the Tulsa Higher Education Consortium, a collaborative partnership with local universities. In 2021, under her leadership, TCC won the AACC’s Award of Excellence in both the Student Success category and Safety and Planning.
Dr. Goodson earned a doctor of philosophy degree in Education Research and Evaluation from OSU, a master of science in Organizational Communication from Fort Hays State University in Hays, KS, and a bachelor of arts in Political Science from OSU. She graduated from Leadership Oklahoma class XXIII and Leadership Tulsa Class 35 and completed an Aspen Presidential Fellowship in 2016. In 2020, the Journal Record recognized Goodson as Oklahoma’s Most Admired CEO in the public category. It inducted her into the Circle of Excellence for being honored three times as a “50 Making a Difference” honoree at its annual Woman of the Year event. She is an active member of her community; currently, she serves on the boards of the Oklahoma Business Roundtable, Tulsa Area United Way, Jobs for the Future Policy Trust, CCCSE National Advisory Board, and Tulsa Regional Chamber. She is a sought-after local and national guest speaker on various topics, including leadership development and community college student success. Goodson has invested herself and her education career, having formerly served as a university faculty member, university administrator, and school board member for Tulsa Public Schools. Her priority and passion are student success.
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 J. Scott Derrick at email@example.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tulsa Community College encourages candidates to apply who have demonstrated a capacity to create inclusive work environments, work effectively on increasingly diverse teams, and serve the increasingly diverse college community. The institution is committed to hiring and retaining racially diverse, culturally competent staff at all levels of the organization who reflect the demographics of the TCC students and continue to deepen their skills and competencies to serve the full range of the TCC community.
Visit the Tulsa Community College website at http://www.tulsacc.edu/.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY
Notice of Non-Discrimination: Tulsa Community College is committed to establishing an environment for its students and employees that fosters inclusion, values equity and diversity, embraces and respects the dignity of people, and provides equal educational and employment opportunity. In compliance with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations, the College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or any other basis protected by applicable discrimination law in its policies, practices, or procedures. This includes, but is not limited to, admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational programs, activities, or services.