RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE POSITION
The dean of student affairs is the senior student affairs officer of the college and provides executive leadership and vision for the division of student affairs. The division of student affairs facilitates experiences and environments in which students can achieve their maximum potential through student engagement opportunities and student support services. The dean of student affairs is responsible for the ongoing monitoring and development of the student experience and serves as the lead professional in matters concerning students.
As the chief advocate for students on the college’s leadership team, the dean of student affairs ensures that the quality of the student experience remains central in decision making. The dean of student affairs fosters the ongoing development of both a diverse residential community and a vibrant online community, in which all students are encouraged to be responsible facilitators and participants in a dynamic learning experience. The dean’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion will guide efforts to ensure all students feel valued, heard, and represented within the academic community. The dean of student affairs reports directly to the president of the college and serves on the President’s Leadership Council.
The division of student affairs includes accessibility services, Arizona Serve – a program that places AmeriCorps members with local organizations addressing poverty, career services, student centers, mailroom, residential life, student conduct, counseling, student engagement and advising, and the college library. The new dean will directly supervise the director of housing/residential life, the student engagement coordinator, student success coaches, the director of graduate student advising, the disability resource specialist, mental health counselors, the associate dean of student affairs, and the library director.
Additional responsibilities of the position:
- Leads student affairs-wide shared visioning and strategic planning efforts, ensuring alignment with college-level mission, vision, and values.
- Oversees a divisional budget of approximately $1.5 million.
- Facilitates the division wide assessment to monitor student learning, developmental outcomes, and the review of student programs.
- Develops and implements policies and programs to enhance the student experience, promote student success, and increase student persistence.
- Addresses student behaviors and concerns.
- Advances an equitable institutional climate both on campus and virtually for online students.
- Partners with the vice president for finance and administration to determine fiscal requirements and serves as the senior budget officer for student affairs overseeing budget preparation and monitoring expenditures of allocated resources.
- Partners with the vice president for finance and administration to plan the development and maintenance of student life-oriented spaces and facilities.
- Communicates frequently with students and families, both proactively and reactively.
- Engages in high-level resolution of student and family inquiries and concerns.
- Provides input and consultation with the college’s crisis management efforts in concert with the president, communications/marketing, and other colleagues and departments.
- Decides upon final appeals of student conduct matters and officially implements sanctions of suspension, expulsion, and involuntary withdrawals.
- Actively engages with students through involvement in various settings and activities, and is a highly visible participant in the life of the college.
- Fosters engagement, leadership development, and retention throughout the division of student affairs.
- Represents the college and student affairs at events for prospective students/families, alumni, and other stakeholder groups.
- Provides education and counsel to the college community regarding current trends and major issues affecting students, at both the national and institutional level.
- Has an understanding of compliance regulations that impact student life.
QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATE
A master’s degree and substantial administrative experience in higher education administration, specifically within college student affairs or student development is required. The next dean of student affairs must have experience in supervision and organizational management. An advanced degree is strongly preferred.
The next dean for student affairs must be an engaged and collaborative administrator who can be strategic about the future of the division of student affairs. As a key senior leader on the campus, they must have a demonstrated track record of success in student affairs.
An ideal candidate will possess outstanding interpersonal, communication, and conflict resolution skills, and the ability to navigate a variety of constituent relationships, including students, staff, faculty, and community members. The new dean of student affairs will have a strong track record of providing leadership in response to student and parent issues, concerns, and crisis events. Additionally, the successful candidate will have experience assisting and promoting a sustainable and inclusive community.
In addition to the qualifications stated above, key stakeholders identified the following capabilities and attributes of a successful candidate:
- Demonstrated affinity and advocacy for both a residential, small, college experience and a diverse and vibrant online experience.
- Deep understanding of college student development theory, best practices in student affairs, and current legislation influencing the work of student affairs.
- Evidence of success in facilitating efforts promoting and championing student success and retention.
- An understanding of collaborative, experiential, field-based, and interdisciplinary learning environments.
- Global sustainability awareness is highly desired.
- Experience in data-driven assessment and outcomes measurements, with demonstrated
knowledge of student learning outcomes in student affairs programs.
- Demonstrated commitment to – and experience with – matters of diversity, equity, and
inclusion, and an understanding of critical consciousness, as applied to higher education.
HISTORY OF THE POSITION
The division of student affairs was created upon the arrival of President Barbara Morris in 2021. Morris appointed Kristine Preziosi, a long-standing and respected campus colleague into the inaugural dean of student affairs role. After a 30-year career with Prescott College, Preziosi retired in early 2023. Dr. Juan Gonzalez, the retired vice president of student affairs at the University of California San Diego, currently serves as the interim dean of student affairs.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE
The dean for student affairs must be able to provide strategic direction for the division of student affairs. The university seeks a leader who will set a clear vision for the future and who can facilitate the development of a robust and vibrant campus life for a diverse student body.
With an online presence of nearly 700 students, Prescott’s online learners make up two-thirds of the student body and are looking for enhanced engagement opportunities. A new dean will join and have the opportunity to collaborate with student trustees to further discussions about expanding a strong online student engagement initiative.
In transitioning to Prescott College, the dean for student affairs will encounter the following opportunities, priorities, and challenges, as shared by key campus stakeholders:
- The student affairs division is a relatively new department that requires further development and expansion of its student-centric initiatives to better serve the Prescott student body.
- The dean of student affairs must build trust and strong relationships with the president and other leaders at the college.
- A new leader must understand the nature of a small college environment and seize opportunities to foster strong partnerships and cooperation between student affairs and academic affairs to serve the best interests of students.
- The new dean has the opportunity to spearhead innovation within the student affairs division, paving the way for its transformation into a dynamic and forward-thinking unit prepared for current and future Prescott community members.
- The dean can channel their efforts toward providing strong support for students of color, thus contributing to the expansion and retention of a diverse student population.
- Outdoor education has been an integral component of the campus for many years, and there is a current aspiration for its expansion. In response to this interest, the new dean must assess the need, scope, and budget to determine future developments.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
The items listed below will define the new dean of student affairs’ success throughout the first year of employment:
- The dean of student affairs has conducted an organizational review and has mapped out an optimal and strategic direction that aligns seamlessly with the college’s mission, vision, and values.
- The new dean actively engages with the diverse student body and is seen as a visible and collaborative presence within the campus faculty and staff community.
- There is a heightened emphasis on student success, ensuring students have the necessary resources to achieve both personal and academic fulfillment.
- The on-campus environment has become more vibrant, promoting greater in-person engagement.
- The environment for the online student community is beginning to take shape as a result of responding to student advocacy and innovative approaches to increase the engagement of online learners.
- The new dean has a distinct presence on the campus and is regarded by students as a reliable and supportive resource.
Prescott College, founded in 1966, has over a half-century of leadership in developing and refining experiential and online educational models that have kept the college at the forefront of institutions seeking to address urgent issues currently facing human societies. Collaborative learning, multidisciplinary studies, and experiential and field-based learning are hallmarks of the Prescott educational experience. Enrolling approximately 1,000 students annually in both on-campus and online programs, Prescott offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. Prescott students are educators, activists, counselors, researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs—all of whom are eager to make a difference in their local and global communities. Prescott is proud to serve a diverse student body that is passionate about making a long-lasting impact on society and the environment.
Prescott College currently serves 700 online graduate students, and a combined total of 300 undergraduate students, including 100 undergraduates who exclusively pursue their studies online. The campus houses approximately 140 residential students in one residence hall and one apartment community.
Prescott College is located in Prescott, Arizona in north central Arizona and situated approximately 95 miles southwest of Flagstaff and 100 miles northwest of Phoenix. The city of Prescott has a vibrant downtown area and a strong arts community.
Dr. Barbara Morris, University President
Prescott College’s 18th president, Dr. Barbara Morris, joined Prescott College in 2021 after serving as the associate vice provost and associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at the State University of New York (SUNY) System. SUNY is the largest university system in the United States, comprising 64 institutions and serving over a million students from diverse backgrounds. Morris led education reform across the SUNY campuses as well as efforts to expand Indigenous learning and support systems.
Prior to her work at the SUNY System, Morris served as president of SUNY Oneonta. One-third of SUNY Oneonta’s students are first-generation and come from under-represented backgrounds. While at Oneonta, Morris launched a $25 million comprehensive campaign, secured funding for a general education pathway for students, and received the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Excellence and Innovation Award for Sustainability and Sustainable Development.
With her bachelor’s degree from San Diego State and her advanced degrees from the University of California Santa Barbara, Morris has taught courses on American foreign policy; gender, power, and public policy; and political activism. Her recent work includes co-authoring Recreating the Circle: The Renewal of American Indian Self-Determination, with LaDonna Harris and Dr. Stephen M. Sachs. Additionally, Morris served as the president of the Race and Ethnicity, and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association.
Learn more about the division of student affairs here.
The Student Body (Fall 2022)
Total Enrollment: 974
Graduate Enrollment: 657
Female : 64%
Minority Enrollment: 15%
American Indian: 2%
Two or more races: 1%
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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 Julie A. Leos at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email email@example.com.
The salary range for this position is $115,000-$120,000.
Visit the Prescott College website at https://www.prescott.edu/
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