Founded in 1884 by Woodbridge and Helen Ferris as the privately-owned Big Rapids Industrial School, Ferris State University today is a mid-sized, public institution known for its quality of instruction, large selection of academic programs, and mission of preparing students for successful careers, responsible citizenship, and lifelong learning. With its main campus located on 930 acres near the historic district of the scenic city of Big Rapids, Michigan, approximately one hour north of Grand Rapids, the University enrolls over 10,000 students (fall 2022) from 44 states and 34 countries through seven degree-granting colleges. Ferris State offers more than 180 undergraduate and graduate majors, including associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, and professional degrees; sustains a student-faculty ratio of 16:1; houses 25 percent of its students in University-owned, -operated or -affiliated residences; sponsors over 200 registered student clubs and organizations; and maintains 17 varsity sports teams (the ice hockey team competes in NCAA Division I, all others are NCAA Division II).

The Position

Reporting to the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Dean of Student Life is responsible for developing and overseeing programs that enable students to realize their fullest intellectual and personal potential and for integrating student life experiences with the University’s mission and core values. The Dean of Student Life plays a central role in defining the strong sense of community that unites students, faculty, and staff across the University. In conjunction with other offices within Student Affairs and across the University, the Dean of Student Life designs, plans, and directs a variety of student life functions related to supporting students, including but not limited to adult, first generation, commuter, veterans, transfer, multicultural, LGBTQ+, as well as other student populations. The Dean of Student Life is essential in developing systematic ways to assess, improve, and renew programs in all areas of supervision, utilizing benchmarks to identify best practices and gathering the data necessary for informed decision-making. The Dean of Student Life makes recommendations regarding severe student conduct incidents, activates interim suspensions as necessary, and responds to conduct appeals as appropriate. The Dean of Student Life is responsible for the leadership and overall direction and supervision of a portfolio of reporting directors within the Division of Student Affairs including the departments of: Birkam Health and Personal Counseling Centers; Center for Student Involvement; Career and Professional Success; Kendall College of Art and Design Student Engagement Office; LGBTQ+ Center; Office of Multicultural Student Services; Office of Student Conduct; Student Life; Title IX; David L. Eisler Center; University Recreation. By working with and representing the interests of a diverse student body, the Dean ensures a mutually reinforcing relationship between the academic and non- academic areas of the University.


A master’s degree in student affairs, higher education, higher education administration, college student personnel, counseling or related discipline from an accredited institution is required (doctorate preferred). A minimum of seven years of pertinent experience within the field of student affairs in increasingly advanced and more responsible administrative and supervisory roles is required. The successful candidate should demonstrate administrative skills including strategic planning and process management, budget management, supervision, communication, crisis management, change management, and effective decision-making. Further, the successful candidate should possess current knowledge of changing student development theory, needs, and demographics. The successful candidate should also maintain excellent interpersonal, oral, and written communication, and presentation skills and establish and maintain effective working relationships with a diverse group of students, faculty, and staff.

Application and Nomination

Review of applications will begin Friday, April 14, 2023, 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 Quincy Martin III at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email

 Expected Salary Range: $142,000-$147,000

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 AA/EOE Statement: Ferris State University, an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, is committed to enhancing equity, inclusion, and diversity within its community. Ferris offers employment opportunities to qualified candidates seeking careers in a student-focused environment that values opportunity, collaboration, diversity, and educational excellence. The University actively seeks applications from women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, veterans, and other underrepresented groups.

 Diversity Statement: Ferris commits to being an inclusive university community that respects the dignity of the individual and promotes the acceptance of others.