Virginia Tech is a public land-grant university, committed to teaching, research, and outreach to the Commonwealth of Virginia, the nation, and the world. Building on its motto of Ut Prosim (that I may serve), Virginia Tech is dedicated to InclusiveVT—serving in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence. We seek candidates who adopt and practice the Principles of Community, which are fundamental to our on-going efforts to increase access and inclusion, and to create a community that nurtures learning and growth. Virginia Tech actively seeks a broad spectrum of candidates to join our community in preparing leaders for the world. Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges, a school of medicine, a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School, and Honors College.

The Position

ROLE OF THE POSITION

Reporting to the vice president for Student Affairs, the Dean of Students (“Dean”) is Virginia Tech’s foremost student advocate and champion for student success. The Dean serves as a member of the Student Affairs leadership team and VP Council, collaborates with academic deans and units for student success initiatives, serves on the university’s Threat Assessment Team, and oversees coordination of the university’s Care Team. In addition, the Dean co-leads the Town Gown Committee in partnership with the deputy town manager and works closely with campus and community leaders to deploy a comprehensive, collaborative strategy to support off-campus students’ success.

The Dean works closely with the Dean of Students office team, including the associate dean and director, five assistant deans, and a case management team, with a particular focus on providing advocacy, care, and support for individual students, student groups, and communities. The Dean’s office also leads a comprehensive university-wide interfaith program to promote conversation, understanding, and relationships across meaning-making traditions and collaborates across the institution to support first-generation students, including leading a living-learning community focused on first-generation student success.

The Dean also provides supervision and leadership to the directors of New Students and Family Programs, Services for Students with Disabilities, and Student Conduct, units that work closely with the Dean of Students office to foster students’ personal, social, and academic development through services, programming, accountability, and support.

Additional responsibilities of the position include:

  • Leading fiscal, strategic, and assessment planning for the Dean of Students office, New Students and Family Programs, Services for Students with Disabilities, and Student Conduct.
  • Providing leadership, supervision, support, and oversight for student advocacy, welcome and transition, accessibility support, case management, and student crisis response.
  • Serving as a campus ambassador for students and championing a campus culture of care and responsiveness to students.
  • Deploying a robust and dynamic campus-wide educational program that equips campus partners to respond well to student needs.
  • Promoting policies important to students and their success.
  • Leading a support program for students participating in university resolution programs, including Title IX investigations and student conduct office hearings.
  • Monitoring off-campus student culture and developing a comprehensive strategy to support off-campus student success.
  • Coordinating effective collaboration, response, and communication with the seven undergraduate colleges on matters arising from the Dean of Students office, New Student and Family Programs, Services for Students with Disabilities, and Student Conduct.
  • Advancing a university-wide interfaith dialogue program.
  • Providing leadership to the Dean of Students office team who leads university responses to bias-related incidents and working with campus partners in advancing InclusiveVT and the Principles of Community.
  • Working closely with the vice president for Student Affairs on division-wide initiatives.
  • Periodically serving as a representative for Student Affairs, at the request of the vice president for Student Affairs, at advancement and fundraising events.

QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS

An earned doctorate and significant leadership experience in higher education are required. Candidates who are nearing completion of their doctorate will be strongly considered. The ideal candidate will possess a passion for student success, inclusion, interfaith initiatives, and program development; an unwavering commitment to fairness; the ability to work collaboratively with a team of colleagues and serve as a representative of the division; and an abiding dedication to the principles of collaboration and inclusion. Candidates must care deeply about students and work comfortably with them during times of personal crisis.

The characteristics and attributes listed below were identified by various stakeholders when considering the Dean of Students position:

  • A collaborative, student-centered, self-starter
  • Exceptional communication, writing, administrative, and organizational skills
  • The ability to manage multiple and competing priorities and take initiative in a dynamic, fast-paced environment
  • The ability to work collaboratively with a team of colleagues and serve as a representative of the division in a variety of contexts
  • The ability to successfully maintain programmatic excellence and demonstrated success in working across reporting lines to support student success
  • A deep passion for working with and advocating for students
  • A record of leadership in student affairs where responsibility for student development, the creation of a positive learning environment, and the engagement of students in the life of the campus community are a central focus
  • Collegial, inclusive, and approachable style that invites collaboration, transparency, and mutual support
  • Consummate team player and collaborator, able to build strong working partnerships across the university and with external constituencies
  • The ability to maintain a highly engaged, trustworthy, accessible relationship with students and a visible profile throughout the campus community
  • Extensive diplomacy, high-level tact, and persuasion in the discussion of key issues that have substantial impact on the university
  • Strong human relations skills and the ability to make decisions in the midst of complexity while utilizing diverse perspectives
  • Demonstrated collaboration with faculty and academic administration leadership in improving educational programs and services that improve student success
  • The ability to remain calm, constructive, and sensitive to multiple constituents in response to crisis situations, while leading others during these critical times
  • Effective public relations skills and the ability to communicate effectively with students and family members in crisis and under duress
  • Familiarity with classroom teaching and academic policies in order to liaison with academic officials and departments
  • The ability to build external relationships and work with the local community
  • A commitment to supporting staff in their professional development and helping them realize their full potential
  • Superior supervision skills

HISTORY OF THE POSITION

Martha Glass currently serves as the interim Dean of Students with the intention of returning to her role as assistant vice president for administration in Student Affairs once a new DOS is hired. Byron Hughes served as Dean of Students from 2018-2022, resigning from the position to accept a student affairs leadership role at another institution. James T. (Tom) Brown served as Dean of Students from 2007-2018.

OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE

The Dean of Students will be responsible for leading four critical units in Student Affairs: the Dean of Students office, New Student and Family Programs, Services for Students with Disabilities, and Student Conduct (added as a direct report to the Dean in fall 2022). The Dean of Students 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 Dean will work closely with each director to design measurable strategies and interventions and to ensure collaboration, communication, and problem-solving across units.

As the university’s foremost student advocate, the Dean of Students will play a deeper role in the Dean of Students office, with its mission to advocate for students across campus and assist them as they face a variety of challenges throughout their journey. The Dean will be particularly involved in student matters of the highest importance, while day-to-day oversight of the Dean of Students office will be led by an associate dean and director and their team of assistant deans, advocates, and administrative support.

The Dean’s strategic and supervisory work with New Student and Family Programs, Services for Students with Disabilities, and Student Conduct will be informed by advocacy: the Dean will work with these teams to recognize students’ needs, remove barriers, identify trends, and understand the broader student culture and climate on campus. To preserve the Dean’s primary focus on advocacy, they will supervise Student Conduct but will not serve in an adjudicatory or appellate role or otherwise participate in the conduct process.

Additional opportunities and challenges are listed below.

  • The units reporting to the Dean of Students are busy and fast-paced, serving as a repository for an array of student issues.
  • The Dean must be able to establish a strong leadership team with the directors of the four units and balance working closely with the Dean of Students office team on specific student issues with effectively leading, supervising, and supporting New Student and Family Programs, Services for Students with Disabilities, and Student Conduct.
  • Virginia Tech 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 of particular importance.
  • The Dean is a highly visible leader on campus and plays a significant role in town-gown relationships with the town of Blacksburg.
  • The Dean frequently serves as the conduit between students and senior administrators, providing an important opportunity to build respect and trust around critical student issues.
  • The Dean helps identify process and policy improvements to remove barriers for students.
  • The Dean acts as an advocate for students but also knows when to challenge students to address their own issues and understands that not all issues are resolved to the satisfaction of the student.

MEASURES OF SUCCESS

At an appropriate interval after joining Virginia Tech, the following items will initially define success for the new Dean of Students.

  • The Dean will have strong relationships with the vice president for Student Affairs, colleagues on the vice president’s council, and other leadership within the division.
  • The Dean will be well-known and well-regarded by students, having earned respect and credibility.
  • The Dean 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 Dean will have a high profile at Virginia Tech, engaging in dialogue and public relations with a broad group of constituents.
  • The Dean will have a strong, cohesive leadership team 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

THE DEAN OF STUDENTS OFFICE

The Dean of Students office is committed to offering support to students so they flourish in nearly every imaginable way.

  • Engage, educate, equip, and empower students.
  • Support and care for students in the midst of crisis.
  • Encourage students to utilize university and community resources.
  • Work and advise with both our heads and our hearts.
  • Respect the student and the advocacy process by recognizing our own biases and by collectively pursuing greater self-understanding and integrity.

The Dean of Students office staff are mentors and advocates who can point students in the right direction, be a sounding board, and assist with personal, social, and academic challenges. They provide a wide range of services including:

  • General Support / Advice
  • Crisis / Emergency Response
  • Counsel and Referral
  • Student Conduct Referral Advising
  • Class Absence Verification

NEW STUDENT AND FAMILY PROGRAMS

New Student and Family Programs strives to enhance the student experience through outstanding programs and services for new students transitioning into Virginia Tech.

  • Foster an inclusive, supportive, and learning-centered environment.
  • Collaborate with academic and other campus partners to develop robust programming for orientation and transitional experiences.
  • Develop and implement strategies and programming for family engagement.
  • Provide leadership training and experiences for orientation peer leaders.
  • Identify needs of special populations entering Virginia Tech.

The New Student and Family Programs staff are mentors and advocates who are committed to welcoming and equipping new students and families as a foundation for belonging and student success. They provide a wide range of services including:

  • Outreach/communication
  • Programming and education
  • Holistic support
  • Leadership development
  • Inclusive practices for special populations

SERVICES FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) endeavors to create a campus climate in which students with disabilities experience full access and inclusion in curricular and co-curricular opportunities in the academic community.

  • Establish and disseminate clear guidelines and procedures for compliance.
  • Provide dynamic programming and innovative technologies to enhance overall educational experiences.
  • Cultivate an inclusive campus climate for students with disabilities.
  • Support student success across life transitions.
  • Foster collaborative partnerships across the university for student success.

The SSD staff are mentors and advocates who are passionate about ensuring equal access and success for students with disabilities. They provide a wide range of services including:

  • Accommodations
  • Academic coaching and career development
  • Sign language interpreting, note taking, captioning, and alternate text
  • Testing center
  • Academic relief

STUDENT CONDUCT

Student Conduct contributes to students’ holistic development through a student-centered, learning-focused, and relational approach to addressing alleged violations of Virginia Tech’s Student Code of Conduct.

  • Engage students in intentional conversations and activities for reflection and growth.
  • Educate and equip students for personal and academic success.
  • Collaborate with university and community partners to resolve interpersonal, organizational, and community conflicts.
  • Adjudicate Title IX / gender-based violence cases
  • Provide oversight for the Student Code of Conduct

The Student Conduct staff are mentors and advocates who are committed to balancing accountability and support for student well-being and success. They provide a wide range of services including:

  • Informal and formal adjudication
  • Conflict resolution and coaching
  • One-on-one mentoring
  • Ongoing education and connections with students who have violated policies
  • Policy development and revision
  • Education and training

OVERVIEW OF STUDENT AFFAIRS

Student Affairs is committed to Virginia Tech students’ growth, development, and achievement. We work closely with academic colleagues to support students as they learn to be successful and influential leaders in the emerging global community.

Student Affairs Mission Statement

STUDENT AFFAIRS LEADERSHIP

Frances Keene – Interim Vice President for Student Affairs

Frances Keene, assistant vice president and chief of staff at Virginia Tech, effective July 5, 2022. Keene replaced Frank Shushok, who left the university to become president of Roanoke College.

Keene earned a PhD in higher education from Virginia Tech, a master’s degree in counselor education from the University of Virginia, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of William and Mary.

She began her career at Virginia Tech as a victim services adjudication coordinator in the Office of Judicial Affairs, now called Student Conduct. She went on to become assistant director in 2003, and was named interim director in 2004, prior to taking on the role of director. She held a part-time position in the university’s Long-Range Planning Office as assistant director of long-range planning, which concluded in May 2012.

As a 2016 recipient of the Aspire! Award for embracing Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) as a way of life, Keene was recognized for her work in the community and her spirit of service. She deeply values her work with students and educators who prioritize student learning and development in a residential context.

INSTITUTIONAL OVERVIEW

  • Main campus located in Blacksburg, Virginia
  • Nine colleges and graduate school
  • 110 undergraduate degree programs
  • 170 master’s and doctoral degree programs
  • Main campus includes 235 buildings, 2,600 acres, and an airport
  • Facilities across the state and around the globe, including a strong presence in Northern Virginia
  • Ranked 48th in university research in the United States
  • Adjacent corporate research center

 

Enrollment (fall 2021)

  • More than 37,000 on and off campus
  • 80 percent undergraduate; 20 percent graduate
  • 57 percent male; 43 percent female

Admissions

  • 45,214 applications for fall 2022 first-year class
  • 19 percent increase in applicants identified as first-generation college students

Faculty

  • 2331 instructional faculty members (both full and part-time)
  • 51 percent of faculty are tenured
  • Fall 2021 Student to Faculty ratio: 13 to 1

INSTITUTIONAL MISSION AND STRATEGIC PLANNING

Mission Statement

Strategic Planning

The Office for Strategic Affairs collaborates with the Virginia Tech community to understand challenges and opportunities, guide strategic and continuous planning, and help advance the university through feasible, measurable, and sustainable objectives.

To learn about the entire strategic planning of Virginia Tech, please visit; https://strategicaffairs.vt.edu/StrategicPlanning.html.

INSTITUTIONAL LEADERSHIP

Timothy Sands – President

Timothy D. Sands is the 16th president of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and a professor in the College of Engineering. Since joining Virginia Tech in 2014, President Sands has set the university on a course to become a leading modern, global, land-grant institution aligned with the needs and opportunities created by a rapidly changing world in the evolving landscape of higher education.

Under President Sands’ leadership, undergraduate enrollment has been increased by 5,000 to achieve the benefits of scale while preserving the strong sense of community rooted in our motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve). Student interest in Virginia Tech has grown continuously, as reflected in a doubling of applications from first-time prospective students. Student success has been a priority, with four-year graduation rates increasing from 61 to 70 percent.

President Sands initiated InclusiveVT in 2015, leading an effort that has increased the enrollment of underrepresented minority (URM) students by 88 percent while closing the 4-year graduation rate gap from 10 percentage points to 1 percentage point. URM and underserved students (Pell-eligible, first-generation, and veterans) now make up nearly 40 percent of the entering class, including transfers.

Before coming to Virginia Tech, President Sands was executive vice president for academic affairs and provost of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, serving as acting president in 2012. President Sands earned a bachelor’s degree with highest honors in engineering physics and a master’s degree and a doctorate in materials science from the University of California, Berkeley. He joined the Purdue faculty in 2002 as the Basil S. Turner Professor of Engineering in the schools of Materials Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering.

DIVERSITY STATEMENT

Virginia Tech is a just and inclusive community that welcomes, encourages, and supports individuals who desire to contribute to and benefit from the institution’s missions of learning, discovery, and engagement. The university has adopted and practices a series of principles as fundamental to its ongoing efforts to increase access and inclusion and to create a community that nurtures learning and growth for all of its members.

Benefits Overview

BENEFITS OVERVIEW

Virginia Tech offers employees a robust benefits program from comprehensive insurance plans to tuition assistance. This full range of benefits, services, and discounts is an integral part of the university’s total compensation package and is just one of the many things that make Virginia Tech a great place to work.

Application & Nomination

 Application and Nomination

Review of applications will begin October 17, 2022, 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 Virginia Tech website at www.vt.edu

 Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law.

 For inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies, contact the executive director for Equity and Access at 540-231-8771 or Virginia Tech, North End Center, Suite 2300 (0318), 300 Turner St. NW, Blacksburg, VA 24061.

RELATED LINKS

About Virginia Tech

https://vt.edu/

About Blacksburg, VA

https://www.blacksburg.gov/