Position Description

The director of admissions acts as a senior advisor to the senior vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid on all admissions matters and assists with strategic planning efforts. The director is responsible for understanding national issues in higher education and guiding recruitment and selection strategies accordingly; provides strong administrative leadership for the admissions process by overseeing the review of approximately 9000 applications and making admissions decisions consistent with institutional priorities; oversees the office budget; manages all hiring processes; serves as a direct supervisor for approximately ten staff members. This position is involved in all areas of admissions, including recruitment, public speaking, event oversight, and travel. The director will be a strategic partner in the implementation of a comprehensive recruitment plan measured by data and best practices.

The director will join a well-established office team with deep experience in admissions and will have the skills necessary to balance the operations of a fast-paced office while remaining a strategic thought partner. The Bowdoin admissions office has been a leader in equity and access in college admissions—the director will continue to develop innovative approaches that guide the work and honor Bowdoin’s core values: inclusion, rigor, generosity, and a commitment to the common good. The director will be a collaborative leader with the ability to mentor and supervise admissions staff, as well as serve as a liaison for collaboration between the office of admissions, faculty, and marketing and communications staff. The director will actively participate in national and state professional admissions associations and stay informed of current admissions trends and research.


The Position

Qualifications and personal characteristics

A Bachelor’s degree (advanced degree preferred) along with substantial documented progressive professional experience in an admission office, preferably in a private liberal arts college, with a minimum of three years supervisory experience is required. Excellent organizational, communication, and interpersonal skills, as well as the ability to think strategically and problem solve are essential attributes of the successful candidate. This individual will be expected to have broad undergraduate recruitment experience, appreciate and seek to expand diversity among staff and the student body, and be able to optimize technology to support a strategic recruitment model. The successful candidate must have a deep enthusiasm for the experience of a liberal arts education, the ability to engage students from diverse backgrounds, and have high levels of initiative and energy.

In addition to the above qualification requirements, institutional stakeholders indicated that the following personal characteristics and experience would be sought in candidates to ensure their opportunity for success:

  • kindness
  • humility
  • empathetic
  • thoughtful
  • good listener
  • maturity
  • transparent
  • display emotional intelligence
  • organized and excellent with details and logistics
  • visionary
  • flexible and nimble
  • candid and trustworthy
  • not take themselves too seriously
  • one who can pivot quickly and seamlessly
  • excellent communicator
  • technologically savvy and able to make data-derived decisions
  • collaborative thought leader with the senior vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid
  • sense of curiosity
  • ability to balance multiple and competing priorities
  • strategic thinker
  • sense of humor
  • commitment to and expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • previous experience working with first generation students and families
  • composure and ability to remain cool under pressure
  • ability to make difficult decisions in the moment
  • a relationship builder
  • ability to “hold on tightly, but go lightly”
  • ability to delegate
  • share a sense of camaraderie with the team
  • ability to manage and handle change respectfully
  • ability to create a sense of community with the admissions team
  • ability to hold one’s self and the team to high standards
  • ability to manage both up and down
  • ability to prioritize
  • ability to bring one’s whole self to the job daily
  • ability to handle difficult conversations and feel cordial afterward
  • ability to follow through
  • ability to be fluid and, when necessary, break down siloes

History of the Position

Claudia Marroquin, current director of admissions, was recently named senior vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid at Bowdoin College, effective July 1, 2021. She will succeed Whitney Soule, who was recently named vice provost and dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania.

Likely Opportunities, Priorities, and Challenges of the Position

It is a time of great change within higher education as institutions prepare to resume in-person classes on the heels of the Covid 19 pandemic which caused rapid pivoting to online instruction, and the removal of students, faculty, and staff from campuses amid campus closures during the 2019-20 academic year and continued through the 2020-21 academic cycle.  The immediate implementation of safety protocols, extensive and innovative adjustments to proven recruitment methods, as well as adjustments to historic methods of teaching became necessary to avoid disruption in the educational process. Bowdoin was no exception to the Covid-19 disruptions and protocols put in place to ensure the safety of the entire college community; therefore, Bowdoin is seeking an experienced admissions professional who is adept at managing rapid change, stays abreast of current trends in the higher education landscape, and can lead an experienced team of professionals through the sweeping demographic changes anticipated in the population of college-bound students through the next decade. Continuing to annually enroll a class of 500 students from diverse backgrounds who have the capacity to succeed academically, emotionally, and socially at Bowdoin will be a challenge for the new director of admissions, but it is also an opportunity that is deeply and personally understood, shared, and supported by Claudia Marroquin, a proud Bowdoin alumnus.  With her recent promotion to senior vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid,  Ms. Marroquin and the entire senior leadership team will provide not only their deep knowledge of the recruitment process at the institution, but also their unwavering support for the new director as they continue to face and conquer the recruiting challenges that institutions nationwide are encountering.

The director of admissions will be joining an Admissions team of individuals who are committed to ensuring that Bowdoin maintains its reputation as a highly selective and relevant liberal arts institution. The director will be expected to bring new and creative ideas to the team to increase efficiency in the process of annually reviewing over 9000 applications. Additionally, a clear understanding and appreciation of the diversity of the members of Bowdoin’s administration and faculty, as well as a commitment to ensuring that Bowdoin enrolls a diverse student body will be priorities for the director. Hiring, training, and managing a team of ten staff members, the director will be tasked with setting priorities and thinking strategically, while also diplomatically making decisions that are consistent with institutional priorities.

Institution & Location

Institutional Background

Bowdoin College was chartered on June 24, 1794, by the General Court in Boston, because Maine was until 1820 a part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The new college was endowed by the late governor’s son, James Bowdoin III, who was a diplomat, agriculturalist, and art collector, and by the Commonwealth, which supported higher education with grants of land and money, a practice established in the seventeenth century for Harvard and repeated in 1793 for Williams College.

In 1969, Roger Howell Jr. ’58 was inaugurated as president at the age of thirty-three. The youngest college president in the country, and a highly respected scholar in the field of seventeenth-century British history, Howell ushered in an era of rapid change. The turmoil of the Vietnam era was reflected in the student strike of 1970 and in early debate about the fraternity system. The decision in 1969 to make standardized tests optional for purposes of admission, the arrival of coeducation in 1971, an eventual increase in the size of the College to 1,400 students, and a concerted effort to recruit students in the arts and students of color all significantly altered the composition of the student body and began an impetus for curricular change that continued through the 1980s under the leadership of President A. LeRoy Greason.

During the Greason presidency, the College undertook to reform the curriculum, expand the arts program, encourage environmental study, diversify the faculty, and make the College more fully coeducational. By 1990, Bowdoin was nationally regarded as a small, highly selective liberal arts college with an enviable location in coastal Maine and a strong teaching faculty willing to give close personal attention to undergraduates.

Robert H. Edwards came to Bowdoin in 1990 as its thirteenth president. He reorganized the College administration, strengthened budgetary planning and controls, and developed processes for the discussion and resolution of key issues. In 1993–94, he presided over the College’s bicentennial celebration. A capital campaign, concluded in 1998, raised $135 million in additional endowment for faculty positions and scholarships and funds for an ambitious building program.

During the 1996–1997 academic year, the Board of Trustees established a Commission on Residential Life to review all aspects of residential life. The commission recommended, and the trustees unanimously approved, a new conception of residential life for Bowdoin based on a model of broad College House membership that includes all students. The new system also replaced the system of residential fraternities, which were phased out in May 2000. During the Edwards presidency, the enrollment of the College was expanded from 1,385 to approximately 1,600 students, and the College’s endowment grew from $175 million to approximately $500 million.

Bowdoin’s 200th academic year began with the inauguration of Barry Mills ’72 as the fourteenth president and the fifth alumnus to lead the College. Mills, who worked with the faculty to redefine a liberal arts education for the twenty-first century, led the first major curriculum reform at Bowdoin since the early 1980s. Under his leadership, the College also successfully recommitted itself to the goal of expanding ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic diversity among students and employees, and to building resources for financial aid. The student-faculty ratio was also reduced to 9:1. Meanwhile, the Bowdoin campus expanded significantly, with the acquisition of nearly 175 acres of developable land at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station. The arts were a major focus of the Mills administration, with a major expansion and renovation of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and a conversion of the former Curtis Pool building into the Studzinski Recital Hall and 280-seat Kanbar Auditorium. The College also acquired and converted the former Longfellow Elementary School into the new Robert H. and Blythe Bickel Edwards Center for Art and Dance. Student residential life was improved through the construction of new residence halls and the renovation of existing residential facilities. The College established the Joseph McKeen Center for the Common Good and built the Sidney J. Watson Arena and the Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness.

Bowdoin’s endowment nearly tripled in value during the Mills years, surpassing the $1 billion mark for the first time in June 2013. The College was also able to maintain its financial equilibrium during the economic downturn that began in 2008. That same year, the College announced that it would replace student loans with grants for all students receiving financial aid, beginning with the 2008–09 academic year. Mills also emphasized sustainability efforts at the College through the construction of “green” facilities and other conservation and sustainability efforts.

Clayton S. Rose was elected Bowdoin’s fifteenth president in January 2015 and began his duties on July 1, 2015. Throughout his presidency, Rose has articulated several ambitions for Bowdoin, beginning with the imperative to further enhance its position as an exceptional and deeply relevant liberal arts college, in part by determining and planning for the knowledge, skills, and creative disposition graduates will need for success a decade into the future and by underscoring the value of a liberal arts education in building rewarding careers and lives of meaning. Rose continues to promote the value and importance of the humanities in higher education while working to debunk the myth that the undergraduate major defines or limits a student’s career path. He has also moved to bolster the study and teaching of the environment at the College—with the opening of the LEED Platinum-certified Roux Center for the Environment (2018) and the ongoing expansion of the Schiller Coastal Studies Center in nearby Orr’s Island—by leveraging Bowdoin’s close proximity to the Gulf of Maine and Atlantic Ocean, and by working to raise awareness about the College’s leadership role in interdisciplinary environmental studies. Another area of focus is ensuring that Bowdoin continues to have the resources to offer comprehensive need-based financial aid, to maintain its “no-loan” policy, and to be able to expand the availability of financial aid for families in different income brackets. He has also focused on building and sustaining a more inclusive community across many dimensions of difference and identity. And, since his inauguration address in October 2015, Rose has consistently emphasized the critical need at the College for intellectual discourse and full engagement on tough issues through respectfully challenging deeply held views and by working to comprehend new and unfamiliar ideas and material.

For more information: https://www.bowdoin.edu/about/history-traditions/historical-sketch.html

Institutional Leadership

Clayton Rose, President

Clayton S. Rose, who was inaugurated as Bowdoin’s fifteenth president on October 17, 2015, has consistently underscored the value and essential importance of a liberal arts education for living lives of meaning, for thoughtful engagement in civic life, and for satisfaction and success in work.

Originally from San Rafael, California, Rose earned his undergraduate degree (1980) and MBA (1981) at the University of Chicago. In 2003, following a twenty-year leadership and management career in finance, he enrolled in the doctoral program in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania to study issues of race in America, earning his master’s degree in 2005 and his PhD with distinction in 2007.

Prior to his appointment as president of Bowdoin, Rose served on the faculty of the Harvard Business School, where he wrote and taught on moral leadership and ethics, among other topics. At Bowdoin, he has taught “The Moral Leader,” an interdisciplinary seminar for first-year students that considers the challenge of leadership through the reading and analysis of works of fiction and nonfiction.

Rose is a member of the board of trustees of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the nation’s largest private supporter of academic biomedical research. He is also a member of the board of directors of Bank of America.

His wife of thirty-six years, Julianne H. Rose, originally from Rosemont, Pennsylvania, earned her undergraduate degree in biology magna cum laude at Boston College and her MBA at the University of Chicago. Clayton and Julianne Rose have two sons. Julianne and Clayton Rose live on the Bowdoin campus with their Labrador retriever, Emmie.

For more information: https://www.bowdoin.edu/president/president-clayton-rose/index.html

Claudia Marroquin, Senior Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid

A 2006 graduate of Bowdoin and a first-generation college student, Marroquin will become the senior vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid on July 1, 2021. In this role she will oversee Bowdoin’s admissions program and a financial aid program that is distributing more than $43.6 million in need-based aid this year to more than half of the student body. In her work at Bowdoin, Marroquin has overseen the expansion of multicultural recruitment efforts, increased the College’s partnerships with community-based organizations across the US, and served on various working groups at Bowdoin to help support students. As a strong advocate for access, affordability, equity, and inclusion in admissions and across the College, she collaborated on efforts to ensure all students can thrive. She has worked directly with high school students through the College Horizons summer programs and through Bowdoin’s long partnership with QuestBridge.

Marroquin is originally from the Koreatown neighborhood in central Los Angeles, California, where she lived after immigrating to the United States from Guatemala with her mother and two sisters. She discovered Bowdoin through her association with the One Voice College Scholars Program, an organization that prepares and supports low-income students from Los Angeles who are seeking a college education. An art history major with a minor concentration in government and legal studies, Marroquin joined the Bowdoin admissions staff in 2010 as assistant dean following four years with EF Educational Tours in Boston. In 2012, she was named associate dean of admissions and director of multicultural recruitment, responsibilities she retained when she was named director of admissions in 2016. She completed the Harvard Institute’s Management Development Program and is currently working toward a master’s degree in higher education at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Organizational Chart

Benefits Overview

  • Medical Insurance
  • Dental Plan
  • Vision Insurance
  • Retirement Plans
  • Life Insurance
  • Long term disability
  • Short term disability
  • Flexible Spending Account

For more information: https://www.bowdoin.edu/hr/benefits-perks/index.html

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin May 21, 2021 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 Kendra E. Dane at ked@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

We are sensitive to how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting work and personal lives, and will offer the utmost flexibility throughout the interview process. The search committee expects to conduct initial interviews virtually for the safety and well-being of all involved. 

Visit the Bowdoin College website at Bowdoin.edu

Bowdoin College complies with applicable provisions of federal and state laws that prohibit unlawful discrimination in employment, admissions, or access to its educational or extracurricular programs, activities, or facilities based on race, color, ethnicity, ancestry and national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, age, marital status, place of birth, genetic predisposition, veteran status, or against qualified individuals with physical or mental disabilities on the basis of disability, or any other legally protected statuses.