The Opportunity

Cornell University, a private institution founded in 1865, is a picturesque campus in Ithaca, New York with an undergraduate enrollment of 15,503. Cornell University is the federal land-grant institution of New York State, a privately endowed university, a member of the Ivy League, and a partner of the State University of New York. It has been described as the first truly American university because of its founders’ revolutionarily egalitarian and practical vision of higher education. Cornell University is located in the heart of New York’s rural Finger Lakes region and is dedicated to its land-grant mission of outreach and public service. Ithaca has been named one of the top 100 places to live, a top 10 recreation city, a best green place to live, and one of America’s “foodiest” towns.


The Position

Role of the Executive Director, Cornell Career Services 

Reporting to the vice president for student and campus life (SCL), the executive director of Cornell Career Services (CCS) builds strategic vision and programmatic oversight for the function of career readiness for the Ithaca campus. The executive director leads CCS to provide broad guidance to all undergraduate college/school-based career units and the graduate school through mutually accountable relationships. The department will enhance, align, and optimize employer engagement activities, alumni relations, and student coaching across industries and disciplines. Simultaneously, the executive director leads efforts to create a structure that promotes equity in and access to, quality career-related support and resources for all Cornell students with a student-centered approach and a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The executive director must be a prominent member of the university community, working collaboratively and creatively with the entire campus to bring a unified vision and sense of cohesion to the career experience at Cornell. 

The executive director will provide oversight for all administration, technology platforms, policies, communication strategies, a $2.3M budget, and a staff of approximately 20 within the department of Cornell Career Services. The executive director is responsible for leading career services to strengthen employer relationships, connect to Cornell’s vast alumni network, and prepare students for long-term career success. CCS complements and supports the career advising offices in the colleges/schools by providing overarching technology platforms and advising on trends and innovative practices in career readiness. As a critical divisional leader, the executive director will contribute significantly to SCL’s focus on an evolving and integrated student experience in a highly complex and decentralized institution.

Additionally, the executive director of Cornell Career Services will: 

  • Establish Cornell Career Services as the University representative to employers, building and sustaining relationships to maximize efforts and hiring strategies with Cornell students and recent alumni. 
  • Provide high-level leadership for the design and operation of the existing technology and connection platforms such as Handshake and CUeLINKS, and work to source additional tools as needed.
  • Serve as a highly visible and accessible student affairs administrator, responsible for designing and delivering communication to internal (current and prospective students, boards, committees, alumni groups, families, professional organizations, campus colleagues, etc.) and external audiences.
  • Build a culture of trust, collaboration, and partnership to advance students’ career readiness and prestigious fellowships with a lens toward equity and access.
  • Serve on university committees and task forces on an as-needed basis and other duties to support the University’s mission. Including, but not limited to, Ivy+ Directors Group, University Student Services Leaders, Post-Grad Survey Committee, and the pre-professional student organization working group.

History of the Position 

The last executive director was in the role for eighteen years before retiring in December of 2020. Cornell decided to utilize interim leadership during the height of the pandemic, and the interim executive director will remain in place during the national search until a new executive director is in place. 

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

The new executive director of Cornell Career Services joins the University at a pivotal time. The institution is poised to usher in innovative career development and support and amplify strategic partnerships with employers and alumni. The blend of a centralized program  as well as augmented and specialized support within colleges and schools allows a visionary and strategic leader to leverage broad and deep support to facilitate the long-term career success for all Cornell students. An analysis of career services across the enterprise revealed opportunities to streamline and optimize efforts and establish CCS as a strategic advantage for Cornell. To that end the new executive director will:

  • Lead institutional efforts to elevate the function of career services at Cornell and build a unified vision and aligned implementation plan (including staffing, systems, resources, location, and programs) to maximize the student experience and outcomes.
  • Cultivate employer relationships to invigorate existing partnerships and grow new connections to strengthen the Cornell career network and expand in developing sectors such as public good, entrepreneurship, etc.
  • Provide students with a robust career framework to tie academics, co-curricular activities, and career exploration together to focus their entire experience toward a career path.
  • Strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion practices for historically underrepresented students, including, but not limited to, efforts to strengthen access to the network.
  • Collaborate with alumni relations/development partners to leverage engaged alumni and build deeper connections with recent alumni to establish a lifecycle of support.
  • Ensure parity and equity in quality of delivery amongst colleges and across the enterprise, including closing gaps in the growing masters (MS) student population and international students, which comprise a significant portion of the student population.
  • Influence the optimal mix of support to achieve desired outcomes; establish and communicate clear roles and responsibilities between the central office and academic colleges establishing mutual accountability.
  • Re-engage and empower students, utilizing a developmental mindset to facilitate ownership and autonomy in developing career readiness.

Measures of Success

At an interval deemed appropriate by the vice president of student and campus life, the following will be established by the executive director:

  • Comprehensive program assessment is in place and is informing continuous improvement–where response rates to surveys are consistent amongst student identities; student satisfaction rates are constant between domestic and international students; measures reflect positive student perspectives and outcomes, equity and inclusion in services, and there is recognition from stakeholders that CCS is a high-quality career program.
  • Strong recruiting partnerships, employers are pleased with students’ preparation and performance; improvements in quantity and quality channels for career opportunities with a variety of new and different employers are reaching out and serving more students.
  • Prevailing career development practices are in place, CCS keeps abreast of trends, and anticipated innovations are proactively planned; Cornell is recognized as an industry leader in career readiness.
  • Students, employers, and alumni enjoy increased efficacy and optimization of technology and connection platforms.
  • Visible, coherent, and clear brand identity, as an asset and strategic advantage, exists for career support at Cornell; the community has clarity regarding responsibilities within the career ecosystem resulting in increased stakeholder awareness and utilization of services. 
  • Intentional and strategic collaborations across campus provide a seamless, equitable, and integrated student experience resulting in CCS as a distinctive institutional element.


Qualifications and Characteristics

A master’s degree in a related field and progressively responsible experience in leading and managing organizations is required. Candidates must possess substantial experience leading career readiness efforts and engaging employers with a demonstrated track record of advancing diversity and enhancing equity and inclusive access. The successful candidate will demonstrate a capacity to communicate broadly across audiences, cultivate and sustain collegial relationships, and build unity. Flexibility, resiliency, and the creativity to thrive and manage change in a large, complex, and highly decentralized environment will be important in this role. The ideal candidate will demonstrate experience with outcomes-based assessment; technology platform evaluation and implementation; and budget development and fiscal management. Experience in student affairs and higher education is strongly preferred.     

Characteristics of the Successful Candidate

  • Be an exceptional leader with demonstrated ability to build strategic alliances, understand a nuanced structure, and discern how to advance CCS to cultivate employer and alumni relationships; deploy optimized career support via direct and indirect leadership within a highly complex and decentralized university.
  • Possess a sophisticated understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion within a complex institution and be able to lead efforts to strengthen equity-minded practices that address growth opportunities for a diverse student demographic.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of international students, who comprise a significant portion of Cornell’s student body, career challenges. 
  • Exhibit proactive and extraordinary collaboration amongst a myriad of stakeholders, with a demonstrated ability to manage a large team to execute large-scale, innovative, and strategic change that is empowering and student-centered.
  • Embrace data and technology to capitalize, optimize, and strengthen adoption of available career support platforms and collect and utilize resulting data.  

Institution & Location

Overview of the Division of Student and Campus Life

Cornell is home to the very best and world-renowned faculty, passionate students, dedicated staff, and numerous resources for students to make their experience uniquely their own. Students are empowered to use imagination, creativity, and the process of trial and error to create an individualized educational experience. The Division of Student and Campus Life provides programs and opportunities that inspire students’ journey and transformation. The Division of Student and Campus Life promotes the well-being of the entire student community through Cornell Health’s holistic wellness approach as well as athletics, intramural sports, physical education courses, and recreation. They division fosters community on campus through residential programs, cheering on varsity sports teams, and bringing people together in many dining establishments.

Whether students are looking for leadership and volunteer opportunities through campus and community engagement, trying to determine and plan for their career with Cornell career services, or need support in identity development with the dean of students, the Division of Student and Campus Life has the resources required.

Leadership of the Division of Student and Campus Life

Dr. Ryan Lombardi – Vice President for Student and Campus Life

Dr. Ryan Lombardi serves as the vice president for Student and campus life at Cornell University. The Division of Student and Campus Life provides a broad array of programs and services designed to support students and the campus community, including athletics and physical education, dean of students office, campus and community engagement, Cornell health, campus life enterprise services, the Einhorn center for community engagement as well as Cornell career services. The Division is comprised of over 1,200 full-time staff and has an annual operating budget of over $351 million.

Ryan received an undergraduate degree in music education from West Chester University, a master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Kansas, and a doctorate in higher education administration from North Carolina State University. Prior to joining Cornell in 2015, Ryan was the vice president for student affairs  at Ohio University.

Organizational Chart for the Division of Student and Campus Life


Cornell Career Services

Cornell Career Services provides a comprehensive suite of career development opportunities. CCS offered over 260 educational programs attended by 13K+ students, advised over 5500 students on topics ranging from career planning to mock interviews, organized three major career fairs, and facilitated numerous employer presentations and interviews. Additionally, CCS provides support for students involved in prestigious scholarship applications.


“We empower students to identify their strengths, interests, and values; discover and explore possibilities; gain experience; and develop strategies for pursuing diverse career paths and managing career decisions. We offer an array of career-development activities that inspire students to gain confidence and establish a foundation upon which to build their careers over a lifetime.”

Desired Impacts

  • Students will be able to name their strengths (skills and abilities) and communicate with confidence about them.
  • Students will learn to make connections with others who can assist them with their career development and advancement.
  • Students will develop an awareness of, and ability to, manage the career-development process as presented in our model.
  • Students will leave meetings with us knowing two things they can do next to advance their career goals.

View the post graduate survey.

Institutional Overview

Institutional History

Cornell University is a private Ivy League and statutory land-grant research university based in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, Cornell was founded with the intention to teach and make contributions in all fields of knowledge—from the classics to the sciences, and from the theoretical to the applied. These ideals, unconventional for the time, are captured in Cornell’s founding principle, a popular 1868 quotation from founder Ezra Cornell: “I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.”

The university is organized into seven undergraduate colleges and seven graduate divisions at its main Ithaca campus, with each college and division defining its specific admission standards and academic programs in near autonomy. The university also administers two satellite campuses, one in New York City and one in Education City, Qatar.

Cornell is one of the few private land-grant universities in the United States. Of its seven undergraduate colleges, three are state-supported statutory or contract colleges through the State University of New York (SUNY) system, including its agricultural and human ecology colleges as well as its industrial labor relations school. Of Cornell’s graduate schools, only the veterinary college is state-supported. As a land- grant college, Cornell operates a cooperative extension outreach program in every county of New York and receives annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions.  The main campus in Ithaca, New York spans 745 acres (more than 4,300 acres when the Cornell Botanic Gardens and the numerous university-owned lands in New York City are considered).


Mission, Vision and Values

University Mission

Learning. Discovery. Engagement.

Cornell is a private, Ivy League university and the land-grant university for New York state. Cornell’s mission is to discover, preserve and disseminate knowledge, to educate the next generation of global citizens, and to promote a culture of broad inquiry throughout and beyond the Cornell community. Cornell also aims, through public service, to enhance the lives and livelihoods of students, the people of New York and others around the world.

University Vision

Cornell aspires to be the exemplary comprehensive research university for the 21st century. Faculty, staff and students thrive at Cornell because of its unparalleled combination of quality and breadth; its open, collaborative and innovative culture; its founding commitment to diversity and inclusion; its vibrant rural and urban campuses; and its land-grant legacy of public engagement.

University Core Values

Purposeful Discovery

We value the process of discovery through learning, teaching, scholarship, and innovation to advance the University’s mission, in all cases striving with integrity for excellence and purpose. The search for, and the dissemination of, knowledge are tightly linked: as A. D. White noted, “The power of discovering truth and the power of imparting it are almost invariably found together.”

Free and Open Inquiry and Expression

We are a community whose very purpose is the pursuit of knowledge. We value free and open inquiry and expression—tenets that underlie academic freedom—even of ideas some may consider wrong or offensive. Inherent in this commitment is the corollary freedom to engage in reasoned opposition to messages to which one objects.

A Community of Belonging

As a university founded to be a place where “…any person can find instruction…,” we value diversity and inclusion, and we strive to be a welcoming, caring, and equitable community where students, faculty, and staff with different backgrounds, perspectives, abilities, and experiences can learn, innovate, and work in an environment of respect, and feel empowered to engage in any community conversation.

Exploration Across Boundaries

Ezra Cornell embraced a vision that we would be a place to “…find instruction in any study.” To that end, we value the importance of all academic disciplines and celebrate the power of connections among them.

Changing Lives Through Public Engagement

As the land-grant institution of New York, with our main campus within the ancestral homelands of the Cayuga Nation and a long history of national and international connections, we value engagement in our community, our state, and the broader world, learning about their needs and strengths, and applying the knowledge we create for the benefit of society.

Respect for the Natural Environment

We value our role in advancing solutions for a sustainable future and we recognize the close relationship between people and the Earth, acting in ways to live and work sustainably.

Cornell University Presidential Initiatives & Priorities



Dr. Martha E. Pollack – President

Martha E. Pollack is the fourteenth president of Cornell University and professor of computer science, information science, and linguistics. She took office on April 17, 2017.

As the only land-grant university in the Ivy League, Cornell combines the highest standards of teaching and research with a public mission to discover, preserve and disseminate knowledge. President Pollack is committed to building upon Cornell’s academic distinction and unique strengths, investing in the creativity and experience of our exceptional faculty while also enhancing our culture of “educational verve” through new, evidence-based approaches to teaching and learning. She sees Cornell’s foundational commitment to diversity and equity as central to our identity and success and has engaged the entire university in the work of building an open, inclusive community whose members communicate effectively across difference. In her leadership of Cornell’s many units and campuses, she works to cultivate productive and meaningful synergies across disciplines and geographies, realizing a vision of “One Cornell” that capitalizes on the complementary strengths of our urban and rural identities.

An expert in artificial intelligence with a research focus on natural-language processing, automated planning, and the design of assistive technology for people with cognitive impairment, President Pollack earned a bachelor’s degree in linguistics at Dartmouth College and an MS and PhD in computer and information science at the University of Pennsylvania. She was previously provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan, where she was also professor of computer science and information.


Dr. Michael I. Kotlikoff – Provost

Michael I. Kotlikoff, professor of molecular physiology, became the 16th provost of Cornell on August 1, 2015. As the university’s chief academic officer, chief budgeting officer, and first deputy officer to the president, he works to enhance the university’s excellence in teaching, scholarship and outreach.

His signature initiative, Radical Collaboration, recruits faculty and supports infrastructure in seven key multidisciplinary areas: nanoscale science and microsystems engineering, genome biology, data science, sustainability, digital agriculture, infection biology, and the critical inquiry into values, imagination and culture (CIVIC). Kotlikoff has also initiated efforts to invest in academic and student housing facilities, re-evaluate curricula and implement effective academic technologies, as well as developing policies to facilitate greater faculty diversity and dual career hiring across the colleges.

Kotlikoff was previously the Austin O. Hooey Dean of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell (2007–2015). He enhanced programs in education, animal health care and research, and launched an $87 million capital project to upgrade infrastructure and teaching facilities and enable an increase in the pre-clinical class size. Prior to becoming dean, he was founding chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and chair of the Mammalian Genomics Life Science Initiative.

Kotlikoff’s research laboratory, continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for over 30 years, including during his tenure as dean and provost, is internationally recognized in the area of cardiovascular biology and heart repair.

Kotlikoff received his BA (literature) and VMD degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and his PhD in physiology from the University of California, Davis.

Organizational Chart for the President and Cabinet


Academic Programs, Faculty and Staff

Sixteen colleges and schools: nine undergraduate units and four graduate and professional units in Ithaca, two medical graduate and professional units in New York City, and one in Doha, Qatar.

  • Faculty 1,695
  • Academic Professionals 1,129
  • Staff 7,420


The Student Body

Student Enrollment, Fall 2021

  • Undergraduate 15,503
  • Graduate 7,101
  • Professional 2,978
  • Total University 25,582

Student Gender, Ethnicity, and Citizenship, Fall 2021

Female Male Minority International
Undergraduate 54%  46% 49% 10%
Graduate 49% 51% 21% 50%
Professional 49% 51% 25% 37%

Student Region of Origin, Fall 2021

  • New York State 30%
  • Middle States 11%
  • New England 6%
  • Midwest 5%
  • South 7%
  • Southwest 3%
  • West 10%
  • Territories <1%
  • USA, unknown 2%
  • International 24%


About Ithaca, New York

Ithaca is a city and college town in the Finger Lakes region of New York, United States. It is the seat of Tompkins County and the largest community in the Ithaca–Tompkins County metropolitan area. Ithaca is situated on the southern shore of Cayuga Lake, in Central New York. It is named after the Greek island of Ithaca.

Ithaca is home to Cornell University and Ithaca College. Nearby is Tompkins Cortland Community College. These three colleges bring thousands of students to the area. As of 2020, the city’s population was 32,108.,_New_York

Benefits Overview

Application & Nomination

Application and Nomination

Review of applications will begin May 26, 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 Kara Kravetz Cupoli at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email

 Visit the Cornell University website at

 Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities. We also recognize a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations.

 Cornell University embraces diversity and seeks candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports students, faculty, and staff of all identities and backgrounds. We strongly encourage individuals from underrepresented and/or marginalized identities to apply.