Duluth, the fourth-largest city in Minnesota, is located on the north shore of Lake Superior. With a population of approximately 85,000, Duluth has been rated by Money magazine as one of the top four Midwestern small cities, based on livability; and Outside magazine named Duluth the #1 outdoor town in America. The Duluth metropolitan area consists of a bustling population of approximately 276,000. Duluth has more than 11,000 acres of park space, where citizens can rock climb, walk, ski, bike, kayak, hike, golf, fish, rollerblade, and view wildlife—all within city limits. Major industries in Duluth include world-class health care, education, shipping, aviation, technology, and tourism. Duluth supports a vibrant arts and culture scene with a symphony, ballet, plays, children’s theater, sports, history, and many outdoor recreational opportunities. For more information, visit http://www.visitduluth.com/, http://www.duluthmn.gov/, or http://www.perfectduluthday.com.

The Position

Position Description

Reporting to the associate vice chancellor for student life and serving as a key leader in the Division of Student Life, the director of dining services provides innovative, strategic, and comprehensive leadership for an extensive self-operated dining program that comprises three units: board, retail, and catering. The director oversees a broad portfolio of responsibilities, providing an overall vision, developing a budget, and managing personnel functions. The director executes the strategic plan, administers fiscal management, and leads a team that provides oversight of food preparation and services, nutrition and food sensitivities, compliance with safety and sanitation regulations, staff supervision and training, development of customer service standards, policies and procedures, and the support of sustainability and local-foods programs. Additionally, the director fosters strong, collaborative relationships with campus partners, including the Kirby Student Center, Housing & Residence Life, Intercollegiate Athletics, Admissions, and the Office of Sustainability; leads and implements a new marketing and branding effort across all dining units; will create a comprehensive plan to more fully accommodate students with food sensitivities and allergies; and will oversee the renovation and construction of multiple innovative, cutting-edge dining opportunities to enhance the student experience. The director manages an annual operating budget with revenues of $13 million, and supervises a high-performing management team of 15, nearly 50 staff, and approximately 250 student employees.

Required Qualifications

A bachelor’s degree and a minimum of 12 years of progressive professional experience in a food service/hospitality setting are required. Further requirements include demonstrated experience supervising and training a staff of full-time and part-time employees; demonstrated experience engaging with and empowering staff to support the missions of the department; administrative ability and proven commitment to employee/team development; demonstrated knowledge of profit and loss accountability; and proven ability to support the university’s commitment to equity and diversity, as demonstrated in the candidate’s personal diversity philosophy statement (to be included in cover letter—see below).

Preferred Qualifications

A bachelor’s or master’s degree in hospitality management, food service management, business administration, culinary arts, dietetics, or related field is preferred. Additional preferred qualifications include a familiarity with multiple phases of food service such as purchasing, preparation, production, merchandising, customer service, catering, and inventory control; ServSafe® certification, and familiarity with food service software programs (e.g., Cbord); five or more years of experience in a college or university setting; and experience with bargaining union staff. Candidates should have a vision for creative and successful campus community dining systems and possess a commitment to maintaining self-operated facilities in a team-supported environment. To be successful in this fast-paced work environment, candidates should be energetic, organized, capable of handling details effectively, and possess strong interpersonal, communication, and team skills.

Likely Opportunities, Priorities, and Challenges of the Position

The University of Minnesota Duluth has a strong history of providing stellar service to students within dining services. This measure of excellence requires attention to detail and forward thinking. A strong passion for dining services, the ability to show interest in all aspects of a complex portfolio, and a comprehensive understanding of the changing dining and food-related needs of students are necessary for the candidate to be successful in this position. UMD is consistently evaluating its offerings to students and expects a nimble and creative approach to providing the best possible student experience. Some likely opportunities, priorities, and challenges of the position include the following:

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion are important parts of the UMD community, and the director should be a leader in supporting, understanding, embracing, and nurturing these concepts. There are a number of underrepresented populations within the university and the department needs to be a model for maintaining a strong sense of equity and an unbiased working environment.
  • Sustainability and local food sources and options are embedded in the value system of UMD, and the new director should be committed to these priorities in all aspects of dining services. UMD’s own University Farm provides an innovative partnership with Dining Services that links operations and academics, mutually benefitting both campus and the surrounding community, while also exposing students to experiential education opportunities in sustainability and global ecology.
  • Bargaining union employees make up a large part of the work force in dining services, and proficiency working directly with union staff will be extremely helpful for the new director. Experience being creative within the confines of the union contracts, and understanding how to work within them will contribute greatly to the director’s success.
  • Dining Services at UMD is proudly an independent self-operation and is not contracted out to a third-party entity, so the opportunity to be inherently creative, innovative, and responsive is widely available to the director.
  • The new director will need to quickly initiate the process of building rapport with the members of the department, the Division of Student Life, various partners and colleagues throughout campus, and external collaborators (e.g., camps and conferences). The director will need to be intentional in conducting a “listening” tour to foster open communication, increased transparency, opportunities for feedback, and stakeholder involvement. Relationships and collaboration are essential for success on the UMD campus, with an interconnectedness that makes the campus feel much smaller than it is, so the director should work diligently from day one to develop and promote these partnerships.

Additionally, campus stakeholders identified the following as desired skills and abilities in the new director, as well as other potential opportunities, priorities, and challenges:

  • diverse experience in any number of institutional food service operations, on a college campus and/or a corporate setting, as well as some culinary experience (e.g., executive chef, sous-chef, etc.) are highly desirable;
  • administrative and managerial experience at progressive levels in a food service setting, with the ability to plan strategically and operationally;
  • demonstrated high-level communication skills, which will empower the director to be able to tell the story of dining services across campus;
  • strategic team-building skills and the ability to mentor, develop and promote professional and student staff at all levels through positivity and inspired leadership;
  • well-versed on trends, innovations, and current best practices in the food service industry, demonstrated successes in implementing these concepts;
  • able to manage change effectively by integrating any new ideas with those concepts already working effectively at UMD;
  • someone who considers the work in dining services from the student and customer service mindsets, and not solely from the bottom line perspective;
  • experience in constructing new facilities, as well as renovating existing facilities;
  • strong interpersonal skills and the ability to promote camaraderie among colleagues and staff;
  • a recognition of the uniqueness of the residential experience and the critical role that dining services plays not only in the satisfaction level, but also the retention of students;
  • prioritize listening to students and hearing their desires and needs, even when those requests are unreasonable or unattainable;
  • comprehensive understanding of the needs of students from a myriad of ethnic and multicultural backgrounds, as well as lifestyle choices related to food (i.e., vegetarian, vegan, kosher, etc.), and a commitment to providing appropriate choices to these students;
  • an understanding of food allergies and other food-related circumstances requiring special attention;
  • flexibility, patience, and the ability to make quick decisions when necessary;
  • strong budgeting skills and financial acumen, with special attention to affordability and cost-effectiveness for students;
  • an adept listener;
  • able to recognize the strengths of the current members of the team and utilize these skills for the benefit of the entire department.

Organizational Structure of the Student Life Division

Organizational Structure of the Dining Services Department

History of the Position

The current UMD Dining Director position was created in the spring of 2012, after the reorganization/merger of Auxiliary Services and Student Life. Two individuals have held the position since then, with the current director retiring on July 6, 2018. The retiring director has worked with Dining Services for 34 years in various roles.

Institution & Location

Institutional Background

The University of Minnesota Duluth campus grew from its early roots as the Duluth Normal School, to become a University of Minnesota campus in 1947. Today, UMD is a medium-sized regional university that offers students a supportive atmosphere and access to the resources of the larger University of Minnesota system. UMD students can choose from more than 93 undergraduate and post-baccalaureate degrees, and from graduate programs in more than 20 different fields. Our stellar teaching and research have earned the University of Minnesota Duluth high rankings in U.S. News & World Report‘s “America’s Best Colleges” issue.

UMD’s Mission

The University of Minnesota Duluth integrates liberal education, research, creative activity, and public engagement and prepares students to thrive as lifelong learners and globally engaged citizens.

UMD’s Vision

By 2022, UMD will have a focused identity that appropriately demonstrates the university’s distinctive strengths and makes clear the university’s high research achievements not common among our peers. UMD will tell our story which will evolve beyond being a “regional comprehensive university” to establishing a purpose and framework for propelling the institution forward and enhancing its regional and even international reputation and presence.

UMD will be innovative in pursuing a dynamic future that allows the university to successfully confront evolving challenges and opportunities. UMD will develop an array of undergraduate and graduate academic programs that capitalize on our excellence and impact, as well as our scholarly strengths and external partnerships.

UMD will balance its investment in facilities, programs, and people with a need to keep higher education accessible and affordable. In this way UMD will serve as a platform for success and achievement beyond graduation for students from all walks of life. By accomplishing this vision UMD assures that Minnesota has the best talent to meet our future economic, environmental, and social challenges.

UMD’s Core Values

Preface: UMD is a community of learners and scholars that promotes student success, provides an enriching experience, and is committed to core values that shape the university and its purpose.

  • Learning. We analyze, solve problems, improve processes, and develop new ways of creating, working, and being.
  • Discovery. We discover, create, and share knowledge.
  • Engagement. We actively collaborate with each other and the larger community to identify and achieve common goals.
  • Inclusiveness. We respect and embrace the diversity of individuals, perspectives, and ideas and promote social justice.
  • Sustainability. We balance current environmental, economic, and social needs with those of future generations.
  • Innovation. We are an evidence-based and forward-thinking institution that is capable of adjusting to changing demands on the university.
  • Integrity. We adhere to the highest ethical standards and take responsibility for our ideas and actions.
  • Excellence. We achieve excellence through creativity, continuous improvement, and innovation.

For more information about UMD: http://d.umn.edu/about-umd/umd-facts

Dr. Lendley C. Black, Chancellor

Dr. Lendley C. (Lynn) Black began his tenure as Chancellor of the University of Minnesota Duluth in August 2010. In addition to serving as Chancellor, he is a proud UMD theatre professor, where he is able to interact with students, lecture to theatre classes, and contribute to creative projects.

Chancellor Black led the creation of UMD’s comprehensive strategic plan including dedicated focus to fostering a more inclusive campus climate. In 2011, the University of Minnesota presented UMD with the Outstanding Unit Award for Equity and Diversity. Because he values a wide range of opinions, he routinely engages in open dialogue with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members about issues facing higher education, UMD, and the Northland.

Chancellor Black has strengthened relationships with neighborhood groups adjacent to the UMD campus and increased UMD’s active engagement with Duluth community organizations, city, county, and state governments, businesses, industry, and alumni. Under his administration, private yearly contributions to UMD increased from $5 million in fiscal year 2011 to a yearly average of $9.9 million.

As a tenacious supporter of Bulldog Athletics, he can often be found in the stands or on the sidelines watching UMD students compete. He has chaired the Board of Directors for both the National Collegiate Hockey Conference and the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

He is a strong advocate for multicultural students, American Indian students, and LGBTQ students, and regularly attends events sponsored by numerous student groups. He has presented at the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education annual meeting, and was a featured speaker at the first University of Tennessee Diversity Summit. He is also a regular speaker at various meetings, events, and celebrations in Duluth.

Chancellor Black is an active member of the President’s Senior Leadership Team and the System Council of the University of Minnesota. He was a member of the search committee for a new University of Minnesota Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost and the search committee for a new University of Minnesota General Council. He co-chaired the search committee for the new Vice President for Equity and Diversity. He has served on the President’s Campaign Council and several other system-wide committees.

Chancellor Black serves on the Committee on Policies and Purposes of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). He is a member of the Council of Presidents and Chancellors for AASCU and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, and he has served on the American Council on Education’s Commission on Internationalization and Global Engagement. He has chaired the Professional Advisory Board of the University of Kansas Department of Theatre and has received the department’s Alumni Honor Citation.

Chancellor Black was a tenured professor and administrator at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia, where he served as Vice President for Academic Affairs from 2002 until he was promoted in 2006 to Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, a position held until he came to UMD in 2010. In addition to serving as KSU Chief Academic Officer, he held several leadership roles in the civic and business communities of metropolitan Atlanta. He led the academic transition of KSU as a doctoral granting university, significantly increasing the number of faculty members, and enhancing KSU achievements in diversity and internationalization.

Before his appointment as Vice President at Kennesaw State University, Chancellor Black was a tenured professor and held several senior administrative positions at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas, including service as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from 1993–2002.

He earned his B.A. degree in English from the University of Tennessee Martin, his M.A. in theatre from the University of Connecticut, and his Ph.D. in theatre from the University of Kansas. Chancellor Black’s research interests are in Russian theatre and drama, and he authored a book titled, Michael Chekhov as Actor, Director, and Teacher. He has continued to direct and perform in university theatre productions throughout his administrative career.

Despite his love of theatre, his favorite role is devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He and his wife, Connie, have three adult children – Liz, Nick, and Chris – and four grandchildren: Sarah, Max, Henry, and Emma.

Lisa Erwin, Vice Chancellor for Student Life and Dean of Students

Dr. Lisa Erwin became UMD’s Vice Chancellor for Student Life in August of 2011. Many years before, she started her long career working with college students as a Resident Assistant during her undergraduate days at Indiana University. Over the years in between, Dr. Erwin has held positions in many areas of student affairs, most recently before UMD as the Vice President for Student Development and Enrollment Management at Bemidji State University.

Dr. Erwin studied Economics as an undergraduate at IU. She holds a Ph.D. in Counseling and Student Development from Kansas State University and a Master of Science in Counseling with an emphasis in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Fort Hays State University (Kansas). She earned a Certificate in Student Affairs Law and Policy from the Stetson University College of Law and NASPA. Active in professional organizations, Dr. Erwin was recognized in 2016 as a Pillar of the Profession by NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. She is currently a member of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) Council on Student Affairs Executive Committee.

Dr. Erwin is passionate about working with college students and fiercely proud to be a UMD Bulldog! She is deeply committed to students and their academic and personal success. Her time at work is spent in supporting students and her staff around the student engagement themes identified in the Student Life mission statement: learning, wellbeing, and cultural competence.

Benefits Overview

The university offers employees outstanding comprehensive benefits, including competitive pay, medical and dental plans, life insurance, disability coverage, retirement savings plans, flexible spending accounts, tuition benefits, and an award-winning Wellbeing Program—to name just a few.

Learn more about UMD’s benefits: https://humanresources.umn.edu/benefits

Application & Nomination

Application and Nomination
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 may be emailed to J. Scott Derrick at jsd@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.
Applicants should submit a cover letter and current resume. The cover letter must include the candidate’s diversity philosophy statement (1-2 paragraphs), detailing the candidate’s personal philosophy on affirmative action, equal opportunity, and diversity. Finalists will be asked to provide up to five professional references.

Visit the UMD website at http://d.umn.edu/

University of Minnesota Duluth’s Equal Opportunity Statement

Smoking is prohibited on all UMD property. The smoking ban includes indoor facilities and the campus grounds, as well as all university vehicles. As of July 1, 2014, UMD extended its no smoking policy to include a ban on the use of commercial tobacco products and electronic cigarettes on all university property.

The university recognizes and values the importance of diversity and inclusion in enriching the employment experience of its employees and in supporting the academic mission. The university is committed to attracting and retaining employees with varying identities and backgrounds. The University of Minnesota provides equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. To learn more about diversity at the university, go to http://diversity.umn.edu.