Heidelberg University invites inquiries, nominations, and applications for the position of director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging. This experienced professional will support student organizations, coordinate student programs, develop training for the university, and promote best practices while providing leadership in this area.

Founded in 1850, Heidelberg University was started by members of the German Reformed Church to serve German immigrants in the region. The campus is as unique and honored as its nationally recognized academic programs. The collage of historic and contemporary architectural styles on the tree-lined campus reflects the diversity of students, faculty, and staff who value a strong liberal arts education coupled with unique professional development opportunities. This private university serving 1,186 undergraduate and graduate students located in Tiffin, Ohio, is 55 miles southeast of Toledo and within two hours’ driving time of Cleveland, Columbus, and Detroit.

The Position


Reporting to the dean of Student Affairs, the director for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging is responsible for developing and facilitating programs and services to build an inclusive campus; supporting the efforts for recruiting, retaining, and graduating diverse students; and improving awareness, respect, and appreciation of interculturalism to contribute to a positive campus climate. This position works collaboratively with various administrative and academic departments across the university community to promote programs and strategies that complement the overall experience of underrepresented students, enabling them to retain and graduate. The director will work collaboratively with all staff of the Student Affairs division and partner with other campus offices to support the overall student experience. They will serve as co-chair of the Heidelberg University Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, as well as the direct point person for students from underrepresented populations.

Other essential duties as outlined in the position description:

  • Provide direct developmental assistance to underrepresented individual students to foster their academic and social development, including connecting students with campus and community resources.
  • Continually assess the success of underrepresented students and the systems that serve them to implement future program improvements.
  • Collaborate with the director of Student Engagement to support and execute multicultural and diverse programming at Heidelberg University.
  • Provide direct programmatic assistance to student organizations that focus on the promotion of diversity, inclusion, and belonging (e.g., Black Student Union, Latinx Unidos, Berg Allies, Ubuntu House, World Student Union), which includes attending organization meetings, providing programming guidance, facilitating events, and assessing the effectiveness of programs.
  • Develop partnerships with area community programs that benefit the university and promote the university goal of a commitment to awareness of one’s cultures and sensitivity to and appreciation for other cultures.
  • Partner with academic units as needed to promote successful multicultural and diversity initiatives and programs.
  • Ensure compliance with federal and state laws related to student organizations’ rights and responsibilities, freedom of speech, and freedom of association, as well as all campus policies and protocols for risk management and safety.
  • Participate in developing marketing strategies to promote campus activities and maximize multicultural and diversity student initiatives.


The new director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging must understand best practices while being a thought leader capable of innovative and creative solutions. The emphasis on building a solid presence for the office will be a priority for the director as they focus on serving students.

Additional challenges and opportunities are as follows:

Advocate. The director will be a champion and advocate for students while motivating other staff to understand the purpose of that advocacy. They will promote policies and practices that uphold equality and a greater sense of belonging among the student population.

Change management. The director will be courageous in advancing new ideas, thinking outside the box, and pushing the campus to address challenges with creativity, newly designed systems, and futuristic thinking.

Collaboration. The director will forge significant partnerships with campus partners and all division staff through a defined strategic plan, training programs, programming initiatives, and student engagement.

Training. The director will be expected to be a content expert and coordinate training around diversity, equity, social justice, inclusion, and belonging.

Strategic planning. The director must demonstrate a leadership style that is credible, collegial, and highly effective. It is expected that the director will develop the strategic plan and direct the area focusing on students’ academic and personal success.

Trust and confidence of students. The director will be charged with relationship building with current students who desire a greater sense of belonging and inclusion. The director must promote a culture of accessibility, transparency, and accountability through policy, communication, and practice.

Leadership. The director will co-chair the Heidelberg University Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Experience in policy and practice development, specifically with identity-based communities, will be an asset to the director as they provide leadership to this group.


At an appropriate interval after joining Heidelberg University, the following will initially define success for the director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging:

  • The director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging is a visible and engaged leader throughout campus, building bridges between students and programs that serve them.
  • The director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging has assessed the impact of programs and services.
  • The director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging has analyzed, contributed to, and defined plans that are best practices for the division and the campus moving forward.
  • The director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging is an essential team leader and collaborator with staff and students working toward the achievement of institutional goals.
  • The director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging has expanded the professional development, training, and mentoring of staff on campus.


Shaun Gunnell served in this role from 2019 to 2021.


The successful candidate must possess a bachelor’s degree in a related field of study and three or more years of successful experience working with people from diverse backgrounds, specifically college-aged students. Preferred experience includes a master’s degree and two or more years of successful experience in the fields of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in a college, university, or comparable environment.
Strong candidates for the position will possess the following: ability to assess program needs and develop and coordinate new programming initiatives; demonstrated commitment to diversity in all its forms, including a track record of individual action and institutional programming; excellent written communication skills, and the ability to speak persuasively to a variety of audiences, including students, parents, faculty, and alumni; demonstrated leadership style that builds confidence in staff, promotes teamwork, enhances creativity and motivation, and builds consensus in a high-energy and high-task environment; tolerance for ambiguity and a willingness to manage diverse and frequently changing assignments, particularly the ability to do so with a positive attitude and a sense of humor in a high-task environment; ability to work independently with minimal supervision; ability to serve as a member of the campus on-call response team comprising of evening, night, and weekend on-call duty (rotational); and experience with budgetary and fiscal management of programming and organization funds and accounts.

Institution & Location


Christopher Abrams – Dean of Student Affairs

Dr. Abrams has 24 years of experience as a Student Affairs professional, 22 of them serving at small, private, liberal arts colleges and universities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Arkansas, and Utah. Before he arrived at Heidelberg, he served 13 years as the vice president of Student Development at Malone University. He has been active in the field of Student Affairs by presenting at multiple national and regional conferences as well as publishing articles and reviews in multiple journals. Dr. Abrams’ passion is for the holistic growth that takes place in students during their time in college. In particular, he loves working with first-generation college students, as he was one himself. He received his BA in communication arts from Malone University, his MA in education from Alfred University, and his EdD in higher education administration from the University of Arkansas. He enjoys golf, traveling, cheering on the Student Princes, making (and eating) homemade ice cream, and spending time with his family, which includes his wife, Melissa, and twin daughters, Faith and Hope.


Dr. Robert H. Huntington – President

Dr. Robert H. Huntington became the 14th president of Heidelberg University on July 1, 2009. Since his arrival, he has prioritized the strengthening of Heidelberg’s core student mission of educational excellence, full engagement, total success, four-year graduation, and preferred placement. Heidelberg has become more contemporary and relevant for students, sharpening its focus on the needs and priorities identified in the Academic Strategic Initiatives for Improvement Plan (ASIIP) and the Academic Strategic Programs Prioritization Plan (ASPPP). Approximately $100 million has been raised during the past decade, including through the highly successful Academic Comprehensive Campaign for Excellence (ACCE). Heidelberg continues to invest in new academic programs, faculty and staff, innovative teaching and learning, campus technology, and new or renovated facilities for academics, athletics, and residential living under his leadership.



“Heidelberg University is a community of learning that promotes and nurtures intellectual, personal, and professional development, leading to a life of purpose with distinction.”


“Heidelberg will be a welcoming, student-centered university where in-class and out-of-class learning is seamless and continuous. Both the undergraduate and graduate curriculums will effectively integrate liberal arts and professional preparation across disciplines to prepare our students to be global citizens who think critically, communicate effectively, and serve thoughtfully.”


“Heidelberg University, in the liberal arts tradition, educates persons who can act effectively and with integrity in a world of change. It cherishes academic excellence, honors knowledge, encourages original research, and promotes a lifelong commitment to free inquiry. Heidelberg is dedicated to being a diverse community that challenges students to understand their cultural heritage and the contemporary world, to explore frontiers of knowledge, and to develop powers of mind and spirit. In keeping with its historic affiliation with the United Church of Christ, students, faculty, staff, and the Board of Trustees work together to understand and respect diverse cultures, religions, and lifestyles. Heidelberg University develops individuals with high moral and ethical standards which are productive in their life’s work, engaged in their communities and responsible citizens of the world.”

Strategic Plan

At the forefront of Heidelberg’s Strategic Action Plan is its ongoing transformational $100 million Academic Comprehensive Campaign for Excellence (ACCE), which stands at more than $68.7 million. ACCE is the largest and most important fundraising initiative in Heidelberg’s history. It will continue to enable Heidelberg students to learn about their passions, careers, and lives by aligning the needs and priorities identified in the Academic Strategic Initiatives for Improvement Plan with future gifts. ACCE has allowed Heidelberg to create innovative academic programs such as the PlusOneAdvantage® Free MBA Program and improve infrastructure such as the enhanced Owen Academic & Career Support Center. Support for ACCE has allowed Heidelberg to launch its first three endowed faculty chairs, establish an endowment for faculty professional development, build student scholarships, and boost student service initiatives. These advancements will enable students to define their lives of purpose with distinction more successfully.

Informed by an ever-changing higher education marketplace and Heidelberg’s vision to transform the student learning and living experience, Heidelberg continues to execute the current Strategic Action Plan. At the same time, the president launched the Heidelberg University Strategic Growth Action Plan 2021-2025 by appointing a cross-functional Planning Steering Committee to set new Goals, Objectives, and Key Strategic Initiatives. Ultimately, Heidelberg’s national reputation will improve, and undergraduate enrollment will grow. Heidelberg is on the verge of achieving that success now.

For a detailed look at the strategic plan, visit:




  • 1054 undergraduate students
  • 132 graduate students
  • 52% men; 48% women
  • International students and domestic students of color: 20%
  • Students from 30 states
  • Students living on campus: 84%
  • Student organizations: 70+
  • Students involved in extra-curricular activities: 92%
  • Eight residence halls with various styles – traditional, suite, pods, apartments.
  • Two residence apartment buildings
  • Varsity athletic teams: 20
  • Ohio Athletic Conference (founded in 1902)
  • NCAA Division III
  • Intramural Sports: 15
  • Students involved in either varsity athletics or intramurals: more than 60%

Benefits Overview

Benefits at Heidelberg University include the following:

• Health benefits and wellness program
• Long-term disability and long-term care insurance
• Life insurance
• Voluntary vision, dental, and supplemental programs
• Pre-tax benefit plans
• Retirement
• Employee tuition remission benefit
• Spouse and partner/significant other tuition remission benefit
• Dependent children tuition remission benefit
• Tuition exchange programs
• Flexible working hours and overtime

Application & Nomination

The 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 Laura Puckett-Boler at lpb@spelmanjohnson.com Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Heidelberg University website at heidelberg.edu 

 Heidelberg University is a student-focused community with a commitment to the achievement of diversity among its faculty, staff, and students. Preferred candidates value, demonstrate, and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

 Heidelberg University is a student-focused community with a commitment to the achievement of diversity among its faculty, staff, and students. Individuals who value, demonstrate, and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion are preferred candidates for Heidelberg’s vacant positions. Additionally, we are seeking faculty and staff members who are interested in positively contributing to vital University initiatives in student recruitment, engagement, retention, success, persistence, graduation and placement.