The Opportunity

Kennesaw State University (KSU) invites inquiries, nominations, and applications for the director of learning and improvement for the Division of Student Affairs. A leader in innovative teaching and learning, KSU is one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country, offering more than 150 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees to its more than 42,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, KSU is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties, entrepreneurial spirit, and Division I athletics draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe.

The Position

Role of the Position 

Reporting to the vice president for student affairs, the director of learning and improvement provides leadership for creating, implementing, and continually improving the Division of Student Affairs (DSA) comprehensive assessment plan, focusing on student engagement and the continual improvement of divisional efforts to support and advance student success. This position will work to build a culture of assessment within the division and collaborate with all stakeholders in creating evidence-based decision-making and improvement. The director will plan and implement ongoing and one-time projects to assess student needs, learning, and progression, including developing an assessment methodology. The position will supervise one full-time staff member.

Other specific duties for the director, as outlined in the position description, include the following:

  • Lead DSA efforts to foster an integrated culture of assessment that emphasizes ongoing process improvement, including establishing priorities and key performance metrics, identifying data needs and gaps, and collecting/analyzing data to continuously improve divisional programs and services. 
  • Plan and implement ongoing and one-time projects to assess student needs, learning, and progression, including developing assessment methodology; conducting assessment projects; analyzing and drawing conclusions from data; writing reports; and presenting findings and recommendations to key stakeholders. 
  • Partner with senior leadership and other stakeholders to strategize utilization of data to illustrate the impact of divisional initiatives on student success. 
  • Develop and monitor metrics to assess and guide DSA programmatic and operational goals, and disseminate information via dashboards, infographics, and other data communication tools. 
  • Coordinate annual assessment planning, data collection, analysis, and reporting to ensure measurability and clear delineation of anticipated outcomes. 
  • Provide ongoing, critical, in-depth analysis of data associated with the co-curricular student experience and retention, progression, and graduation (RPG) efforts to improve DSA programs and services. 
  • Design and implement formal and informal strategies and methods to collect, analyze, and report on student preferences, patterns, and trends. 
  • Recommend strategies to implement departmental or programmatic changes based on assessment and research findings. 
  • Provide training to staff on data collection, analysis, visualization, and interpretation. 

Qualifications and Characteristics

The successful candidate will possess a master’s degree in higher education, student affairs, or related field with an emphasis in educational assessment, research, or evaluation and a minimum of five years of relevant experience, preferably in student affairs or higher education, working directly with co-curricular student learning assessment at an institutional level. Preferred qualifications include a PhD or EdD in higher education administration, student affairs, assessment, research and evaluation, data analytics, or related field. Additional minimum skills and abilities include knowledge of trends in learning analytics, student success trends and indicators, and predictive analytics; demonstrated understanding of assessment, evaluation, data collection and analysis, and reporting as related to student services and programs in a higher education context; demonstrated success in building a culture of assessment and excellence in higher education; knowledge of CAS standards and student affairs competencies.

Additional capabilities and attributes identified as necessary by KSU stakeholders include the following:

  • Ability to articulate a sophisticated understanding of current student affairs trends and best practices and the key issues facing today’s college students
  • Strong collaborator—able to work with the administration, as well as faculty, staff, students, and partners in the community
  • Courageous in advancing assessment for the division and institution
  • Ability to advance forward-thinking and innovative ideas to keep the division at the forefront of trends and best practices
  • Committed to professional growth and development for the division staff members around assessment practices
  • Approachable and engaged in understanding all facets of campus life
  • A visionary who can translate division strategy into operational goals and practice
  • Possess a communication style that builds trust and collaboration and encourages team building

History of the Position

The director of learning and improvement was recently created to support and advance the data-driven strategic plan in the Division of Student Affairs. As this is an inaugural position, prior assessment responsibility has been primarily at the department level, with the exception of an assistant director for strategic planning assessment who was added to the division in 2020. With the creation of this director position, the assistant director will report to the new director.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

The new director of learning and improvement must possess a broad and deep understanding of national best practices with regard to assessment methodologies, data analysis, and practical training methods. The director should be an experienced leader capable of managing multiple priorities and be equipped to contribute at both a strategic and tactical level to a vibrant and fast-paced Division of Student Affairs.

The KSU stakeholders seemed interested in participating in discussions about this position. In addition to the minimum academic and experiential requirements, the following themes emerged:

The director should develop assessment planning and training models that address assessment at varying levels. Professional staff in student affairs have differing competency levels and acumen with their assessment skills. The new director will need to discern where departments fall in their assessment expertise, determine differing needs, and design training models based on these needs. Understanding how to communicate assessment methodologies and systems, whether at a novice or an expert level, will be critical to the success of the director.

Experience in data analysis and the ability to help others understand this data and how to put it into practice is essential for success. The director will be asked to compile and analyze a significant amount of data and present that data to various constituencies with recommendations for utilization of the outcomes. The director must present this information in ways that are easily understood and used by all groups.

An ability to communicate assessment findings as they relate to return on investment (ROI). In an era where higher education costs are being questioned, the ability to show resource use as it relates to retention and success rates will be essential. This ROI data is vital to institutional reporting on budgets and student success.

Ability to show data related to collaboration with and connection to academic success. The director must be able to show how the data from the co-curricular side of the institution directly correlates to academic success. This is important because KSU has defined goals to increase retention and graduation rates.

Excellent communication skills. Strong presentation skills will be necessary for the director, as they will be expected to tell a coherent story through the collected and analyzed data. They will not only lead the assessment and planning efforts within the division; they will also work closely with other institutional research professionals across campus, so a collaborative focus will be necessary to deliver a consistent message. The ability to integrate information from multiple sources, e.g., data, processes, and assessment methodology, to produce an institutional story will be necessary.

 

 

Measures of Success

At an appropriate interval after joining KSU, the following will initially define success for the director of learning and improvement:

  • The director of learning and improvement has analyzed, contributed to, and defined assessment plans that are best practices for the division and the campus moving forward.
  • The director of learning and improvement is an essential leader and collaborator with staff working toward achieving institutional and divisional goals.
  • The director of learning and improvement has assessed the impact of programs and services.
  • The director of learning and improvement is a visible and engaged leader throughout campus, highlighting the strength of programs that serve student success in and out of the classroom.
  • The director of learning and improvement has expanded the training and mentoring of staff within the division around assessment practices.

Institution & Location

OVERVIEW OF THE DIVISION OF STUDENT AFFAIRS

Mission

Kennesaw State University’s Division of Student Affairs prepares students for their future by fostering learning beyond the classroom through innovative and transformative experiences.

The Division of Student Affairs supports students and enhances their collegiate experiences by complementing academic pursuits with transformative living, learning, and leading opportunities. We foster inclusive and welcoming campus communities that contribute to students’ holistic development and empower them to be engaged and ethical citizens.

Values

  • Integrity – We will be honest, authentic, and trustworthy at all times.
  • Inclusion – We will create and maintain a diverse community of learners that appreciates openness, equity, and equality.
  • Community – We will enhance on- and off-campus engagement opportunities by strengthening relationships and creating shared experiences.
  • Discovery – We will create a dynamic environment that nurtures students’ curiosity for self-exploration and lifelong learning.
  • Civility – We will foster awareness and appreciation of our commonalities and differences through meaningful dialogue and thoughtful action.

Learning and Developmental Outcomes

The Division of Student Affairs offers out-of-class programs, services, co-curricular programming, and individual interaction to ensure students are achieving the following learning and development outcomes:

  • Knowledge acquisition, integration, construction, and application
  • Cognitive complexity
  • Intrapersonal development
  • Interpersonal competence
  • Humanitarianism and civic engagement
  • Practical competence

Student Affairs departments include:

LEADERSHIP

Dr. Eric Arneson –Vice President for Student Affairs

As the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA), Dr. Arneson provides leadership and direction for much of the co-curricular student experience at KSU. He serves as the chief student advocate and expert on campus and offers direct counsel to the president and other key leaders in championing student success. Dr. Arneson fosters student engagement and success by the oversight of divisional departments: Dean of Students, Cultural and Community Centers, Counseling and Psychological Services, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Student-Athlete Support Services, Sports and Recreation, CARE Services, Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery, Military and Veteran Services, Parent and Family Programs, Student Leadership and Services, among other areas all dedicated to creating engaging, inclusive, and supportive communities for our students.

Dr. Arneson holds a doctorate in higher education from Florida International University, a Master of Arts in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University, and a Bachelor of Science in political science from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse.

https://studentaffairs.kennesaw.edu/about/vpsa.php

INSTITUTIONAL OVERVIEW

Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties, and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

MISSION, VISION, VALUES, AND STRATEGIC PLAN

Mission Statement

Kennesaw State serves as a powerful example of the impact a student-centered, research-driven university education can deliver. We help students succeed through exploration, collaboration, and rigor, uniting a diverse spectrum of backgrounds and talents. At KSU, students become the individuals who people want as colleagues and leaders.

Vision Statement

Kennesaw State will exemplify the power and promise of a student-centered, research-driven university. Authentically diverse, uniquely attainable, and endlessly impactful, we will unleash the potential in every student we serve.

Values

  • Student-inspired
  • Promise-fulfilling
  • True to oneself
  • Elevational
  • Open
  • Impact-generating

Strategic Planning

The R2 roadmap is dedicated to the advancement of our faculty, students, and staff, who are at the epicenter of our educational mission. These goals and objectives are designed to promote pedagogical excellence, research advancement, professional development, transformative learning, community engagement, and a vibrant campus culture.

 

 

LEADERSHIP

Kathy Schwaig – President

Dr. Kathy Schwaig began her tenure as the sixth president of Kennesaw State University on March 16, 2022. Prior to assuming the role as president, Schwaig served as the University’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

As provost, Schwaig prioritized efforts that supported student success, including increasing the number of faculty and advisors and eliminating roadblocks to graduation. She worked collaboratively with the campus community to grow the University’s undergraduate and graduate programs, while supporting the Office of Research’s efforts to expand faculty research across the academic colleges. Schwaig also played a pivotal role in leading the University through the events related to the Covid-19 pandemic, including a return to campus in Fall 2021.

DIVERSITY STATEMENT

Kennesaw State University prides itself on offering a premier, personalized educational experience for leadership and engagement within a diverse nation and world. This educational experience is achieved through recognition and appreciation of the differing backgrounds and experiences reflected within the University community. We firmly believe that sensitivity to diversity, equity, and global interdependence is central to fostering supportive living, learning, and working environments. A welcoming and inclusive climate is critical to attaining Kennesaw State University’s research, scholarship, teaching, and engagement goals. The University will engage our students, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders to achieve an inclusive and welcoming campus community.

 

THE STUDENT BODY

Total Enrollment: 44,088

Undergraduate: 39,961

Graduate: 4,127

Male: 51.8%

Female: 48.2%

AI/NA: 0.1%

NH/PI: 0.1%

White: 53.3%

African American: 21.6%

Asian: 5.1%

Hispanic: 11.3%

Two or More Races: 4.7%

Race Unknown: 2%

Non-Resident: 1.7%

 

 

 

Benefits Overview

BENEFITS OVERVIEW

To learn about the full benefits offered by Kennesaw State University, please visit:

https://hr.kennesaw.edu/benefits/index.php

Application & Nomination

Application and Nomination

The review of applications will begin on July 18, 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 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 Kennesaw State University website at www.kennesaw.edu

Kennesaw State University is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.

RELATED LINKS

Kennesaw State University

https://www.kennesaw.edu/

Kennesaw, Georgia

https://www.kennesaw-ga.gov/