The Position

Position Description

Reporting to the assistant vice president of student life and engagement for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB), the director of multicultural student services at Michigan State University (MSU) leads the Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions, directing the programs and activities that develop and facilitate learning opportunities that enhance the multicultural competency of administrators, staff, and/or students across the university. The director oversees strategic planning and initiatives, and collaborates with MSU’s colleges to implement programs that promote cross-cultural engagement to ensure an environment that supports and values diversity. The director performs strategic and coordinated efforts to survey student climate with the vice president and chief diversity officer; directs the diversity strategic planning process within the unit, including preparation of planning materials; and aids departments in setting action plans and conducting annual follow-up in conjunction with university officials to assess progress toward unit diversity objectives. The director leads and manages the development of multicultural programs and works to represent students to ensure there are avenues for cross-cultural programs and student success initiatives within student affairs, in collaboration with colleges, academic programs, research, alumni affairs, and other segments of the university that impact the student experience. In conjunction with the associate director of development for student affairs and services, the director engages in developing opportunities with potential donors and university partners through proposal development to augment funding sources for the Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions programs and projects. The director leads and manages a team to ensure that the primary focus and outreach is specifically tailored to meet the needs of the Asian, African American, Latinx, and American Indian student communities by providing leadership and direction for MSU programs. The position oversees six to nine full-time staff and manages an annual budget of $800,000.

Additional duties and responsibilities of the director of multicultural student services as enumerated in the institutional job description include the following:

  • Represent the division in attending meetings and functions and engaging prospective donors to support the division’s three overarching themes for the MSU student population;
  • Design, implement, and facilitate educational and training programs and workshops to enhance cultural awareness among students, staff, and faculty within the university community;
  • Identify and train a select group of staff and/or students to serve as advocates to engage with others to enhance the understanding of the multicultural communities;
  • Plan, direct, and manage budget processes, personnel activities, and other administrative functions including exercising responsibility for the management and authorization of expenditures and personnel transactions of a unit;
  • Consistently conduct activities to be aware of international, national, local, and campus-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion issues, crises, or events that could potentially affect students, and proactively address the needs of students related to such events;
  • Consistently monitor the campus climate to assure each student has the opportunity for academic success, and advocate for students regarding systemic barriers;
  • Gather and conduct data to assess and evaluate programs and services;
  • Develop or identify tools to measure multicultural competency, and develop customized programs;
  • In partnership with university departments, conduct, lead, and coordinate staff to identify needs for services provided to university communities;
  • Develop and participate in a university network that promotes multicultural understanding and appreciation;
  • Stay current in researching and learning about communities related to the Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions, and assess the needs of underrepresented groups;
  • Serve on university diversity committees and work closely with university officials to support university student success initiatives;
  • Serve as chair and/or member of unit and/or University diversity-related committees;
  • Serve as a resource to, and works cooperatively with, faculty, staff, and students on diversity-related programs and resolving diversity-related issues;
  • Provide outreach by supporting units as they move towards diversifying the campus while promoting opportunities for members from underrepresented groups;
  • Prepare reports, articles, and presentations on the strategies, activities, and results of programmatic efforts undertaken in the operation of their unit as it aligns with the university’s overall DEIB vision;
  • Work collaboratively with other identity-based offices, programs, and units across campus;
  • Develop and participate in networking opportunities and educational programs for students and student groups to dialogue on topics of diversity and inclusion, gender and sexuality, intersectionality, intercultural identity and advocacy, accessibility, faith and spirituality, and women’s issues in a safe and welcoming environment;
  • Participate and collaborate with university partners to combine learning opportunities to enhance student experiences when presenting educational opportunities on topics of diversity and inclusion;
  • Collaborate with other MSU departments to reduce duplicity of efforts while streamlining student opportunities.

History of the Position

Formerly known as the director of cultural and academic transitions, MSU has revised the position to be more aligned with the scope of work reflective of the newly revised title of director of multicultural student services. For more than a decade, the position has been filled on an interim basis. Accordingly, MSU has positioned itself to seek a leader to hold a permanent role and provide strategic leadership for multicultural student services.

Likely Opportunities, Priorities, and Challenges of the Position

In transitioning to MSU, the director may encounter the opportunities and challenges listed below, as shared by key stakeholders:

  • The director will find an engaged environment ready to support diversity, inclusion, and social justice endeavors.
  • The director will need to build an exemplary team by earning trust through authentic relationship building, enhancing current staff morale, and creating a culture of honest information sharing, solicitation of others’ input, and fair and consistent accountability methods.
  • There is genuine excitement that, with a new director coming onboard, there will be opportunities for deeper facilitation of a culture of creativity, innovation, and progressive thinking.
  • The director must be able to successfully balance the administrative demands of a leadership position within a culture that also expects that the position will be a highly visible and accessible advocate for students.
  • The director must assess and analyze program and service outcomes, and determine priorities for change that will enhance the quality of services, optimize available resources, and create a culture of shared vision and purpose among staff.
  • The director will be expected to work collaboratively with divisional leadership to analyze, contribute to, and define plans that are best practices for the division and the campus moving forward.
  • The director must assess the skills and knowledge of the staff, develop a strong sense of teamwork, and build working relationships that emphasize an engaging and collaborative work environment as well as provide professional development opportunities.
  • The director must maintain a proactive, highly visible, well-respected, and established leadership presence on and off campus that is credible, collegial, and highly effective.
  • The director must ensure that direct reports will be defined as a strong, highly functioning, well-regarded, and resilient team that works with synergy and shared purpose, readily collaborating across departmental and division lines with a demonstrated commitment to student success.



A master’s degree in higher education administration, social science, behavioral science, or similar field, and at least five years of related and progressively responsible or expansive work experience in the areas of organizational development, cultural studies, diversity programming, problem-solving with diverse populations and complex organizations on sensitive issues, or an equivalent combination of education and experience are required. A terminal degree, along with work experience in the areas of social studies, cultural studies, or counseling in a higher education environment, is desirable.

In addition to the qualifications stated above, key stakeholders identified the following list of additional capabilities and attributes of a successful candidate:

  • A strategic thinker, partner, and executor with a deep understanding of factors that impact the retention, success, and advancement of minoritized students;
  • Student-centered, DEIB-focused, and cross-culturally competent, with an understanding of the international component and complexity of the student experience;
  • A professional demeanor, good sense of humor, highly organized and disciplined, and able to relate easily to a wide range of groups;
  • A documented capacity to lead, mentor, develop, and inspire a creative, goal-oriented, and resourceful group of staff;
  • A deep understanding of issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice, and how these impact an entire campus community;
  • A demonstrated commitment to a strong collaborative style and the capacity to build bridges to other departments, faculty, students, and the community;
  • A proven record of implementing change, establishing a vision and direction for a department, motivating staff and students to embrace change, and successfully creating new programs and initiatives to enhance the quality of campus life for a diverse student body;
  • Exceptional listening, interpersonal, and communication skills to clearly articulate vision, direction, and purpose, and earn the respect and confidence of the faculty, staff, and students;
  • The ability to anticipate and address challenges proactively, with systems-level thinking and working toward institutional change, rather than simply reacting to them or focusing on individual remedies to issues as they are presented.

Institution & Location

Institutional Background

Michigan State University was established in 1855  and, by 1862, stood as the nation’s premier land-grant university. Over the decades, the university has continued to be a model of what a land-grant university can and should do. As a university of, for, and by the people, Michigan State University began a long tradition of empowering people through educational opportunity.

Institutional Leadership

Samuel Stanley, President

Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., was selected by the Michigan State University Board of Trustees as MSU’s 21st president, effective August 1, 2019. Since his arrival, Dr. Stanley has moved decisively to ensure the university is a safe, respectful, and welcoming place for all. Student success and well-being and continuing to grow MSU’s extraordinary regional and global impact are his top priorities.

His infectious disease research background has informed MSU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as he leads the university’s work to safely advance its mission of education, research, and outreach.

Stanley launched a comprehensive strategic planning process for the university; created a diversity, equity, and inclusion planning committee; and appointed two relationship violence and sexual misconduct expert advisers. He has overseen several changes in the institution’s administration, organization, and programs to improve services, operations, and accountability.

Continuing to expand the university’s research enterprise is another priority. MSU’s research portfolio totaled $725 million in 2019 expenditures. MSU’s $730 million Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) is planned to begin scientific user operations ahead of schedule and on budget in 2022. Operating at the frontiers of nuclear science, it will yield insights into the nature of the universe as well as practical discoveries to enhance everyday life. FRIB reached a milestone in 2020 when the U.S. Department of Energy designated it a DOE Office of Science user facility.

A researcher, patent holder, and former technology transfer executive, Stanley supports academic and industry collaborations to leverage both their economic impact and the potentially enormous contributions they can make to society.

Stanley also reorganized oversight of the university’s three medical colleges and its clinical services into a health sciences entity. And, in January 2021, MSU signed a 30-year agreement with the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit to foster groundbreaking research, best-in-class cancer care, and health care professional diversity while improving access in traditionally underserved communities. In another collaborative relationship, MSU and Apple Inc. agreed to partner on a Developer Academy in Detroit, the company’s first such skills development facility in the United States.

Active in higher education organizations, Stanley sits on the boards of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the University Innovation Alliance, and the Michigan Association of State Universities. He is an engaged member of Michigan’s University Research Corridor, Business Leaders for Michigan, and the Association of American Universities (AAU), having served previously on the AAU board. Stanley holds appointments to the Michigan Employment Relations Commission’s Health Care Advisory Committee and the McKinsey & Company Taskforce on Higher Education and Opportunity. He also is a past member of the NCAA Board of Directors and NCAA Board of Governors.

Born in Seattle, Stanley earned a bachelor of arts in biological sciences (Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Chicago. After earning his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, he completed resident-physician training at Massachusetts General Hospital and then went to Washington University in St. Louis for a School of Medicine fellowship in infectious diseases. There, he became a professor in the departments of medicine and molecular microbiology, recognizing the collaborative nature of his research.

A distinguished biomedical researcher, Stanley was one of the nation’s top recipients of support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his research focusing on enhanced defense against emerging infectious diseases. He is an expert in the biological mechanisms that cells employ when responding to infectious agents.

Stanley has served as chair of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, which advises the U.S. government on issues related to the communication, dissemination, and performance of sensitive biological research. He was a member of the National Advisory Allergy and Infectious Diseases Council at the NIH and a member of the NIH director’s Blue Ribbon Panel on the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories. He also served as an ambassador for the Paul G. Rogers Society for Global Health Research and has received an honorary doctorate in science from Konkuk University in South Korea.

Prior to becoming MSU’s president, Stanley served as president of Stony Brook University on Long Island in New York. At Stony Brook, he focused on improving campus diversity and student success and elevated the university’s research profile by supporting a new institute for artificial intelligence. He chaired the board of Brookhaven Science Associates, which manages Brookhaven National Laboratory on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy.

President Stanley’s wife, Ellen Li, M.D., Ph.D., is a distinguished biomedical researcher and gastroenterologist. In addition to her roles as a clinician and scientist, Dr. Li has tutored students in chemistry and mentored many students interested in biomedical research. Dr. Stanley and Dr. Li have four adult children.



Benefits Overview

Benefits Overview

  • Health insurance
  • Dental coverage
  • Retirement plan
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Life/accident insurance
  • Long term disability
  • Prescription drug plan
  • Several voluntary, employee-paid benefits programs


For a detailed look at MSU benefits for executive managers, visit:

Application & Nomination

Application and Nomination

Review of applications will begin on Friday, February 11, 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 Quincy Martin III at  Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Michigan State University website at

Michigan State University is committed to the principles of equal opportunity, nondiscrimination, and, in the context of employment, affirmative action. University programs, activities, and facilities are available to all without regard to race, color, gender, gender identity, religion, national origin, political persuasion, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, height, weight, veteran status, age, or familial status. The university is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. In carrying out this commitment, the university is guided by the applicable federal and state laws and regulations, and policies adopted by the Board of Trustees.

The university has a comprehensive employment Affirmative Action Plan that includes placement goals for academic and support staff employment and an affirmative action policy for the employment of veterans and persons with disabilities. The Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives oversees the Plan by reviewing individual academic and support staff hiring recommendations, and advises the President and other university administrators on equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion matters.

MSU is committed to achieving excellence through cultural diversity. The university actively encourages applications and/or nominations of women, persons of color, veterans and persons with disabilities.