The University of Maryland, College Park is the state’s flagship university and one of the nation’s preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship, and innovation, the university is home to more than 40,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff, and 352,000 alumni, all dedicated to the pursuit of Fearless Ideas. Located just outside Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland, they discover and share new knowledge every day through renowned research enterprise and programs in academics, the arts, and athletics. The University is committed to social entrepreneurship as the nation’s first “Do Good” campus.

The Department of Resident Life administers the University of Maryland’s undergraduate residence hall program for approximately 9,500 students in 37 University-owned buildings, as well as 2,900 students in public-private partnership buildings. The department provides a comprehensive program of residence life functions as well as Rights and Responsibilities, Research and Assessment, Information Technology, Creative Services, and Business and Administrative Services.

The Position


Serving as a member of the vice president for student affairs’ Divisional Leadership Team and reporting to the assistant vice president for student affairs, the director of resident life provides overall leadership and vision that articulates the value of a residential experience for all students: high-quality learning communities that enable academic success, serve as catalysts for citizenship and student engagement, foster a lifelong love of learning, and provide opportunities to develop beneficial and enduring relationships. The director leads comprehensive strategic planning efforts and administers the Housing Strategic Plan in collaboration with the director of residential facilities to manage renovations and new construction, and rate evaluations, housing market studies, program reviews, and housing trends. The director will at all times advance inclusivity and multicultural practices by creating supportive environments for students and staff of all identities, promoting diversity and inclusion as a priority for department staff, ensuring on-going staff development regarding diversity, recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce, and fostering an organizational environment and culture of engagement and inclusion in which all employees are treated with respect and professionalism.

Additionally, the director partners with Residential Facilities and Dining Services leadership to ensure an outstanding living experience for all residence hall students; cultivates relationships with deans, department chairs, faculty, advisors, and staff in Academic Affairs to enhance the educational mission of the resident life program; collaborates with University Police, Counseling Center, Health Center, General Counsel, Student Conduct, Conferences and Visitor Services, and other stakeholders to advance departmental initiatives, solve problems, and respond to emergencies and challenging situations; maintains positive working relationships with public-private partnership vendors to ensure the appropriate management of public-private partnership housing regarding fair housing practices, leasing practices, and service provisions; and advises the student leaders on the Residence Hall Association’s Resident Life Advisory Team. The director oversees the delivery of student development programs and interventions designed to enhance the educational, social, cultural, and recreational experiences of residence hall students and support the graduation and retention goals of the University; assesses organizational program performance and outcomes, as well as resident student needs and preferences, to continually improve offerings; directs the housing operations of 18 Living-Learning Programs in coordination with more than 60 faculty members; assists with efforts to establish additional programs or similar initiatives designed to enhance educational experiences for residence hall students; manages emergency preparedness and responses to emergencies, crises, and critical incidents; and manages occupancy levels by adjusting targets based on varying enrollment numbers and facility availability.

The director develops and manages an annual operating budget of approximately $18.6 million; proposes student-housing fees for the Resident Life and Residential Facilities departments; oversees long-term financial forecasts; and manages all revenue-generating functions, totaling $67 million, for the Department of Resident Life and the Department of Residential Facilities. The director supervises five associate directors, the assistant to the director, and the executive administrative assistant, and is responsible for more than 90 professional and graduate staff and over 600 student employees.


Deb Grandner, director of resident life, is retiring from the position after 44 years with the University of Maryland, College Park.


The new director of resident life must possess a broad and deep understanding of national best practices and innovations with regard to housing and residence life operations, technology, finance, and the large state institutional setting. The director should be an experienced or aspiring leader who has had success building and advancing a progressive program at another institution, be 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 at the University of Maryland College Park (UMD). The following were identified as possible opportunities, priorities, and challenges that will face the director of resident life at UMD:

  • The new director must commit to a comprehensive culture of collaboration and partnering across campus for maximum effectiveness; The University of Maryland is committed to building relationships as a foundation of the campus culture, and strong collaboration is an absolute necessity in all endeavors to ensure success. Resident Life touches a vast number of individuals, departments, and other entities, so it will be crucial that the new director quickly reach out across campus to build strong relationships and partnerships to foster ongoing positive relationships and be a “connector” in all instances. These connections are essential in order to assess real needs, design student-centered programs, and provide high-end customer service at all times. The new director should, at their earliest convenience, conduct both internal and external “listening tours” in an effort to connect to campus stakeholders and understand their needs.
  • The ability to grow, develop, and mentor a large and diverse professional staff while building a strong and dedicated team will be critical for success. The staff in Resident Life is both large and diverse, with a number of both seasoned staff members and newer professionals, so the new director must be a strong motivator with high level supervisory and staff development skills. Support for the staff is critical, as professional development at all levels is both needed and expected. Long-serving staff bring a wealth of history and professional knowledge to the table, while newer staff bring fresh perspectives and a progressive energy. Navigating through the needs of this multidimensional and intergenerational structure will be an essential task for the new director.
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential parts of the UMD community, and the director should be a leader in supporting, understanding, embracing, and nurturing these concepts. There are a large number of underrepresented populations within the institution, and the Department of Resident Life needs to be a model for maintaining a strong sense of equity and an unbiased living environment at all times. The department recently adopted a comprehensive “Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, 2018-2021,” which charts a clear path forward for Resident Life’s deep commitment to these principles. The new director should quickly become familiar with this plan and be prepared to engage and lead the staff and the community in its continued implementation.
  • The scope of responsibilities of this department is wide, and the new director will need to quickly become familiar with all aspects under their purview in order to develop a comprehensive list of priorities. On a flagship campus such as the University of Maryland, with 9,500 students living in University-run residences and a large student staff on the front lines, Resident Life has an extremely wide scope of responsibility for providing a comfortable, safe, and enriching living and learning environment. The new director will need to prioritize a great deal of time upon arrival for learning the nuances and priorities of the campus, discovering the internal needs of the staff and the department, and beginning the process of reaching out across the University and establishing themselves in this position.
  • The Department of Resident Life is an efficiently managed and contemporary organization that adheres to current trends and best practices in the residence life and student affairs field. The new director will find a competent staff, a comprehensive living and learning program, a service-oriented culture, effective crisis management, and a number of innovative practices in place upon arrival, so priority can be wholly placed on learning, building, and moving forward and not on having to “fix” existing issues.
  • Resident Life and Residential Facilities both report to the same assistant vice president, but the two departments function as separate entities. However, it is imperative that the two departments work closely together in order to provide the best possible residential experience to the UMD students. A new director of residential facilities was hired within the past year, so there is great opportunity with two relatively new leaders in these two high-profile departments to create an even closer synergistic relationship between the two departments and to chart a more closely-aligned strategic vision together.
  • Plans are underway for a new 900-bed, traditional residence hall; ground breaking is scheduled for June 2019, with construction beginning soon thereafter. A new dining hall will also be built in the same time frame, and there are conversations around other residential projects in the years to come as well as a major renovation strategic plan and an on-campus housing strategic plan. The new director should be prepared to “hit the ground running” on these projects upon arrival and be prepared to devote a degree of dedicated time to these endeavors.
  • There is a comprehensive Resident Assistant program, which includes a very robust training curriculum and a large number of other student staffing opportunities. The student staff is extremely loyal and committed to Resident Life and the betterment of UMD, so the new director should take the opportunity of their arrival to introduce themselves to the student staff, get to know the individuals, and begin working collaboratively to build on an already strong foundation. Additionally, the Residence Hall Association (RHA) is extremely committed to enhancing the resident student experience, so the new director should quickly form a relationship with RHA, listen to the members, and spend quality time assessing its needs.
  • UMD has a comprehensive commitment to sustainability in all aspects, and there are major initiatives at play on campus and in Resident Life around sustainability. The students at UMD are focused on sustainability, and there are dedicated staff members in Resident Life in support of these efforts. The new director should have knowledge of and support for sustainability and also be willing to work with students and staff to further enhance the current efforts and bring fresh and innovative new ideas to the table.
  • In coming on board following a long-serving director, the new director will have an opportunity to take a fresh look at the vision, mission, and “brand” of Resident Life, utilizing past experience and innovative vision to inform these projects.
  • The Resident Life department is very self-sufficient, housing its own information technology, assessment, graphic design, and marketing arms, among others, which allows progress to occur when it might otherwise need to flow through the University system in a slower manner.


At an appropriate interval after joining the University of Maryland, College Park, the items listed below will initially define success for the new director of resident life:

  • An operational and/or strategic plan, as well as departmental priorities, is being developed within the Department of Resident Life, with measurable outcomes and achievable goals.
  • A collaborative initiative with Residential Facilities, as well as other strategic partners across campus, has been established and the director is visible, present, and involved in campus life.
  • Steady progress is being made on the Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, with measured results, and discussions are ongoing regarding future iterations of this plan.
  • Relationships have been established with Resident Life staff, needs and priorities have been determined, functional areas are clearly defined, and professional development is occurring throughout all levels of the organization.
  • Based on climate surveys, student satisfaction levels in the residence halls and satisfaction levels with the Department of Resident Life are rising.
  • Student retention rates between first and second years are rising.
  • Communication from the director and from the Department of Resident Life is clear, transparent, and frequent.
  • The new residence hall is opened successfully and plans for other construction and renovation projects are efficiently moving forward.
  • Staff retention is high and staff satisfaction is rising, according to staff satisfaction surveys.


A master’s degree in higher education administration, student affairs, student personnel, counseling, or a related field is required (doctoral degree preferred) with a minimum of 10 years of experience in progressively responsible leadership or management roles in higher education student housing operations or resident life, or the equivalent, and at least five years of supervisory experience supervising professional staff in student housing operations or resident life, or the equivalent. Preferred candidates will possess 15 years of progressively responsible leadership or management roles in higher education student housing operations or resident life, or the equivalent, and at least 10 years of supervisory experience.

The successful candidate will possess a strong understanding of student development theory, community development (particularly communities that value and promote inclusion and diversity), the trends and needs of the current student population, and the value of the student residential experience related to retention and graduation. Additionally, the successful candidate will possess the ability to challenge the status quo; the desire to continually improve an already high-functioning organization; leadership skills that reflect vision, innovation, strategic thinking, and high levels of collaboration; and a demonstrated commitment to diversity, reflected in both staff supervision and student programs as well as supervisory skills that promote inclusion, prompt on-going staff development and enrichment, and enhance satisfaction and engagement across the organization. Demonstrated skills in the use of data and assessments to make decisions and to initiate and adapt to change; the ability to represent the Department and effectively communicate with University leadership, faculty, staff, students, families, the media, and other stakeholders; and demonstrated ability to successfully manage emergency preparedness and complex critical incidents and crises are highly desirable.

In addition to the minimum academic and experiential requirements indicated above, other desired characteristics, skills, actions, and/or abilities noted from discussions with campus stakeholders include the following:

  • a strong background in residence life and housing, including strong student development skills;
  • strong and inspirational leadership skills, charisma, and a strategic vision;
  • an innovator with a futuristic orientation and someone willing to try new opportunities, remain informed on new trends and best practices, and lead significant change processes as necessary;
  • organizational development skills that can be applied to a large and diverse organization;
  • problem solving skills;
  • a scholar-practitioner who is deeply committed to best practices;
  • a strategic and data-informed decision-maker who is also able to think fast on their feet when necessary;
  • must be ethical, have the utmost integrity, and be a good steward of student resources (as all budget monies are from student fees);
  • an ardent supporter of students; the ability to relate to, engage, and connect with students; an understanding of the changing needs of today’s student body; and someone who values the opinions of students;
  • a mindset that prioritizes diversity, equity, inclusivity, and social justice in all walks of the job;
  • demonstrated experience in embracing and utilizing new and innovative technology, with specific experience in utilizing the StarRez occupancy system being desirable;
  • an excellent communicator with the ability to reach all levels of the University, especially in advocating for the needs of Resident Life;
  • an understanding of strategic communications, the ability to work with a strategic communications office during crises, and an understanding of the need to plug into the larger University strategic communication system;
  • a commitment to professional development in both themselves and the staff;
  • experience with living/learning communities is highly desirable;
  • appreciation and promotion of a culture of mental health and wellness;
  • experience with public/private residential partnerships is highly desirable;
  • strong budgeting and finance skills, with the ability to be strategic in all budgetary decisions and recognize at all times the limits of the state budgeting system;
  • an ability to make difficult decisions when necessary, to conduct difficult conversations when pertinent, to listen to all sides of an issue, to build consensus, and to remain “cool under pressure” no matter the situation.
  • demonstrated ability to connect with faculty in an effort to further enhance the living/learning community program and supporting the academic mission of the University;
  • a great collaborator across departments and external colleagues who pays attention to key relationships, particularly Residential Facilities;
  • patience will be necessary, as rapid change in an environment such as UMD will cause frustration and unnecessary divisiveness, so the new director should be prepared to invest time in creating a dynamic strategic vision;
  • a comprehensive commitment to customer service;
  • a willingness to be visible on campus, to participate in the life of the campus, and to engage students and staff on all levels;
  • political savvy and tact;
  • resiliency and the ability to handle scrutiny and criticism;
  • promotion of a positive work/life balance in themselves and the staff, while understanding that Resident Life is up and running 24/7;
  • ability to listen carefully, ask knowledgeable questions, learn the department and its intricacies, accept input from staff, and then make well-informed decisions;
  • demonstrated fundraising abilities and innovative ideas for new streams of revenue;
  • a positive, optimistic, and enthusiastic attitude; and
  • knowledge of and a strong commitment to sustainability.


An Overview of the Division of Student Affairs

The Division of Student Affairs serves the University of Maryland community—students, parents, faculty, staff, and visitors—through its 15 departments. All depart­ments in DSA work to ensure the success, health, and well-being of the students. In addition, DSA serves parents, faculty, staff, and visitors through its various units and programs.

Our Values

We value outstanding customer service. DSA staff maintain and enhance high quality facilities, services, and programs for our students, faculty, staff, families, alumni, and visitors.  We’re committed to creating the best experience possible for the University of Maryland community.

We value individual development. Student development occurs inside and outside of the classroom through leadership opportunities, civic engagement, service learning, and involvement in a variety of activities. We promote the development of important life skills, including critical thinking, interpersonal communication, responsible behavior, ethical conduct, and conflict resolution that will serve our students well in the future.

We value community life. DSA is dedicated to fostering strong sense of community among students, faculty, staff, parents and alumni. By actively involving students in institutional governance, identifying opportunities for service to the community, engaging family members in the university experience, assisting groups of students in the collective management of their aspirations and interests, and inviting alumni to remain connected and involved with our campus, we help build a robust community spirit on campus.

We value student health and well-being. DSA offers programs designed to enhance academic success, promote personal development, and provide experiences that will give students the skills necessary to live productively in a complex global society.

We value diversity. We foster an inclusive, welcoming environment that encourages individuals and groups to learn and work within and across diverse communities. By emphasizing awareness, respect, and education about personal identity, and by educating students about identities different from their own, we can be sure our students are having an enriching experience at Maryland.

Department of Resident Life

The Department of Resident Life is responsible for management of the residence halls as well as the cultural, educational, recreational and social programs and activities in those communities. Living in residence halls, students learn and grow as they practice good citizenship, put their scholarly pursuits first, and develop leadership skills.

Programs of Resident Life

  • Common Ground Dialogue Program
  • Living & Learning Programs
  • Math Success Program
  • Office of Rights & Responsibilities
  • Sustainability
  • Technology in the Halls

For a full overview of the Department, visit

Organizational Chart for the Department of Resident Life

Institution & Location

Institutional background/history

The University of Maryland, College Park is the state’s flagship university and one of the nation’s preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship, and innovation, the university is home to more than 41,000 students, 14,000 faculty and staff, and 352,000 alumni all dedicated to the pursuit of Fearless Ideas. Located just outside Washington, D.C., students, faculty and staff discover and share new knowledge every day through the institution’s renowned research enterprise and programs in academics, the arts, and athletics. And they are committed to social entrepreneurship as the nation’s first “Do Good” campus.

The University of Maryland’s proud past stretches back to 1856, when the tiny Maryland Agricultural College was carved from part of Charles Benedict Calvert’s plantation along a dirt road now called U.S Route 1. From its start with 34 students, the institution slowly grew to include engineering and the liberal arts, and to add athletics, women, and minorities. It survived the Great Fire of 1912, re-emerged as a public college, and boomed following World War II. Today, the university is a national powerhouse in research and academics, even as it embraces its roots as a land-grant institution.

As a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University (classified as Very High Research Activity), the University ranks among the very best public research universities in the United States. To continue to realize its aspirations and fulfill its mandates, the University nourishes a climate of intellectual growth, advances knowledge, and provides outstanding and innovative instruction in a broad range of academic disciplines and interdisciplinary fields. It also creates and applies knowledge for the benefit of the economy and the culture of the State, the region, the nation, and beyond. The University strives for excellence in all of its activities, including academics, the performing arts, and intercollegiate athletics. As the USM flagship and a land-grant institution, the University shares its research, educational, cultural, and technological strengths with other institutions and their constituencies in the USM and throughout the State. The University’s information technology infrastructure serves many audiences, and all state institutions have access to the University’s libraries. In conjunction with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, the University serves the State’s agricultural, natural resource, and youth/family needs through the University of Maryland Extension and the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station. The University provides professional training for both degree and non-degree-seeking students, consistent with its research mission and core competencies. Aided by technology, the University provides selected quality academic programs to audiences worldwide, sharing its knowledge and extending educational opportunities. The University also provides administrative support to other USM institutions in the areas of accounting, communications, engineering and architectural services, environmental safety, personnel management, and purchasing. The University offers a wide range of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, providing challenging and rewarding education and training to all students. Masters and doctoral programs and postdoctoral mentoring deliver training at the highest levels, engaging outstanding students and new investigators in scholarship and research with faculty mentors who are leaders in their fields. The University recognizes the importance of educating all undergraduate and graduate students to engage, interact, and work effectively in a diverse world. Degree programs are offered in agriculture and natural resources; architecture, planning and preservation; the behavioral and social sciences; business and management; computer, mathematical, and natural sciences; the creative and performing arts; education; engineering; the humanities; journalism; information studies; public policy; and public health. The University’s faculty consistently achieve national and international renown for their research and scholarship, are innovative and creative teachers, and serve society by sharing their expertise within the State and beyond, through embracing a climate of academic freedom. The highly-qualified academic, professional, and non-exempt members of the staff provide both support and leadership for the University’s educational, research, and service activities. The University embraces the principles of shared governance through its University Senate, its graduate and undergraduate student government associations, and a diverse collection of councils and committees that enable all constituencies to participate in deliberation and policy setting, a process promoting shared commitment to University goals.

The University counts the diversity of its faculty, staff, and students as among its greatest strengths and a major component of its excellence. It is committed to diversity and inclusiveness in both educational and work environments. Providing equal educational opportunity, hiring and retaining a diverse faculty and staff of exceptional achievement, and recruiting and graduating talented students from traditionally underrepresented groups are institutional priorities.

About College Park, Maryland

The City of College Park is in Prince George’s County, Maryland,  and is about four miles from the northeast border of Washington, D.C. The population was 30,413 at the 2010 United States Census. It is best known as the home of the University of Maryland, College Park, and since 1994 the city has also been home to the National Archives at College Park, a facility of the U.S. National Archives, as well as to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Center for Weather and Climate Prediction (NCWCP).

Mission Statement

The mission of the University of Maryland, College Park is to provide excellent teaching, research, and service. The University educates students and advances knowledge in areas of importance to the State, the nation, and the world. The University is committed to being a preeminent national center for research and for graduate education, and the institution of choice for Maryland’s undergraduates of exceptional ability and promise.

Strategic Plan

The University of Maryland’s 2008 strategic plan, “Maryland: Higher Expectations,” sets forth a vision of an institution unmatched in its capacity to attract talent, to create knowledge, to address the most important issues of our time, and to produce the leaders of tomorrow. The 2016 update, “Equal to the Best,” charts a road map to become a top-10 flagship university, “equal to the best in the nation,” as its state mandate reads.

Plan Details 

Driven by the pursuit of excellence, the University of Maryland has enjoyed a remarkable rise in accomplishment and reputation over the past two decades. By any measure, Maryland is now one of the nation’s preeminent public research universities and on a path to become one of the world’s best. To fulfill this promise, we must capitalize on our momentum, fully exploit our competitive advantages, and pursue ambitious goals with great discipline and entrepreneurial spirit. This promise is within reach. This strategic plan is our working agenda.

The plan is comprehensive, bold, and action oriented. It sets forth a vision of the University as an institution unmatched in its capacity to attract talent, address the most important issues of our time, and produce the leaders of tomorrow. The plan will guide the investment of our human and material resources as we strengthen our undergraduate and graduate programs and expand research, outreach and partnerships, become a truly international center, and enhance our surrounding community.

Our success will benefit Maryland in the near- and long-term, strengthen the State’s competitive capacity in a challenging and changing environment and enrich the economic, social and cultural life of the region. We will be a catalyst for progress, the State’s most valuable asset, and an indispensable contributor to the nation’s well-being. Achieving the goals of Transforming Maryland requires broad-based and sustained support from our extended community. We ask our stakeholders to join with us to make the University an institution of world-class quality with world-wide reach and unparalleled impact as it serves the people and the state of Maryland.

The full plan is available at:

Academic Programs and Faculty

With over 90 undergraduate majors across 12 colleges, UMD has you covered.

Pick one, pick two or even create your own major through the Individual Studies Program and explore a new interest through one of 80+ minors.

Still considering your options? To find the perfect fit for your fearless ideas, take some time to review these additional program types offered at UMD:

  • Certificate and Pre-Professional Programs
  • Combined Bachelor’s/Master’s Programs
  • Computer, Data and Information Sciences
  • Letters & Sciences
  • Limited Enrollment Programs

Students who wish to complete a second major concurrently with their primary major must obtain written permission from the appropriate departments and college(s). Therefore, second majors cannot be declared during the application process. Admitted students are encouraged to discuss their interest in pursuing a second major (a.k.a double majoring) during advising sessions. This can begin as early as New Student Orientation. Specific criteria may differ among departments and college(s).

When you apply, your preferred major does not affect your admissibility to the University of Maryland.

  • College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
  • College of Arts and Humanities
  • College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
  • Robert H. Smith School of Business
  • College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences
  • College of Education
  • James Clark School of Engineering
  • College of Information Studies
  • Philip Merrill College of Journalism
  • School of Public Health
  • School of Public Policy
  • General

Number of Faculty: 4,646 (as of fall 2017)
Tenured/Tenure-Track: 1,489 (as of fall 2017)
Nobel Laureates: 3
Pulitzer Prize Winners: 6
Members of the National Academies: 60

Benefits Overview

  • Medical plans
  • Prescription drug plan
  • Dental plans
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Term life insurance
  • Accidental death and dismemberment plan
  • Retirement programs
  • Tuition remission program

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin May 10, 2019, 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 Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the University of Maryland website at and the University of Maryland Department of Resident Life website at

The University of Maryland, College Park, an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action; all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment. UMD is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, pregnancy, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, religion, protected veteran status, genetic information, personal appearance, or any other legally protected status in all aspects of employment. UMD is actively engaged in recruiting, hiring, and promoting underrepresented communities; minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply.