RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE POSITION
Reporting to the assistant vice president for student affairs, campus, and community living and learning, the director of residential education and housing is responsible for developing, implementing, and evaluating a diverse and cohesive array of programs designed to create community and learning within all residential spaces (residence halls and apartments, Greek houses, and Minerva houses). The director oversees all operational matters related to campus residences for students. The position provides nine professionals and more than 40 paraprofessional staff with counsel and guidance on student development, well-being, and incident management. The director carries out the mission of Union College and the division of student affairs.
Other key responsibilities, as outlined in the position description, include:
- Program Development: In partnership with the assistant vice president, aligns all residential programs in accordance with the residential curriculum and ensures consistent service delivery across all residential spaces. Implements and assesses a residential program that focuses on the following core areas: community (belonging), student learning (decision-making), incident response (well-being), and inclusion (collaboration).
- Operations Management: Oversees all operational matters related to campus residences for students. Directs processes for housing assignments, openings, closings, and routine facility inspections. Collaborates with facilities, finance, campus safety, and other departments as needed on strategic residential assessment and renewal projects.
- Staff Supervision: Supervises the associate director for housing operations, the associate director for Greek leadership, the associate director for Minerva programs, and six community directors. Guides and supports all residential staff in operational efforts. Provides accurate advice and guidance to staff and students based on their individual needs. Holds regular office hours for staff and students to ask questions.
- Student Health and Safety: Monitors and intervenes with students who may be struggling academically and/or with other behavioral and developmental issues. Refers accordingly to services as needed. Participates in regular professional staff on-call rotation, providing crisis intervention and serving as a resource or referral agent. Understands and enforces code of student conduct and other policies regarding behavior, safety, security, health, and other matters in cooperation with the appropriate offices. Serves as a campus judicial hearing officer. Participates in CARE team meetings and provides culturally responsive support to students.
- Administration: Manages departmental budget of approximately $1.5 million. Conducts budget analyses and complex data and financial projections related to housing occupancy. Reconciles purchases in a timely fashion and oversees staff use of purchasing cards. Serves on college committees as assigned. Offers to pitch in to help colleagues during crunch times and overlapping deliverables. Attends campus community events.
QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS
Successful candidates will possess a master’s degree in higher education administration or a related field and a minimum of seven years of student affairs experience or an equivalent combination of relevant education, training, certifications, and/or work experience. Knowledge of residential liberal arts college administration and experience leading residential program development, supporting operations management, and developing policies are desirable.
The institutional position description enumerates the following qualifications:
- Able to work a flexible schedule, including weekends and evenings.
- Ability to support, contribute to, and strengthen a vibrant, culturally diverse, and inclusive learning community of students, alumni, faculty, and fellow staff colleagues.
- Able to anticipate, deliver on, and exceed the expectations of those supported and served, including faculty and staff colleagues, students, and prospective students.
- Able to introduce and drive innovation in ways small and large.
- Able to exercise exceptional judgment, ensure strict confidentiality, and demonstrate outstanding professionalism in a range of situations.
- Able to collaborate effectively with colleagues across the college to achieve shared goals and objectives, including fellow executive and administrative assistants.
- Able to proactively identify and pursue relevant learning and professional development opportunities and apply new knowledge, insights, and skills to enhance results.
In addition to the qualifications stated above, key stakeholders identified the following capabilities and attributes of a successful candidate:
- Relationship-driven and a bridgebuilder
- Passionate about working with students
- Well-connected in the field
- Good change manager
- Experienced with student mental health concerns
- Strong mentorship and supervision skills
- Creative problem solver
- Experience with Greek life and housing
- Calm in crisis
HISTORY OF THE POSITION
The position has been vacant since May 2023. The prior director served in this role for nine years. The office and division have recently experienced a reorganization, and the areas reporting to this position have changed.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE
In transitioning to Union College, the director of residential education and housing will encounter the following opportunities, priorities, and challenges, as shared by key campus stakeholders:
Change Management. The director will be courageous in advancing new ideas, reimaging residential life, thinking outside the box, and pushing the department to address challenges with creativity and futuristic systems thinking.
Staff Leadership and Development. The director will work to support staff development through training, mentoring, and commitment to the professional growth of all staff in the department.
Housing Operations Background. Successful candidates will have experience evaluating and enhancing housing operations, including construction/renovations, assignments, structure, and business plans.
Forward-thinking. The successful candidate must be forward-thinking, having exercised this ability in a similar college environment. Having a background in practices for small private institutions and a network with colleagues serving similar populations will be helpful as they look to enhance practices and policies at Union College.
Strong Relationship Building. Collaborating with key colleagues across the department and the campus to support and develop a long-range plan to fully serve and accommodate all residents. Candidates must be politically astute and understand the value of collaborations and partnerships to the operation’s success.
Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Belonging, and Inclusion. They must incorporate the perspectives of diverse communities in consideration of the impacts and outcomes of policies and practices.
Strategic Planning. The director will be able to assess current programs and build upon them with expanded collaborations, programs, and relationships. They are expected to assist in developing the strategic plan and direct initiatives to increase support for student’s academic and personal success.
Growth. The director will be an instrumental leader in the program at a time when expansion has been approved, and additional housing and renovations are in the works to begin in Fall 2025.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
The items listed below will define the new director’s success throughout the first year of employment:
- The director is an essential team leader and collaborator with students, faculty, and staff working toward achieving division and institutional goals.
- The director has the ability to articulate the department’s vision, mission, and values, to stakeholders at the college.
- The director is a visible and engaged leader throughout campus, building bridges between students and programs that serve them.
- The director has enhanced the professional development, training, and mentoring of staff within the department.
- The current environment and operations have been assessed, and a vision for the department’s short- and long-term goals have been developed.
OVERVIEW OF RESIDENTIAL EDUCATION
The office of residential education (ORE) is responsible for campus living, housing operations, Greek leadership, and Minerva programs. ORE supports both the mission of the college and that of the division of student affairs by providing an inclusive living environment that fosters personal development, creates a sense of belonging, and cultivates opportunities for student learning that complement the academic curriculum.
Annette Diorio, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Annette Diorio joined the college as vice president for student affairs and dean of students in January 2023. She was previously vice president for student life at Lafayette College, where she served in student affairs leadership for more than two decades.
At Union, she leads a broad portfolio of student-facing services and operations, including the residential experience, dining, health and wellness, student activities, student conduct, and athletics.
Previously at Lafayette, Diorio championed the recognition of the college’s first multicultural Greek organization and was instrumental in simplifying Lafayette’s housing rate structure to promote greater equity in the residence halls. She also worked alongside students to implement a number of initiatives, including an increase in wages for student workers, redesigning the accreditation process for the college’s Greek chapters, and significant renovations to student residential and social spaces.
Diorio was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education from the State University of New York at Cortland, her master’s degree from St. Lawrence University, and her doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Kansas.
Ryan Keytack, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, Campus, and Community Living and Learning
Ryan J. Keytack serves as the assistant vice president for student affairs and supervises the Campus & Community Living & Learning team (also known as C2L2). Currently, he is responsible for a portfolio that includes, community standards & accountability, violence prevention, Greek leadership, residential education & housing, and the Minerva House system. Keytack earned his bachelor’s degree in english and communications from Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio. He went on to study theatre and take additional coursework in college student personnel at Bowling Green State University, where he earned his master’s degree. He also received a certificate in restorative justice from Skidmore College.
Keytack describes his roles as a developmental student experience maker and educator. He joined the Union College team in the spring of 2021 to begin the development of their residential curriculum (known now as the U Journey) and subsequent residential master planning process. He also teaches a first-year writing course, with a focus on musical theatre history. Prior, he spent twelve years at the University of Pennsylvania in several roles: College House Dean, area director, and director of residential programs. He has spent much of his career devoted to living-learning programs, including the first-year residential colleges at Case Western Reserve and performing and visual arts LLCs at George Washington University. His areas of research include second-year student development, restorative practices, assessment, and applied theatre.
Founded in 1795 as the first planned campus in the United States, Union College is a highly selective, private, residential, liberal arts college with engineering that is consistently ranked among the nation’s top colleges. Union College serves 2,050 full-time undergraduates from 40 states and territories and 50 countries. Union is located in Schenectady, New York, a short drive to Albany, the state’s capital, and only a few hours to New York City, Boston, and Montreal.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Statement
Union College strives to enhance its vibrant learning and working community by promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging both inside and outside the classroom. Leading with wisdom, empathy, and courage, the college shares the responsibility of creating a welcoming environment where each and every person at Union is respected and valued.
Union College recognizes that building a diverse, inclusive, and equitable community is a continual process requiring an examination and a willingness to explore wide-ranging perspectives. Union challenges each member of the campus and the broader community to contribute to an honest, critical, open, and sustained engagement with the institutional history and current practices.
The Student Body (Fall 2022 data)
Total enrollment: 2,077
International students: 10%
Black or African American: 4%
David Harris, President
David R. Harris, PhD, a sociologist with a distinguished record as an innovative teacher, scholar, and administrator, became the 19th president of Union College on July 1, 2018. At his inauguration, Harris set the tone for his presidency by launching the Union College Challenge, which encourages all members of the Union community to “become comfortable being uncomfortable” by committing to at least one thing that is new in their studies, personal lives, or jobs.
Under his leadership, Union has developed a five-year strategic plan that aims to fully blend the liberal arts and engineering, transcend disciplinary boundaries, bridge classroom and immersive experiences, and engage and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have been the cornerstone of the Harris presidency. In his first term at Union, he created the Making U Possible initiative to raise funds to ensure that all students can participate in the co-curricular and extra-curricular activities that comprise a full Union experience. He formed the Presidential Initiative on Race, Power, and Privilege, a 40-member working group of students, faculty, staff, and alumni that made recommendations to create and maintain an environment that values and respects all members. To provide a broad-based approach to fostering DEI, he appointed a four-member team of chief diversity officers. Harris moderates the Forum on Constructive Engagement, a series of events aimed at enhancing the appreciation of other perspectives.
Union College offers a comprehensive benefits package to meet the needs of its employees and their families. Information on the available benefits can be found in the 2023 benefits guide.
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 email@example.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The annual salary range for this position is $85,000-$92,000. Except for roles with a set rate of pay, the wage/salary of the finalist selected for this role will be set based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to departmental budgets, qualifications, experience, education, licenses, specialty, and training. The stated hiring rate/range represents the College’s good faith and reasonable estimate of the rate/range of possible compensation at the time of posting.
Visit the Union College website at https://www.union.edu/
Residential Education website at https://www.union.edu/residential-life
Union College is an equal-opportunity employer and is strongly committed to student and workforce diversity. Increasing diversity on campus is a critical priority for Union, one that is integral to our mission of preparing students for a globally interconnected world. Union provides a blend of intellectual, social, and cultural opportunities to facilitate the integrated academic, social, and personal development of a diverse community. We value and are committed to a host of diverse populations and cultures including, but not limited to, those based on race, religion, disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national origin, and veteran status. Union College is committed to providing access and will provide reasonable accommodation in its application process to individuals with disabilities who request such accommodations.