RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE POSITION
Reporting to the assistant vice president for student life/executive director of housing and food services, the director of residential life provides vision and strategic direction for all programs and services associated with residential life for students residing in residence halls, apartments, and family housing. The director plans and executes dynamic programs and initiatives to increase residential student success and engagement, which include living-learning communities, leadership opportunities, community development, and designing responses to student conduct and behavioral issues. The director is a key campus partner who promotes a vibrant residential community within a comprehensive housing program. The director motivates and supervises six full-time professional staff, indirectly supervises 37 additional full-time staff, and oversees a paraprofessional team of approximately 200. The unit’s annual operating budget is $6.8M.
- Direct strategic visioning and planning resulting in programs and services that effectively meet residents’ needs and support institutional goals.
- Develop and manage the unit operating budget, budget objectives, and revisions.
- Identify annual unit priorities, associated action plans, and measures of success.
- Keep abreast of the professional literature/research and new and emerging trends pertaining to student development in the campus residential environment and provide relevant information to department leadership.
- Oversee the development and execution of programs and services that address resident needs and support their growth and development as individuals as well as their academic success, including but not limited to:
- Special interest living/learning communities
- Student leadership opportunities
- Community development initiatives
- Appropriate response to student conduct issues
- Educational activities designed for maximum student engagement
- Assure that programs and services are evaluated, and that necessary adjustments are made to realize the intended impact.
- Ensure a staffing structure that supports the delivery of programs and services and results in a positive experience for staff at all levels.
- Oversee the development and execution of an effective training and development program for staff.
- Develop the appropriate protocols associated with crisis management and incident response.
- Participate as a leader in the development and execution of protocols related to significant transitional periods (e.g., autumn opening and move-in, winter break, academic year closing, move-out, and summer term operations).
- Develop appropriate policies and procedures to ensure compliance with applicable university, state, and federal regulations.
- Develop and maintain positive and collaborative relationships with other campus entities (e.g., UW Police Department, Counseling Center, LiveWell, Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct, Academic Affairs, etc.) that enhance the department’s ability to serve students and carry out associated responsibilities.
- Participate as a leader in the development and execution of protocols related to significant transitional periods (e.g., autumn opening and Move-in, Winter Break, academic year closing, Move-out, and summer term operations).
- Develop appropriate policies and procedures to ensure compliance with applicable University, state, and federal regulations.
- Develop and maintain positive and collaborative relationships with other campus entities (e.g., UW Police Department, Counseling Center, LiveWell, Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct, Academic Affairs, etc.) that enhance the Department’s ability to serve students and carry out associated responsibilities.
- Identify, articulate, and model values and behaviors that support an organizational culture characterized as positive, productive, and committed to serving students.
- Guide, direct, and engage in program development, program delivery, communications, and decision-making that reflect a deep understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Serve as a member of the department’s senior leadership team and as an expert voice on the residential student experience.
- Oversee the strategies and parameters for the annual recruitment and selection of professional staff and student leaders.
- Develop and maintain effective, positive, collaborative working relationships with all other departmental functional areas.
- Develop and maintain effective relationships with external partners.
- Represent the department on various university committees and direct and serve on department committees and teams.
- Supervise the work completed by direct reports, ensuring appropriate productivity and quality to support student and staff success.
- Evaluate the work completed by direct reports and provide constructive feedback to support their success.
- Guide direct reports on requirements and/or opportunities for learning and professional development for themselves and their respective team members.
QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS
A master’s degree in student personnel, higher education administration, or related area, and a minimum of three years of progressive mid- to senior-level experience within a residential life operation are required. Other requirements include a deep understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion principles related to organizational development, supervision, staff development, and student learning. A successful candidate will be a proven leader skilled in organizational change and have a strong track record of successful relationship and coalition building at all university levels. The director must have excellent communication skills and an understanding of current best practices and competencies for residential life. Experience with crisis management and response, knowledge of student conduct processes, and program assessment are necessary. Preferred qualifications include a terminal degree (Ed.D. or Ph.D.) in a related field, ten years of experience in collegiate student housing, and evidence of contribution to the field of student learning and development.
Other desired characteristics, skills, actions, and abilities noted from stakeholder discussions include:
- The ability to think critically and make important and timely decisions while considering the needs of students, staff, and partners internal and external to HFS.
- Demonstrated skills in leveraging feedback, formulating a clear vision, and creating “buy-in” for small and large scale process enhancements or needed departmental changes within residential life.
- High emotional intelligence and the ability to lead with compassion and confidence.
- A strong collaborative approach and ability to see the interconnectivity of all units in HFS, across student life, and the university.
- An excellent, confident, and transparent communicator with active listening skills who can articulate meaningful messages to others.
- Ability to provide strategic and operational leadership to residential life’s commitment to enhancing academic success in alignment with the stature of UW as an academically rigorous Research I institution. Program elements include makerspaces, other production/team spaces, a fitness center, an auditorium, classrooms, a leadership office, and large multi-purpose spaces.
- Ability to confidently collaborate with colleagues in strategic academic programs and other student support services.
- An ardent supporter of a diverse full-time housing and residential life professional staff with abilities to focus on specific professional development needs of the team.
- A natural team builder with the ability to break down barriers and increase levels of trust.
- A supportive and caring approach to crisis management and response, with an ability to navigate case management from a holistic and collaborative perspective.
- The skills to oversee the operationalization of student development and applied environment theory within a dynamic residential environment.
- An approachable, charismatic, optimistic, and influential leadership style.
- An enthusiastic attitude about the importance of the residential experience.
- The director works typical business hours Monday through Friday; however, frequent evening and weekend commitments occur primarily during the academic year (autumn through spring quarters). The position is on-call status for emergencies at all times.
- Will role model a positive work-life integration for the staff while understanding that Residential Life is a 24/7 operation.
- The director must have a student development heart while balancing this with the realities of being an administrator who oversees risk management, organizational culture and structure, and political environments.
HISTORY OF THE POSITION
For over a decade, Chris Jaehne served as director of residential life. Jaehne assumed the director role after serving in other positions within housing and food services. He now serves as special assistant to the vice president for student life at the University of Washington. After the short-term leadership of Chris Jaehne’s successor (February 2022 to August 2022), Pam Schreiber, the assistant vice president for student life and executive director of HFS, has served as interim director of residential life and will continue to serve in that role until a new director is named.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE
The director for residential life must possess a broad understanding of residential life and be an experienced or aspiring leader who has successfully advanced a residential life department. A new director should be skilled in organizational development and feel confident to join and contribute to a vibrant residential campus as a part of a comprehensive housing program.
The University of Washington Housing & Food Services is committed to finding a proven leader to take on this vital campus role. As a key position on the campus, the director will play an essential role in shaping and promoting the values of the residential experience. The new director can expect a supportive work environment with colleagues eager to collaborate across the campus. The residential life team requires a leader to lead with purpose and compassion and take a holistic look at the current and future direction of the residence life department.
The following were identified as possible opportunities, priorities, and challenges facing the new director of residential life at the University of Washington:
- The director must be visible and engaged with students, staff, and partners. They must be an advocate for residence life and incorporate all aspects of the department into the fabric of the campus. The new director must begin building relationships with internal and external partners immediately. Internally to HFS, the new leader must establish relationships with a supportive team of immediate peers.
- The new director must focus on the organizational health of the department, quickly beginning to understand the roles and functions of the department and prioritizing the establishment of trust among the residential life team.
- Specifically, the director should begin to know the residential life team and seek to understand their experiences on the campus, and their capacity and skills that uniquely position them to support students within the department. The director must parse out the needs of the staff and draw a collaborative path forward.
- Additionally, the new director must lead with compassionate confidence, must listen to and understand the needs of the team, and strategically and confidently make moves to improve the experience of students and staff.
- The new director will have an immediate opportunity to build upon a robust residential life program and positively impact residential life, HFS, student life, and the rest of the campus. The director will have the opportunity to focus on their role with the confidence that they are working within a comprehensive housing operation. All units within HFS understand the importance of residential life and are prepared to work together to ensure the new director is successful.
- A new director must make a personal and organizational commitment to approach departmental processes and philosophies through the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion principles.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
After an appropriate timeframe, the following items will define success for the new director of residential life at the University of Washington.
- The vision for residential life is developing based on active listening across the department.
- Solid relationships have been established with key partners in HFS, student life, and the academic departments who contribute to academic initiatives within residential living.
- The director has focused inward on the department and has taken time to get to know the staff, understand their roles, and earn their trust as a confident leader.
- As a senior leadership team member in HFS, the director has learned to anticipate and understand the connections between all HFS units. If the new director identifies inefficient silos, they have actively and strategically worked with partners to break down the barrier.
- The new director has become the “face” of residential life, are advocates for the student experience, and have forged new partnerships to benefit residential student success.
- Residential life is well represented across the campus and continues to be known for providing quality care for students.
- The director has taken steps to identify staff turnover trends, developed a plan to address those trends, and created a long-term recruitment plan to address staffing in residential life.
- The director will have gained access to residential life assessment data and employed a data-driven approach to encourage and create new and innovative strategies to support residential students. The director will have incorporated the residential life team in the process to identify and create additional workplace efficiencies.
- The team should feel proud about the work happening in residential life. The director’s positive approach to the work will permeate the department and create strong and dynamic staff prepared to support students.
OVERVIEW OF THE DIVISION OF STUDENT LIFE
At the University of Washington, the departments and units within the division of student life are committed to supporting the intellectual, physical, and emotional development of all students. The division understands that student success is not solely defined by grades; through clubs and activities, leadership and service opportunities, and a driven network of mentors, students at the UW grow as individuals and learn to invest in their communities.
Led by a passionate, student-focused staff, student life serves as a hub for a variety of programs, services, facilities, and operations that are all designed to enrich the Husky experience for every student on campus.
DIVISION OF STUDENT LIFE LEADERSHIP
Denzil Suite – Vice President for Student Life
As vice president for student life, Denzil Suite provides leadership for a wide range of programs and services that support students in their transition to the university and deepen their out-of-class experiences. These programs and services include housing and food services, student activities, Husky student union, student publications, recreational sports, counseling centers, disability resources, career centers, ceremonies, Greek life, community standards and student conduct, LiveWell, and Hall Health.
A leadership list for the Division of Student Life can be found here.
OVERVIEW OF HOUSING & FOOD SERVICES
Housing & Food Services is an integral partner in the university’s drive to provide vibrant student life and educational opportunities. HFS provides approximately 9,700 students with housing that meets their needs, promotes community, supports their academic success, facilitates leadership development and social connections, and encourages campus engagement. The department’s mission statement is “working together to enhance student life.”
As a self-sustaining auxiliary department, HFS operates without outside financial assistance, including UW or state funds. As a result, the services it provides are paid for by those who directly benefit from them (i.e., residents, customers, and guests). The FY23 gross revenues and expenses are projected at $162.1M and $98.2M, respectively.
In addition to residential life, other functional areas within the department include UW dining, facilities services and capital planning, communications and marketing, human resources, information technology, and financial and student services.
In 2020, HFS completed a 10-year redevelopment of the majority of student housing and residential dining. As a result, the residential program operates in new, fully accessible facilities that include student support amenities such as three “makerspaces” and community centers with meeting/project rooms, an auditorium, multi-purpose rooms, and a fitness center. Many of these spaces are specifically programmed (some in partnership with academic units), offering high-impact experiences for students. The department also offers a variety of dining options for residents including two residential dining venues, two grocery stores, a restaurant, and numerous campus retail outlets. HFS partners with a number of academic departments and programs, supporting class space needs, enhancements to course offerings, co-curricular activities, and research.
Pamela Schreiber – Assistant Vice President for Student Life, Executive Director, Housing & Food Services; Interim Director for Residential Life
Pam Schreiber has extensive experience in higher education and in the operation of housing and dining programs. As HFS executive director since 2009, she oversees student housing, residential life, residence hall and retail dining, conference housing, catering services, and a campus debit-card program. In her 36-year career, she has participated in several housing capital projects, including the 2009-2020 redevelopment of housing and dining on the UW campus
Prior to coming to the UW, Schreiber served as director of university housing at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, a position she held since 2003. At the University of Georgia, from 1993 to 1999, she was responsible for a residential area consisting of three communities housing a total of 3,000 students. From 1988 to 1993, she was assistant director of housing for residence life at the University of Florida, where she was chief administrator for a residential area that housed 1,100 students in five historic buildings.
Schreiber holds a doctorate in education, specializing in adult education, from the University of Georgia. Her master of arts degree in college student personnel is from Bowling Green State University, and her bachelor of arts degree in social welfare is from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
She has contributed to the housing profession by serving as the ACUHO-I president in 2022 and previously on the executive board as workforce development director, on various committees, and as a presenter and facilitator at conferences and institutes. Schreiber’s philosophy, as reflected in her leadership style, is that the on-campus residential experience directly contributes to students’ success as young adults and scholars and that every member of the HFS team contributes to making a difference in the lives of these residents.
An organizational chart for Housing & Food Services can be found here.
An organizational chart for Residential Life can be found here.
Founded in 1861, the University of Washington (UW) is one of the world’s preeminent universities, one of the oldest universities on the West Coast, and the flagship institution of the six public universities in Washington state. The University of Washington has a magnificent campus overlooking downtown Seattle and Portage Bay with stunning views of nearby Mount Rainier. The University enrolls and serves over 54,000 students annually, offering nearly 300 areas of study and over 600 degree options. Ranked sixth in the world on U.S. News and World Report’s Best Global Universities Rankings, the University of Washington embraces a high standard of excellence. UW encourages a diverse academic community of educators and learners to lead innovative global research with close to $2 billion in research grants and contracts. At UW, diversity is essential to excellence, access, and justice. The University of Washington encourages its community to “be boundless for Washington and the world.”
Ana Mari Cauce – President
As the president of one of the world’s great public universities, Ana Mari Cauce is leading the University of Washington in advancing its mission in four key areas: providing a leading-edge student experience, conducting research and scholarship that has a global impact, upholding the UW’s dedication to its public mission, and infusing the entire university with a commitment to innovation.
A member of the UW faculty since 1986, Cauce became interim president in March of 2015, having previously served as provost and executive vice president, and the UW Board of Regents selected her to become the UW’s 33rd president.
The University of Washington values and honors diverse experiences and perspectives and strives to create a welcoming and respectful learning environment, and possess access, opportunity, and justice for all.
The anticipated hiring range is $130-135,000 annually, commensurate with education and experience. The University of Washington offers its employees a comprehensive benefits package, including a variety of health option plans and generous retirement options.
APPLICATION AND NOMINATION
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 and questions about the status of the search may be emailed to Julie A. Leos at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email email@example.com.
Visit the University of Washington Housing & Food Services website at https://hfs.uw.edu
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