Clemson University seeks an experienced and creative leader to serve as its next director of undergraduate admissions. This is an on-site and in-person role, and the anticipated start date is July 2022. 

Role of the Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Clemson University

Reporting to David Kuskowski, associate vice president for enrollment management, the director of undergraduate admissions (director) serves as Clemson University’s chief admissions officer and is responsible for managing all aspects of the undergraduate admissions processes to achieve the University’s objectives, while providing efficient and effective customer service, maintaining a strong marketing and recruitment plan to attract the top high school graduates, and ensuring the diversity and land grant mission of the University is upheld.

As a member of the divisional leadership team, the director will provide collaborative and strategic leadership on all issues related to undergraduate enrollment at Clemson. They will work in coordination with the associate vice president of enrollment management and divisional colleagues to design freshman and transfer admission targets, admission standards, and yield projections. This senior leader will collaborate with University Relations to effectively market Clemson University to prospective students and their families, and will serve as a catalyst for authentic collaboration and open communication between the Office of Admissions and faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, the media, State and Federal officials, high schools, community colleges, and national peer colleagues.

The director is responsible for the recruitment, hiring, training, professional development, and evaluation of a full-time staff of over 40, and oversees an operational budget of approximately $3.2 million.

 

 

The Position

Qualifications and Characteristics

A bachelor’s degree and a minimum of seven years of documented leadership experience in progressively significant management roles in higher education admissions or enrollment management are required; a master’s degree and 10+ years of progressive leadership roles in higher education admission or enrollment management are strongly preferred. 

It will be important for the new director to have a mature communication style, a collaborative and collegial orientation, impeccable professional and ethical standards, and the demeanor and presence consistent with the role of a highly visible and critical senior leader. Experience with NCAA Division-I athletic policies is a plus; a demonstrated track record of success in the field of admissions, and the ability to create and implement long-term recruitment and communication plan that results in the enrollment of a diverse student body supporting the University’s goals, mission, and vision will be expected.  

Additionally, Clemson stakeholders indicated that the next director should exemplify many of the following attributes, while recognizing that no candidate will possess all of these characteristics:

  • Well-versed with a large, complex, and high-volume admission function
  • Able to respond positively and consistently to the needs of various stakeholders
  • A strong and consistent champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Transparent and patient with the entire team
  • Focused on process improvement
  • Fluent with market and enrollment data and able to translate this information to various stakeholder groups
  • Able to see both the big picture of enrollment and the impact of enrollment decisions at the college, major, and operational levels

History of the Position

David Kuskowski served as Clemson’s director of undergraduate admissions from July 2017 until September 2019.  He took on the role of interim associate vice president for enrollment management in September 2019, following the departure of Chuck Knepfle. Kuskowski was named associate vice president of enrollment management in March 2020.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

Clemson University’s next director of undergraduate admissions will find strong support for their work at all levels of the university, including the executive leadership team. There are clear expectations for the successful candidate to be a collaborative, innovative, and strategic leader with the ability to understand and embrace the university’s land-grant mission and strategic direction. Within this context, the incumbent should expect the following opportunities, priorities, and challenges:

  • A key priority for the new director will be to continue to integrate the Visitors Center into the strategic work of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. In 2023, the Visitors Center will move into a new space, which will be an opportunity to strategically position the work of the center.
  • The director will need to take time to establish positive relationships with the entire admissions team and learn their roles, talents, and contributions to the organization. It will be essential for the new director to continue to emphasize a strong sense of “team” among staff and support working relationships that emphasize a collaborative work environment.
  • Clemson has experienced tremendous growth in the last decade. The new director will be expected to be proactive in learning and understanding the university’s enrollment goals and priorities. Further, the new director will need to anticipate and appreciate the operational impact of this growth and its implications for the academic profile and needs of current and future undergraduate classes.
  • The director should be highly engaged with the academic colleges and deans and provide collaborative leadership for recruitment and yield enhancement activities that maximize enrollment opportunities.
  • The director will need to quickly understand and contextualize university priorities that impact the enrollment of key populations. Specifically, there is currently a university committee examining the full cycle of the transfer student experience, with particular focus on the admission and transfer credit evaluation process. The director will need to learn about the work of the committee and provide leadership and expertise to the group.

Measures of Success

The next director of undergraduate admissions will work with the associate vice president for enrollment management to determine specific measures of success and their respective timetables. Search stakeholders have offered the following general metrics for the position:

  • There is a notable sense of enthusiasm and support for the director’s leadership agenda. 
  • Admissions and visit center functions are optimally integrated and the experience of visitors is more successful and satisfying. 
  • An assessment of organizational strengths and weaknesses has been conducted and the director has developed a set of short and long-term goals that are clearly understood and embraced by the admissions team. 
  • The director is collaborating with the associate vice president for enrollment management to advance the divisional and university strategic plans.
  • Working relationships between undergraduate admissions staff and colleagues within academic colleges around recruitment and yield efforts have been noticeably strengthened.  
  • The director has assessed the process for review of high school records, particularly for out of state applicants, and has proposed an improved model for projection of yield rates. 

Institution & Location

Overview of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions

Mission Statement

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions, in collaboration with other campus units, strives to attract and enroll qualified, talented and diverse undergraduate students. We are committed to providing exceptional service to students and educational partners in an effort to highlight Clemson’s dedication to excellence.

Applied, Accepted, and Enrolled Numbers: Fall Term Freshman Three Year Comparison

2019 2020 2021
# Applied 29,070 28,600 47,007
# Accepted 14,900 17,715 23,158
# Enrolled 3,932 4,199 4,593
Admit Rate 51.3% 61.9% 49.2%
Yield Rate 26.4% 23.7% 19.9%

Applied, Accepted, and Enrolled Numbers: Fall Term Transfer Three Year Comparison

2019 2020 2021
# Applied 3,052 3,594 3,862
# Accepted 2,049 2,328 2,279
# Enrolled 1,529 1,595 1,509
Admit Rate 67.1% 64.8% 59.0%
Yield Rate 74.6% 68.5% 66.2%

 

 

Leadership of Clemson University Enrollment Management

The director of undergraduate admissions reports directly to David M. Kuskowski, associate vice president for enrollment management. A key member of the provost’s leadership team, Kuskowski directs University Admissions, Student Financial Aid, the Registrar’s Office, and the Visitor’s Center. In partnership with Clemson’s seven academic colleges, he works to ensure the recruitment and retention goals are aligned with the university’s strategic plan, ClemsonForward. As associate vice president of enrollment management, Kuskowski advises the university’s administration on various national trends, federal and state requirements, and issues facing enrollment in higher education.

2017 Enrollment Strategic Plan

Institutional Overview

One of the most productive public research universities in the nation, Clemson University attracts and powerfully unites students and faculty whose greatest desire is to make a difference in the lives of others. Ranked among the top 15 percent national public universities by U.S. News & World Report, Clemson is dedicated to teaching, research and service. The return on investment a Clemson degree affords has led to the University’s consistent rank as a best-value school by publications including The Princeton ReviewU.S. News & World ReportKiplinger, and Forbes.

Clemson is committed to fostering a community of acceptance through its Office of Inclusion and Equity, as well as several programs and initiatives, such as Call Me MISTER, Tiger Alliance, Emerging Scholars, the Men of Color National Summit, and the Women’s Roundtable event. Clemson University received the 2021 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. Clemson was also one of only 14 schools named a Diversity Champion, scoring in the top tier of all HEED Award institutions – the fourth year in a row the University has received that honor.

During the past decade, the number of student admission applications and prospective employee applications have almost doubled, and the number of graduate degrees awarded has more than doubled. In Fall 2021, Clemson enrolled 21,653 undergraduate and 5,688 graduate students. The University offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and 130 graduate degree programs. Clemson’s student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1, and 85.5% of undergraduate students earn their degree within six years.

University Leadership

James P. Clements, President

James P. Clements became Clemson University’s 15th president on Dec. 31, 2013 after serving as president of West Virginia University. Since his arrival, the value of the Tiger Paw has never been higher, driven by the university’s elevated academic reputation and the exposure from Clemson University’s athletic success on the national stage.

Under Clements’ leadership, Clemson has raised the bar in academics, admissions, enrollment, research, retention rates, graduation rates and diversity. Clements has also led the way in helping to raise more than $1.2 billion in private funds since he arrived at Clemson.

Clements is a nationally recognized leader in higher education who has served as president of a university in three different athletic conferences, Big East Conference, Big 12 Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference, where he served as the 2016-17 Chair of the ACC Council of Presidents. He has also been named to the College Football Playoff Board of Managers.

Learn more about President Clements at https://www.clemson.edu/president/biography.html

Clemson University Executive Leadership

Clemson University Mission and Vision Statement

Clemson University Strategic Plan: ClemsonFORWARD

Inclusion and Equity at Clemson University

Benefits Overview

Benefits Overview

Clemson University offers eligible employees a comprehensive benefits package including State employee insurance and retirement benefits plus additional benefits to supplement State coverage or to enjoy as stand-alone offerings. The South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA) manages insurance programs and retirement plans for South Carolina’s public workforce, including Clemson University employees.

For more information: https://www.clemson.edu/human-resources/benefits/index.html

Application & Nomination

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 may be emailed to Michel R. Frendian at mrf@spelmanjohnson.com or Lynette M. Lindsay at lml@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email info@spelmanjohnson.com.

Visit the Clemson University website at www.clemson.edu and the Clemson University Undergraduate Admissions website here.

Clemson University is proud to participate in the South Carolina Veteran Preference Policy for all full-time, regular positions. If you are a veteran and would like to receive this preference, please contact hrjob@clemson.edu before the application deadline to complete the next steps.

Clemson University is an AA/EEO employer and does not discriminate against any person or group on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, pregnancy, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status or genetic information. Clemson University is building a culturally diverse faculty and staff committed to working in a multicultural environment and encourages applications from minorities and women.