RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE RESIDENTIAL STUDENT EXPERIENCE
Reporting to the executive director for university housing, the director of the residential student experience for university housing is responsible for leading the overall management of the residential student experience (RSE) program for the 6,700 residents living in university housing at Florida State University (FSU). RSE assists the other units in university housing with developing an FSU living experience that supports students’ academic goals to graduation. RSE’s three functional areas include residence life, residence education, and HOME (housing, occupancy, marketing, and enrollment). Eighty percent of the on-campus residents are “first time in college” (FTIC) students, requiring a robust residential program and supportive environment to care for the students in their transition to FSU and beyond.
The director develops and supports the efforts of a team of 29 professionals, ten graduate, and over 300 student staff. They oversee administrative services, program assessment, 11 living-learning communities (LLCs), and the RSE budget to ensure high-quality service and resident satisfaction across 22 residential facilities. The director contributes to implementing departmental strategic initiatives through collaborative partnerships across campus and the community to align efforts to strengthen student success and engagement, accessible programs for all, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. The director is a visible and influential leader recognized for their leadership of university housing’s robust academic initiatives, thoughtful response to family and student concerns and complaints/appeals, swift coordination of crisis response for emergencies involving residential students, and the responsible management of confidential information.
Additionally, the director of the residential student experience:
- Oversees the partnership with undergraduate studies to provide support and space for living-learning communities and special interest housing; works closely with students and campus partners to develop cohesive living areas that reflect student interests and models for success.
- Provides leadership for staff development of all full-time staff in community building, customer service, and student success and coordinates the regular assessment of the overall resident satisfaction with services and programs.
- Oversees budgetary items for the unit for staff programming, staffing, and cost-related items, as well as student leadership funding.
- Assumes oversight responsibility for the total program in the executive director’s absence.
- Leads the department’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, ensuring students and staff can participate and contribute to the work.
- Represents university housing and serves on division-based and university-wide committees.
QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS
FSU seeks candidates with progressively responsible and substantial experience leading residential life programs and staff. With a track record of advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, the successful candidate will demonstrate the ability to communicate broadly across audiences while cultivating and sustaining collaborative relationships. The ideal candidate will have experience with academic-based living-learning communities, developing educational programs, managing occupancy, and administering student conduct. Experience in student affairs and higher education is strongly preferred.
Characteristics of the successful candidate
- Ability to balance demands of serving students who have high expectations, require outreach and active engagement, and are the most important ambassadors to future residents, and ensuring staff retention, development, and performance.
- A seasoned and mature leader who can serve in the absence of the executive director, solve problems, find answers, and communicate with senior leadership — must be able to synthesize and analyze issues and manage up effectively.
- Capable of working autonomously in an established and high-service system with demonstrated experience leading high-performing teams and managing multiple departments.
- Innovative, creative, and critical thinker who understands history and context while evaluating and assessing current processes, encouraging a growth mindset with staff, and developing clear plans to ensure a continuous improvement model to be agile, responsive, and to optimize service delivery.
- Relationship builder who can navigate myriad stakeholders, appreciates and is energized by change, and is skilled in anticipating and influencing university and state leadership.
- Excited to challenge and support a large and energetic staff with varying levels of experience, effectively acting as a “hub” of communication: championing the student-centered nature of the work, upholding the highest level of inclusive practices to create a strong sense of belonging, and understanding and addressing the needs of multiple stakeholders at every level of the university.
HISTORY OF THE POSITION
FSU has a rich tradition of offering comprehensive student support and development via the highest quality university housing and residential student experience. The director of the residential student experience (DRSE) reports to the executive director of university housing and childcare center. The previous director served in the role for four years. The associate director responsible for occupancy management, marketing, and customer service, is the interim director until the new director is in place and will not be applying for the position.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE
- FSU invests in a robust infrastructure to support success for first-generation students, and the residential experience is a cornerstone of the support network. Well-developed relationships and infrastructure are in place, and the director works closely with experienced and driven partners in advancing this already strong program.
- FSU has been an industry leader in residential-based academic initiatives resulting from solid partnerships with the leadership in the colleges. Living-learning communities are robust programs sustained through deep collaboration, curriculum, and shared responsibility between residential staff and academic units. FSU is committed to remaining on the leading edge of academic initiatives. There are opportunities to strengthen and expand programs and curricula to be more deeply integrated into the student experience.
- University housing is in high demand; there is more demand for on-campus housing than supply. The current challenge is working with admissions to establish clear and effective communication with admitted students and working with senior leadership to ensure alignment regarding priorities. At the same time, since there is no residential requirement and student housing is a highly competitive market, they must stay on the cutting edge to ensure sustainable occupancy through data-informed, systematic, intentional innovation. The new director has the potential to be involved and influence new construction and renovation projects.
- FSU is a highly relational and interdependent institution. As a self-funded auxiliary, university housing is known for supporting partners across campus. The director of the residential student experience is a crucial relationship manager who must balance requests for support and resources from partners and ensure housing doesn’t over-extend itself in terms of staff, space, or funds.
- FSU is an institution that enjoys significant diversity in its student population and prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion. The department and division have been industry leaders in establishing and sustaining a strong sense of belonging. Candidates will find many willing partners throughout the institution that support this work. At the same time, the political environment in the state of Florida challenges practitioners to adapt practices and be creative problem solvers to identify strategies to strengthen the student experience for all students.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
- University housing and the residential student experience act as a divisional connecting point for the overall success of students; the department is a leader on campus in creating an innovative, intentional, and strategic learning environment and experience for students.
- Academic initiatives continue to be an integral part of the residential experience and are recognized as being on the leading edge in the field.
- National, campus, and student perceptions of the quality of the FSU on-campus residential experience strengthen, and university housing remains the option of choice for incoming students and a competitive option for returning students.
- The residential student experience staff are known on campus for their collaborative spirit, solution orientation, student advocacy, academic partnership, and thoughtful insights into the student experience.
- Students from various backgrounds recognize housing as a champion of belonging and inclusion.
OVERVIEW OF UNIVERSITY HOUSING
See here for the organizational chart for University Housing
See here for the organizational chart for Residential Student Experience.
LEADERSHIP OF UNIVERSITY HOUSING & THE DIVISION OF STUDENT AFFAIRS
Amy Hecht – Vice President of Student Affairs
Dr. Hecht serves as the vice president for student affairs at Florida State University. In this role, she serves as an officer of the institution and provides vision and leadership for the division of student affairs. Before joining FSU as the vice president for student affairs, Dr. Hecht served in several leadership roles, including vice president for student affairs at The College of New Jersey, assistant vice president for student affairs at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, the associate dean of students at Temple University in Philadelphia, assistant dean of students at Temple University, and assistant director of student activities at Cabrini College in Radnor, Pennsylvania.
A professional in the field of student affairs since 2001, Dr. Hecht has served on executive leadership teams within student affairs organizations and has extensive experience leading and managing in higher education. She has published a book on the role of assistant/associate vice presidents in student affairs and book chapters and articles focused on organizational learning, change, and executive transitions. Her research interests include organizational culture, organizational learning, and the effective use of business practices within higher education.
Zduy Chu – Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs
Dr. Chu serves as the assistant vice president for student affairs. In this role, he is responsible for providing senior-level management, leadership, and vision in the division and within the student life portfolio which is comprised of fraternity & sorority life, university housing and childcare, new student and family programs and the Panama City campus student affairs.
Dr. Chu joins Florida State University from Valdosta State University where he served as the deputy chief officer of student affairs – strategic initiatives. Prior to joining Valdosta State University in 2017, he was Georgia State University’s assistant director for residential student success and retention. He was also a Semester at Sea Living learning coordinator and a student leadership coordinator at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Shannon Staten – Executive Director
Dr. Shannon Staten currently serves as the executive director for university housing and Childcare. She serves on the student affairs cabinet working with campus leaders to provide the best college experience possible. Before arriving at FSU in 2015, she was the director for housing at the University of Louisville for fourteen years. Her experiences in residence life and student development as well as housing operations, financial management, staff development, and working with P3 models have given her a broad understanding of managing student housing.
Dr. Staten currently she serves as the past chair for the Foundation Board for the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International. Her specialty areas include developing emergency action plans in residential environments; developing contracts and agreements; designing inclusive environments; and developing skill in time management, leadership, positive work environments, and office organization.
FSU is an American public space-grant and sea-grant research university. Founded in 1851, FSU is a preeminent research university in the State University System of Florida. The 1,391.54-acre primary campus in Tallahassee, Florida, is the oldest continuous site of higher education in Florida. FSU is classified as a Doctoral University – Highest Research Activity (R1) by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Enrolling over 47,000 students, Florida State encompasses 16 separate colleges and more than 110 centers, facilities, labs, and institutes offering more than 360 programs of study, including professional school programs. The university has an annual budget of over $1.7 billion and an annual economic impact of over $10 billion.
THE STUDENT BODY
Total Enrollment: 45,493
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION AT FSU
Florida State University recognizes that every competitive advantage begins with people. By valuing, celebrating, and leveraging the differences and similarities of the students, faculty, and staff, we inspire an environment of innovation and passion—one that enables us to create a teaching, research, and service environment that better reflects the needs of our students, faculty, staff, customers, constituents, communities, and other key stakeholders.
Richard McCullough – President
Richard McCullough became the 16th president of Florida State University on Aug. 16, 2021, bringing more than 30 years of academic research and leadership experience to the role as well as a commitment to innovation, entrepreneurship, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Prior to joining FSU, McCullough served as vice provost for research and professor of materials science and engineering at Harvard University since 2012. In this role, he oversaw the development, review, and implementation of strategies, planning, and policies related to academic research. In addition, he led an office of foundation and corporate engagement and assisted in the oversight of more than 25 interdisciplinary institutes, centers, and initiatives across the university.
A staunch champion of diversity, McCullough created a diverse pipeline of Black/African American, Latinx, and other underrepresented minority academics from both his research lab and as the founding creator of the Future Faculty Workshop: Diverse Leaders of Tomorrow, an annual workshop that helps diverse postdoctoral fellows and students obtain academic jobs. Now in its 15th year, the workshop has facilitated placing more than 50 underrepresented minority professors in the United States.
Florida State University offers employees the opportunity to participate in a variety of benefit programs. It is mandatory for all employees to participate in one of three retirement plans. All insurance programs are voluntary and include pre-tax and post-tax options. People First is the Benefits Administrator for the State of Florida pre-tax insurance plans and is responsible for new hire enrollments, coverage changes, premium administration, and dependent eligibility, among many others.
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Visit the Florida State University website at https://www.fsu.edu//
At Florida State University, we recognize that every competitive advantage begins with people. By valuing, celebrating, and leveraging the differences and similarities of our students, faculty, and staff, we inspire an environment of innovation and passion—one that enables us to create a teaching, research, and service environment that better reflects the needs of our students, faculty, staff, customers, constituents, communities, and other key stakeholders. As detailed in the Strategic Plan our approach starts with a belief that diversity is about more than a particular head count: it must reflect the quality and depths of our interactions. We remain focused on doing all that we can to ensure FSU is the university of choice for our faculty, staff, and students. By recognizing and embracing the differences and similarities within our community, we create a fertile environment for problem-solving—one that is more inventive and compassionate. We are proud that our cohesive community has become a signature of the FSU experience. But we can, and we will do more.
FSU is An Equal Opportunity/Access/Affirmative Action/Pro Disabled & Veteran Employer. FSU’s Equal Opportunity Statement can be accessed at: https://hr.fsu.edu/sites/g/files/upcbnu2186/files/PDF/Publications/diversity/EEO_Statement.pdf.