RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE POSITION
Reporting to the associate vice president for student life services, the director of The Multicultural Center provides the vision and leadership for a comprehensive and innovative student cultural center. The director supports students affiliated with The Multicultural Center by developing and implementing strategies for increasing and strengthening the recruitment and retention of diverse student populations (undergraduate and graduate), providing multiple support services for students from underrepresented populations, and facilitating diversity-related programs that foster inclusive learning for all students to promote education, interaction, and understanding across cultures. The director oversees the center’s operations and operating budget, supervises professional, classified, graduate, and student employees, and provides expert advice, consultation, and influence to faculty, staff, and community in the areas of identity development, diversity, and multicultural issues and concerns that affect students.
QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS
A master’s degree and three years of experience developing, implementing, and evaluating diversity or cultural programs are required. Candidates must demonstrate an ability to work effectively with individuals and groups from a variety of identities, cultures, and backgrounds.
Successful candidates also will demonstrate the following qualifications and characteristics. Candidates will be:
- Student-centered, documenting a history of decision-making informed by student needs and success and a commitment to being present and responsive to students.
- Experienced working with the communities that The Multicultural Center serves.
- Effective leaders and mentors who empower and inspire their staff and students, building strong teams and communities.
- Relationship-builders with strong communication, listening, and collaboration skills.
- Passionate visionaries capable of articulating and implementing a plan to grow The Multicultural Center while encouraging and supporting other stakeholders to join the director and the center in improving students’ inclusion and sense of belonging.
- Facile in using and collecting qualitative and quantitative data to assess programs and advocate for resources needed to respond to new, growing, or changing student needs.
- Comfortable facilitating challenging conversations with students utilizing a trauma-informed care perspective.
- Effective working with faculty and other partners in academic affairs to increase and promote co-curricular programming.
- Experienced in managing and developing budgets, with a history of being fair and transparent in distributing resources and capable of prioritizing needs to stretch limited resources.
- Someone who is a builder, taking an assets-based approach to the development and growth of both people and programs.
HISTORY OF THE POSITION
The position is vacant due to the prior director’s resignation. After five years of service in which the center, its team, and its services were rebuilt, the former director obtained a position as dean of students at another university. The associate vice president serves as the interim director until the position is filled.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE
This is an exciting position at a growing institution that welcomes new ideas and wants to ensure student persistence and success as its student body becomes increasingly diverse. The Multicultural Center occupies a beautiful space in the Joe Crowley Student Union that features murals, flexible meeting space and private offices. Staffing of the center includes six professional staff members and 10-15 paid student workers. There are opportunities to create innovative new programs, strengthen communities, and advance equity, diversity, and inclusion across campus, building on the solid foundation created in recent years. The new director will join a capable and passionate student life services team.
Potential opportunities, priorities, and challenges of the position include the following:
- COVID-19 caused the campus and the center to close and then reopen at a more limited capacity. The consequence of online learning experiences in high school and college has left many students lacking experience building solidarity through community and in-person programming. While there has been an uptick in student participation in the spring 2023 semester, the center needs to improve visibility and encourage better understanding and utilization of the center’s space, resources, and programming.
- The Multicultural Center plays a central role on campus in responding to multicultural student needs and advocating for an equitable and inclusive campus. But the staff is sometimes overwhelmed by the number of requests made. There is a need to prioritize and define the center’s work while empowering and supporting a university community where all share the responsibility of advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice values.
- Four talented professional staff serve as program coordinators for each of the center’s primary populations, except for the LGBTQIA+ community. There is no current budget for an additional coordinator. The new director will need to review new demographic and student need data to develop a plan and make a case for new resources (and possibly new staff) to meet the growing needs in this area.
- The student life services division is committed to the professional development of its staff.
- While there is a desire and opportunity to expand the services and programs of The Multicultural Center, expansion needs to be done in ways that build on existing strengths and are sensitive to the needs of students who are already engaged in the center.
- While Reno is growing and becoming more cosmopolitan and diverse, many students from the Las Vegas area find the area to be more conservative and less accepting. Students from the Reno area are more likely to have attended predominantly white high schools. Therefore, much work is needed to ensure the awareness and acceptance of diverse identities and cultural backgrounds.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
After a reasonable interval, the success of the new director will be measured by the following criteria. The new director will have:
- Developed trusted relationships with students, given the director’s presence at programs and availability as a mentor.
- Overseen continued growth in student participation in the center’s facilities, resources, and programs and documented excellence in outcomes.
- Nurtured ongoing relationships and built new ones that improve the center’s visibility, ensure more collaborative programming, improve student recruitment and retention, connect students to supportive external communities, and advance a more welcoming institution.
- Worked with the center’s professional staff to set professional and program goals. The team is supported as they navigate university policies and politics, prioritize needs, and identify regular and ongoing professional development opportunities.
- Become an integral part of the student services leadership team who collaborates effectively to support student success.
- Identified and utilized data to better serve student needs.
- Continued efforts to strengthen and widen pipelines starting with middle school students and built partnerships with key enrollment programs.
- Prioritized areas and issues where center staff must be at the table or serve as resources in the campus and external community while encouraging collaborative partnerships and building others’ capacity to meet the growing demand for intercultural competence, training, and resources.
OVERVIEW OF STUDENT LIFE SERVICES
Student life services supports the student and campus experience through programs ranging from residential life to cultural diversity and is committed to developing and maintaining a healthy learning environment for all students at the university.
OVERVIEW OF THE MULTICULTURAL CENTER
The Multicultural Center is a vital part of the division of student life services and a critical campus hub of cultural, LGBTQIA+, gender-focused services, programs, and social justice initiatives that support student success and increase graduation rates of students at the University of Nevada, Reno. The Multicultural Center empowers students to be innovative colleagues in creating a better-integrated community at the university and beyond.
STUDENT LIFE SERVICES LEADERSHIP
Shannon Ellis, Vice President for Student Services
Shannon Ellis was appointed vice president for student services in 1998. Reporting directly to the president, Ellis serves as the lead administrative officer and provides leadership for the division of student services, including enrollment, student life, and student success services.
Before her position at the university, Ellis served as dean of student and academic support services at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, from 1990-1998. In 1988-1990, she served as assistant dean for student affairs/director of campus life at the University of Southern California (USC); assistant to the vice president for student affairs at USC, 1985-1988; associate director, office for residential life at USC, 1983-1985; and director of Greek affairs, office for residential life at USC, 1980-1983. She began her career in academia as director of Greek affairs and assistant dean in the dean of students’ office at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, from 1977-1980.
Romando Nash, Associate Vice President for Student Life Services
Romando Nash serves as the associate vice president for student life services at the University of Nevada, Reno. Prior to his appointment, he served in positions at San Jose State University, the University of Southern California, Loyola University Chicago, Seattle University, and Santa Clara University.
Nash is an active member of ACPA/College Student Educators International, the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), and the Association of College and University Housing Officials International (ACUHO-I), serving in leadership capacities in each organization. Of particular note is his service on the NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program (NUFP) Advisory Board, NASPA AVP Steering Committee, ACUHO-I Levels of Engagement Taskforce, and as a member of the inaugural cohort of the NASPA Supporting, Expanding, and Recruiting Volunteer Excellence (SERVE) Academy. Currently he serves on the NASPA Advisory Board as the Region V Director.
The University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) is a public R1 research university committed to promising a future powered by knowledge. UNR delivers on its land-grant mission of access to education and knowledge by investing in the academics, facilities, support, engagement, and vibrant campus life that promote our diverse students’ cognitive growth and academic achievement—all while remaining one of the best values in American higher education, according to both Forbes and Money magazines (2018). The university is ranked in the top tier of National Universities by U.S. News & World Report and in the top tier of the WSJ/Times Higher Education World university rankings. UNR’s main campus is located in Reno, Nevada, immediately adjacent to a vibrant and growing downtown region. It has a satellite campus in south Reno and an outreach mission and presence throughout the state.
THE STUDENT BODY (FALL 2022 DATA)
Total enrollment: 20,945
American Indian or Alaskan Native: 1%
Black or African American: 4%
Pacific Islanders: <1% (.4%)
Two or more races: 8%
Race unknown: 2%
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, RENO
Diversity and inclusion represent the university’s ever-evolving commitment to realize and sustain a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment for all university community members—students, faculty, staff, alumni—and the surrounding communities.
Diversity and inclusion works closely with a broad spectrum of academic, student, and administrative units to strengthen educational inclusive excellence, as well as the university’s democratic civic engagement, to promote a strong sense of belonging throughout diverse communities.
Brian Sandoval, President
President Brian Sandoval has launched several key initiatives stressing a long-term collaborative commitment to meet the ever-changing needs of the university since his appointment as the 17th president of the University of Nevada, Reno, in 2020. He has raised visibility and awareness of the strategic priorities for the state’s original land-grant institution. Sandoval has stressed student accessibility, diversity, and success; faculty and staff achievement and excellence; and innovation, partnership, and impactful engagement through the university’s research and outreach efforts.
During Sandoval’s tenure, key achievements have included:
- Collegiate Academies—An intentional dual enrollment effort by the university to improve access pathways to the university through partnerships with the Clark County and Washoe County school districts, the collegiate academies are establishing growing cohorts of university-bound high school students, thereby improving access to the university for Nevada families.
- Sierra Nevada University partnership—A groundbreaking collaborative agreement whereby Sierra Nevada University, located at Lake Tahoe, will merge with the university pending approvals by higher education and federal regulatory bodies. The merger will increase the university’s ability to expand academic programming and enrich future university students’ living, learning, and discovery environments while also increasing the institution’s sustainability and research efforts at Lake Tahoe.
- Digital wolf pack initiative—One of several student-centered initiatives based on partnerships with tech industry leaders, the digital wolf pack initiative is a pilot program with Apple designed to support students’ experience on and off campus by more fully integrating technology into students’ academic careers. This includes augmenting digital literacy and making access to digital tools and programs possible for all students an institutional priority, no matter students’ socioeconomic status or backgrounds.
- Guinn Center affiliation—The Guinn Center, a nonpartisan research and policy center, formally became affiliated with the university in the summer of 2021. With this partnership, the university’s students and faculty will work in concert with the Guinn Center on a wide range of public policy issues central to Nevada’s future.
- Renown affiliation –In the summer of 2021, the university announced a generational partnership agreement between the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, and Renown Health to establish the first fully integrated health system in Nevada. The agreement expands clinical training and clinical research programs as well as access to clinical care for all Nevadans.
See here for information on the benefits offered at the University of Nevada, Reno. Most notable is the employer retirement match of 15.5 percent.
Review of applications will begin June 7, 2023, and continue until the position is filled. Applicants should write a brief statement (one page maximum) about how you would contribute toward UNR’s mission of creating a culturally inclusive environment in the role for which you are applying and attach it to their cover letter. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume with an accompanying cover letter and diversity statement. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Sharon Meagher 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 public salary range for this position is $100,000-102,000. The University of Nevada has an outstanding retirement program with an employer matching contribution of 15.5%.
Visit the University of Nevada, Reno website at https://www.unr.edu
The University of Nevada, Reno, does not discriminate on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that it operates. Non-discrimination on the basis of sex is mandated by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.) and the corresponding implementation regulations (34 C.F.R. Part 106). The University’s commitment to nondiscrimination in its education programs and activities extends to applicants for admission and employment. EE/Title IX website.
NSHE is committed to providing a place of work and learning free of discrimination on the basis of a person’s age (40 or older), disability, whether actual or perceived by others (including service-connected disabilities), gender (including pregnancy related conditions), military status or military obligations, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national origin, race (including hair texture and protected hairstyles such as natural hairstyles, afros, bantu knots, curls, braids, locks and twists), color, or religion (protected classes).