The Opportunity

Reporting to the associate vice chancellor of enrollment services, the executive director of undergraduate admissions (EDA) provides effective, visionary leadership for all areas of undergraduate admissions and is expected to develop and implement an integrated marketing and recruitment strategy for new undergraduate students, while overseeing a holistic admissions process. The EDA will develop recruitment goals and projections and collaborate with enrollment services, faculty, and academic staff to achieve these goals and ensure that enrollment targets are met.

The Position

Role of the Executive Director of Admissions for University of Alaska Anchorage

The new EDA will be expected to:

  • lead, manage, and provide growth and professional development for a team of 20+ staff (including four direct reports) in the areas of student recruitment, admissions operations, and marketing;
  • identify and analyze potential growth markets and incorporate them into successful marketing and recruitment plans;
  • work collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders to achieve enrollment goals;
  • develop a recruitment strategy which is inclusive of all events, including key community functions;
  • provide strong leadership in benchmarking, innovation, change management, use of technology, and continuous quality improvement;
  • manage a complex operating budget and analyze undergraduate admissions data to ensure enrollment numbers and targets are achieved; and
  • lead initiatives aimed at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s UAA 2025 strategic plan, while also working with Institutional Research staff to develop reporting tools to assess application processes, volume and productivity of recruitment efforts, and metrics to forecast enrollment.

History of the Position

The inaugural EDA position was created in 2018 and brought student recruitment admissions operations and marketing under the same leadership role. The former executive director of admissions, Cassie Keefer, served in the position for two years prior to her departure in May 2021. Craig Mead, assistant director of admissions operations, is currently serving as the interim EDA. As this role is still relatively new, the incumbent will have an opportunity to build on the successes of the previous executive director to have an even greater impact in this position.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

The new EDA must be an experienced, forward thinking, strategic leader who leads with empathy and an understanding of UAA’s open access mission. The new EDA must possess a broad and deep understanding of undergraduate recruitment and all areas of admissions, as well as an understanding of the opportunities and challenges of recruiting students within Alaska’s non-college-going culture. It will be critical for the incumbent to be skillful in identifying potential growth markets to maximize enrollment of Alaska’s unique and highly diverse populations, while also developing strategies to attract other desirable student populations. Within this context, the incumbent should expect the following opportunities and challenges.

  • With an average student age of 26, UAA mirrors the function of a community college with its open access mission and largely commuter campus. The new EDA must develop a thorough understanding of UAA’s access mission and Alaskan culture to develop effective marketing and recruitment strategies beyond traditional approaches. The new EDA must also understand the University’s desire to maximize enrollment of key populations and work collaboratively with internal and external constituencies to achieve these goals.
  • The EDA will need to be extremely data savvy and must be effective in utilizing historical and current data to make strategic recruitment and enrollment decisions. Collaborating and communicating with enrollment management leadership will be critical to the successful recruitment and retention of future UAA classes.
  • Recruitment and enrollment of students to UAA is a highly collaborative effort that involves the entire UAA campus. As an integral member of the enrollment management team, it will be important for the new EDA to fully understand the landscape of UAA (i.e., students, faculty, and staff) and prioritize relationship building with key campus stakeholders. The new EDA must be instrumental in actively involving the undergraduate deans, faculty council and other university leadership in UAA’s admission and enrollment efforts.
  • To be effective in leading the admissions team, the new EDA will need to take the time to get to know and establish positive relationships with the management team and the entire staff to understand their roles, talents, and contributions to the organization and its success.
  • As noted above, the current organizational structure that brought student recruitment, admissions operations, and marketing under one unit and in the same physical location, is relatively new. It will be essential for the new EDA to build a cohesive team that works with synergy and shared purpose, while also being sensitive to generational differences, experiences, and work styles.
  • There will be substantial support from university leadership and enrollment management colleagues for the person in this role. As noted, the new EDA will need to be a champion of UAA’s open access mission and must embrace the uniqueness of UAA and the Alaskan culture. This position presents an ideal opportunity for a highly experienced admissions leader with the motivation and desire to make a difference.

Measures of Success

  • The EDA is a visible and engaged leader and colleague throughout campus and has established collaborative working relationships with all internal and external stakeholders.
  • The EDA has demonstrated transparency and has provided strategic vision, leadership, accountability, and ownership of all admissions functions.
  • The EDA has worked with the associate vice chancellor for enrollment management and other stakeholders to implement priorities for recruitment and enrollment as outlined in the UAA 2025 strategic plan.
  • The EDA has assessed the skills and knowledge of the staff and developed a strong sense of teamwork among staff.
  • The EDA has continued the work of evaluating departmental resources and staffing needs to determine the support necessary to deliver essential services that support UAA’s admission, enrollment, retention, and graduation goals.
  • The undergraduate admissions staff is defined as a strong, high functioning, well-regarded, and resilient team that works with synergy and shared purpose, readily collaborating across departmental and division lines with a demonstrated commitment to supporting students from enrollment through graduation.
  • The EDA has formulated a comprehensive set of recommendations that will enable UAA to proactively maximize enrollment through the implementation of successful recruitment and marketing strategies and efficient admissions operations.

Qualifications

Qualifications and Characteristics

The position requires a master’s degree and documented evidence of substantial and progressively responsible experience in a college or university admissions/recruitment office at an accredited institution; five years in a supervisory role with preferred experience leading at the assistant or associate director level; and experience with comprehensive program development/management.

UAA is particularly interested in candidates with demonstrated experience motivating, supervising, and evaluating staff performance, with the ability to handle multiple demands on time in a calm and effective way. The successful candidate must be a strong collaborator and partner that is able to work with individuals from diverse ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds and can work effectively with leadership within the colleges regarding issues impacting undergraduate admissions. The successful candidate will also exhibit a strong commitment to student learning and development, contributing generally to institutional and other agency missions, while also maintaining an admissions office culture that is centered around the integral role student’s play in mission delivery. Experience at a large public university would be a plus.

Stakeholders at UAA indicated that in addition to the required qualifications for the EDA position, the following personal characteristics would also be sought.

  • a high level of initiative, organization, and energy
  • a proponent of educational access
  • the ability to manage, motivate, empower, and retain a diverse staff and to foster a supportive, open, and collaborative work environment
  • ability to manage multiple priorities in a dynamic environment
  • collegiality, energy, integrity, and high professional standards
  • a forward-thinking, visionary mindset
  • strong technical competencies
  • adept at supporting and managing change and the ability to diplomatically improve upon existing operations and practices
  • excellent goal-setting skills and the ability to establish processes to achieve those goals
  • accountable and transparent and, in turn, expects accountability and transparency from the team
  • able to appropriately balance staff advocacy with the overall needs of the department and the University
  • an effective communicator and collaborator within UAA’s diverse network
  • ability establish a positive work environment
  • empathy for the student experience and flexible with staff
  • a customer-care philosophy and an understanding of how to effectively balance the needs of students with the overall needs and priorities of the University

Institution & Location

Overview of the office of Admissions

The undergraduate admissions office is comprised of 20+ staff members. The leadership team includes three assistant directors and one CRM coordinator.

Craig Mead, assistant director of admissions operations, is currently serving as the interim executive director of admissions.

About UAA | University of Alaska Anchorage

Institutional Overview

Institutional background/history

The University of Alaska is a comprehensive, open access, public university established on the ancestral lands of the Dena’ina, Ahtna Dene, Alutiiq/Sugpiaq, Chugachmiut, and Eyak peoples. UAA is a premier university set in the heart of Alaska’s largest city and across the south-central region; a place where culture, innovation, and adventure converge. Roughly 15,000 students from all over the U.S. and 89 countries are currently pursuing their dreams at UAA. The University of Alaska Anchorage offers more than 100 programs, ranging from certificate programs to associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees at campuses in Anchorage and community campuses and extension centers throughout south-central Alaska. The unique location provides unparalleled access to valuable industry connections, Arctic research, outdoor recreation courses, and more. Specialized academic programs facilitate a variety of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, including groundbreaking educational opportunities that positively impact the surrounding communities and kick-start successful careers.

About UAA | University of Alaska Anchorage

Anchorage, AK

Urban and wild are not opposites; they are Anchorage’s two defining elements. There is no need to choose one or the other since they are both part of life in Anchorage. Anchorage lives under midnight sun and auroras, shares the backyard with moose, fishes in urban salmon streams at lunch, and cheers runners and reindeer on the main street. The city’s adventures may be beyond belief, but they are not beyond the boundaries.

Anchorage by the Numbers

With a population of 298,190, Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city with 41 percent of the state’s population.

Anchorage, and virtually all of Alaska, is in Alaska Standard Time, one hour behind Pacific Standard Time and four hours behind Eastern Standard Time. It covers 1,961 square miles from Portage Glacier to Eklutna – about the size of the state of Delaware.

Metro + Moose

Anchorage might appear at first glance to be a typical American city, but closer exploration shows some surprising facets of urban life in Alaska. The city’s 300,000 human residents share their space with an estimated 1,500 moose, not to mention bald eagles, bears, beavers, Dall sheep, and the occasional lynx. King and silver salmon fill Ship Creek all summer long, drawing anglers to one of the world’s only urban salmon fisheries. Just a block away, the Alaska Railroad’s largest passenger depot is at the center of train travel, as it has been for more than a century. For access to spots beyond the reach of road or rail, with many sightseeing tours by plane or helicopter take off from the city. A bustling seaplane base at Lake Hood has planes casting off from docks near hotels and homes. There are around 600 takeoffs and landings on the big days, and many sightseeing tours by plane or helicopter.

The aerial view says a great deal about Anchorage. Flying over the city, green is the prevailing color. Broad natural spaces like Far North Bicentennial Park, Kincaid Park are set aside. Paths following Chester and Campbell creeks knit the city together in a network of paved trails.

Farther east, the Chugach Mountains rise quickly. Filled with trails, glaciers, rivers, and wildlife, the Chugach are where locals go to unwind and enjoy the outdoors. One of the largest state parks in the nation is 20 minutes or less from most offices and neighborhoods.

To the west, the city is on the edge of Cook Inlet, so a trip along the Coastal Trail lends good views of the Alaska Range and Denali, and a drive down Turnagain Arm means an occasional beluga whale cameo.

To read more about Anchorage:  https://www.anchorage.net/plan-your-trip/about-anchorage/

 

Mission and Vision

UAA Mission

The University of Alaska Anchorage transforms lives through teaching, research, community engagement, and creative expression in a diverse and inclusive environment. Serving students, the state, and the communities of Southcentral Alaska.

Vision

We are known as a university of distinction, transforming lives and communities.

Aspirations

  1. We put students first.
  2. We create a culture of equity and inclusion by embracing our diversity.
  3. We embrace our role as a trusted and respected community partner.
  4. We positively impact communities and the world through innovation.
  5. We accelerate excellence through continuous improvement.

About UAA | University of Alaska Anchorage

UAA 2025 Strategic Plan

The UAA 2025 Strategic Plan is a framework that defines, communicates, and brings to life the University’s shared expectations for UAA by the year 2025. The plan builds on the University’s strengths, and focuses attention and resources on delivering high-quality education to meet the needs of the people of Alaska, and building a better future.

After months of meetings, stakeholder engagement, and comprehensive interaction at all levels of the institution, UAA 2025 consists of 5 key aspirations to reach by the year 2025, and subsequent strategies to achieve each of them.

For more information: https://www.uaa.alaska.edu/about/initiative/uaa-2025/

Leadership

Sean Parnell, Chancellor

Former Alaska Governor Sean Parnell began his role as chancellor of the University of Alaska Anchorage on June 12, 2021, succeeding interim chancellor Bruce Schultz.

Most recently an attorney in the Anchorage office of Holland & Hart LLP, Sean Parnell has 25 years in the active practice of law. He was elected to two terms in the Alaska House of Representatives, serving there from 1992 until 1996 when he was elected to the Alaska Senate (1996-2000). In 2006, he was elected Lieutenant Governor and served as Governor of Alaska from 2009 to 2014.

Parnell graduated from East Anchorage High School in 1980, earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1984 from Pacific Lutheran University and a J.D. degree in 1987 from the University of Puget Sound School of Law (now known as Seattle University School of Law).

https://www.uaa.alaska.edu/about/administration/office-of-the-chancellor/chancellor-sean-parnell-biography.cshtml

Colleges at UAA

Through specialized academic programs that integrate groundbreaking research and internships, UAA provides a one-of-a-kind educational experience that opens doors to endless opportunities after graduation. Students can join the Seawolf Nation and start writing their own stories as they embark on new adventures and pursue their goals in the state that truly is “The Last Frontier.”

  • Arts and Sciences
  • Business and Public Policy
  • Community and Technical College
  • Engineering
  • Health

About UAA | University of Alaska Anchorage

The Student Body

  • UAA students 14,989
  • Alaska residents 91%
  • NCAA sports 13
  • 100+ clubs and organizations
  • 15:1 faculty-student ratio
  • $7,014 one-year estimate for full-time resident tuition and fees
  • $57M in scholarships and grants administered

About UAA | University of Alaska Anchorage

Benefits Overview

Benefits Overview

  • Medical Plans
  • Dental Coverage
  • Vision Insurance
  • Pharmacy Plans
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Health Savings Accounts
  • Wellness Programs
  • Retirement Plans
  • Life Insurance
  • Education Benefits

 

For more information: https://alaska.edu/hr/benefits/index.php

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 Lynette M. Lindsey lml@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895

Visit the University of Alaska Anchorage website at https://www.uaa.alaska.edu.

The University of Alaska is an AA/EO employer and educational institution and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual: www.alaska.edu/nondiscrimination.