Chartered in 1856 and established as the first land-grant college in the South in 1872, Auburn University today enrolls over 31,000 students in over 150 programs of study. Ideally located on 1,841 acres just one hour from the state capital of Montgomery and two hours from Atlanta, GA, Auburn is the second largest university in Alabama and one of the state’s two public flagship universities. Classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity” and producing five Rhodes Scholars and five Truman Scholars, Auburn University remains on the educational forefront with its traditional blend of arts and applied science, changing with the needs of today while living with a respect for the traditions and spirit that are Auburn. With over 300 student clubs and organizations from which to choose, a 20:1 student/faculty ratio, and an exciting Division I athletics program that competes in the Southeastern Conference, Auburn is a seminal destination for living, working, and gaining a world-class education.
ROLE OF THE POSITION
Reporting to the associate vice president of Student Affairs, the executive director of Campus Recreation and Wellness provides visionary leadership, supervision, and management to the Campus Recreation and Health Promotion & Wellness Services (CRW) departments, including facilities and programs. The executive director oversees comprehensive strategic planning, goal setting, and assessment initiatives and implements best practices related to wellness and campus recreation, develops long-term financial forecasts, ensures effective marketing, and directs emergency preparedness and crisis response efforts. The executive director effectively manages the CRW budgets, ensuring sound fiscal operations, and recommends appropriate student fees to the associate vice president of Student Affairs; supports, in collaboration with the director of Facilities and Operations, the creation of renovation, refreshment, and capital project plans; provides effective leadership and direction to program development of intramural sports, sport clubs, fitness programs, open recreation access, special events services and operations; provides oversight of indoor and outdoor facilities and fields, marketing and communications, fiscal management including revenue-generating services, staffing and supervision, and general administration and risk management; and implements and evaluates evidence-based and needs-based health education programs that are research-driven best practices related to the dimensions of wellness. Additionally, the executive director maintains relationships with internal and external constituencies and campus and divisional partners; develops and implements a communication strategy that conveys wellness messaging to campus and shares mandated reports with the Auburn community; and supports an integrated and holistic wellness model in partnership with the Division of Student Affairs and other campus units to include Auburn University Medical Clinic, Student Counseling & Psychological Services, The School of Kinesiology, Harrison College of Pharmacy, Health Behavioral Assessment Center, and Athletics.
The executive director oversees a 240,000 square-foot recreation and wellness facility and over 15 acres of outdoor field space, manages a professional staff of about 50 in CRW, including five direct reports and over 375 student employees, and oversees operating and reserve budgets totaling approximately $21.5 million. The executive director is a member of the associate vice president’s leadership team, providing leadership for university/division committees and initiatives, and representing the university at appropriate state, regional, and national professional organizations.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE
The executive director of Campus Recreation and Wellness must understand best practices in campus recreation and wellness for higher education. In addition to strong programmatic and administrative skills, the new executive director must be able to build, mentor, retain, and support a strong team.
Campus stakeholders articulated many opportunities and challenges for the executive director, and the following are common themes that were highlighted:
- Create a vision and identity for Campus Recreation and Wellness. Working with accomplished and engaged administrative staff, the next executive director will create a clear and unified vision that aligns with the Auburn Creed, celebrates the distinctness of both Campus Recreation and Health Promotion and Wellness Services, and elevates and strengthens opportunities for programmatic synergy and greater administrative efficiencies between the two departments.
- Focus on strategic planning. The next executive director will lead short-term and long-term planning on Campus Recreation and Wellness’s role in shaping the student experience. The next executive director will lead conversations around organizational structure and space allocation, program assessment, revenue generation, deferred maintenance and facilities capital improvement planning, and community partnerships.
- Dynamic and engaged leadership. The next executive director will demonstrate a leadership style that builds trust and capacity within the CRW leadership team and is highlighted by frequent, consistent, and transparent communication that includes enhanced budget transparency and dynamic professional development support. The next executive director will develop a strong sense of team among staff and build working relationships emphasizing collaboration, consistency, and equity. Staff should feel encouraged, challenged, supported, and confident about how they contribute to the shared vision and support Auburn’s strategic priorities.
- Innovative campus and community partnerships. With a highly relational and communicative nature and a respect for campus tradition and culture, the next executive director will strengthen communication and collaboration between CRW and the larger institution—student affairs, academic programs, athletics, etc.–and the greater Auburn community. The executive director will bring innovative thought to program development and facilities usage that is seen as student-centered, strategic, cutting-edge, accessible, and inclusive.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
The executive director of Campus Recreation and Wellness will be an innovative and savvy strategic thinker, work with others to develop and implement a vision, and inspire the campus community to come together to accomplish shared goals for the future.
At an appropriate interval after joining Auburn, the following will initially define success for the new executive director of Campus Recreation and Wellness.
- Staff in Campus Recreation and Health Promotion and Wellness Services can articulate a shared vision and mission and feel valued as members of the CRW team.
- The executive director is seen as a critical partner in building and supporting holistic wellbeing supported by the work of CRW.
- Departmental programs and participation are important to the student experience and belonging.
- Partners across campus feel like valued colleagues and partners to the work of CRW.
- Student employees see their work in campus recreation as a valuable and intentionally developmental part of their student experience.
- Students and staff see the new executive director as approachable and accessible. Through a student-centered orientation, this advocate supports programs, builds rapport with students, and seeks their input.
HISTORY OF THE POSITION
Jennifer Jarvis announced her retirement as executive director of campus recreation in 2021 after 40 years of dedicated service to the Auburn community. During her tenure, staff size grew from five to over 50, the operating budget grew from $400,000 to $12.9 million per year, and several transformative capital enhancements were completed, including the construction of the Recreation and Wellness Center in August 2013 and the $22 million SportsPlex in August 2020.
In identifying synergies in the division and the opportunity to grow wellness initiatives, the Division of Student Affairs changed the position to executive director of Campus Recreation and Wellness in the spring of 2022. The new executive director of Campus Recreation and Wellness will oversee both Campus Recreation and Health Promotion and Wellness Services. CRW is being led by interim leadership while a national search commences.
QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS
A master’s degree in higher education, education, student affairs, health promotion, health education, physical education, recreation, sports administration, management, business administration, or a related field is required, with at least eight years of progressively responsible leadership experience within health and wellness and/or campus recreation, including experience in budget planning, personnel management, student development, program evaluation, facilities management, operations management, and policy development. The successful candidate should have extensive working knowledge of recreation and sport management/administration, including risk management, safety, and liability guidelines; demonstrated ability to successfully perform managerial responsibilities in a complex regulatory, legal, policy, and political environment that best meets the needs of the students, department, division, and university; an understanding of the theories, principles, and practices of health promotion, wellness as a component of holistic student development, and higher education administration; and a proven record of successful staff supervision and motivation, providing solid organizational leadership at all times. The ability to solve complex issues; demonstrated experience and the ability to interact with diverse constituents; strong interpersonal and human relations skills; proven ability to lead organizational transformation, with a capacity to effect change in the institutional culture and operations; excellent written and verbal communication skills; demonstrated commitment and orientation toward equity and inclusion; and relationship building skills with the ability to work collaboratively with key campus and community partners are highly desirable.
Additionally, the following characteristics and attributes were identified by various stakeholders when considering the executive director for Campus Recreation and Wellness position:
- Demonstrated experience developing and leading campus-wide wellness initiatives.
- Knowledgeable about national best practices in campus recreation and wellness, including the concept of using research and assessment to guide decision-making.
- A record of superior communication and presentation skills, successful relationship building, and collaboration with internal and external stakeholder groups.
- Demonstrated experience effectively supervising, advocating, coaching, and mentoring professional staff and providing staff with meaningful professional development and recognition opportunities to further expand their learning and growth.
- A strong transformational leader with the ability to manage and effect change and utilize adaptive leadership to successfully thrive in a changing environment.
- The emotional intelligence and political intuition to navigate the university’s strong institutional culture.
- Highly collaborative communicative style with the capacity to foster relationships with key stakeholders, campus leaders, and community partners.
- Demonstrate an ethos focused on customer service, operational excellence, teamwork, and communication.
- Knowledge and experience with membership development, budget management, financial projections, and revenue enhancement for campus recreation facilities.
- Robust entrepreneurial spirit with the ability to generate new ideas and see the idea through to implementation.
- Decisive leader with the capability to make tough decisions while also explaining the rationale behind those decisions.
- Knowledgeable about national best practices in campus recreation, health promotion, and wellness, including the concept of using data, research, and assessment to guide decision-making.
- Familiarity with technology/social media and how to leverage these media to more effectively reach constituents.
- Strong background in student development and an understanding of its importance to holistic wellbeing within students’ collegiate experience and student success.
- Proficient in higher education administration with attention to best practices in campus recreation, wellness, risk management, and financial oversight and stewardship of university resources and assets.
- A demonstrated orientation toward equity and inclusion and cultural competency in all aspects of campus life.
- Engaging and encouraging supervisory style with a healthy sense of humor, appreciation and care for their staff, and a positive reputation on campus and within the profession.
- Flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances and commitment to continuous assessment and process improvement.
- Commitment to integrity, respect, transparency, and honesty in all endeavors.
OVERVIEW OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CAMPUS RECREATION
Striving to be the healthiest campus in the nation, Auburn University Campus Recreation encourages student, faculty, and staff success by promoting mental and physical wellness, positive self-image, and the development of lifelong patterns of healthy living. Programs include Auburn Outdoors, Competitive Sports, Facilities, Group Fitness, Marketing, Membership, Olympic/Powerlifting, and Personal Training. Signature programs and events include Get Rec’d, Yoga Rave, MOVE, Pump Up Your Heart, RECxpo, Explore More, Auburn Ascent, the Eagles Program, Auburn Strong, OLP Max Out, and Intramural Sports Champ Nights.
The Recreation and Wellness Center provides 240,000 square feet of recreation space for Auburn students. Named one of the “Coolest College Recreation Centers in America” by Men’s Health Magazine, the center includes two 50-foot climbing towers, a 1/3-mile corkscrew track, a 200,000-gallon leisure pool and hot tub, a bouldering wall, two multi-purpose activity courts, weight-training areas, racquetball courts, cardio/fitness training areas, a dedicated personal training studio, and an outdoor adventure center including an equipment rental center and bike shop. Students also have access to 15 acres of natural turf field space, five synthetic turf fields, three sand volleyball courts, and a one-mile walking/running trail.
OVERVIEW OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH PROMOTION AND WELLNESS SERVICES
Health Promotion and Wellness Services strive to support student learning and academic success through evidence-based and theory-driven health promotion and prevention services. We serve as health and wellness advocates for the Auburn Family and strive to foster a campus atmosphere that helps cultivate and support healthy lifestyle choices. We collaborate with our diverse campus population to create positive transformational health opportunities.
OVERVIEW OF THE DIVISION OF STUDENT AFFAIRS
Student Affairs at Auburn University is integral to university life and plays a pivotal role in preparing our undergraduate and graduate students for professional and personal success. We engage students inside and outside the classroom and continuously strive to create intentional learning experiences in everything we do. Our myriad of high-quality departments, programs, and experiences are designed to enhance academics and promote student development.
STUDENT AFFAIRS MISSION STATEMENT AND CORE VALUES
Student Affairs cultivates a welcoming and meaningful student experience reflective of the Auburn Creed.
Auburn Student Affairs is dedicated to the service and care of students and the Auburn experience, passionately cultivating a supportive and engaging campus, taking students from where they are to where they want to be.
- Committed – to the care and service of our students.
- Honest – operating with integrity.
- Respectful – of others and who they will become.
- Responsive – in getting things done.
- Dependable – through all challenges and successes.
- Passionate – about the student experience and the Auburn Family
To learn about the Student Affairs Strategic Plan, please visit: http://assessment.auburn.edu/resources/student-affairs-plan/
STUDENT AFFAIRS LEADERSHIP
Bobby R. Woodard – Senior Vice President of Student Affairs
Bobby R. Woodard, PhD, is the senior vice president for Student Affairs at Auburn University. Since June 2014, he has served as the university’s senior student affairs officer. He oversees 27 departments that directly benefit more than 30,400 students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Dr. Woodard and Student Affairs promote Auburn University students’ personal growth and development by cultivating a supportive campus environment and engaging students through advanced learning and leadership opportunities.
S. Bryan Rush – Associate Vice President of Student Affairs
S. Bryan Rush, PhD, serves as associate vice president for Student Affairs at Auburn University. In his role since 2018, Dr. Rush oversees Assessment and Strategic Planning, Campus Dining and Concessions, Campus Recreation & the Recreation and Wellness Center, Health Promotion & Wellness Services, University Housing, and Property Management Services.
Prior to his arrival at Auburn, Dr. Rush worked in student affairs at the University of Georgia, Virginia Tech, and Erskine College. Most recently, he served as dean of students and deputy Title IX coordinator at the University of Southern Indiana.
Dr. Rush graduated with a BA in history from Erskine College and completed his MEd and PhD in student affairs administration from the University of Georgia. Dr. Rush serves as adjunct faculty at Auburn University and the University of Georgia. He has held a number of volunteer positions in professional organizations, including the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and the American College Personnel Association.
Auburn University has developed into one of the largest universities in the South, remaining at the educational forefront with its traditional blend of arts and applied science and changing with the needs of today while living with respect for the traditions and spirit that are Auburn.
Organizational Chart for Auburn University
MISSION, VISION, AND STRATEGIC PLAN
As a land-grant Institution, Auburn University is dedicated to improving the lives of the people of Alabama, the nation, and the world through forward-thinking education, life-enhancing research and scholarship, and selfless service.
To lead and shape the future of higher education.
“I believe that this is a practical world and that I can count only on what I earn. Therefore, I believe in work, hard work.
I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work wisely and trains my mind and my hands to work skillfully.
I believe in honesty and truthfulness, without which I cannot win the respect and confidence of my fellow men.
I believe in a sound mind, in a sound body and a spirit that is not afraid, and in clean sports that develop these qualities.
I believe in obedience to law because it protects the rights of all.
I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all.
I believe in my Country, because it is a land of freedom and because it is my own home, and that I can best serve that country by “doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with my God.”
And because Auburn men and women believe in these things, I believe in Auburn and love it.”
-George Petrie (1943)
To learn about the entire strategic planning at Auburn University, please visit https://ocm.auburn.edu/strategic_plan/.
Auburn University will proactively work to eliminate barriers facing underrepresented community members and commit to sustaining and supporting diversity in all its forms, including those based on life experience, gender, sex, nationality, race, identity, ethnicity, age, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, socioeconomic status, veteran status, disability, neurodiversity, and religion. Auburn will actively cultivate a community where all members are valued and respected and can thrive personally and professionally. Auburn will invest substantial resources to increase the number of underrepresented groups in all facets of the University, including staff, students, faculty, vendors, partners, and those who offer voluntary service.
Auburn will measure its commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice through ongoing assessment and evaluation of activities and individual and collective actions as reflected in practices, procedures, programs, relationships, behaviors, and campus culture.
Christopher B. Roberts – President
Christopher B. Roberts began his appointment as Auburn University’s 21st president in May 2022. He leads the university’s four divisions, including Auburn’s main campus with more than 31,000 students and 5,500 faculty and staff, Auburn University at Montgomery, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, a joint enterprise with Alabama A&M University.
He has been honored with numerous awards for his accomplishments and contributions to engineering. Some of those recognitions include the University of Notre Dame’s Graduate School Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2015; the University of Missouri’s Chemical Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 2014; and the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers President’s Award for Fostering Minority Engagement in 2012 and the SEC Academic Consortium Faculty Achievement Award in 2012.
APPLICATION AND NOMINATION
The review of applications will begin on August 24, 2022, 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 Dell D. Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Anne-Marie Kenney 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.
Visit the Auburn University website at http://www.auburn.edu/.
Auburn University recognizes its ethical and legal obligation to provide a work environment in which employment opportunities are open to all qualified individuals without discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex (which includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression), age, religion, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or genetic information. The University affirms its commitment to this principle and to an affirmative action program which not only establishes the goal of achieving equal opportunity in employment but also detects and eliminates any elements of discrimination in employment that may exist within the institution. The University also commits itself to maintain on a nondiscriminatory basis the conditions for continuing employment and for individual advancement within the job structure of the University.
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice are important values at Auburn University. Auburn University will proactively work to eliminate barriers facing underrepresented community members and commit to sustaining and supporting diversity in all its forms, including those based on life experience, gender, sex, nationality, race, identity, ethnicity, age, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, socioeconomic status, veteran status, disability, neurodiversity, and religion. Auburn will actively cultivate a community where all members are valued and respected and can thrive personally and professionally. Auburn will invest substantial resources to increase the number of underrepresented groups in all facets of the University, including staff, students, faculty, vendors, partners, and those who offer voluntary service. Auburn will measure its commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice through ongoing assessment and evaluation of activities and individual and collective actions as reflected in practices, procedures, programs, relationships, behaviors, and campus culture.