The Opportunity

The Executive Director (ED) is the highest-ranking manager within the Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (PERD) unit and the Fitness and Recreation Center (FitRec), reporting to the Assistant Vice President of Auxiliary Services. The ED is responsible for creating and managing student, alumni, faculty, staff, and community programs that support opportunities for growth and self-expression through fitness, recreation, club and intramural sports, music, dance, and other community events. PERD provides and promotes opportunities for learning, interaction, and collaboration in order to develop a stronger sense of community and contribute to the total education of students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members through a variety of fitness and wellness programs.

The unit’s mission is to enrich the University and local communities by providing unparalleled and inclusive educational and recreational programs, services, and facilities that promote physical, social, and emotional health and wellness. PERD embraces values that guide their actions, shape their programs and services, and result in measurable outcomes, including:

  • Community: Building positive relationships with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the citizens of Greater Boston. 
  • Quality: Achieving excellence in the provision of instruction, programs, services, and facility management.
  • Education: Creating opportunities for personal and physical development, enrichment, health, and wellness that benefit BU’s students and members.

The Position

Role of the Executive Director for Boston University

The new ED of PERD will lead the 33-person full-time and 1,000 part-time team in providing students, faculty, and staff with wellness, physical education, and recreation programs and services on campus. Current priorities include providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for recreational, social, and community connection; opportunities for healthy competition, human development, and freedom of expression; and co-curricular, research, and other student-development experiences.

Responsibilities:

  • In conjunction with the PERD senior team, oversee and guide the development of a rolling three-year business plan for PERD.
  • Oversee all human-resources activity within PERD and the FitRec. Establish guidelines and procedures for hiring, training, and professional development of all full-time and part-time employees. 
  • Ensure that PERD programs remain compliant with federal and state laws, as well as University policies. Maintain salary and grade equity throughout. Conduct the full- and part-time staff merit-review process.
  • Maintain salary and grade equity throughout. Conduct the full- and part-time staff merit-review process. 
  • Oversee all aspects of PERD and FitRec programming for the purpose of generating revenue, providing service, and developing a stronger sense of community. Be involved in the study, survey, and analysis of physical activities by using assessment strategies, participating in conferences and other professional development opportunities, and staying current on industry issues, trends, and developments. 
  • Oversee the development and management of PERD e-business strategy, including the website, online ticketing, financial, registration, and event scheduling systems to ensure full integration of marketing, business, and finance.
  • Serve as the chief financial officer of the unit. Administer a $7.7 million annual operating budget allocated to 13 programs within PERD. Establish policies and procedures to ensure that all PERD programs operate with sound fiscal practices. Monitor expenditures from all restricted accounts. Work with the Associate Director of Business on budget reports and projections. Guide and mentor the Senior Associate Director of Programs and the Associate Director of Operations & Programs on initiatives and events.
  • Oversee the operation and management of the Fitness and Recreation Center. Ensure that the flagship, 272,000-square-foot fitness and recreation building, three satellite facilities, classrooms, and program offices are all maintained in accordance with University standards and the highest level of safety for members. 

History of the Position 

There have been two individuals in this role in its history. The first, Warren Dexter, provided leadership for approximately 35 years and successfully implemented the planning and construction of the FitRec complex. Dexter’s successor, Tim Moore, served for ten years prior to his recent retirement and enhanced operations, including providing greater fiscal transparency and revenue growth. Internal stakeholders anticipate that the new leader will have an opportunity to build on past successes to achieve the priorities envisioned for the department.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

Before 2020, PERD had effectively balanced its revenue and program goals, but the global pandemic sharply affected this balance. Internal leaders describe the focus in 2022 as building back membership in FitRec, re-engaging the community in PERD programs, and building upon both existing and new revenue opportunities. This is a critical crossroads, as PERD leadership aspires to balance revenue goals and successfully implement a wellness portfolio to meet the expectations of the BU community. 

The FitRec facility is in its 17th year, and the new ED will need to have an eye on planning for long-term capital projects such as fitness equipment, replacing the floor in the fitness center, and developing a new website. Many anticipated projects are quickly approaching, so the ED will need to assess long-term issues and plan for future projects.

All physical education (PE) classes were remote during COVID; the demand has now increased for in-person PE classes. Students are requesting such classes as volleyball, tennis, swimming, and badminton, all of which require physical space in BU’s facilities. The ED will be expected to consistently balance the facility needs of athletics, campus recreation, and PE, but this will be complicated by a new set of demands.

The new leader will also be expected to work with Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) to find creative ways to supplement and support the unit’s goals. Past successes include raising funds to replace the sailing fleet and providing a skating-team locker room. 

Measures of Success

In the short term, the new leader will be expected to establish strong working relationships with the entire staff, gain their confidence, and build deep knowledge and understanding of any programs for which they have limited experience. The ED will be expected to learn the culture of BU and make positive inroads with alumni and other key external stakeholders. The ED will be successful at energizing their team, critical campus partners, and members of the community. After the first year, the ED will demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of all of the components of the position and will effectively communicate a vision that both staff and senior leadership enthusiastically support.

In three to five years, leadership expects a high level of student satisfaction. The campus community will associate PERD with student life, student well-being, community wellness, and programs and services attuned to the changing needs of students. Through the ED’s leadership and guidance, the PERD senior leadership team will have identified and made gains regarding existing and new revenue opportunities.

Qualifications

Qualifications and Characteristics

A bachelor’s degree and a record of progressively increasing responsibilities that include at least ten years of experience directly managing large, complex, indoor and outdoor student recreational programs in higher education with demonstrated successful outcomes is required. Additional required qualifications include: a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; experience with budget development, management, and fiscal reporting; a successful record of managing recreation facilities, hosting successful events, fundraising, and supervising a large professional and hourly staff; and experience at the university level in the development, implementation, and assessment of successful aquatics, recreational sports (intramural and club), fitness, wellness, and outdoor-adventure programs. An advanced degree in higher education administration, recreation, management, college-student personnel, or a related field is preferred.

Additional required skills include:

  • Experience managing a large, diverse team of professionals and hourly staff in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment, and the ability to motivate, grow, and retain high performers.
  • Demonstrate extensive knowledge of facilities management, including capital planning, renovations, maintenance, and custodial services.
  • A successful record of managing recreational facilities, hosting successful events, and fundraising.
  • Knowledge and implementation of best practices in data analytics, using current industry trends.
  • Experience collaborating, developing partnerships, and building capacity with communities.
  • A track record of creative and successful problem-solving.
  • Outstanding interpersonal and organizational skills, with an ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously.

In addition to the above, Boston University stakeholders consistently identified the following characteristics and attributes of an ideal candidate: 

  • Demonstrate the capacity to serve as a thought leader to keep PERD and FitRec programs at the forefront of trends and best practices.
  • Possess a record of progressive leadership skills within areas directly relevant to student recreation, and the ability to influence and manage strategic and organizational change.
  • Work in partnership with the Assistant Vice President and the PERD senior leadership team, providing strategic advice, mentoring, and advocacy.
  • Possess an ability to build social capital and develop critical relationships throughout the University.
  • Bring a strong business sense and an entrepreneurial skillset to the position.
  • Maintain a competitive outlook, constantly scanning for trends and evolving preferences that positively impact student recreational opportunities.
  • Possess an understanding of organizational dynamics, with an ability to work through the complex landscape of a major research institution.
  • Empower staff to reach personal and professional goals through a supportive work environment, staff development, and calculated risk-taking.
  • Demonstrate an elevated level of personal energy, professional ethics, and integrity.

Institution & Location

Overview of the Division of Auxiliary Services

Auxiliary Services directly supports the University’s academic mission and quality of campus life with an emphasis on delivering best-in-class services to our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and guests.

Leadership of the Division of Auxiliary Services

Peter Smokowski – Vice President for Auxiliary Services

Peter has spent much of his career at BU, serving for 15 years at 660 Corporation, a for-profit University subsidiary that developed innovative services for BU and the broader higher education market. During his tenure at 660, Peter served as Director of Business Development, Vice President for Operations, and President. He joined Boston University as Assistant Vice President for Administration in 2002 to oversee the $225-million-dollar construction and programming of new sports and recreation facilities within the John Hancock Student Village. Promoted to Associate Vice President for Administration in 2005, his responsibilities included directing Agganis Arena, the Fitness and Recreation Center, Hotel Commonwealth, and the University’s relationship with Barnes & Noble Bookstore. Duties also included responsibility for sourcing and procurement, and helping the University to buy “green.”

In July of 2011, Peter was appointed Vice President for Auxiliary Services. He assumed additional oversight of the University’s complex student housing, dining, and retail operations, parking and transportation services, events and conferences, and licensing of University trademarks. Peter also served as the project executive for BUworks, a major multi-year project to upgrade the University’s financial, human resource, payroll, and procurement systems.

His current projects include leading sustainability and renewal initiatives in student housing and dining services, serving as the project executive for the $133 million-dollar renovation of Myles Standish Hall with an energy-efficient LEED-certified design, and overseeing the implementation of a Transportation Demand Management plan to inform and encourage student, faculty, and staff commuters to use sustainable modes of transportation.

In May 2022, Peter announced his retirement, effective August 2022.

Paul Riel – Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Services

Paul joined the University in March of 2018. Paul provides leadership for a diverse group of auxiliary enterprises, including student housing, residential and retail dining services, Terrier card, and campus vending. Prior to his appointment at Boston University, Paul served as the Assistant Vice President for Residential and Dining Services at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. While at Northwestern, Paul developed and managed their $500-million-dollar housing master plan that included renovations, new construction, and the creation of engagement centers within residential spaces. He co-chaired the Undergraduate Residential Experience Committee, which developed a model to transform the Northwestern undergraduate residential experience. Before joining Northwestern, Paul spent 15 years at the University of North Florida (UNF) as the Director of Housing and Residence Life, and ten years at Jacksonville University.

Shane Cutler – Assistant Vice President for Auxiliary Services

Shane joined BU in 2014 as General Manager of Events & Conferences. In this role, his team successfully expanded services and programs for the University community, completed numerous facilities upgrades, and implemented rejuvenated marketing and sales efforts that led to sustained revenue growth. In addition, Shane supported the relocation of the campus bookstore from Kenmore Square to West Campus and more recently assumed the role of senior lead, managing the non-medical logistics and operations of the University’s COVID-19 quarantine and isolation system. Shane was promoted to Assistant Vice President in March 2022. As Assistant Vice President, Shane provides leadership for the day-to-day operations of Agganis Arena, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (PERD), Events & Conferences, Parking and Transportation Services, the Campus Bookstore (Barnes & Noble), and Collegiate Licensing. Before joining BU, Shane served as the Director of Conference & Event Services for ten years at the University of Vermont (UVM). Before UVM, Shane served in several roles at Bowling Green State University and Plymouth State University.

Physical Education, Recreation and Dance

Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance is an educational and service department of the University. Its purpose is to provide healthy physical activity to the University community.

Facilities

  • Fitness and Recreation Center: aquatics center, basketball courts, climbing wall, dance studio/theatre, fitness center, multi-use rooms, weight room, indoor track, racquetball/squash courts, saunas
  • Case Center: Walter Brown Arena ice-skating rink, outdoor tennis courts
  • Nickerson Field (FieldTurf surface) and quarter-mile track
  • Boston University Softball Field (natural surface)
  • Boston University Sailing Pavilion: sailing, canoe, and kayak docks on the Charles River (seasonal)
  • Track & Tennis Center: 200-meter indoor track, throwing cage, indoor tennis courts

Programs

Physical Education Classes

PERD supports student learning by providing facilities for BU physical-education credit courses each semester. Students have the opportunity to register for courses in aquatics, dance, emergency response, fitness, general sports, health education, martial arts, mind and body, nutrition, outdoor education, skating, and sailing.

FitRec Membership

Membership provides BU students, faculty, staff, and alumni with access to world-class recreational facilities in a convenient location on campus. Full-time enrolled BU undergraduate and graduate students have full access to the facility. Depending on affiliation, faculty, staff, alumni, and part-time students are able to purchase memberships at highly competitive rates.

Adult Recreation Classes

FitRec Adult Recreation Classes offer a variety of low-cost, noncredit classes to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and their families during the fall, spring, and summer semesters. The program is also open to the general public. Classes include aquatics, camping, court sports, dance, emergency medical response, fitness, golf, hiking, ice skating, paddling, Pilates, rock climbing, rowing, sailing, and yoga. Course lengths range from one to 12 weeks. 

Family Programs

Family Recreation classes are offered in basketball, dance, gymnastics, ice skating, rock climbing, soccer, squash, swimming and diving, tennis, tumbling, and other activities at various times during the year. In addition, School Vacation Programs offer daylong activities during February and April school vacations. During the summer, Camp Terrier provides day camps for children ages five through 15. 

Club Sports

Thirty-four club sports are initiated and administered by students with the guidance of the PERD staff. Some club teams practice several times a week and engage in intercollegiate competition. Others provide instruction and workouts. 

Minor in Dance

The dance minor consists of 20 credits in dance theory, studio, and performance classes. Required dance theory classes are Dance History, Dance Aesthetics, and Dance Composition. Students must also take four semesters of Performance and Repertory. The remaining credits are electives and technique classes, with a minimum of one semester in at least four of the following areas: ballet, modern, jazz, tap, or movement improvisation. This minor is available to all undergraduate students.

Intramural Sports

Sixteen intramural sports provide team competition for groups of students, faculty, and staff. Teams are scheduled into leagues with a four- or five-game season and the possibility of playoffs. Each team plays approximately one game a week. Men’s, women’s, and co-rec leagues are available in most sports, and teams choose their ability division based on the experience level of team members. 

Institutional Background 

Boston University (BU) is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. The University has 4,107 faculty members, 6,299 staff members, and 33,678 undergraduate and graduate students and is one of Boston’s largest employers. BU offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, as well as medical, dental, business, and law degrees through 17 schools and colleges on two urban campuses. The main campus is situated along the Charles River in Boston’s Back Bay, Fenway-Kenmore, and Allston neighborhoods, while the Boston University Medical Campus is in Boston’s South End neighborhood.

  • BU is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU)—a prestigious association of top research universities in the United States and Canada. 
  • BU ranks #42 among national universities (US News & World Report).
  • BU ranks #38 for best value by US News & World Report for academic excellence and economic value.
  • BU ranks #17 in Top 50 Best Colleges in Big Cities (Newsweek).
  • BU has a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1, with an average class size of 27.
  • BU faculty include Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, a former US Poet Laureate, a MacArthur Fellow, Guggenheim Scholars, Sloan Research Fellows, fellows of the National Academy of Inventors, an Emmy-award winner, and members of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
  • BU is committed to academic excellence. BU will expand the size of its faculty over the next few years, adding new distinguished professors across the University. This will further reduce class size and the student-to-faculty ratio.
  • Faculty engage with students beyond the classroom, providing opportunities to collaborate on innovative research.
  • The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) has hundreds of opportunities for students ranging from A (Archaeology) to Z (Zebrafish Genetics).
  • BU is one of the top-25-funded research universities in the nation.
  • BU research is global, conducted in 80 countries on all continents.
  • BU students have the opportunity to maximize the value of their education by participating in dual degree programs, earning two degrees simultaneously. Students also have many options to pursue combined BA/MA programs.

BU’s Place in History

  • Rebecca Lee, the first black woman to receive a medical degree in the US, graduated in 1864 from the New England Female Medical College, which became a part of Boston University.
  • BU was the first university to open all divisions to female students (1872).
  • Boston University Medical College was the first coeducational medical college in the world (1873).
  • BU was the first American university to award a PhD to a woman: classical scholar Helen Magil (1877).
  • In 1875, BU professor Alexander Graham Bell received a year’s salary in advance to pursue his research. The following year, he invented the telephone in a BU lab.
  • African-born Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller, an 1897 graduate of the School of Medicine, became the nation’s first black psychiatrist and the first person in the US to perform significant research on Alzheimer’s disease.
  • In 1953, Howard Thurman became Dean of Marsh Chapel, the first black dean at a predominantly white university.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. received his PhD in Theology from BU in 1955. After receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, he presented his manuscripts, records, and personal papers to the University’s Mugar Memorial Library.
  • In 1965, Boston University established the nation’s first combined cancer research and teaching laboratory at its Medical Center.

Mission and Vision

Mission Statement:

Boston University is an international, comprehensive, private research university committed to educating students to be reflective, resourceful individuals ready to live, adapt and lead in an interconnected world. Boston University is committed to generating new knowledge to benefit society.

We remain dedicated to our founding principles: that higher education should be accessible to all and that research, scholarship, artistic creation, and professional practice should be conducted in the service of the wider community—local and international. These principles endure in the University’s insistence on the value of diversity, in its tradition and standards of excellence, and in its dynamic engagement with the City of Boston and the world.

Boston University comprises a remarkable range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs built on a strong foundation of the liberal arts and sciences. With the support and oversight of the Board of Trustees, the University, through our faculty, continually innovates in education and research to ensure that we meet the needs of students and an ever-changing world.

Vision

Boston University prides itself on a history of inclusion, admitting students regardless of race, creed, or gender since our founding in 1839. That legacy includes awarding the first PhD to a woman at a US university, producing the first Black psychiatrist in the United States, being the first to admit female students to a US medical school, bestowing a doctoral degree in theology on Martin Luther King, Jr. (GRS’55, Hon.’59), and graduating the youngest woman to serve in the US Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (CAS’11). Beyond the student body, the University has hired a wide range of influential faculty over the decades, from historian and political activist Howard Zinn to Nobel Laureate and human rights champion Elie Wiesel (Hon.’74). Today, our students, scholars, faculty, and staff represent more than 140 countries and all 50 states, reflecting an exciting range of worldviews and life experiences.

But there is work still to do.

The cultural, ethnic, religious, ability, sexual orientation, and gender diversity of our campus community is critical to the excellence of our research and academic programs, our social vibrancy, and our mission of preparing students to thrive in an increasingly interconnected world. So, we’re redoubling our efforts to embody our founding principles and fulfill the promise of our legacy. We’re committed to attracting, supporting, and promoting a wide variety of voices and backgrounds at BU, including, but not limited to, those who live with physical, intellectual, or mental disabilities, are first in their families to attend college, are members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and individuals who are historically underrepresented in the academy.

In fact, the University has made prioritizing diversity, inclusion, and access one of the five main pillars in the Boston University 2030 Strategic Plan.

While we recognize this work as an evolution, our goal remains steadfast: to fortify the University as a place where everyone can participate and thrive while harnessing intellectual innovation and interconnection. We seek to both amplify and wield that collective power to ensure that everything a BU community member brings to the table gets included, nurtured, ignited, and let loose to better serve our world.

Strategic Plan and Annual Report

Every school should have a Strategic Plan – to look to the future, to elicit change. Plans get written, followed for a while, then ignored because they seem impossible or rewritten because they were impossible. The difference is ours works. As a sign of solid financial health, we received an upgrade in our rating from S&P, which moved us from an A to an A+. Learn more about our progress in our 2021 Annual Report and our BU 2030 Strategic Plan.

Academic Programs and Faculty

Average Class Size 27

Faculty 4,107

Student/Faculty Ratio 10:1

Schools and Colleges 17

Programs of Study 300+

Study Abroad Programs 70+

 

The Student Body

Student body 33,678

Non-degree students 1,216

Graduate and professional students 15,932

Undergraduate students 16,530

Community service hours 1.6M+

Cultural and religious organizations 70+

Community service and justice organizations 80+

Academic and professional organizations 140+

Art and performance organizations 60+

Student organizations 450+

Ethnicity (percent change over 5 years)

  • African American or Black: +8%
  • American Indian or Alaska Native: -60%
  • Asian: +30%
  • Hispanic/Latinx: +7%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: -45%
  • International: -2%
  • White: -15%
  • Two or more ethnicities reported: +23%

About Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is the capital and largest city of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It covers 48 square miles, with an estimated population of 692,600 in 2019, making it the largest city in New England and the 24th largest city in the United States. The city is the anchor of a larger metropolitan area called Greater Boston, the tenth-largest metropolitan area in the country. Boston’s many firsts include the United States’ first public school, Boston Latin School (1635), and the first subway system (1897).

The area’s numerous colleges and universities make Boston an international center of higher education and medicine, and the city is a world leader in innovation for a variety of reasons. Boston’s economic base also includes finance, professional and business services, and government activities.

Visit the Boston Chamber of Commerce website.

 

Benefits Overview

Benefits Overview

Eligible BU employees—and their families—have access to a variety of outstanding benefit programs:

  • Health
  • Dental
  • Disability
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Retirement
  • Life insurance
  • Accident insurance
  • Tuition remission
  • Paid time off

https://www.bu.edu/hr/

Please note all newly hired staff and faculty will need to be in compliance with Boston University’s COVID-19 Vaccination and Booster Requirement within 30 days of the date of hire. You must upload your vaccine documentation or request a medical or religious exemption (instructions here). For further information on the University’s response to COVID-19, please visit the Back2BU site.

We are an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We are a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.

 

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 Ellen Heffernan at eth@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 Boston University website at https://www.bu.edu, and the Physical Education, Recreation & Dance website at https://www.bu.edu/fitrec/

Boston University does not discriminate on the basis of sex (including pregnancy and parenting status), race, color, nation of origin, religion, creed, age, disability, marital or familial status, sexual orientation, veteran or military status, gender identity, political affiliation, or any other characteristic protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and applicable federal, state or local laws.

Spelman Johnson has prepared this document based on personal interviews and information copied, compiled, or quoted in part from source documents obtained from our client, and as such, the contents of this document are believed to be reliable. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, the original source documents and factual situations govern, and the limited material presented here should be relied upon for informational purposes only.