Florida State University (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.
ROLE OF THE POSITION
Reporting to the vice president for student affairs, the senior director of the career center is responsible for leading the function of career services and collaborating with colleges in preparing students to be career-ready leaders, who can sustain professional success, in a global environment. The senior director leads efforts to promote equity in, access to, and quality of career-related support and resources across the institution, with a student-centered approach and a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The career center focuses on enhancing, aligning, and optimizing experiential learning, employer engagement activities, alumni relations, and student preparation across industries and disciplines. The senior director must be a prominent, influential, and collaborative member of the university community, working to ensure an equitable and impactful career experience.
The senior director develops and supports the efforts of a team of 40 professionals within the career center and oversees all administration, technology platforms, data collection, analysis and reporting, communication strategies, a twenty-thousand square-foot facility, and a $3.65 million budget. As a student affairs leadership team (SALT) member, the senior director will contribute significantly to the division’s mission of empowering and supporting all students in achieving their full potential. The state of Florida concentrates on ensuring career preparation and rewarding career outcomes as a measure of success. As such, the senior director is instrumental in establishing, evaluating, assessing, and communicating initiatives and results to strengthen the university.
Additionally, the senior director of the career center will:
- Build a culture of trust, collaboration, and partnership to advance students’ career readiness, experiential learning, and global leadership, with a focus on equity and access.
- Serve as a highly visible and accessible student affairs administrator, responsible for leading the design and delivery of communications to external and internal audiences (e.g., board of governors, trustees, current and prospective students, boards, committees, alumni groups, families, professional organizations, and campus colleagues.)
- Serve as the university’s ambassador to employers, build and sustain relationships to maximize efforts and employment strategies with students and alumni, and establish Florida State University (FSU) as a premier source of talent.
- Provide executive oversight for the design and functioning of career-related data, technology, and connection platforms, and source additional tools to ensure FSU is on the cutting edge of career support systems.
- Serve on committees and task forces as needed and perform other duties to support the university’s mission, including, but not limited to, the student affairs leadership team, the university strategic planning committee, and the university quality enhancement plan committee, Florida career centers consortium, and SEACNet (SEC and ACC university career centers.)
QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS
Florida State University seeks candidates with substantial executive-level expertise in collaboratively leading innovative career readiness efforts and progressively responsible experience in managing comparable organizations. With a track record of advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, the successful candidate will demonstrate the ability to communicate broadly across audiences and cultivate and sustain fruitful relationships. The ideal candidate will have experience with outcomes-based assessment, technology platform evaluation and implementation, budget development, and fiscal management. Experience in student affairs and higher education is strongly preferred.
Characteristics of the successful candidate
- Be an authentic and exceptional leader with demonstrated ability to build strategic alliances, understand nuanced educational governance, and exhibit and encourage a growth mindset.
- Epitomize solution-orientation and creative problem-solving, empowering and aligning a large team to deliver student-centered, optimized, and innovative career support.
- Possess a sophisticated understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion within a large and complex institution, and lead efforts to strengthen equity-minded practices that address growth opportunities for a diverse student demographic.
- Exhibit proactive and extraordinary collaboration among myriad stakeholders in a dynamic and demanding environment, able to balance multiple and competing priorities, communicate effectively to break down silos, and articulate a data-informed, transparent, and compelling narrative.
- Be an astute data strategist who leverages expertise to collect, analyze, interpret, and draw implications from various data sources to inform decisions that advance the strength and resources of the university.
HISTORY OF THE POSITION
In 2015, the state of Florida added career-outcomes metrics to the “performance-based funding” model, and the role of the senior director expanded to include increased accountability for university funding associated with those metrics.
Florida State University has had only two directors at the helm of the career center in the past 30 years. The retiring director served FSU for 36 years and was the director for ten years before announcing her departure in July of 2022. Florida State University appointed the associate director as the interim director for the duration of the national search, but this person will not be a candidate for the position.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE
The new senior director of the career center joins the university at a pivotal time. The State’s performance-based funding model ties university funding to the percentage of students after graduation securing full-time employment or pursuing graduate study, and the first-year salary of students entering the workforce. The institution is eager to usher in a modern and innovative career program that will capitalize on opportunities to strengthen the institution and better serve colleges, students, employers, and alumni. Stakeholders are looking for a visionary and strategic leader to facilitate the evolution of the FSU delivery model, offer more customized content and delivery options, and strategically expand access and consumption of services. An analysis of career services across the enterprise will be conducted this fall and will reveal opportunities to streamline and optimize efforts and cement career services as a strategic advantage for FSU.
The new senior director will:
- Mobilize a cooperative, institution-wide effort to modernize the function of career services and unify stakeholders around an innovative vision and aligned implementation plan, including staffing, systems, resources, delivery modalities, and programs to maximize the student experience and outcomes.
- Collaborate with partners to ensure parity and equity in quality of delivery among the colleges. Provide all students with a robust and customizable framework and delivery model that knits together academics, co-curricular activities, and career exploration for any career path.
- Balance and integrate external metrics, stakeholder expectations, prevailing career-education practices, and current delivery models to establish, codify, and communicate clear roles, responsibilities, and accountability for an optimal mix of support between the career center and FSU’s academic colleges.
- Strengthen diversity, equity, and inclusion practices for historically underrepresented students, including, but not limited to, strengthening access to the FSU network and engagement with the career center.
- Advance career-related metrics through the application of relevant data-collection techniques, analysis, and communication to establish alignment regarding priorities and quickly implement a strategy to optimize performance and meet various stakeholder demands.
- Invigorate existing employer partnerships and cultivate new connections to strengthen the FSU career network, and expand such student opportunities as internships, experiential learning, and full-time employment.
- Collaborate with alumni relations and advancement partners to better engage, build deeper connections, and establish a cycle of life-long support.
- Re-engage and empower students, following the disconnection during the pandemic, using a developmental mindset to facilitate ownership and autonomy in developing career readiness.
MEASURES OF SUCCESS
At an interval deemed appropriate by the vice president of student affairs, the following will be established by the senior director:
- Intentional, empowering, and strategic collaborations across campus provide a seamless, equitable, and integrated student experience that results in the career center functioning as a differentiator for employers and prospective students.
- A comprehensive program assessment is in place and informing continuous improvement, resulting in response rates to surveys that are consistent among student identities; student-satisfaction rates that are constant between demographic and career-path groups; measures reflect positive student perspectives and outcomes as well as equity and inclusion in services.
- There is a compelling and widely received narrative that facilitates the recognition from all stakeholders that the career center is a high-quality and innovative career program.
- Strong recruiting and experiential-learning partnerships have grown, employers are pleased with students’ preparation and performance, there are improvements in the quantity and quality of career opportunities, and the career center reaches and serves more students.
- Evidence-based and prevailing career-development practices are in place. The career center has a growth mindset, keeps abreast of trends, and anticipates and proactively plans innovations. Florida State University is widely recognized as an industry leader in career readiness.
- Visible, coherent, and clear brand-identity exists for career support at Florida State University. The community is clear about responsibilities within the career ecosystem, resulting in increased stakeholder awareness and use of services.
- The career center team operates under a shared vision, flourishes, and feels empowered. The career center nurtures talent and promotes professional development.
OVERVIEW OF THE FSU CAREER CENTER
Nationally recognized for its comprehensive career services, the career center prepares students for life after graduation. With career-planning resources such as career advising, employability skills workshops, mock interviews, and a career-development course, the career center provides students with resources to assist in making a successful transition to their next destination. Linking students directly with employers and graduate or professional schools, the career center also offers on-campus recruiting opportunities, career fairs, job listings, an online career portfolio, and a powerful network of FSU alumni, parents, and friends of the university. Located in the state-of-the-art Dunlap success center, the career center engages with over 30,000 students annually, helping them discover their unique interests and preparing them for career success.
The career center offers over 500 educational programs attended by over 27,000 students, advises over 16,000 students, and organizes four campus-wide career fairs and over 700 employer presentations and interviews. Additionally, the career center supports FSU’s robust experiential-learning efforts and facilitates a thriving digital-recognition program. The career center’s annual report may be found here:
The Dunlap Success Center
The career center occupies approximately 20,000 square feet of the Dunlap success center building. This includes 19 dedicated interview rooms. The career center shares additional storage, common areas, and program /classrooms with the Center for Leadership & Social Change.
The career center’s mission statement:
THE DIVISION OF STUDENT AFFAIRS MISSION, VISION, AND VALUES
“The Florida State University Division of Student Affairs empowers and supports all students to achieve their full potential.”
“We believe in the power of the student experience to develop graduates who positively impact the world.”
“Community: Our work exists through relationships of trust and mutual respect that create a sense of belonging. We cultivate community through a connected, collective network. We collaborate with the FSU community to shape a supportive and safe environment.”
“Student Development: We prioritize the development of the whole person so that everyone realizes their full potential. We educate and provide experiences for lifelong learning through engagement with staff members, programs, services, and facilities.”
“Inclusivity: Honoring the intersectionality of all people, we create inviting spaces to learn from each other and build more complex ways of being. We value and advocate for an equitable campus community.”
“Well-Being: We create campus environments that promote wellness as a foundation of a productive and positive experience. We respect each other and hold one another accountable for practices that help our community thrive.”
Student Affairs Strategic Planning
STUDENT AFFAIRS LEADERSHIP
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.
Prior to joining FSU as the vice president for student affairs, Dr. Hecht has served in a number of 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, PA.
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.
Dr. Hecht earned her bachelor’s degree at Florida State University in mass communications and completed her master’s degree and doctorate in Higher Education Administration at the University of Pennsylvania. Amy 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 the field of higher education.
One of the nation’s elite research universities, Florida State University preserves, expands, and disseminates knowledge in the sciences, technology, arts, humanities, and professions, while embracing a philosophy of learning strongly rooted in the traditions of the liberal arts and critical thinking.
FSU’s campus is located on the oldest continuous site of higher education in Florida, in a community that fosters free inquiry and embraces diversity, along with championship athletics and a prime location in the heart of the state capital.
FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY MISSION, VISION, AND VALUES
“Florida State University preserves, expands, and disseminates knowledge in the sciences, technology, arts, humanities, and professions while embracing a philosophy of learning strongly rooted in the traditions of the liberal arts. The university is dedicated to excellence in teaching, research, creative endeavors, and service. The university strives to instill the strength, skill, and character essential for lifelong learning, personal responsibility, and sustained achievement within a community that fosters free inquiry and embraces diversity.”
“Florida State University will be among the nation’s most entrepreneurial and innovative universities, transforming the lives of our students and shaping the future of our state and society through exceptional teaching, research, creative activity, and service. We will amplify these efforts through our distinctive climate—one that places a premium on interdisciplinary inquiry and draws from the rich intellectual and personal diversity of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. These three forces—entrepreneurship, interdisciplinarity, and diversity—deepen FSU’s impact and result in a powerful return to our students and the people of Florida for their continued support and trust.”
“Transformative Daring: We support thoughtful risk-taking that leads to successes that improve our world dramatically. And when we face challenges, we confront them with resilience, curiosity, and renewed desire to overcome hurdles to our goals.”
“Inspired Excellence: We achieve the highest levels of success by drawing strength and understanding from the talents of those around us and from our interactions with them.”
“Dynamic Inclusiveness: We believe the benefits of a richly varied community arise not only from the diversity of people it includes but more importantly from intentional efforts to create a strong sense of belonging that encourages deep and high-quality connections.”
“Responsible Stewardship: We transform the resources we are given and the public’s trust in us into a powerful impact that betters the lives of those around us, near and far.”
“Engaged Community: We uphold the traditions and history that create a small-college culture within a large university. This makes FSU a welcoming place where people discover others like themselves—while also connecting to and learning from classmates and colleagues of vastly different backgrounds and experiences.”
Dr. Richard McCullough became the 16th president of Florida State University on August 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, Dr. McCullough had 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, Dr. 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 the placement of more than 50 underrepresented minority professors in the United States.
DIVERSITY AT FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY
“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.”
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.
Florida State University
Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce