The Opportunity

Buena Vista University (BVU) invites inquiries, nominations and applications for the position of senior director for diversity and inclusion. This position will provide a pivotal professional experience for a talented, creative leader who will serve students, faculty, and staff as the campus continues its progress towards diversity and inclusion education and dialogue. The campus benefits from being located in Storm Lake which has seen a community diversification that ranks it as one of the most diverse cities in Iowa.

The senior director will have the opportunity to assess and continue the successes of the recently opened Center for Diversity and Inclusion on the Buena Vista Campus and the Diversity Fellows program for faculty and staff.

The Position

Role of the Senior Director for Diversity and Inclusion for Buena Vista University

Reporting to the vice president for student success, the senior director for diversity and inclusion provides leadership for the programs and services that promote diversity and inclusion across the campus. The senior director will be responsible for organizing programming for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and providing guidance and advisement to multicultural student organizations and to international students. The senior director is also charged with maintaining the student exchange and visitor information system (SEVIS) database, chairing the campus Bias Response Team, and working collaboratively with academic affairs in supporting and guiding the Diversity Fellows program. BVU is also seeking to obtain the distinction of being designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and the senior director will be a strong partner in advancing this institutional goal. In addition, the senior director enhances the visibility and awareness of diversity within the campus community through the development of opportunities for students, staff, and faculty to come together for cultural exchange and celebration.

This position will serve on the student success team and the president’s leadership team specifically to provide campus wide guidance and expertise on diversity and inclusion for policy and best practice. The position oversees the Center for Diversity and Inclusion including a dedicated Center budget, and provides leadership to professional/paraprofessional staff.

Selected responsibilities include:

  • organizes programmatic efforts and marketing for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion while assessing student learning outcomes that connect to programmatic efforts;
  • provides trainings and resources to the university community to embrace and understand differing perspectives;
  • assists with recruitment and retention efforts for diverse student populations;
  • works collaboratively with the office of academic affairs on the implementation of the Diversity Fellows program and educational opportunities for faculty and staff;
  • provides guidance and advisement for multicultural student organizations and international students;
  • maintains Student Exchange & Visitor Information System (SEVIS) governmental database for international students;
  • partners with campus leaders, faculty, students, staff, and the community to execute the diversity and inclusion strategic initiative under the Buena Vista University strategic plan;
  • supervises university chaplain, assistant director and student workers in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion;
  • helps to advance the university’s commitment to becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution;
  • chairs the Buena Vista University’s Diversity & Inclusion Week Planning Committee;
  • assists with selecting incoming new students for the Multicultural Scholarship in collaboration with the Office of Admissions;
  • chairs the campus Bias Response Team;
  • coordinates programs and events in conjunction with dedicated student leaders while extending the efforts into the Storm Lake community;
  • plans, coordinates, and implements International Student Orientation for degree-seeking and exchange students.

History of the Position

The senior director for diversity and inclusion position was held by an individual who left BVU in Feb. 2020 to assume another role in diversity and inclusion in high education.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

The new senior director for diversity and inclusion must possess an understanding of best practices in diversity and inclusion as well as student affairs practice and theory. The senior director should be capable of managing multiple priorities and working strategically with students, faculty, and staff. An increased emphasis on diversity and inclusion education for staff and faculty will be a priority for the new senior director as the University seeks to continue the positive momentum from the Diversity Fellows program. The former director did important work with opening the Center for Diversity and Inclusion which started changing the culture of the campus and the incoming director will need to continue that work, creating an action plan going forward.

Buena Vista University opened the new Center for Diversity and Inclusion in February of 2019 with a five-year plan for the Center including these promising, future-focused goals:

  • developing and maintaining a campus climate and culture in which embracing diversity and inclusion is a core value enacted by all members of the BVU community;
  • recruiting, retaining, and developing a diverse BVU community of students;
  • recruiting, retaining, and developing a diverse BVU community of faculty, staff, and administration;
  • developing a culture of accountability and collaboration around diversity initiatives, practices, and policies;
  • engaging University alumni, donors, and other community partners and stakeholders in achieving diversity and inclusion goals.

Each of the five goals included several objectives in order to reach success by 2023. The Center was created to provide resources for students to learn about their identity and about cultures that they are unfamiliar with. Students may use the space to gather for student organizations, to study, and to utilize the University’s multicultural resource library. Faculty and staff may also use the space for events and related programming.

Additional opportunities and challenges for the senior director as articulated by University stakeholders are enumerated below.

  • The successful candidate will provide leadership to faculty, staff, and students on diversity and inclusion education. This will include designing outreach initiatives and programs that facilitate tough conversations and intentional learning.
  • This person will serve on the president’s leadership team and must welcome working in an environment that promotes diversity and inclusion collaborations across the academy.
  • The successful candidate will build upon the positive launch of the Diversity Fellows program and expand upon its impact and outreach on the campus.
  • Supporting students and student organizations through visibility at campus events both within and outside the division will be important for the senior director.
  • The senior director should exhibit strong communication skills through personal interactions, public presentations, and through their online presence.
  • The institution is working towards becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution as its Latinx student population continues to grow.
  • The new senior director must demonstrate that they are an advocate for diversity and inclusion through their experience with effective policy making, practices, and process development.
  • The successful candidate will demonstrate creativity and collaborative energy to elevate the position and the new Center to the next level of influence for the campus.

Measures of Success

At an appropriate interval after joining Buena Vista University, the following will initially define success for the senior director for diversity and inclusion:

  • the senior director is a visible and engaged leader throughout campus addressing diversity and inclusivity initiatives;
  • the senior director has led the campus in diversity and inclusion education;
  • the senior director is an essential team member and collaborator with faculty, staff, and students who are working towards achievement of institutional goals;
  • the senior director has engaged majority students in diversity and inclusion conversations;
  • the senior director has analyzed, contributed to, and defined plans that are best practices for the Center and the campus moving forward;
  • the senior director has assessed the impact of programs and services;
  • the senior director has contributed to the HSI status for the university;
  • the senior director has expanded the partnerships and the reach of the university into the greater Storm Lake community.

Qualifications and Characteristics

The successful candidate must possess a master’s degree in higher education or related field and three to five years of progressive experience in higher education with leadership responsibilities in student programs. A doctorate is preferred. Candidates for this leadership role should demonstrate knowledge of current trends in diversity and inclusion within higher education.

The successful candidate will demonstrate a personal and professional commitment to diversity and inclusion, the ability to work collaboratively across the campus, and the aptitude to build and maintain strong relationships with students, with an emphasis on dynamic communication and collaboration. Other preferred qualifications include: supervisory and budgetary experience; SEVIS experience; bilingual skills (English and Spanish); strategic visionary thinking ability; well-developed planning and organizational skills; experience leading teams operating in cross-functional settings and managing crises; and demonstrated problem-solving skills. A background check will be conducted on the final candidate.

THE INSTITUTION DIVISION/DEPARTMENT: AN OVERVIEW

Overview of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion at Buena Vista University assists domestic students of color and international students with the transition to student life by fostering an environment that supports both personal and professional growth.

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion is to foster a safe and secure environment that celebrates personal and professional growth through cultural awareness.

Vision

To develop an environment that promotes cultural sensitivity, humility, and understanding, which provides all students with the opportunity to celebrate diversity and self-identity.

Bias Response Team

The Bias Response Team serves as a safe and confidential resource for students to raise immediate concerns regarding specific incidents of bias or discrimination that impact the Buena Vista University campus community and to create a supportive environment that allows students to voice opinions and concerns.

Purpose

The Bias Response Team contributes to advancing the diversity and inclusiveness of the campus community as well as enhancing the learning environment by ensuring that all members have a means to share incidents that may negatively affect their sense of belonging and their ability to be successful.

We understand that the Bias Response Team is one of the many ways that the Buena Vista University maintains a safe and welcoming campus climate. The Bias Response Team includes the following representation:

  • Senior Director for Diversity and Inclusion, Chair
  • Faculty representative (s)
  • Student representative
  • Staff representative (s)
  • Athletic representative
  • University Marketing & Communication representative

Overview of the Division of Student Success

Student Success at Buena Vista University strives to integrate our students’ educational experiences into a learning community filled with opportunities, challenges, and services that promote the development of the whole person. The wellbeing of students at Buena Vista University is our highest priority and our job is to create an atmosphere where students can thrive within a learning community prepared to live and work in a global and diverse society.

The Division of Student Success strives to offer services and resources to help all students achieve their full potential through a holistic view of wellness that addresses the entirety of the student experience. Under the direction of the Vice President for Student Success, the division consists of: Retention and Student Support; Campus Security; Residence Life & Housing; Student Conduct; Health Services and Wellness; Counseling Services; Center for Diversity and Inclusion; Campus Activities and Leadership; Community Engagement; University Chaplain; Career & Leadership Development; E-Sports and Intramurals.

Institution & Location

Institutional Background

Buena Vista University is a private institution that was founded in 1891. It has a total enrollment of 1,847 students, its setting is rural, and the campus size is 60 acres. It utilizes a 4-4-1-based academic calendar.

Buena Vista College (which became Buena Vista University in 1995) was founded by the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college was first granted accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1952. A graduate program in education received accreditation in 1995, initiating a transition from a college to a university.

Over time, the campus has grown from four buildings in a small area to nearly two dozen buildings which cover a handful of blocks along the shores of Storm Lake. The first college building, known as “Old Main,” was opened in 1892 and was the primary building on campus until it was destroyed by fire in 1956. During the 1950s and 1960s, a major expansion program was initiated with construction of three residence halls, a science building, physical education complex, library, campus center, an auditorium, and a classroom-administration building.

The college launched a new era in May of 1980, when it received an anonymous $18 million gift. Five years later, the anonymous donor was revealed when the Harold Walter Siebens School of Business/Siebens Forum (HWSSOB/SF) was dedicated in the name of the benefactor. This gift started the creation of a competitive college endowment, which supported physical construction and renovation, as well as further development of regionally recognized academic programs. It made possible such distinctive programs as the William W. Siebens American Heritage Lecture Series and the Academic & Cultural Events Series (ACES). The HWSSOB/SF is currently undergoing a renovation to create a more student-focused space. Upon completion students will have lounges, more modern classrooms, a state-of-the-art dining hall, a ticker tape trading room for business majors, and a renovated bookstore.

An institutional self-study indicated the need to strengthen the college library and information resources, leading to construction of the Library and Information Technology Center in 1995. In 2001, the $9.5 million Lamberti Recreation Center opened, featuring three multipurpose courts and a six-lane, 200-meter indoor track. In 2004, BVU dedicated the state-of-the-art, $70,000-square foot Estelle Siebens Science Center. Four years later, renovations to the old science building were completed and the building was rededicated as the Social Sciences & Art Hall with an attached Center for Ceramics and Sculpture. In 2012, a major renovation of Pierce/White residence halls was completed, including new furniture, upgraded lighting, a multipurpose space, elevator, and a new entrance.

Throughout the years, Buena Vista University has recognized needs and trends and adapted to meet them. In the mid-1970s, the institution opened its first satellite location to help serve the needs of non-traditional students who could not attend classes in Storm Lake. Today, there are 14 locations across the state of Iowa as well as an online program for expanded learning opportunities. Graduate students benefit from several online options as well. In 2000, BVU became the nation’s first “wireless community” by providing laptops to all full-time students and faculty on the Storm Lake campus with the ability to connect to the campus-wide wireless network. Since then, BVU has built on civic engagement opportunities to create a greater atmosphere for community and campus service and involvement. Students have learned what it means to be global citizens and travel the world through professor-led academic ventures. BVU has recently introduced a marching and pep band program, as well as an Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Resource Management, which features programs in ag-business and ag-science.

About Storm Lake, IA

Not only is Storm Lake a college town, it also boasts a lake, rich heritage and history, diverse cultures, and opportunities in which college students thrive. The shores of Storm Lake are unbeatable for quiet reflection and focus. But, Storm Lake is also the hub in Northwest Iowa. From fun in the sun to ice hockey, and boutiques to pad Thai, Storm Lake is the place for adventure and discovery. Iowa’s Best Burger, according to a recent proclamation by The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and the Iowa Beef Industry Council, as well as Travel Iowa’s 9th best donut bakery, can be found in Storm Lake.

Storm Lake itself is the fourth largest glacier lake in Iowa, spanning over 3,200 acres and considered the region’s best for walleye fishing. Outdoor recreation includes lakeshore parks and campgrounds, biking and walking trails, two marinas, and public access for boating, fishing, and swimming.

For more information about Storm Lake, IA, visit the Chamber of Commerce website at http://visitstormlake.com/chamber.html

Institutional Mission

“We prepare students for lifelong success through transformational academic, professional, and co-curricular programs.”

Institutional Vision

“To be a nationally recognized leader in rural higher education known for its remarkable student learning and outcomes. We will be an institutional destination — ambitious in our efforts to distinctively and boldly inspire students to serve, empower, and transform communities through Education for Service.”

The Academic Program

With more than 45 academic programs and majors to choose from, students are able to align passions with an exciting academic path leading to success in college and after graduation.

The student-faculty ratio at Buena Vista University is 10:1 and the university has 75.9 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. The average first year retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 73 percent.

The most popular majors at Buena Vista University include:

  • Business, Management
  • Marketing
  • Education
  • Digital Media
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

The major study areas of Buena Vista University are grouped within four schools:

  • Harold Walter Siebens School of Business
  • School of Education
  • School of Science
  • School of Liberal Arts

The Student Body

Buena Vista University has a total enrollment of 1,847, serving students on the Storm Lake campus and online, remote sites, and graduate programs. Undergraduate enrollment is 733, with a gender distribution of 53 percent male students and 47 percent female students. At the university, 90 percent of the students live in college-owned, operated, or affiliated housing, and ten percent of students live off campus. In sports, Buena Vista University is part of the NCAA Division III.

  • Based on a response rate of nearly 100 percent, 96 percent of the Class of 2017 was employed, in graduate school, or otherwise satisfied with their career status within six months of graduation.
  • In the past 40+ years, more than 16,000 students have received bachelor’s degrees from BVU sites located on community college campuses.
  • BVU students, faculty, and staff volunteered approximately 56,000 service hours for the city, schools, churches, local organizations, and other locations. Volunteers at Buenafication Day help beautify the campus and provide needed services to off-campus, community sites.
  • Over 70 percent of Storm Lake campus graduates and 90 percent of offsite graduates stay in Iowa to work and contribute to their professions and their communities.
  • Last year, 195 students completed internships, not including student teaching, research, or other applied learning opportunities.
  • One hundred percent of full-time Storm Lake campus students who applied for financial assistance last year received it.
  • Each year, BVU provides approximately $14 million in student financial assistance out of its operating budget.
  • More than 45 percent of BVU students participate in intercollegiate athletics on 19 NCAA Division III teams.

Institutional Leadership

Brian Lenzmeier, PhD – Interim President

Dr. Brian Lenzmeier joined Buena Visit University in 2003 as a professor of biology. Prior to being named interim president in May of 2020, Lenzmeier served as provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Lenzmeier earned his PhD in biochemistry from Colorado State University and holds a BA in biology from Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota. He also completed post-doctoral research in molecular biology at Princeton University and was a visiting research fellow in the area of molecular medicine at the Mayo Clinic in 2011.

In addition to his role as a professor of biology, Lenzmeier has held several leadership roles at BVU. In recent years, he has served as chair of the tenure and promotion committee, played an integral role in the revision of faculty employment policies, and worked with colleagues to develop and implement a new biomedical sciences major.

Lenzmeier has been named “Faculty Member of the Year” twice by the BVU student senate, and was the 2009 recipient of the George Wythe Award, the university’s highest honor for excellence in teaching.

Lucy Shaffer Croft, Vice President for Student Success

Dr. Lucy Shaffer Croft joined BVU as vice president for student success in April 2019.

Croft is an accomplished student life professional with nearly 30 years of experience in higher education. Prior to joining BVU, Croft served as associate vice president for student affairs at the University of North Florida. She previously spent 13 years at the University of Cincinnati as director of student activities and leadership development.

A former director of student activities at Virginia Intermont College, Croft also served as assistant director of student activities and orientation at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

She has been a member of the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) since 1986, and currently serves on the organization’s Foundation Board of Trustees after chairing the board of directors in 2017-18.

Croft earned an EdD in curriculum and instruction, as well as a master’s degree in community counseling, from the University of Cincinnati. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication and elementary education from Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana.

Benefits Overview

Buena Vista University offers employees a competitive package of employee benefits. This program is designed to protect and promote their financial, physical, and emotional well-being.

Benefits include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Medical
  • Prescription Drugs and Specialty Drugs
  • Wellness
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Health Savings Accounts
  • Dental and Vision Benefits
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Life Insurance Benefits
  • Retirement Plans
  • Educational Tuition Grant
  • Travel Assistance Benefits

For a detailed look at BVU benefits, please review the 2020 Benefit Summary

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin September 21, 2020 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 Laura Puckett-Boler at lpb@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Buena Vista University website at www.bvu.edu

Buena Vista University is an Equal Opportunity/Americans with Disabilities Act/Smoke-Free Employer.