The Opportunity

Iowa State University is one of the most student-centered public research universities in the nation. It is a place where adventurous minds are encouraged to accomplish amazing things. As an internationally respected university ranked in the top tier of public universities by U.S. News and World Report and an invited member of the Association of American Universities, Iowa State offers a student adventure rich in social and academic diversity. More than 33,300 students choose from 100 majors and hone their leadership skills in more than 900 clubs and student organizations. Iowa State’s land-grant research initiatives from its 100 centers and institutes help solve society’s greatest challenges and offer students opportunities to learn from and work alongside world-class scholars and researchers. A culturally diverse student body with students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries converge on one of the nation’s most beautiful campuses. Big 12 Conference sports and a tradition of international cultural performances make campus life an adventure to remember. Iowa State is located in Ames, a community of 67,000 ranked as the number one “Best College Town in America” by and among the top 10 best places to live in America.

The Position

Role of the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs for Iowa State University

Reporting to the president, the senior vice president for student affairs provides executive leadership and vision for a large and comprehensive portfolio of student life programs, services, and initiatives to create a campus climate that enriches living and learning experiences, promotes academic achievement, and supports the personal development and overall well-being and success of all Iowa State students. The senior vice president provides oversight for the dean of students office (academic success center; center for LGBTQIA+ student success; Hixson opportunity awards; international students and scholars office; Margaret Sloss center for women and gender equity; office of multicultural student affairs; national student exchange; parent and family programs; office of sorority and fraternity engagement; student accessibility services; office of student assistance; office of student conduct; student legal services; student support services; TRIO student support services program; veterans center; and writing and media center), student health and wellness (Thielen student health center; student wellness; student counseling services; and recreation services), campus life (department of residence, memorial union, campus dining), learning communities, assessment and research, NCORE-ISCORE, educational talent search, and upward bound.

The senior vice president works closely with a strong divisional leadership team to oversee strategic planning, organizational development, programs and activities, resource allocation, policy development, and personnel management. Additionally, the senior vice president participates actively in all aspects of institutional planning and program development in support of Iowa State’s mission and strategic plan; works collaboratively with other administrative divisions across the university to identify and advance shared goals and interests; participates on committees and in activities to promote the success and growth of the institution, administration, faculty, staff, and students; and, participates in professional organizations and community activities to promote the institution locally, statewide, and nationally. The senior vice president manages a division with an annual budget of approximately $150 million and a full-time staff of 679, 44 graduate students, and over 2,800 student staff.

History of the Position

Thomas L. Hill served as Iowa State’s vice president for student affairs from 1997 until he retired from the university in 2015. Martino Harmon has been in the role since 2016 and will leave the university in June to serve as vice president for student life at the University of Michigan.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

Iowa State is a student-centered institution, and the activities of the senior vice president for student affairs reflect the university’s commitment to student engagement.  The senior vice president has a level of accessibility to students that is uncommon at an institution the size of Iowa State. The senior vice president speaks to multiple student groups each week, is highly visible at athletic events and campus programs, and works directly with students on issues of concern.

The senior vice president is a critical member of the president’s tight-knit senior leadership team which is comprised of the president, senior vice president for student affairs, senior vice president for operations and finance and senior vice president and provost. The group meets on a weekly basis the discuss issues of strategic importance to the university. The president’s cabinet is a broader group of approximately 20 deans, vice presidents and directors who meet a few times each semester.


Despite the public and political demands of the position, the senior vice president must bring strong management skills to the position. It will be a challenge for the new senior vice president to maintain the expected level of engagement with students and manage the operations of the division. Student affairs has a large staff and an extremely wide scope. The senior vice president must be a skilled leader who is dedicated to supporting and developing a talented staff of professionals. Effective delegation of responsibilities to the senior staff will be critical to the success of this position. There is a lot of good work already being done at Iowa State, and it will be important to build on this foundation of success. There is a dedicated student affairs staff, academic partners, and active student leaders willing to work together.

In transitioning to Iowa State University, the new senior vice president for student affairs will also encounter the following opportunities, priorities, and challenges:

  • The enrollment functions at Iowa State were recently shifted from student affairs to academic services. The colleges play a primary role in recruiting and scholarship/aid distribution so the realignment centralized the reporting structure for the critical functions of the academic deans through the provost’s office.
  • Establishing a positive working relationship with academic affairs is central to supporting Iowa State’s active learning-centered community focus. The decentralized nature of the university’s academic structure will require the senior vice president, with the support of the provost, to develop strong working relationships with the leadership of each of the colleges.
  • The incoming senior vice president will need to ensure that current programs and services are benchmarked against competitive institutions and nationally recognized best practices, and articulate a strategic vision for the ongoing development of the division.
  • A new associate vice president and dean of students is expected to be in place during the summer of 2020. This position oversees a significant portfolio within the division. The new senior vice president will need to work closely with the associate vice president to ensure a smooth transition for the critical functions of the dean of students’ office.
  • Many of the programs and organizations focused on promoting diversity and inclusion on campus report within student affairs. The new senior vice president will need to develop a strong collaborative relationship with the vice president for diversity and inclusion.
  • Demonstrate a leadership style that is credible and collegial while being highly effective. It is expected that the new senior vice president will develop strategic learning outcomes—and will continue to shape student affairs into a high-functioning division while focusing on the academic and personal development of students.
  • Iowa State values entrepreneurship, collaboration, and a strong commitment to student success. A sense of business acumen coupled with intelligence is needed to see the larger vision of the university.

Measures of Success

At an appropriate interval after joining Iowa State University, the following items will initially define success for the new senior vice president for student affairs:

  • The senior vice president has developed strong relationships with staff, faculty, and students, and is deeply familiar with the all departments within student affairs.
  • The university plays an important role in the Ames community. The senior vice president will be expected to connect with key stakeholders and be visible in the local community.
  • There is a common understanding of the role student affairs staff should play in achieving the regent’s priorities, and institutional mission is evident across all stakeholders.
  • Trust has been developed among staff across the division. Responsibilities are delegated to the appropriate departments, and leaders are held accountable for outcomes.
  • Leadership is shared with senior staff. Praise is public, and accountability is private.
  • Decision-making processes are efficient, inclusive, and transparent.
  • The budget development process is transparent and connected to the division’s strategic priorities.
  • Division departments are fully staffed.
  • There is a strong sense of shared vision and collegiality within the division.

Qualifications and Characteristics

Required Qualifications

PhD in a related field and ten years of progressively responsible administrative experience managing and solving complex problems in higher education.

Preferred Qualifications

An earned doctorate in higher education administration, student development, student personnel, or a related field, with experience managing and solving complex problems in in student affairs or student development, is preferred. The preferred candidate must demonstrate a record of strong management skills supervising a comprehensive student services organization in higher education; demonstrated success developing and implementing innovative and creative ideas to provide a safe environment while meeting the challenges of a dynamic campus and student body; experience collaborating with academic affairs and other institutional partners, and excellent verbal and written communication skills. The preferred candidate will demonstrate a commitment to fostering Iowa State’s student-centered culture; a passion and enthusiasm for working with a diverse community of students and colleagues in a high achieving, fast-paced environment; knowledge and understanding of the theory and practice of student development and success; sound judgment in the development and implementation of creative programs; a strong team orientation committed to human capital, staff development and education, and overall well-being; and, an understanding and consideration of the complexities of serving at a state institution of higher education.

Additionally, the following characteristics and attributes were identified by various stakeholders when considering the senior vice president for student affairs position:

  • As a member of the president’s cabinet, be a strong advocate for student needs and shape an appreciation for student life at Iowa State.
  • Knowledge of current scholarship and emerging trends in student affairs theory and practice.
  • Be a visionary and possess the ability to translate institutional strategy into operational goals.
  • A commitment to excellence demonstrated by the ability to set high goals, provide guidance and resources to achieve said goals, complemented by a broad understanding of the role of effective assessment to document, measure, and improve performance over time.
  • Possess a work style that invites collaboration and encourages team building.
  • Articulate a sophisticated understanding of current student affairs trends and best practices, and the key issues facing today’s college students.
  • Have an understanding of the current demographics of the Iowa State student body.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to a diverse student body, including the needs of nontraditional, international, part-time, and graduate students.
  • Ability to engage faculty in the life of students and support a strong partnership between academic affairs and student affairs.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of judicial affairs, legal issues, and crisis/emergency management.
  • Understanding of funding in public universities, as well as how to manage multiple revenue sources (allocated funds, self-generated revenues, student fees, grants, etc.).
  • High level of emotional intelligence, empathy, and concern for others, including the ability to navigate controversy with civility and respect.
  • A willingness to take action when necessary based on the values and priorities of student access, social justice and equity, and student learning and engagement.
  • Comfortable with self; ability to handle both positive and negative feedback with constructive action.
  • Possess a commitment to professional growth and development for self and staff members.
  • Demonstrate the ability to serve as a change agent for the Iowa State of the future by identifying opportunities for improvement and generating strategies and solutions to bring about change in both the student affairs and enrollment management areas.
  • Credible, transparent, approachable supervisor adept at sharing information and the reasons underlying change.
  • Commitment to encourage and support professional development experiences at all levels within the division.
  • Ability to positively represent the division and its work to the campus and the community.
  • A commitment of collaboration at all levels of the institution.

Overview of the division of student affairs

The Iowa State University Principles of Community

Student Development and Engagement

In recognizing the uniqueness of each student, overall growth and development is supported through leadership and involvement opportunities, rich and meaningful co-curricular activities, and global engagement experiences. Student Affairs also works to remain accessible and responsive to students and to minimize barriers that inhibit effective learning.

Connection, Collaboration, and Communication

Student Affairs strives to share its successes and outcomes with the community, ensuring transparency and inviting discussion about where the work can be enhanced. Further, there is a desire to instill a global mindset in all Cyclones to enhance their cultural awareness and intercultural competence.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice

Student Affairs seeks to welcome and engage all Cyclones in an effort to create a respectful, responsible community that allows for equitable access to learning and involvement.

Holistic Health, Wellness, and Safety of Students and Staff

Cyclones should feel safe anywhere at Iowa State University. The Student Affairs programs, services, and interactions are designed to embody this and to identify areas where continued work needs to occur. We function best when everyone aspires to their best physical, emotional, intellectual, financial, environmental, occupational, social, and spiritual wellbeing.

The focus within the division is always about student success. Knowing that students do their best and ultimately succeed when they have the right support and resources, Student Affairs develops programs and resources to guide them through their academic careers. Equally important has been the continued focus on staff wellbeing. The division starts the fall with an annual kick-off to announce new initiatives and celebrate the start of the academic year. Throughout the semester, professional development opportunities were provided, with guest speakers and “Lunch and Learns.” And finally, in May, the academic year closes out with the “Student Affairs Staff Appreciation Day” event

Organizational Chart for the Division of Student Affairs

Institution & Location

Institutional Overview and Background

Iowa State University, located in Ames, Iowa, is one of the nation’s leading land-grant universities. Chartered in 1858 as the Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm, it became the nation’s first land-grant institution when the Iowa General Assembly awarded it the state’s land-grant charter in 1864. The College opened in 1868–1869, and a class of 26 was graduated at the first commencement in 1872. Graduate study was offered almost as soon as classes began, and the first graduate degree was conferred in 1877. The College was renamed Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1898 and became Iowa State University of Science and Technology in 1959. Today, Iowa State University is a comprehensive research university of international stature with over 33,000 students from all 99 counties in Iowa, all 50 states, and over 120 nations.

Iowa State has led the development of several fields of study that are central to the land-grant movement, including engineering, agriculture, human sciences, and veterinary medicine. Extension, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2003, traces its roots to Iowa and early outreach programs by Iowa State’s Adonijah Welch and Perry Holden. The legislation establishing the national Agricultural Experiment Station system was written by Iowa State faculty members Seaman Knapp and Charles Bessey in the 1880s.

George Washington Carver, one of the nation’s most distinguished educators and agricultural researchers, received bachelor’s (1894) and master’s (1896) degrees from Iowa State. The electronic digital computer, one of the most important technological innovations of the 20th century, was invented by John Vincent Atanasoff at Iowa State in the late 1930s. Carrie Chapman Catt, founder of the League of Women Voters and a key strategist behind the final ratification of the 19th Amendment, graduated as valedictorian of the Iowa State class of 1880.

Today, Iowa State is a recognized leader in many areas, including plant and animal genomics, materials sciences, analytical chemistry, biology, physics, behavioral studies, information assurance, virtual reality, engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, business, journalism, kinesiology, transportation and logistics, and education. Major research initiatives involve the bioeconomy, food safety and security, combinatorial chemistry, human/computer interaction, and animal health.

Iowa State is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU), which consists of leading research universities in the United States and Canada. Iowa State aspires to be the best university in the nation in advancing the land-grant ideals and putting science and technology to work. The University’s mission is to create, share, and apply knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place.

From a student perspective, Iowa State University is a place where adventurous minds are encouraged to accomplish amazing things. As a major international university ranked #56 in fall of 2019 among public universities by U.S. News & World Report, Iowa State offers a student experience rich in social and academic diversity. One hundred majors, over 900 clubs, and approximately 12,000 students living in campus residential facilities enrich college life on a beautiful, park-like campus. A tradition of cultural and popular performances makes campus life fun and memorable.

Iowa State fields 18 varsity teams in the Big 12 Conference, one of the nation’s premier athletics leagues. A strong fan base helps the Cyclones continually break attendance records and earn top honors in national online polls ranking the best “student spirit” (Hilton Coliseum) and “most dominant mascot on Earth” (Cy).

About Ames and Central Iowa


Beneath the small-town charm of Ames, Iowa, beats the heart of a much larger city. A city that has become a player in developing the world’s bio-economic future. A city with top-quality education, from kindergarten to graduate school. A city that regularly draws performers like Kenny Chesney, Dave Matthews, Gabriel Iglesias, and Widespread Panic, along with international symphonies and Broadway musicals. A city with hundreds of acres of parks, numerous bike paths, and cultural festivals and celebrations. A city that has been ranked the second-most-livable small city in the nation.

Iowa is a place where neighborhoods are friendly and commutes are short. A place where quality public education is not just a dream, but a reality. A place of vibrant cities with shopping and entertainment possibilities. A place of endless outdoor recreational opportunities.

You can learn more about Ames at

Des Moines

Located 35 miles south of Ames, Des Moines is the state capital and the largest city in Iowa, with over 600,000 residents. Often referred to as the “Hartford of the West,” Des Moines is a major insurance and financial center housing the home office of the Principal Financial Group and branches of EMC Insurance Group, Fidelity & Guaranty Life, Allied Insurance, Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa, and American Republic Insurance Company.

Wells Fargo is the city’s largest employer, and the 18,000-seat Wells Fargo Arena is the Des Moines area’s primary venue for sporting events and concerts. It is the home of the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League, the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League, and the Iowa Barnstormers of the Indoor Football League. Des Moines is also home to the Iowa Cubs baseball team of the Pacific Coast League. The I-Cubs, Class AAA affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, play their home games at Principal Park near the confluence of the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers.

Institutional Mission and Vision

Mission: Create, share, and apply knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place.

Iowa State’s focus has always been its students. The University emphasizes learning by doing. ISU students take advantage of many opportunities to engage in real-world class experiences and cutting-edge research, to study in other countries, and to test their leadership skills in 900-plus campus organizations. They are tomorrow’s leaders and problem solvers and they are ready to get started.

In addition to educating students, Iowa State faculty and staff are conducting basic and applied research to improve lives and sustain the planet. They are boosting crop production, protecting natural resources, perfecting biobased fuels, refining wind turbines, designing human and animal vaccines, improving firefighting gear, fighting Parkinson’s disease, fostering economic growth and development, strengthening forensic science techniques, assessing the effects of media violence, devising defenses against cyberattacks, enhancing the quality of life through the arts and humanities, and educating the leaders of tomorrow. As a member of the Association of American Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Iowa State is dedicated to conducting research and scholarship with local, national, and international impact.

As the land-grant institution in the very first state to adopt the Morrill Act, Iowa State University wholeheartedly supports the mission of sharing knowledge beyond the campus borders. It is no surprise that Iowa State pioneered the first statewide Extension Service in 1906. The extension experiment – universities actively transferring their research and expertise to every corner of every state – was immensely successful across America and remains so today. More than a million Iowans annually benefit directly from ISU Extension and Outreach programs.

As the world has gotten smaller, the scope of Iowa State’s mission has increased. ISU faculty, staff, and students are dedicated to improving lives around the nation and the world. The Center for Statistics and Applications in Forensic Evidence is helping to improve forensic evidence to create a more objective criminal justice system. The Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods helps support a longstanding program to help Ugandans improve farming, launch home businesses, keep children in school, and build food security. Through these activities and many others, Iowa State presses forward, on a mission to help make the world safe and sustainable for generations to come.

Vision: Iowa State University will lead the world in advancing the land-grant ideals of putting science, technology, and human creativity to work.

Iowa State University of Science and Technology lives up to its name in many ways. Half of its undergraduates major in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The campus is a hub of creative and entrepreneurial activity. ISU and the city of Ames are home to a national laboratory; five federal research labs; world-class programs in genomic-based agricultural breeding, health, and biotechnology; renowned institutes in virtual reality, plant sciences and the bioeconomy; and the only university in Iowa with ROTC programs for all military services. The Iowa State University Research Park, which helps move discoveries to market, has launched numerous start-up companies, including some that are recognized worldwide for ingenuity and major contributions.

Iowa State University has the talent and the facilities to lead the urgent, global quest for solutions. Providing these solutions and preparing the next generation of leaders and problem solvers requires efforts from across campus. It is the combination of all of our academic colleges, units, and departments that create the community of scholars necessary for this work. This University is, and always has been, a community of practical, hard-working problem-solvers. Major investments in new research and educational facilities and an outstanding tradition of cross-disciplinary research bring all of ISU’s colleges and departments together with global partners. Iowa State is dedicated to the belief that, with hard work and innovation, future generations will have ample food and fuel, good health, and a safe, bountiful planet.

The Iowa State University Strategic Plan 2017–2022

The University’s latest strategic plan went into effect on July 1, 2016.

The approved strategic plan is available at


Dr. Wendy Wintersteen – President

Dr. Wendy Wintersteen was selected in October of 2017, to serve as Iowa State University’s 16th President. She assumed the office in November and is the first woman President in the University’s history.

From 2006-2017, Dr. Wintersteen served as dean of the college of agriculture and life sciences and director of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station at Iowa State University. She was also the holder of the University’s first endowed deanship. During her tenure, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences was ranked in the top 10 in the world (Quacquarelli Symonds ratings); experienced record enrollment growth (third largest in the nation); established innovative teaching partnerships, including the Global Resource Systems interdisciplinary major; expanded student opportunities in entrepreneurship through the Agriculture Entrepreneurship Initiative; enhanced diversity and inclusion efforts; raised nearly $250 million in private support; and completed several major building projects.

Dr. Wintersteen’s career at Iowa State spans nearly 40 years, beginning as an extension specialist in integrated pest management. After completing her doctorate, she served as a professor of entomology with a brief stint in Washington D.C., and then assumed a number of administrative roles in extension and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Dr. Wintersteen represents Iowa State University on many state, national, and international boards. She currently serves as President of the Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation, which has worked in support of greater funding for food, agricultural, and natural resources research through a unified message to meet global challenges of a growing population, limited arable land, climate change, and new pest and disease pressures. In 2013, she was appointed by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to the Board of Directors of the U.S.-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund. Her past service includes terms on the boards of the Farm Foundation and the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. Wintersteen also serves as past chair of the Administrative Heads Section of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities’ Board on Agriculture Assembly. She was the 2016 recipient of the Carl F. Hertz Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award from the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers.

Dr. Wintersteen earned a bachelor’s of science degree in crop production from Kansas State University and her PhD in entomology from Iowa State University. In 2007 she was honored as a Kansas State University Alumni Fellow for professional accomplishments and distinguished service.

Academic Programs

The University is organized into eight colleges:

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • College of Business
  • College of Design
  • College of Engineering
  • Graduate College
  • College of Human Sciences
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • College of Veterinary Medicine

These colleges offer 100 bachelor’s degree programs, one professional degree (doctor of veterinary medicine), 112 master’s degree programs, and 83 PhD programs.

Departments with the largest number of undergraduate majors:

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Civil, Construction & Environmental Engineering
  • Kinesiology
  • Animal Science
  • Art and Design
  • Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management
  • Psychology
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication
  • Architecture
  • Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • Finance
  • Accounting

Student Body

Iowa State at a glance, fall 2019:

Total Enrollment: 33,391

Undergraduate Total: 28,294

Graduate Students: 4,498 students

Professional Students: 599 students

Interesting Statistics 2019:

  • New direct from high school students (first year class) of 5,597 students includes 3,380 Iowans.
  • The first year class has an average ACT score of 25 and an average high school GPA of 3.68.
  • Students c0me from every county in Iowa, every state in the country, and over 115 countries.
  • Fall 2019, 18,341 Iowans attended Iowa State (54.9% of the student body).
  • A total of 3,189 international students enrolled at Iowa State in fall 2019, comprising 9.6% of the total enrollment.
  • Of the total number of students enrolled in fall 2019, 14,543 (44%) were women and 18,848 (56%) were men.
  • Of undergraduate students, 43% were women, while 82% of professional students were women and 43% of graduate students were women.
  • U.S. minority enrollment is 4,870 (15% of total enrollment). For the past thirteen years, Iowa State has met or exceeded the 8.5% minority enrollment goal set by the Iowa Board of Regents.

Benefits Overview

Iowa State University offers the following employee benefits:

  • Medical insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision discount plan
  • Prescription drug insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Long-term disability insurance
  • Retirement plans
  • Health care flexible spending account and dependent care assistance program
  • Sick leave
  • Vacation and holidays
  • Tuition discounts for employee
  • Vendor discounts

Application & 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 Mark Hall at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Iowa State University website at

Iowa State University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, marital status, disability, or protected veteran status, and will not be discriminated against. This position serves at the pleasure of university administration and is exempt from certain P&S policies.