Ringling College of Art and Design (Ringling) invites applications and nominations for an experienced enrollment and marketing leader to join its executive leadership team and shape the College’s newly formed division of enrollment management and marketing. The vice president for enrollment management and marketing (VPEMM) will provide the strategic leadership and operational management to develop and implement a comprehensive enrollment management program and an integrated marketing and communication strategy that generates sustained results in recruiting, enrolling, and graduating students. The VPEMM also leads the development and implementation of the College’s brand and marketing and communications strategies to enhance national and global visibility, attract the best students, motivate donors, engage alumni, and recruit exceptional faculty and staff.
Role of the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing for Ringling College of Art and Design
Reporting to the president and serving as a member of the president’s cabinet, the vice president shares broad responsibility to advance the mission, reputation, and capacity of the College to fulfill its strategic priorities. The VPEMM will be expected to build strong partnerships throughout the college community, the greater Sarasota area community, and the extended community to inform enrollment management and communications efforts. Key elements in this endeavor include working with faculty and administrators to enhance enrollment and marketing initiatives and fostering efforts across academic disciplines and administrative units to achieve Ringling’s strategic priorities. This senior leader will be directly responsible for the oversight and management of admissions, financial aid, marketing and communications, and the design center.
The VPEMM the development of the vision and strategic direction for student recruitment efforts and has primary responsibility for developing, articulating, and implementing a strategic, entrepreneurial, and data-informed enrollment management plan. They are expected to be an enrollment management leader who will grasp the distinct nature of a creative and visual arts education and employ both traditional and innovative means to expand Ringling’s enrollment effectiveness so as to attract, select, enroll, and retain an exceptionally talented and internationally, culturally, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse undergraduate student body.
The VPEMM will also be responsible for leading the development and implementation of institution-wide marketing and communications efforts. They are charged with continuing to build and manage a marketing and communications team that is equipped to meet the changing needs of a growing college, including brand amplification, website strategy, advertising, social media, print publication, and media relations. The VPEMM will work closely with the president and the president’s office to develop strong relationships with external partners. In addition to leading the College’s team of marketing and communications professionals, the VPEMM provides strategic direction in working with the president’s office and other academic and administrative units toward the creation of an integrated marketing and communications effort to attract students and advance the College’s strategic priorities.
The new vice president will be presented with an exciting opportunity to make a significant impact by envisioning and executing an integrated and analytically informed enrollment management and communications plan that reflects the College’s distinctiveness and excellence.
History of the Position
Jim Dean was the long serving dean of admission and retired at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year after 35 years at Ringling. The division has been co-led by Gregg Prigerson, director of admissions and Lee Harrell, director of financial aid, on an interim basis since Dean’s retirement. The position has been retitled as a vice presidential role in enrollment management and responsibility for institutional marketing and communication has been added to the portfolio.
Opportunities and Challenges of the Role
There are several aspects of the role of vice president for enrollment management and marketing where the successful candidate will need to be prepared to lead. These include:
- Integrating the formerly separate functions of admission, financial aid, marketing and communications into a cohesive and forward-looking division of enrollment management and marketing. The vice president will be expected to formulate and articulate a vision for strategic enrollment management and integrated marketing at Ringling and to provide campus-wide leadership, concrete steps, counsel, advocacy, and a point of connection and communication for achieving this vision.
- Continuing and building on Ringling’s recent success in growing its enrollment while remaining true to its academic and institutional mission and priorities.
- Focusing on relationships, infusing new energy and innovative ideas, and providing a vision and sense of clear direction for the newly structured division. The vice president will also need to emphasize the professional growth of staff to enhance broader leadership skills, and promote dialog regarding trends and best practices.
- Working with senior academic and administrative leaders to establish systems of shared accountability for the college’s enrollment, brand, and marketing strategies, offer recommendations, and demonstrate progress by using data-informed metrics to measure success and disseminate information. The vice president will communicate results and use them to support future planning.
- Collaborating with the vice president for finance and administration to seamlessly transition financial aid to the newly created division of enrollment management and marketing.
- Partnering with the executive team and broader institutional stakeholders to connect Ringling’s strategic priorities to an ambitious and data-informed marketing and communications strategy that elevates Ringling’s brand on the national and international stage.
Measures of Success
At an appropriate interval after joining Ringling College of Art and Design, the following will initially define success for the vice president for enrollment management and marketing:
- the vice president is a visible and engaged leader throughout campus and is collaborating with all constituents on enrollment and marketing initiatives;
- the vice president has assessed the enrollment management and marketing teams as well as existing efficiencies of the reporting offices to develop plans that will further Ringling’s enrollment and marketing goals;
- the vice president has developed an across the board clear understanding of the College’s enrollment strategy so that all internal stakeholders can articulate and support it;
- the vice president has successfully managed expectations and adeptly managed to prioritize requests from across campus;
- the vice president has begun the creation and implementation of a new era in enrollment strategy and has begun to leverage Ringling’s distinctions to enhance its ability to enroll and retain a talented and diverse population of students;
- the vice president has developed and initiated plans for leading the enrollment management’s team in the next phase of its development by providing an inspirational, strategic, and statistically supported vision for short- and long-term enrollment goals;
- the vice president has developed and initiated plans for leading the institutional marketing area in its development of a cohesive, state of the art marketing team;
- the vice president has remained current in the oversight and interpretation of all rules and regulations pertaining to budget, compliance, and other related best business practices; and
- the vice president has developed and implemented a long-range, cohesive recruitment and marketing plan which will continue the forward momentum of the college.
Qualifications and Characteristics
A bachelor’s degree and documented leadership experience in significant management roles in higher education admissions, enrollment management, and/or marketing/communications are required. A master’s degree and experience in a private college or university is preferred.
In addition, the ideal candidate will possess the following:
- the capacity to lead and manage efforts that intersect with the institution’s recruiting and marketing/communications strategies and enrollment management goals;
- excellent verbal and written communication skills; the ability to persuasively articulate the College’s impact; and ability to engage diverse audiences, both external and internal, in the College’s mission, vision, programs and goals;
- evidence of collaborative decision-making abilities and the ability to work as a member of a team with a student-centered educational philosophy as well as the proven ability to lead and manage staff effectively;
- a commitment to the value of a creative and visual arts education;
- the ability to think creatively and a willingness to take risks combined with an ability to execute effective enrollment management and marketing strategies;
- a passionate commitment to diversity and inclusion;
- relevant experience with the development and use of data and analytics, which includes experience with integrated student information systems and innovative methodologies for recruitment and retention of students;
- an in-depth knowledge of current enrollment trends, technology, and strategic higher education practices to make informed decisions;
- demonstrated evidence of an interest in research and data and an ability to ask the right questions, analyze the meaning of the data, and utilize research for decision making;
- knowledge of national and international trends and developments in recruitment, admissions, and retention for the purpose of modeling and strategic planning;
- the ability to develop and implement strategic communications and research-based marketing plans, including a deep understanding of online and social media marketing strategies.
Stakeholders at Ringling College of Art and Design further indicated that the following characteristics would be sought in candidates for the position:
- be skilled in predictive analysis;
- be flexible and innovative;
- be a creative thinker and an attentive listener;
- display cultural competence and a record of improving/supporting equity and diversity in previous higher education positions;
- have documented experience in retention initiatives, programming and analysis;
- be focused and driven;
- be transparent and honest;
- be nimble and strategic; utilize data to develop and implement recruitment, marketing and retention plans;
- be a collaborative partner who both provides and seeks guidance;
- be technologically savvy in order to lead the enrollment team in the development of data-informed recruiting and retention decisions;
- be willing to listen to and trust the current team and rely on their history and deep knowledge of Ringling’s successful recruitment initiatives;
- bring vision and strategy to the social media component of the institutional marketing/communications plans;
- collaborate with institutional partners, including student affairs, business affairs, faculty and student groups to develop consistent messaging and on-campus and virtual recruitment and closure events;
- invest in and promote staff development;
- be a consensus builder and willing to work with academic leadership to build their trust and utilize their expertise in marketing their programs;
- be willing to take chances and, if necessary, be nimble enough to shift gears mid-stream as needed;
- in conjunction with the directors of admission and financial aid and the vice president for finance, develop, oversee, and refine the college’s financial aid leveraging model and implement strategies for the optimum utilization of institutional funds to maximize net tuition revenue and student yield and continue to maintain the current tuition discount rate;
- understand federal, state and institutional compliance regulations regarding financial aid;
- be approachable and accessible;
- be an “observer” initially to study and understand Ringling’s past and present and then work with all stakeholders to develop Ringling’s path forward;
- have the ability to “get into the weeds” when necessary, but also maintain a big picture institutional view;
- be a strong manager and a leader;
- display a quiet confidence with the ability to gather data to justify decisions/recommended plans;
- have a drive and energy for the role;
- be accountable to the president, senior leaders, faculty, staff and students;
- understand the current higher education landscape as well as best practices in enrollment and marketing and the ability to implement them at Ringling;
- be student-centered, and always strive to incorporate superior customer service in all enrollment management and marketing areas;
- engage in thoughtful, authentic conversations with faculty in order to best communicate the soul and work of Ringling; and
- have a sense of humor.
Overview of the Enrollment Management and Marketing Division
Encouraging staff to adhere to the culture of the college with kindness, innovation, collaboration, integrity and honesty will be integral to the success of the VPEMM, who will directly oversee the following individuals and the accompanying teams:
- Director of Admissions and 12 team members
- Director of Financial Aid and 4 team members
- Director of the Design Center and 4 team members
- Director of Marketing & Digital Strategies and Director, ART Network and 8 team members
Ringling College of Art and Design is a private four-year accredited college located in Sarasota, Florida that was founded by Dr. Ludd M. Spivey in collaboration with John Ringling as an art school in 1931 as a remote branch of Southern College named The School of Fine and Applied Art of the John and Mable Ringling Art Museum.
The concept of founding this art school originated from Dr. Ludd M. Spivey, then president of Southern College, which was founded in 1856 in Lakeland, Florida, and is now called Florida Southern College. Spivey sought financial support for this concept from the Sarasota circus magnate, John Ringling. At that time, Spivey learned that Ringling was not interested in giving to Southern College and he was more interested in establishing his own art school at the museum founded with his first wife, Mable. The museum was constructed on their estate in the form of an Italian villa to house a vast collection of seventeenth century sculpture and paintings collected on their travels and at auctions. Ringling could have, he would have opened his own art school that was drawn on his original plans for the museum, but it was not built because of a lack of funds.
Spivey’s plan to found an art school was discussed repeatedly and, after much negotiation, it was agreed that Southern College would open its own art school in Sarasota as a branch. With much reluctance, Ringling agreed that it could be known as the School of Fine and Applied Art of the John and Mable Ringling Art Museum, lending his name and that of his former wife to the school, to associate the Florida Southern art school with the more famous name of the Ringlings and their museum.
The first class had only 75 students and there were 13 faculty members. The art school separated from Southern College and became an independent nonprofit institution in 1933 and changed its name to Ringling School of Art. It qualified for full accreditation as a degree-granting institution by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) on December 11, 1979. Upon joining as a member, accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) was granted in 1984.
Today, the picturesque 48-acre campus includes more than 110 buildings, and enrolls 1,600 students from 45 states, 60 countries, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico – two thirds of whom reside on the pedestrian-friendly residential campus. Its more than 140 faculty members are all professional artists, designers, and scholars who actively pursue their own work outside the classroom. The College’s rigorous curriculum engages innovation and tradition through a strong, well-rounded, first-year program specific to the major of study and with a deep focus on the liberal arts. Its teaching model encourages its students to become globally aware scholar-practitioners who are well prepared to enter the job market and be successful in their chosen careers.
One of Florida’s primary Gulf Coast cities, Sarasota offers its residents an eclectic blend of culture and fine dining, circus thrills and pristine beaches, and a wide array of shopping opportunities. Nicknamed the ‘Circus City’, it is a city of painters, dancers, singers, and filmmakers, and also a restless group of entrepreneurs, inventors, tech start-ups, and business owners. The energetic environment and incomparable quality of life in Sarasota create opportunities to join exciting new ventures all the time.
Money Magazine included Sarasota FL in their Top Places to Live report. It is known for its vibrant arts community, quality of life, and beautiful beaches. With a population of nearly 60,000, the city includes the mainland downtown as well as three islands, called “keys.” These are Longboat Key, Lido Key, and Siesta Key. Causeways to all these keys are free and picturesque. Downtown Sarasota is vibrant with a healthy mix of businesses, residences, and restaurants, as well as city services, Although a mid-sized city, Sarasota is considered to be the cultural center of West Central Florida with a metropolitan flavor unique to cities of its size and to cities in Florida.
Home to America’s #1 beach, Siesta Key, Sarasota has so much more to offer for the aspiring artist and designer. The community is built on a greater appreciation for visual and performing arts, and has countless venues, events, galleries and initiatives for artists and lovers of the arts to gather inspiration and get involved with the creative community. Sarasotans can find opportunities for live music, theater, gallery openings and more on a nightly basis.
Mission and Vision
Ringling College of Art and Design recognizes that artists and designers play a significant role in society. The College’s primary mission is to provide programs leading to degrees that prepare students to be discerning visual thinkers and ethical practitioners in their chosen area of art and design.
Visual arts professionals must understand diverse aspects of past and present cultures, and develop their capacity for creative expression and effective communication. Ringling’s curriculum, therefore, balances the teaching of technical knowledge and skills with the development of critical, conceptual and creative abilities and supports courses that provide historical, multicultural, global and future perspectives. Ringling faculty consists of professionally active and teaching-oriented artists, designers and scholars.
Ringling College of Art and Design strives to enroll both full- and part-time students from diverse backgrounds who intend to become professionals in the visual arts. Through its policies and practices, the College supports excellence in teaching and fosters the aesthetic, intellectual, professional, personal, and social development of its students. Academic programs and advising, career services, and an extensive co-curricular student life program prepare students for an art or design profession, or when appropriate, for continued studies on the graduate level.
In addition to its degree program, Ringling offers courses, lectures, exhibitions and other art-related services to the local and regional community through its gallery, library, continuing education and community service programs.
Through the efforts of its Board of Trustees, administrators, faculty, support staff, alumni, and friends, Ringling endeavors to provide the necessary resources, services and environment to fulfill its institutional mission.
In support of the institutional mission, Ringling values:
- The arts as essential in the cultural and intellectual life of a society.
- Rich and varied arts education that engages innovation and tradition.
- Educational experiences in and out of the classroom that nurture lives of learning and creativity.
- Development and support of the whole student.
- Academic freedom, inquiry and freedom of expression.
- Integrity and social responsibility in an interdependent world.
- Diverse community that serves as a source of empowerment.
Indicators of the Mission and Values in Action
- Preparing students as future artists and designers by providing a curriculum that explores ideas, technical and conceptual skills, and aesthetic choices. In addition to appropriate support for the major disciplines, this includes support for the liberal arts as an essential component, an adequate number of qualified faculty, high standards in teaching with attention to appropriate class size and provision of adequate academic support through facilities and services.
- Attending to the whole student by providing qualified staff and appropriate services, adequate and safe facilities for on-campus life. This strengthens the classroom and educational experiences and helps to lay the foundation for a life of continued growth.
- Recognizing the importance of an engaged faculty of working artists, designers, writers and researchers as absolutely essential to the educational process. This takes place through an environment that nurtures creativity, provides ongoing professional and artistic development opportunities and supports interdisciplinary collaboration.
- Upholding academic freedom and a safe environment for members of the campus community to responsibly question, examine, and explore all intellectual ground. This creates an environment of intellectual enrichment open to all and one that supports creative risk-taking and experimentation as well as the ongoing exploration of the history and traditions of the visual arts.
- Exploring ways to play a greater leadership role in the advocacy, understanding and protection of the visual arts at the community, state, national and international level. This includes recognizing and providing opportunities that assist the entire campus in the understanding of the social role, value and ethical implications of the artist/designer in society.
- Engaging actively in the exploration of historical, multicultural, global and future-oriented perspectives, and striving for a diverse educational environment of inclusiveness, acceptance and equal opportunity.
- Promoting greater awareness and a more active commitment to environmental issues in a future-oriented perspective that acknowledges our individual and institutional relationship with the earth and our obligations to conserve natural resources.
- Building a community of mutual respect for differences, that values relationships and works to break down barriers that divide. On campus, this means continuing to provide opportunities for personal connection and building bridges across departments and disciplines. It is a campus community of shared responsibility working together toward common values and goals that will enable each person to continue a life of learning and growth.
Dr. Larry R. Thompson, President
Dr. Larry R. Thompson became president of Ringling College of Art and Design in July, 1999. As head of this premier art and design college, he has been transforming the way people think about art and design and why businesses must infuse creativity to thrive. A lawyer and an educator, Larry served as Special Assistant to the President of The Ohio State University, President/CEO of Flint Cultural Center in Michigan, and was founding Executive Director/ CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio prior to joining Ringling College. He is the former president for the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) and currently serves as a member of its Executive Committee, is Chair of the President’s Council of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida, and serves on boards of many local arts and civic organizations.
Academic Programs and Faculty
119 full time faculty members
58 part time faculty members
- Business of Art & Design
- Computer Animation
- Creative Writing
- Entertainment Design
- Fine Arts
- Game Art
- Graphic Design
- Interior Design (Not Enrolling)
- Motion Design
- Photography & Imaging
- Visual Studies
- Virtual Reality Development
#1 animation school in the world, Animation Career Review
Game art #1 in the US and #3 in the world, The Rookies
#2 motion graphics school in the world, The Rookies
Illustration ranked #2 in the US, The Art Career Project
16 student academy awards
Ranked top VFX school, The Hollywood Reporter
Named a top design school, Graphic Design USA
The Student Body
1624 degree-seeking students
11:1 student to faculty ratio
Student body comes from
- 55 countries
- 44 states
- 5 commonwealths and territories
- 34% Floridians
- 19% international
Ringling Student Diversity Fact Sheet
Ringling employees receive the following core benefits.
- Paid time off
- Medical insurance
- Retirement and 403(b) plans
- Life insurance
- Accidental death and dismemberment
- Long-term disability
- Tuition remission for degree and continuing studies programs
- Employee development grants
- Employee assistance program
Additionally, the following benefits are also available for employees who choose them.
- Accident insurance
- Dental insurance
- Dependent care
- Flexible spending account
- Optional life insurance
- Recreation and Wellness Center access
For additional information regarding benefits, please visit:
Review of applications will begin February 1, 2021 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 Kendra E. Dane at email@example.com or Michel Frendian at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.
Visit the Ringling College of Art and Design website at www.ringling.edu
Ringling College of Art and Design is an equal employment opportunity employer