The Opportunity

Reporting to the president, the vice president for student affairs (VPSA) is a key member of the president’s staff and is centrally involved in formulating college policy, including budget allocation and long-range-planning, and is a campus liaison with the Board of Trustees and Florida Board of Governors for student affairs.

The Position

Role of the Vice President for Student Affairs for New College of Florida

The VPSA directs all student services, including residence life, student engagement, student activities, student success, counseling, health, health education, wellness, fitness, recreation, victim advocacy, case management, and student disability services. In addition, the VPSA is responsible for disseminating and interpreting policies related to student life and will be a member of the crisis management, student support, and behavior intervention teams as well as oversee the student judicial system and the New College Student Alliance activities. With budget responsibility and oversight in excess of $8.3M, the VPSA manages a team of more than 30 staff members. The VPSA also develops, oversees, and evaluates programs that enable students to realize their highest intellectual and personal potential, and integrates student life experiences with New College of Florida’s (NCF) educational mission. By working with and representing the interests of a diverse student body, the VPSA ensures a mutually reinforcing relationship between the academic and non-academic areas of New College and will play a central role in defining the strong sense of community that unites students, faculty, and staff across differences of racial and ethnic background, gender, class, and educational background. Through these efforts, the VPSA contributes to New College’s goals for student retention, persistence, completion, and success.

History of the Position

This is a newly titled position that replaces the former Dean of Student Affairs role. The role has been filled on an interim basis for the past 18 months by Randy Harrell following a succession of deans in the role over the past several years.

It is important to note that President Donal O’Shea has announced that he will be leaving New College of Florida on June 30, 2021. A search for his replacement is ongoing and is expected to conclude by May, 2021. Final candidates for the VPSA position are expected to have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with the new president.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

There are several aspects of the role of Vice President for Student Affairs where the successful candidate will need to be prepared to lead. These include:

  • Formulating and articulating a vision for the division of student affairs at New College and providing campus-wide leadership, concrete steps, counsel, advocacy, and a point of connection and communication with all stakeholders, including students, for achieving this vision.
  • Assisting and continuing to build on New College’s ambitious enrollment goals while remaining true to its history of innovative and memorable out-of-class experiences as well as 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 division, coupled with a genuine regard for each individual and their history within the division. As with most institutions at this point in the pandemic, the vice president will need a keen awareness that the staff members within the student affairs division are somewhat exhausted by the preparations and ongoing Covid-19 challenges they have faced for the past eleven months. The vice president should also focus on getting to know each staff member as well as on the promotion of professional growth for each individual within the division to enhance broader leadership skills and to promote dialogue regarding goals within the division as well as current trends and best practice within their respective areas.
  • Working across campus with senior academic and administrative leaders to establish systems of shared accountability for the retention of students as well as their out-of-class experiences and well-being. Progress should be demonstrated by using data-informed metrics to measure success and disseminate information to appropriate parties. The vice president will communicate results and use them to support future planning.
  • Partnering with the president’s other direct reports, broader institutional stakeholders, and students to connect New College’s strategic priorities to an ambitious strategy that could elevate New College’s visibility and reputation on the national and international stages.

Measures of Success

At an appropriate interval after joining New College of Florida, the following will initially define success for the Vice President for Student Affairs:

  • the vice president is a visible and engaged leader and colleague throughout campus and is collaborating with all constituents on student initiatives;
  • the vice president has assessed the entire student affairs team as well as reviewed all existing policies and practices of the reporting offices to develop plans that will further New College’s progression toward a state-of-the-art division of student affairs;
  • the vice president has worked with colleagues to leverage NCF’s distinctions to enhance New College’s ability to enroll and retain a talented and diverse population of new first year and transfer students;
  • the vice president has developed and initiated plans for leading the next phase of the student affairs team in its development by providing an inspirational, strategic, and statistically supported vision for short- and long-term divisional as well as individual staff member goals;
  • the vice president will have become a recognized leader across the college who has strategically worked to increase the satisfaction of students at NCF;
  • the vice president has remained current in the oversight and interpretation of all appropriate federal, state, and institutional rules and regulations pertaining to compliance and other related best business practices for student affairs administrators.

Qualifications and Characteristics

A master’s degree in an appropriate area of specialization (doctorate preferred) as well as documented and increasingly significant experience in student affairs are required. In addition, New College is seeking a thoughtful, energetic, creative, and collaborative leader with the highest standards of excellence and integrity. Candidates should possess a history of significant organizational leadership and be committed to New College’s public, residential, liberal arts education values and goals. Successful candidates will have the demonstrated ability to foster a campus climate that values community, civility, and mutual respect as well as a deep understanding of life, policies, and procedures at academically intense colleges in which students have great agency. In addition, ideal candidates will be expected to possess the following knowledge, skills, and abilities:

  • substantial leadership in college administration, residential student life, and counseling, preferably at the assistant dean level or above;
  • proven ability to lead and manage a team of skilled professionals and to make tough personnel decisions when necessary;
  • demonstrated commitment to diversity in all its forms, including a track record of individual action and institutional leadership;
  • sophisticated understanding of how to gather, analyze, and use data to develop and assess programs; experience with and understanding of automated systems and analytical and reporting tools; and experience managing budgets;
  • demonstrated sensitivity, imagination, and effectiveness in responding to challenging student and college community issues; and
  • an appreciation for New College’s unique culture of intellectual engagement, a demonstrated ability to help students manage its pressures, and the facility to work effectively with academic affairs and individual members of the faculty to enable each student to succeed.

In addition to the qualifications noted above, institutional stakeholders indicated the following personal characteristics would be sought in candidates to ensure the opportunity for success and stability for the new vice president:

  • one who is collaborative, empathetic, and transparent;
  • one who is a hands-on leader who is capable of loving the type of students New College attracts;
  • one who has grit and resilience and who will assist young people in sorting through normal problems;
  • one who is proactive, not reactive;
  • one with a willingness to collaborate with the marketing and communications team on student and parent communications;
  • one who will see and listen to students who are quiet and who need to be seen and understood;
  • one who has the energy of a cruise ship director and will assist in the development of programs and activities;
  • one who will work collaboratively with faculty and the academic affairs team;
  • one who recognizes that students are not experienced leaders when they arrive at New College and will endeavor to provide leadership training and opportunities;
  • one who will demand accountability of the student affairs team;
  • one who can assess, develop, and implement a state-of-the-art vision for residential education;
  • one who has budgetary acumen and can develop and manage the department’s budgets;
  • one who is flexible and will engage other senior leaders on the needs of the students;
  • one who is diplomatic and can navigate issues and conflicts with ease and tact;
  • one who is committed to raising the profile of the student affairs division across campus;
  • one who is visible, approachable, and accessible to staff and students;
  • one who is data-driven and will use assessment tools to make data-driven decisions that will impact the division;
  • one who is committed to providing professional development opportunities to the staff members;
  • one who is a practical optimist and will recognize the strength of the team members and set an optimistic tone for the division on a daily basis;
  • one who will provide continuity to, and build trust within, a division that has had four leaders in the past seven years;
  • one who has extremely high energy along with the willingness to institute a positive, collaborative work environment within student affairs; and
  • one who has a sense of humor as well as a passion for the uniqueness of New College.

Overview of the Division of Student Affairs

Student Affairs Division:

Randy Harrell, Interim Dean of Student Affairs since October 2019, currently heads the division of student affairs.

Mission Statement for the Division of Student Affairs

The division of student affairs works to enhance the liberal arts experience at New College by fostering an inclusive and respectful environment in which to live and learn, providing services that promote holistic well-being and development, and creating programs that encourage self-reflection, exploration, and community discourse so that students are equipped to lead, serve, and become engaged citizens in global community.


Student affairs will advance the liberal arts education of each NCF student by creating a thriving and transformative student-centered learning environment and inclusive community that connects students with themselves, the community, and the world.


Student affairs strives to promote in all NCF community members:

  • Community
  • Diversity
  • Engagement
  • Inclusion
  • Integrity
  • Resiliency
  • Respect

The Office of Student Activities and Campus Engagement (SA[u]CE)

The office of student activities and campus engagement (SA[u]CE) strives to create a vibrant, purposeful, and supportive college community where students make a positive difference, develop healthy and meaningful relationships with others, are empowered to take action, learn about themselves, and develop leadership and lifelong skills.

Health, Safety, and Wellness

Health and safety issues on the NCF campus are addressed by the campus police department, the department of environmental health and safety, the counseling and wellness center, and student affairs.

Student Conduct Services

The student conduct system at NCF strives to develop, interpret, and enforce university policies and regulations, protecting the legal rights of students while promoting civility, openness, and justice. It is designed to be fair and objective while following due process.

The conduct process exists to address and distribute cases to the appropriate level depending on the severity of the case. It seeks to hold individuals accountable for behavior and/or actions when policies and regulations are violated.

Each case is seen as an opportunity to redirect problematic decision making into constructive behavioral patterns.

Student Disability Services

Student disability services works collaboratively with faculty, staff, and students to ensure that appropriate accommodations, services, resources, and referrals are made that provide equity both inside and outside of the classroom. The ultimate indicator of success is when students with disabilities can access their environments as seamlessly as do nondisabled students. NCF believes that creating and maintaining equitable and inclusive learning environments is a shared responsibility of the campus community.

NCF is committed to providing equal educational opportunities for all students. Students who have disabilities are offered a variety of reasonable accommodations in order to have complete access to all academic programs. This is in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations and other relevant state and federal legislation.

Student Clubs and Activities

New College clubs change every year because they are designed by students to match their interests. For a listing of the 30-plus student-run clubs organized during the 2019-2020 academic year (pre-Covid) at NCF, go to:

Residential Life

For a description of the individual residence halls and campus life at New College, go to:

Institution & Location

Institution: An Overview

The history of New College of Florida dates back to the late 1950s when, at the behest of the local Chamber of Commerce, citizens banded together to create a local college to complement the growing city’s art museum, symphony orchestra, and theaters. The private new college was designed by a group of educators who believed in the power of the mind and wanted to free both students and faculty from the limits of lock-step curriculum and a focus on credit hours and a GPA.

These founders were half a century ahead of their time in promoting “active, hands-on-learning” to achieve “competence” and “real mastery.” The concepts of New College’s educational philosophy, developed over time by Philip Hiss, John Gustad, John Elmendorf, and Douglas Berggren, appealed to the very best students across the country. Such was New College’s unique role in the world of academia that a full-page article in Time magazine was devoted to the matriculating class of 1967.

At a current enrollment of 700 students — and with a plan and funding to grow to 1200 students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1, New College offers a personal and collaborative learning environment, where faculty and students engage in in-depth exploration of ideas and subject matter, and where students have the freedom to chart their own academic courses.

As the State of Florida’s legislatively designated “honors college for the liberal arts,” New College is the only public college or university in the state whose sole mission is to provide an undergraduate education of the highest caliber to leading students from around the country. Located on a beautiful 110-acre campus on sunny Sarasota Bay, New College provides an ideal learning environment for intellectually curious, motivated students who thrive on active learning and are drawn to an intellectually rigorous curriculum.

New College is located in northern Sarasota County, near the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and just one hour south of Tampa, and 10 minutes by bus or bicycle from downtown Sarasota, which Money magazine named one of the country’s “best places to live.”

The 110-acre campus blends classic landmark buildings with modern facilities. New College’s visionary master plan incorporates state-of-the-art environmental design into campus architecture and landscaping.

The main Bayfront campus lies along the Gulf of Mexico on the former estate of circus magnate Charles Ringling. Visitors enter through the iconic Ringling arch and stroll down canopied Dort Promenade all the way to College and Cook Halls, connected by a colonnade opening onto a vast lawn and Sarasota Bay, a favorite gathering spots for yoga and sunsets.

Across Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41) and linked by an overhead pedestrian bridge is the Pei Campus, hub of student and residential life and home to five “green” residence halls and a student union with its own Black Box Theater.

The Caples campus, home to the Caples Fine Arts Complex and the Environmental Studies program, is located on Bay Shore Road just south of the Ringling Museum. Behind the Caples Mansion and right on the bay is the New College sailing program.

About Sarasota, Florida

Pioneering real estate developers J.H. Gillespie and Owen Burns are primarily responsible for creating Sarasota’s civic infrastructure, but circus mogul John Ringling receives credit for the artistic vibrancy that characterizes modern Sarasota. Charles and John Ringling, the brothers behind the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus, began purchasing land in Sarasota in 1911, and beginning in 1912, John and his wife Mable made Sarasota their winter home. Ringling moved the circus’ winter headquarters from Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Sarasota in 1927, establishing the city’s lasting title as Florida’s ‘Circus City.’ Today, John Ringling’s permanent art collection in the estate galleries serves as the State Art Museum of Florida, and the Ringlings’ elaborate 1920s Mediterranean Revival-style mansion, Ca’ d’Zan (‘House of John’), sits on the Ringling estate.

Sarasota is a strong city with a rich and diverse history, beautiful natural scenery, and an abundance of culture, arts, and entertainment. With less than 58,000 residents—and just over 820,000 in the greater Sarasota metropolitan area—life is easy to enjoy all year long with this city’s breathtaking sunsets, museums, operas, ballets, plays, golf, tennis, and water sports.

Mission Statement

“New College of Florida prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement. It offers a liberal arts education of the highest quality in the context of a small, residential, public honors college with a distinctive academic program which develops the student’s intellectual and personal potential as fully as possible; encourages the discovery of new knowledge and values while providing opportunities to acquire established knowledge and values; and fosters the individual’s effective relationship with society.”


“To maintain our mission, New College of Florida focuses on—

  • Providing a quality education to students of high ability who, because of their ability, deserve a program of study that is both demanding and stimulating;
  • Engaging in undergraduate educational reform by combining educational innovation with educational excellence;
  • Providing programs of study that allow students to design their educational experience as much as possible in accordance with their individual interests, values, and abilities.
  • Challenging undergraduates not only to master existing bodies of knowledge but also to extend the frontiers of knowledge through original research.”


“Four principles define our educational philosophy. These principles serve as guideposts along each student’s educational path.

  • Each student is responsible in the last analysis for his or her education.
  • The best education demands a joint search for learning by exciting instructors and able students.
  • Students’ progress should be based on demonstrated competence and real mastery rather than on the accumulation of credits and grades.
  • Students should have from the outset opportunities to explore areas of deep interest to them.”


New College of Florida subscribes to the following values—

  • An intellectually rigorous curriculum
  • An innovative academic program
  • A collaborative learning environment
  • A place to chart one’s own course

Strategic Plan

“In 2016, the Board of Governors and the state of Florida invested in New College, pledging to support a multi-year plan to increase the number of students to 1,200 and the faculty proportionately to ensure the maintenance of our student to faculty ratio. The ultimate goal of the New College of Florida Strategic Plan (2018-2028) is to raise our four-year graduation rate above 80%. Our aspirations are higher yet; eventually we want that rate to exceed 90%, which will put us on par with the top twenty national liberal arts colleges, public or private.”

To read the entire Strategic Plan for New College of Florida (2018-2028), go to:


Donal O’Shea — President

Dr. Donal O’Shea has been president of New College of Florida since 2012, where he has increased academic excellence and enhanced diversity and student life. He secured funding and oversaw planning for a new science building and for a cutting-edge master’s program in Data Science, New College’s first graduate program. O’Shea aims to increase the enrollment of New College by 50 percent, with commitments from the state to fund proportionate increases in faculty, staff, and facilities.

A firm believer in collaboration, O’Shea has helped develop a consortium of local colleges and universities to expand opportunities for all students. He is the immediate past-president of the Southern University Conference, the president of the Florida Association of Colleges and Universities, and a member of the strategic planning committee of the national Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. Prior to joining New College, O’Shea was the dean of faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Mount Holyoke College, the world’s oldest women’s college, for 14 years. While there, he was instrumental in founding Women’s Education Worldwide, a consortium of women’s colleges and universities around the world.

O’Shea earned an AB from Harvard University and an MS and PhD from Queen’s University, all in mathematics. An internationally known mathematician, he continues to work with collaborators around the world. His research interests center around singularities of higher dimensional algebraic surfaces, work that mixes algebraic geometry and differential topology and geometry. He also has published in a number of applied areas, including medical imagining, phase transitions, and mathematical physics. He has won numerous awards for his work, most recently in January 2016, when a groundbreaking, now classic, book he wrote with two colleagues was awarded the coveted Steele prize by the American Mathematical Society.

Suzanne Sherman — Provost, Associate Professor of Chemistry

Dr. Suzanne Sherman was appointed Provost on October 2, 2020, after serving as Associate Provost since 2018. She is also an associate professor of chemistry who has served on the New College faculty for more than 30 years. From 2013 to 2016, she was the Faculty Chair.

Sherman teaches inorganic and biological inorganic chemistry by means of courses, laboratories, and tutorials. Her research interests span many areas of bioinorganic chemistry including interactions of metals with biological ligands and metals in medicine. She is currently working with students to develop synthetic structural and functional models of the active sites of metalloenzymes that contain manganese and magnesium.

Sherman earned her BS degree from the State University of New York at Albany and her PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Organizational Chart for the College


New College of Florida Fast Facts

  • Fall 2020 Enrollment: 676 undergraduates and 29 graduate students
  • Number of U.S. states, and D.C. and Puerto Rico represented: 34
  • Number of foreign countries represented: 14
  • In-state/out-of-state ratio: 80 percent / 20 percent
  • Average high school GPA of incoming freshmen: 3.87
  • Average SAT scores of incoming first-time freshmen: 1257
  • Tuition costs: Florida resident $6,916; nonresident $29,944
  • Room and Board: $9,662

Academic Programs and Faculty

  • Degrees awarded: Bachelor of Arts, Master’s in Science in Data Science
  • Student-faculty ratio: 7:1
  • Average class size: 12
  • Percent of full-time faculty with doctorate or terminal degree in field: 98 percent
  • Number of full-time faculty: 98
  • Accreditation: Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award the Bachelor of Arts Degree and Master’s in Science in Data Science

New College offers nearly 40 undergraduate majors, three certificate programs—Bloomberg Market Concepts (Bloomberg Certification), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Certification, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Certificate Program—and a master’s program in data science. Through an extraordinary education that empowers fearless learning, students pursue goals, not grades, chart their own educational course, and acquire the analytical, creative, and communication skills that employers value.

Beyond Grades

Professors at New College provide narrative evaluations rather than grades for each course or project a student completes, based on the premise that detailed feedback on a student’s individual strengths and weaknesses, as well as suggestions for improvement and further study, are much more valuable than a mere letter grade. These narrative evaluations also have proven helpful to faculty for writing strong, detailed recommendation letters for graduate school applications, scholarships, and employment. It is no wonder that The Wall Street Journal ranked New College the nation’s No. 2 public feeder school for elite law, medical, and business schools.

Seven Contracts

During their four years at New College, students complete seven contracts in lieu of credit hours prior to graduation. Each semester contract is a written agreement between a student and his/her faculty advisor regarding the student’s educational goals, academic activities, and progress toward graduation. Contracts usually include three to five academic activities (courses, tutorials, internships, independent reading projects) that will develop personal educational goals.

Independent Study and Hands-On Research

A cornerstone of the New College experience is students’ ability to work with faculty to design their own independent study and conduct hands-on research. During the four-week Interterm each January, students work one-on-one with faculty or in small groups on research projects, lab experiments, or scholarly papers; study abroad; or take part in off-campus internships.

The Senior Thesis

The culmination of the New College undergraduate education is the senior thesis project, in which students produce a major research paper, body of artwork, or other highly developed presentation. With the support of faculty thesis advisors, students research, write, and/or produce substantial, original work in their major during their final two semesters at New College.

As one of the nation’s premier public liberal arts colleges, New College welcomes students with big ideas and grand plans. New College of Florida is for students who relish the fierce pursuit of knowledge and are ready to turn intellectual curiosity into personal accomplishment.

Benefits Overview

New College of Florida offers its employees a competitive pay package that includes:

  • Nine paid holidays per year.
  • A paid winter break of up to five days (if sanctioned by the Board of Trustees).
  • Up to 22 paid vacation days and 13 paid sick days per year with an unlimited accrual of sick time.
  • Two great health insurance plans (provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield and Aetna) from which to choose, with employee premium contributions starting as low as $50 per month for an individual and $180 for families. Enrollment as early as the first day of the next month following the date of hire.
  • Dental and vision insurance.
  • $25,000 term life insurance coverage paid by the College effective immediately upon the first day of work.
  • Retirement options include the Florida Retirement System Pension Plan, the Florida Retirement Investment Plan, or the Optional Retirement Plan. Tax-sheltered Annuity and Deferred Compensation plans are also available.
  • Onsite Fitness Center.
  • Onsite Child Care Center.
  • Employee Education Assistance Program “Tuition Assistance.”
  • Participation in payroll deduction for the Florida Prepaid College Tuition Fund

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin April 2, 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 Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the New College of Florida website at:

NCF actively seeks and welcomes applications from candidates with exceptional qualifications, particularly those with demonstrable commitments to a more inclusive society and world. NCF is committed to the principles of equal educational and employment opportunities for, and nondiscrimination towards, applicants and employees with respect to race, color, religion, age, disability, sex, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and veteran status, as provided by law, and in accordance with NCF’s respect for personal dignity. It is NCF’s goal to create and maintain a work and study environment that is positive and free of unlawful discrimination. Further, NCF encourages the recognition of diversity of its population and seeks to promote delivery systems, curricula activities, and programs that reflect this diversity in all facets of life at NCF.