Vice President Student Engagement
Mary Baldwin University (MBU) seeks a strategic, inclusive, and enterprising senior student affairs officer. This opportunity calls for an ambitious and collaborative leader hungry for an opportunity to modernize and deepen student life at an entrepreneurial institution, which serves to launch predominantly first generation, low income, and students of color at the undergraduate residential level. Reporting to the President and serving on the Executive Staff (cabinet), the Vice President of Student Engagement (VPSE) will catalyze campus efforts to develop an inclusive, mentored, and tight-knit campus community that promotes students’ intellectual and personal development, well-being, leadership, intercultural competency, civic engagement, and identity exploration.
A visible presence on campus, the VPSE will lead initiatives and advocacy for student success and well-being, mentor students, serve as a convener of high-stakes conversations, respond to student and family questions, attend campus events, and collaborate and communicate with a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders, including students, families, faculty, staff, administrative leaders, Trustees, and the local community.
Mary Baldwin University is a small, private university enrolling nearly 1,800 students at the undergraduate and graduate levels on campuses in Staunton and Fishersville, Virginia, and online. Since 1842, this intimate learning environment has allowed students to cultivate strong connections with faculty and peers. Our mission is to empower inclusive leaders to create lives of purpose and professional success in our changing world. The university is organized into three academic colleges: the Gold College of Arts and Sciences, the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences, and the Palmer College of Professional Studies.
One of the Most Diverse Campuses in the Nation
With 60 percent of undergraduate residential students being Pell-eligible, 50 percent students of color, and 40 percent first generation, Mary Baldwin is among the most diverse campuses in the country. By encouraging students to share their backgrounds and points of view, MBU hosts a vibrant and inclusive community on campus.
Founded in 1842, MBU began with a then revolutionary idea: that women, like men, should be well educated – an idea that has been extended today to access for low income, students of color, and first generation students. Longtime headmistress and namesake Mary Julia Baldwin devoted her life to that mission, transforming the institution into a thriving women’s college by the end of her remarkable life. MBU has continued the proud legacy of revolutionary thinking and innovation to serve its students. In 1977, Mary Baldwin was the first college in Virginia to create a program for women and men to earn their degrees later in life. The Program for the Exceptionally Gifted was founded in 1985, one of a handful of programs in the United States designed to enable students as young as 13 to pursue college degrees. In 1995, the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership established the nation’s first and only all-female corps of cadets. In 1996, the institution intentionally shifted to create greater access to underrepresented students. In 2014, the College of Health Sciences opened, reflecting MBU’s dedication to interprofessional health care education. In 2016, the institution became a university recognizing its bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs and expanding on its long tradition of student-centered excellence. In 2017, MBU welcomed the first residential men to campus. Today, MBU’s entrepreneurial spirit continues to fuel growth and momentum, underpinned by a radical belief and commitment to student potential and the power of education to change students’ lives, their families, communities, and the world. Among the university’s accolades, Mary Baldwin is recognized for its commitment to affordability and outcomes, listed among the nation’s top performers for social mobility.
Mary Baldwin University is located in Staunton, Virginia, conveniently located in the beautiful and historic Shenandoah Valley. Known for its historic architecture and charming downtown, it is home to a vibrant arts and music scene and offers a range of excellent dining, wine bars, and micro-breweries. With five National Historic Districts, Staunton is easily explored by foot. Its compact downtown features over one hundred unique shops, art galleries, and restaurants. At the crossroads of Virginia, Staunton is a transportation hub with advanced rail, highway, and air access. The city lies at the heart of Virginia’s Education and Technology Corridor with nine colleges and universities regionally and a Blue Ribbon local school system. Augusta County hosts corporate residents including Best Buy, Specialty Blades, Bruin, U.S.A., McKee Foods, Hershey Chocolate, and a host of other companies.
Reporting to the President and serving on the Executive Staff (cabinet), the VPSE will provide the strategic vision, leadership, oversight, and direction for student engagement across our undergraduate residential, online, and graduate programs. As the second VPSE in institutional history, this executive will lead a team of dedicated professionals in taking this young division to the next level, building leadership programs, implementing a new residential college program, increasing student success, focusing divisional efforts on achieving student learning outcomes, and enhancing community for undergraduate residential students, online students, and graduate students.
The position oversees a robust portfolio of student affairs functions that support student belonging, development, and learning outside the classroom, including: Residence Life, Student Activities, Counseling Services (and TimelyCare), Health Services, Athletics, Dining, Student Conduct, Title IX coordination, Security, Wellness, Commencement, Student Government Association, Orientation, the Campus Cupboard and Campus Closet, Chaplain (dotted line) and more.
Mary Baldwin seeks a vice president with the vision, skills, character, and drive to put creative ideas and best practices into action. In addition to those listed above, responsibilities of the vice president include but are not limited to the following.
- Establish priorities, allocate resources, and provide direction to ensure the University is empowering tomorrow’s leaders to pursue lives of purpose and professional success.
- Facilitate and manage strategic planning and assessment efforts within Student Engagement to advance student learning, leadership and skill development, and enhancements to the student experience.
- Serve as a highly visible and accessible leader working in collaboration with students, faculty, and staff as well as leadership of online and graduate student programs, with a commitment to the holistic development of students through programs and initiatives focused on fostering student engagement, well-being, and belonging.
- Partner with academic leadership, enrollment management, and faculty to support in- and out-of-classroom learning, connections between academics and co-curricular engagement, and strategic efforts on retention and graduation rates.
- Maintain understanding of college student needs and advocate cross-institutionally for innovative and progressive programs and services for MBU students.
- Work collaboratively with students, faculty, and staff to reimagine the residential experience, create a comprehensive housing plan, and implement a new residential college system.
- Create and foster a culture of personal growth and development for Student Engagement staff; support them in implementing changes to service models, staffing, outreach, and other areas in response to evolving student needs.
- Manage complex budgets; maintain an understanding of business operations and organizational systems; partner with University Advancement and others to seek external sources of private and grant funding.
- Oversee and direct Student Engagement policies and regulations to support student success, remain in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations, and minimize institutional liability.
- Advocate for and strategically enhance support for student well-being, health, and mental health. Oversee student crisis response systems that include best practices in case management, bias response, and educational services.
- Provide advice and counsel to the President; represent the University and Student Engagement division on various community and University committees and task forces.
- Serve as a highly visible member of the broader community and campus liaison with key University partners including the University Board of Trustees, parents, and families.
- Maintain town-gown relationships and foster positive relations with the local community.
- EdD or PhD in a related field preferred. Master’s degree and a record of successful and progressively responsible leadership in student affairs/life are required.
- Minimum of 10 years of progressive leadership responsibilities in student affairs in a higher education setting, including responsibility for budgets, legal issues, cross-institutional initiatives, and other issues on a private residential university campus.
- Experience supervising, mentoring and developing full-time staff and fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment.
- Demonstrated experience developing and implementing equitable practices and initiatives that enhance support and outcomes for students from historically marginalized communities.
- Experience providing strategic direction and leadership of high-level, university-wide committees.
- Strong communication and interpersonal skills; ability to inspire confidence and trust and to work effectively with internal and external constituents, including students, parents, faculty, advisors, security, senior leadership, trustees, and others.
- Demonstrable expertise and experience in best practices for policy and procedure as it relates to student affairs, particularly crisis management, student health issues, and student conduct.
- Demonstrated use of data, assessment, program review and evidence-based practices to inform analysis, development, and planning of student initiatives, interventions and programs.
- Sound judgment, sensitivity, compassion, and the ability to negotiate complex and challenging situations while preserving relationships with stakeholders.
- Excellence in both oral and written communication, including the ability to make clear and concise presentations to stakeholders.
- Knowledge of and experience with technology platforms designed to support student success (student information systems, learning management systems, spreadsheets, database applications, etc.).
Application and Nomination
Inquiries, nominations, and applications are invited. Review of applications will begin December 15, 2023, and continue until the position is filled. Candidates should provide a resume or curriculum vitae and a letter of application that addresses the responsibilities and requirements described in the leadership profile to Vice President of Enrollment Management Matt Munsey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Nominations and inquiries may also be emailed to Mr. Munsey. The anticipated hiring range is commensurate with education and experience.
Mary Baldwin University values and celebrates diversity, is committed to equal opportunity, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, or veteran’s status.