Southern Methodist University — Associate Dean of Undergraduate Admission

Southern Methodist University, a nationally ranked private university with seven degree-granting schools and located in the heart of prosperous and thriving Dallas, Texas, invites applications and nominations for the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Admission.  As a senior member of the staff of the Dean of Undergraduate Admission, the associate dean will have oversight over all domestic and international first-year recruitment.  In addition, the associate dean is responsible for the creation and innovation of programs for recruiting undergraduate first-year students as well as all admission on-campus programs. The new associate dean will also provide management and development of a stellar admission recruitment staff of approximately 15 and make recommendations to the dean for continual improvement. Critically, the associate dean will sit on the joint Admission Marketing Committee (at the intersection of Admission and University marketing) and will be instrumental in helping to create and execute all of the office’s marketing efforts. The ideal candidate should not only appreciate diversity in all its facets, but authentically communicate, connect and collaborate with colleagues, students, and constituents from every cultural background.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Lead, motivate and empower a talented staff and serve as an advocate, mentor, and leader. 
  • Confidently navigate the complexities of a mid-sized, private institution by exhibiting the characteristics of innovation, patience, flexibility and adaptability.
  • Demonstrate the ability to use quantitative and observational data to analyze a problem and recommend solutions.
  • Develop solutions using substantial creativity, resourcefulness, negotiation, and diplomacy.
  • Effectively collaborate with all internal and external stakeholders ranging from academic deans and faculty to alumni, from college counselors to community-based organizations.
  • Analyze budgetary data, verify figures, and develop budget proposals; recommend allocation of budgetary funds.
  • Thrive in an ambitious culture that utilizes data-informed decision-making and cutting- edge technology to serve student-oriented processes and improve overall efficiency.
  • Provide leadership in marketing effectiveness of the undergraduate admission office through experience and effective cooperative efforts within the University.
  • Model the value of a customer service emphasis in every circumstance.

Desired characteristics, skills and qualifications:
The successful candidate will have at least five years of college admission or related work experience, preferably at a residential, private, selective college or university; experience in high school counseling considered but not required. In addition, the candidate must have a bachelor’s degree (advanced degree preferred) and at least three years of experience in management of full-time, professional staff required.  

In addition, the associate dean should have the following skills and characteristics:

  • An understanding of best practices, as well as national and international demographic trends of applicants for undergraduate admission;
  • Strong written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills;
  • Confident thinker who approaches challenges and identifies solutions with innovation, creativity and energy; 
  • Attention to detail; organized and timely approach to projects; 
  • Proficiency in MS Word, Excel and Outlook required; knowledge and familiarity of CRM system desirable (Slate preferred).

The University
SMU’s nearly 12,000 diverse, high-achieving students come from all 50 states and 90 countries to take advantage of the University’s small classes, hands-on research opportunities, leadership development, community service, international study and innovative programs. The University offers a strong foundation in the humanities and sciences and undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs through seven schools. Undergraduate degrees are offered in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, as well as in the Lyle School of Engineering, the Cox School of Business, Meadows School of the Arts, and the Simmons School of Education and Human Development. SMU has graduate-only programs in the Perkins School of Theology and Dedman School of Law. In 2019, SMU announced the establishment of the Moody School of  Graduate and Advanced Studies through a landmark $100 million commitment from the Moody Foundation. SMU is the only NCAA Division I university in Dallas. It offers a complete undergraduate experience with highly ranked programs in the liberal arts, pre-professional studies, engineering, performing arts, and human development. 

The national ranking of the undergraduate programs and the quality of the student population are on the rise; entering its second century of achievement, SMU is recognized as a university of increasing national prominence and impact. SMU has increased the average SAT score of its incoming first-year class by more than 150 points in the last thirteen years and strives to reach the top fifty in U.S. News rankings. SMU intends to broaden and strengthen its applicant pool as measured by both selectivity and retention as it continues to become a more prominent player in the national education landscape.  Demonstrating flexibility and adaptability, SMU has determined to waive ACT/SAT score requirements for admission in 2021. SMU’s Strategic Plan guides the  University in shaping world changers who contribute to their communities and excel in their professions in a global society.

SMU is located in the heart of Dallas, in the beautiful residential enclave of the Park Cities, with an additional campus in Taos, New Mexico. The University was founded 100 years ago as a partnership between the Methodist church and the people of Dallas and has been shaped ever since by a commitment to academic freedom and open inquiry as well as the entrepreneurial spirit of the region. Dallas’ position as an international business and cultural center has enhanced the University’s ability to attract and retain top faculty and students, making SMU a nationally prominent university with a global reach. For more about SMU, see 

The Region
With a population exceeding 6.8 million, greater Dallas is the ninth-largest city in the United States, third-largest city in Texas and fifth-most diverse metropolitan area in the nation. It offers access to all of the cultural, athletic, and recreational opportunities of a major urban center as well as an enviably low cost of living. North Texas is home to nearly twenty Fortune 500 companies and one of the world’s busiest international airports, and Dallas boasts the nation’s largest urban arts district, which consists of world class museums and a luminous cluster of performing arts spaces, highlighted by the Winspear Opera House, described by Opera magazine as America’s finest. With the Trinity River, White Rock Lake, almost 400 parks, and over 125 miles of urban hiking and biking trails, the city provides abundant opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Because of its commitment to environmental sustainability, Dallas has been named one of the Greenest Cities in the world. SMU students and faculty utilize the Dallas metropolitan area as an extension of the classroom, characterized by engaged learning projects and community partnerships. For more on Dallas, see and

To Apply
Napier Executive Search is assisting Southern Methodist University in their search for the next Associate Dean of Undergraduate Admission. For more information or to nominate someone for this position, contact Mary Napier at or Laura Robinson at for a confidential conversation. Interested candidates should submit a current resume along with a cover letter expressing interest in the position and in SMU, as well as qualifications for the position, to on or before July 7. Candidates should also provide the names and contact information for at least three references. References will not be contacted without permission. Finalists will be subject to standard background checks. The preferred start date will be late summer, 2020. 

SMU will not discriminate in any program or activity on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. The Executive Director for Access and Equity/Title IX Coordinator is designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies and may be reached at the Perkins Administration Building, Room 204, 6425 Boaz Lane, Dallas, TX 75205, 214-768-3601,