Willamette University — Vice President for Enrollment Management

Willamette University seeks a Vice President for Enrollment Management
Click here to view position profile: https://summitsearchsolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Willamette_VPEM_Profile.pdf
Location: Salem, Oregon

The Position:
The Vice President for Enrollment Management (VPEM), reporting to the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), has responsibility for the strategic leadership and administration of all undergraduate enrollment management activities across the University, including admissions, and financial aid. The VPEM will serve as a key member of the leadership team and will assume broad leadership within the institution. In ensuring that Willamette achieves its strategic enrollment goals, the Vice President will oversee a full-time staff of approximately 25 people and an operating budget of approximately three million dollars. They will work with multiple stakeholders on the strategic positioning of the University to support increased growth and will utilize comprehensive statistics and data-informed analyses to make sound policy decisions and evaluate the overall effectiveness of the recruitment efforts. 

Direct reports to the Vice President include the dean of admissions and the director of financial aid. The Vice President will have responsibility for a full range of enrollment services and bring a holistic view to the combined areas of enrollment, messaging and branding.

Candidates for the position should possess a reputation for integrity and visionary leadership in a complex institution. The ideal candidate will be recognized as a credible leader among the most competitive ranks of private liberal arts institutions. 


  • Lead the undergraduate enrollment management efforts for the University, creating an effective and efficient organization focused on optimizing enrollment while providing vision and strategy for the team.
  • Facilitate the combination of undergraduate enrollment management functions across the University for recruitment into one organization.
  • Build an organizational culture that uses university, industry, and economic data to make plans and decisions.
  • Enhance yield of potential students utilizing social media, marketing, and other emerging technologies.
  • Collaborate with faculty and deans from all schools and the broader university community to establish and achieve enrollment goals.
  • Create strategic and tactical plans to accomplish enrollment goals. Monitor execution of these plans, identify obstacles, and monitor and modify accordingly to maintain progress to goals.
  • Ensure recruitment and retention goals, policies, practices, and actions produce successful student recruitment and retention results, consistent with Willamette’s mission, the University’s strategic plan, and the Enrollment Management Plan.
  • Evaluate operational efficiency and plan the appropriate level of resources to function effectively in an ongoing manner.
  • Maintain strong relationships and trust with peers, and the University community.
  • Create an environment that acknowledges, encourages, and celebrates differences.
  • Promote equity, diversity, and inclusion across the organization.
  • Be able to tell and sell the Willamette story in a compelling and inspirational way internally to staff and externally to students and their families.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


  • Master’s degree in a relevant discipline or equivalent required.
  • A minimum of five years in a senior leadership position preferably in a higher education, nonprofit, or other similar organization. 
  • Demonstrated knowledge, skills, and abilities that would ensure a high level of performance in the essential functions of the position. 
  • Strong analytic skills that can: produce forward-looking, transparent strategic plans and budgets that link expenditures to outcomes; assess the effectiveness of the allocation of recruitment and financial aid funds to achieve enrollment goals; engage in a continuous dialogue about enrollment and other areas with the president and other key constituents. 
  • Significant experience with current and emerging technology (hardware and software solutions) related to recruitment, admissions, and financial aid.
  • Demonstrated expertise in the use of an enrollment management system and web-based recruitment efforts.
  • Superior analytic, communication, and presentation skills.
  • Knowledge of enrollment trends and best practices used in the current enrollment functions. 
  • Ability to think strategically and creatively in helping the University to achieve its long-term objectives.
  • Ability to lead others including the ability to build highly effective and accountable teams.
  • Adept at working closely and collegially with administrative, academic, and co-curricular areas of the University and possessing the highest standards of personal integrity.
  • Demonstrated commitment to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Key Opportunities and Challenges:
Continue to raise the profile of Willamette University through sophisticated marketing and communications strategies.
The institution has recently modernized much of its marketing and communication efforts aimed toward undergraduates to increase the market’s awareness of the University and understanding of the value of a Willamette degree. The VPEM will work collaboratively with the vice president for marketing as their work expands to include the new and existing schools. It will be important to adapt to match the ever-changing platforms while maintaining a consistent branding message reinforcing Willamette’s place in the market. 

Develop, monitor, and modify the strategy for building a consolidated enrollment team that encompasses the admissions responsibilities across all Schools.
The addition of Pacific Northwest College of the Arts adds complexity to and an opportunity for the existing enrollment management environment. The VPEM will work to incorporate enrollment activities in all academic units to create an optimally centralized/decentralized organization that better achieves consistency of message and brand, creates efficiency in operations, and identifies market opportunities that benefit the entire university (e.g. international recruitment).

Collaborate with the Marketing and Communications team.
The marketing and communications team at Willamette touts a cadre of creative professionals who develop, distribute and safeguard the University’s marketing, branding, and communications efforts with a special focus on enrollment marketing. The marketing team has recently rolled out a new website and is nearing the launch of a rebranding effort that will improve messaging and communications to prospective students. It will be important for the VPEM, in collaboration with the vice president for communications to leverage this momentum and expand it to all levels of recruitment throughout the University with the intention of unifying the message and brand. The incorporation of PNCA poses a unique opportunity to blend the PNCA story and the Willamette University story to achieve an even more compelling message.

Support and develop the Enrollment, Admissions, and Financial Aid teams.
The VPEM will develop a highly professional, customer-focused, effective, data-driven team of professionals working collaboratively and seamlessly across the organization. They will be responsible for developing such a team through hiring, training and development, coaching, and assigning appropriate responsibilities that match each teammates’ strengths. 

Foster a culture of openness, inclusion, and transparency.
At Willamette, the best solutions are often those that withstand the scrutiny of diverse views from across the University. The VPEM will create an enrollment environment where data and information flow freely, where the team and community members are informed of relevant information at appropriate intervals and far-reaching decisions incorporate input from a broad base of stakeholders.

The Office of Enrollment Management:
The Office of Enrollment Management is a newly structured department that includes recruitment, admissions, and financial aid. In addition, the Office will work in close collaboration with the office of marketing and communications. This structure has been refined to assist the Vice President in designing and implementing, in broad collaboration with the key university stakeholders, the steps and strategies that make the vision for enrollment growth a reality. Each of these units will collectively be engaged in examining all aspects of messaging, communication, recruitment, and admissions. The Vice President will lead their team in determining optimum enrollment at the undergraduate level with an eye toward growth. The expansion into new markets and broadening the reach for students who will be a match for Willamette will be a shared goal among and between the team members. 

Total enrollment at Willamette for Fall 2020 was 1,868 including 1,303 undergraduates, with 55 students enrolled in joint degree programs; 333 students in the College of Law, and 153 in the Atkinson Graduate School of Management. Fifty-seven percent of the undergraduate student body are female; forty-three percent are male. Forty states and 18 countries are represented. 

Financial Aid
Comprised of a team of six, the Office of Financial Aid provides support for current and incoming students on financing a Willamette education. In the 2020-21 academic year, 98% of all students received some form of financial aid, and the University awarded approximately $48 million in total aid.

Recruitment and Admissions
SAT and ACT scores are an optional component of the admission evaluation process for first-year applicants. This policy was adopted after a yearlong study by the Faculty Admission Committee. The findings revealed that success in an academically rigorous college preparatory curriculum was a stronger predictor of success at Willamette than standardized test performance. A student may submit standardized test scores if they wish to have them considered in the application review process. International applicants are required to provide either the TOEFL or IELTS to test English proficiency, but they have the option of applying without submitting SAT and/or ACT scores.

For the first-year class entering in Fall 2020, Willamette received 4,010 applications and enrolled 325 students. The racial diversity included 1% American Indian/Native American/Alaska Native, 6% Asian, 2% African American, 15% Hispanic, 65% White, 8% two or more races, and 4% not reported. International students accounted for 1% of the first-time first-year students. The average SAT score was 1285 and the average ACT score was 28.

About the Institution:
Willamette is a nationally-renowned private liberal arts university in Salem, Oregon. Founded in 1842, Willamette is the first university established in the western U.S. and has become a national leader in service, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement.

Situated on a beautiful, historic campus located across the street from the Oregon State Capitol in Salem, and co-located with Tokyo International University of America, Willamette features a residential undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences and two professional graduate schools: the College of Law and the Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

In a close-knit campus environment where teaching and learning flourish, nearly 2,000 students benefit from small classes, close student-faculty relationships, and collaborative research opportunities as well as the advantages of a liberal arts university comprised of a nationally recognized liberal arts college, a top-ranked business school, and a highly respected law school. The University’s distinctive, accelerated dual-degree programs allow students to complete both a bachelor’s degree and an MBA or JD at Willamette – in less time and at less cost. 

In keeping with the liberal arts tradition, Willamette recognizes exploration and discovery as primary educational values; that wisdom, insight, and the nurturing of democratic values are enhanced by a shared appreciation and understanding of diversity in all aspects of human endeavor. The University’s long-range plan states, diversity is not just essential to quality education, but central to “our sense of moral duty to overcome racism, bigotry, and discrimination in all forms.” To learn more about this treasured university, please see http://willamette.edu.

The University includes four distinct colleges including the College of Arts & Sciences; Willamette University College of Law; Atkinson Graduate School of Management, and the newly acquired Pacific Northwest College of Art. In addition, the University has affiliations with the Claremont School of Theology and Tokyo International University of America. 

The College of Arts & Sciences
Founded in 1842, the College of Arts & Sciences offers undergraduate programs that are exciting, challenging, relevant and nationally recognized. Guided by the University motto, “Not unto ourselves alone are we born,” the College expects to produce thinkers, creators, and leaders who use their talents and skills to improve their world. Half of the students study abroad; nearly 70% complete one or more internships; and a quarter participate in faculty-mentored research. The College enrolls over 1,800 students and has a student-to-faculty ratio of approximately 11:1.

The College of Law
Founded in 1883 and accredited by the ABA since 1938, the College of Law was the first law school in the Pacific Northwest. Faculty are top scholars, seasoned practitioners, and members of the judiciary. Students also have the opportunity to work with mentors who are Supreme Court justices, heads of Fortune 500 companies, elected officials, and distinguished attorneys. With significant strength in law and government, the College of Law offers unique experiential and professional learning opportunities. The College enrolls over 300 full-time JD students and has a student-to-faculty ratio of approximately 11:1.

The Atkinson Graduate School of Management
For more than 40 years Willamette’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management (AGSM) has prepared individuals for leadership and management roles in the business, government, and not-for-profit sectors. Recently the School has expanded its business offerings to include a business minor and, beginning in Fall 2021, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration program. The Atkinson School also offers two dual-degree options for completion of an MBA degree: the four-year MBA/JD Joint Degree program resulting in both the MBA and Doctor of Jurisprudence; and the five-year Willamette BA/MBA for a select group of students from Willamette’s College of Liberal Arts. For the entering class of 2020, the average age of the Atkinson School’s full-time MBA students was 24 with a student-to-faculty ratio of approximately 14:1. 

The Pacific Northwest College of Art
In the fall of 2020 Willamette University announced an agreement that will add the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) as an integral part of the University. This relationship allows the two institutions to pursue deeper and more permanent collaborative engagements through academic programs and thus expand the appeal of the University to a broader base of students. According to President Steve Thorsett, “This coming-together builds on the distinguished histories of both institutions…and will amplify the Northwest as a cultural and economic hub for the arts.” The Center for Contemporary Art & Culture, as well as PNCA’s other academic centers and collections, will also become a part of Willamette.

Unique Distinctions: To view a full list, see http://willamette.edu/about/recognition/index.html.

Willamette University Values Diversity:
Employment at Willamette University means being part of a community that values education and its impact on the world, one that is friendly, supportive, and increasingly diverse. Believing that diversity contributes to academic excellence and to rich and rewarding communities, Willamette is committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty, staff, and student body and seeks candidates whose work furthers diversity and who bring to the campus varied experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds.

Willamette University’s educational facilities, activities, and employment opportunities are offered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, veteran status, actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or status with regard to pregnancy, disability, or age. Willamette is firmly committed to adhering to the letter and spirit of all federal and state equal opportunity and civil rights laws, including but not limited to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and their implementing regulations.

If you have questions, need assistance, or require special accommodations, please reach out to the Office of Human Resources at human-resources@willamette.edu or 503-370-6210.

To Apply:
Applicants should submit a resume and cover letter describing their interest and professional qualifications, as well as how they have successfully supported and advanced the values and principles of diversity and inclusion in their prior professional experiences and places of work. All inquiries will be considered confidential. Submit materials to: https://theapplicantmanager.com/jobs?pos=su235 by May 25, 2021 in order to be given first priority by the search committee.

This is a full-time, year-round position. This position is eligible for the University’s generous benefits package that includes medical/dental insurance, sick and vacation accruals, retirement contribution of 10% of gross base pay from the University in exchange for a mandatory contribution of 1% by the employee, tuition remission, and holidays. 

For nominations or further information:
Kristen Farha
Senior Consultant
Summit Search Solutions, Inc.
Direct: 316-650-0069

Application URL: https://theapplicantmanager.com/jobs?pos=su235