California Institute of the Arts — Director of Admission

California Institute of the Arts is renowned internationally as a game-changer in the education of professional artists. The transformative cultural impact of our alumni shows why: We bring out visionary creative talent unlike any other university, school or conservatory.  

CalArts Homepage

California Institute of the Arts (http://www.calarts.edu) is a highly regarded, nationally ranked independent arts Institute offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide range of areas. Located in Valencia, California, CalArts provides more than 70 comprehensive degree programs in the visual, performing, media, and literary arts. Programs are optimized for a new kind of artist: one who goes beyond mere aesthetics and expertise and one who thinks about the way their practice engages with the world at large.

CalArts seeks an innovative, collaborative and experienced Director of Admission with a sincere appreciation for the arts and CalArts’ experimental, collaborative artistic community.  The Director will report to the Vice President of Enrollment, serve as a senior member of the newly imagined enrollment team, and partner with faculty and administrators across CalArts’ six world renowned Schools in Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music and Theater.  The Director of Admissions will develop and implement recruitment plans, tactics and strategies to recruit a talented and diverse student body.  The Director of Admissions directs and oversees all aspects of undergraduate and graduate domestic student recruitment and leads a team of seven assistant directors in evaluating and applying best practices in a manner that reflects and enhances the unique CalArts community, and supports the Institute’s enrollment goals. 

Operationally, the director manages the day-to-day functions of the admissions office. As such, the director hires, supervises, and mentors admissions staff, monitors budget, develops and tracks the office’s KPIs, guides communication flow to prospective students, directs staff travel and recruitment efforts, and oversees a complex application review process. The director collaborates extensively with other areas within Enrollment Management such as Financial Aid and Enrollment Operations (data team), and with CalArts’ deans, program directors, faculty admissions liaisons, and faculty members.

Strategically, the director is a senior team member in the enrollment management unit that assists with setting overall undergraduate and graduate program enrollment goals, developing a comprehensive recruitment plan, identifying salient trends in the market, and working directly with CalArts’ schools and programs to help ensure optimal enrollment across all programs.  In this, the director may be called upon to assist the overall administration of the enrollment unit by the vice president. The primary responsibility of the director will be execution of an overall admissions strategy providing CalArts with a cohesive and centralized admissions operation while meeting the unique recruitment needs of each degree program.

Responsibilities, Duties and Priorities:

In their role as Director of Admissions, the selected candidate will be responsible for the following duties and priorities:

Leadership

  • In concert with the new Vice President of Enrollment, the director will use data driven strategies and tactics, develop and implement a strategic recruitment plan that meets targeted enrollment goals and attracts an exemplary, diverse student body.
  • Manage, support, and mentor a team of seven Assistant Directors of Admissions. 
  • Foster a culture of excellence in appropriately leveraging data and sharing of information within the Office of Admission.  
  • Lead the office in using data to inform strategic decisions, establish and monitor key performance indicators, benchmark progress and program outcomes, monitor trends, identify opportunities, and adjust direction and tactics. 
  • Provide expert knowledge in the use and analysis of admissions data, sharing information and reports regularly, transparently, and appropriately with campus partners. 
  • Hire, train, and supervise admissions staff, providing professional development and coaching to support the growth and development of staff, individually and collectively.  
  • Provide budget oversight for the Office of Admissions, creatively leveraging and maximizing financial & human resources.
  • Represent the Admissions Office on-and-off-campus at information sessions including events like Accepted Student Days, college fairs, National Portfolio Days, high schools, and regional and national conferences. 
  • Support CalArts’ commitment to a diverse student body, underserved communities, low-income students, and first-generation students. 
  • Demonstrate a sincere commitment to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community, and a willingness to continue to foster personal learning within the Office of Admissions and engage in honest conversations regarding issues and policies and their impact on all students.
  • Assist the Vice President of Enrollment in leading the Institute’s efforts to further its aspirational values of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA) in the recruitment of new students. Devise an IDEA recruitment plan and measure its progress in assisting the Institute reach both representational and cultural goals related to IDEA values.

Strategic Recruitment & Marketing

  • Provide wisdom and information regarding changing demographics and the highly competitive landscape, lead the campus community in understanding challenges and the impact to the community, and guide the campus community in building effective recruitment and engagement activities.
  • Build a comprehensive recruitment event and travel calendar for individual recruitment staff; ensure that the goals of the recruitment plan are met; work with the Director of Enrollment Management Operations to help plan on-and-off-campus events. 
  • In coordination with Enrollment Operations, oversee all aspects of the online application review process, working closely with deans and faculty, as well as prospective students, to ensure applications are reviewed in a timely manner.
  • Work with the Director of Enrollment Management Operations to maintain digital file review processes in the admissions Slate CRM. 
  • Partner with the Enrollment Management Operations team and the Institute’s Marketing & Communications team to strategize approaches with recruitment communications, including content for email campaigns and text communications to prospective students, applicants, admitted and deposited students.
  • Provide direction and collaborate with the Marketing & Communications department for the creation and execution of admissions marketing materials and Institute website.

Partnership, Collaboration and Communication

  • Serve as a liaison to campus offices in Student Experience such as the Office of Campus and Residential Life, and in the Provost’s office with leaders such as the Registrar, Assistant/Associate Provosts, and Academic Advising. 
  • Work closely with the Office of Financial Aid in the enrollment management team regarding merit scholarships and appeals as well as need-based aid processes (especially recruiting pipelines for endowed opportunities); collaborate with the Registrar’s Office regarding transfer credit policies and procedures. 
  • Perform other related duties as assigned (Search Committees, Shared Governance Committees, projects, etc.).
  • Collaborate and communicate with faculty, deans, and academic liaisons, establishing a transparent dialogue and facilitating an efficient workflow for candidate evaluation by the Institute’s faculty and program directors.
  • Partner with the Office of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA), the Provost’s Office staff, Deans and faculty in academic units and programs, and the Office of Advancement in the development and deployment of targeted recruitment and subsequent post-enrollment support of underrepresented minority artists.
  • Ensure seamless transition of new students into support systems of adjacent offices and areas (e.g., Provost, Student Experience, etc.) through new student orientation, convocation, and advising.
  • Play a primary role in the stewardship of the special admissions process for the nation’s first “Arts Leadership Posse” program in tandem and coordination with the Posse Foundation’s own selection and discernment process.

Qualifications, Abilities and Desired Characteristics:

The Director of Admission will have a bachelor’s degree, as well as five years or more years of progressive experience with the ability to lead recruitment in a complex and nuanced environment.  Candidates with a Graduate/Professional Degree in a related field (arts practice area, education, management, etc.) are strongly preferred. In addition, the successful candidate will also possess the following abilities and characteristics:

  • Ability to inspire, coach, motivate, and coordinate an admissions team in executing a strategic enrollment plan and reach both short- and long-term enrollment goals. 
  • Ability to interact effectively with a diverse community of internal and external constituencies demonstrating tact, diplomacy, discretion and good judgment.
  • Self-confidence and self-awareness combined with strong emotional intelligence, made manifest through a sense-of-humor.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Exceptional organizational and time management skills with the ability to manage multiple projects and see projects through to a timely completion.
  • Skilled in identifying, articulating, and resolving problems in a timely manner, gathering and analyzing relevant information.
  • Ability to work responsibly, independently, and collaboratively in a fast-paced environment
  • Advanced to expert understanding of how to leverage an admissions CRM (constituent relationship management) system, ideally with significant Slate experience. 
  • Eager to participate in recruitment events as needed.
  • Deft skill with team building and promoting esprit de corps within a close-knit team.
  • Energetic and results oriented with the ability to make data informed decisions collaboratively with an array of Institute stakeholders. 
  • Able to work flexible hours, including nights and weekends, as required to meet the admissions goals of the Institute during peak periods.
  • Commitment to the mission of CalArts, a passion for collaboration in an artist community, experimentation in the arts, and the drive to implement systems, processes, and tactics which reflect best practices in a manner which complements and enhances the unique culture of CalArts. 

CalArts

California Institute of the Arts is renowned internationally as a game-changer in the education of professional artists. The transformative cultural impact of its alumni over the past half-century shows why CalArts is the catalyst for fostering and launching creative talent unlike any other university, school, or conservatory.  

Founded by Walt Disney in 1961, and currently led by President Ravi S. Rajan , CalArts offers comprehensive degree programs across the full range of the visual, performing, media, and literary arts through its six schools. Admission to each of its selective programs is decided primarily on artistic merit and creative promise by members of the faculty who are experts in their disciplines.

CalArts is proud of its diverse student body and deeply committed to supporting the cultural and artistic aspirations of all its students. A commitment to increasing opportunities for underrepresented students and currently disenfranchised groups is necessary, as is the desire to work to support Institute goals of IDEA matters in an ongoing way. A quick look at the stories of alumni and current students, also known as CalArtians, is instructive in its breadth and depth of experience. 

CalArts offers its educational program to student artists through six primary academic areas: 

  • School of Art 
  • School of Critical Studies 
  • Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance 
  • Herb Alpert School of Music 
  • School of Film/Video 
  • School of Theater 

Its 1,500 Students may pursue BFA and MFA degrees through programs in music, art, theater, dance, and film/video, an MFA program in creative writing, an MA program in aesthetics and politics, and a DMA performer-composer program in music. The Institute also offers a variety of undergraduate and advanced certificates; interschool degrees and double majors are available to a small number of advanced students. 

Location

Located 30 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, CalArts occupies 60 acres on hills overlooking the incorporated city of Santa Clarita, which encompasses the towns of Valencia, Newhall, Saugus, and Canyon Country.

The Santa Clarita Valley is surrounded by the Tehachapi Mountains to the north, the San Gabriels to the east, and the Santa Susannas to the west, all visible from campus. Historically, the valley has been devoted to agriculture and cattle ranching, but the last three decades have seen the northward expansion of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. This ongoing development has resulted in new residential communities and an ever-increasing population of more than 175,000.

For more information about Santa Clarita visit https://visitsantaclarita.com/

To Apply

Napier Executive Search is assisting CalArts with this search for Director of Admission. For more information or to nominate someone for this position, contact Catherine Capolupo (catherine.capolupo@napiersearch.com) or Laura Robinson (laura.robinson@napiersearch.com) for a confidential conversation. Interested candidates should submit a résumé along with a cover letter expressing interest in this position. Additionally, in a separate document, candidates should provide the names and contact information of at least three professional references; references will not be contacted without permission. All application materials should be submitted electronically to CalArtsDir@napiersearch.com as soon as possible. Materials will be reviewed beginning November 15, 2021 and the search will remain open until the position is filled. The anticipated start date is winter 2022.

California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) seeks to employ faculty who can engage our diverse communities of learners at the highest levels of artistic endeavor and critical thinking.  Across the range of practitioners from artists to scholars and librarians, we welcome candidates who possess a demonstrated worldview and cultural competency to support teaching and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students of varied backgrounds, capabilities, perspectives, social identities and gender expressions. CalArts is an equal opportunity employer.

Related: