University of Virginia — Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students

Reporting to the Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer, the Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students (AVP) provides senior leadership and managerial direction for student services including Student Success, Fraternity & Sorority Life, Multicultural Student Services, Orientation & New Student Programs, Student Engagement, and Student Safety. The University’s intention is to cultivate the most vibrant community in Higher Education; support exceptionally talented, diverse, and service-oriented students, regardless of their economic circumstances; and prepare students to be servant-leaders in a diverse, globally connected world.  The Office of the Dean of Students fulfills these goals by facilitating a student experience that builds community and belonging; challenges and supports students to explore and build skills; and fosters a safe environment that promotes student well-being. Key responsibilities include the following:


Leadership and Management 

  • Provide strategic leadership and vision for the Office of the Dean of Students (ODOS), in coordination with the Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer and the broader Student Affairs Leadership Team (SALT). 
  • Recruit, develop, and mentor staff to achieve stated goals; promote collaboration throughout the ODOS organization. 
  • Manage the office’s operations, including planning, personnel, and budget. 
  • Maintain open communications with the Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer to share information and engage in issue-spotting and creative problem solving to benefit the University community. 
  • Stay informed and educate the University community and stakeholders regarding issues and trends affecting the student experience and student affairs practice generally. 
  • Proactively identify opportunities to apply an entrepreneurial mindset, innovation, and creativity to address areas for improvement and growth.
  • Play a key role in divisional planning, resource allocation, and policy formulation, ensuring compliance with federal and state laws including those which govern students’ rights.
  • Work collaboratively with units, departments, schools and stakeholders within and outside the University to enhance the student experience.
  • Represent the Vice President at meetings and events as needed; serve as chair or member of University, Vice Presidential, ad-hoc and other committees. 

Student Experience 

  • Design processes, practices, and programmatic interventions that empower the team in the Office of the Dean of Students to facilitate a vibrant, world-class student experience for all University students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional). 
  • Together with the Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer and other colleagues, serve as an advocate for and liaison between students and University leadership. Advise and help problem-solve with students, staff and faculty, families and others as needs arise.
  • Facilitate collaboration across ODOS staff and students to provide opportunities for students and student organizations to enhance a sense of community and belonging at the University.
  • Engage ODOS staff in promoting student involvement in university life, including supporting students in fulfilling the responsibilities delegated to them by the Board of Visitors and student self-governance, by creating a range of opportunities for students to partner with student affairs and other stakeholders to achieve goals and develop skills.
  • Actively support a community that embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion, and expect the same from staff. 
  • Promote and support opportunities and interactions that expose students to different experiences and viewpoints and that provide them with an opportunity to learn. 
  • Help determine and sustain policies and practices which promote a safe environment for students, and that support students’ general well-being. 
  • Serve as a key leader in determining the University’s response and follow up in a crisis, including outreach and support to students and their families.


Ideal Experience

UVA’s AVP for Student Life and Dean of Students will be an experienced, student-centered, energetic, and innovative leader who embraces forward-thinking strategies to anticipate the wellbeing and needs of students. The AVP also will be a proven leader, manager, and collaborator with the relationship-building skills and entrepreneurial skills required to work successfully with a wide range of individuals and constituencies across the University and into the community. The ideal candidate must have the following professional qualifications and personal characteristics:

  • Candidates ideally will possess an advanced degree, in an appropriate and relevant discipline or field, or comparable work experience 
  • Demonstrated 7-10+ years of increasingly responsible experience in student affairs in higher education, with specific experience in two or more of the areas of focus: Student Success, Fraternity & Sorority Life, Multicultural Student Services, Orientation & New Student Programs, Student Engagement, and Student Safety.
  • Direct experience building and motivating an effective team, including direct experience in recruiting, selecting, supervising, coaching, retaining, and providing growth opportunities for a diverse staff.
  • Demonstrated ability to foster change management and program improvement using methods informed by data, creativity, and innovation.
  • Demonstrated record of success working in a highly collegial environment with other student affairs units, as well as University and community constituencies, including alumni; ability to build collaborative relationships characterized by mutual respect, trust, and commitment to shared goals.
  • Demonstrated understanding and commitment to student learning and development and a passion for working with students. 
  • Sensitive, diplomatic, and highly effective written and verbal communications with all constituencies.
  • Demonstrated mastery in managing a major crisis and/or student behavioral issues, providing outstanding student advising and support, and excelling in a fast-paced work environment with multiple competing priorities.
  • Knowledge of specific trends affecting student affairs practice, as well as legal and policy issues in higher education, including Title IX regulations. 
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Ability to communicate knowledge and understanding of how issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion impact students, particularly those from marginalized communities, and how these issues manifest in building community, belonging, and student health and wellbeing.
  • Direct budget, planning and management experience.

Other Characteristics

  • Integrity, creativity, energy, and decisiveness along with the capacity to engage and inspire others. 
  • Personal humility, the will to succeed, and ambition at an organizational level.
  • Versatile and nimble, with the ability to lead, listen, and serve.
  • Practices open and transparent communication and inspires trust; assumes the best in people and creates a culture that rewards collaboration and teamwork.
  • Inspirational, genuine, and enthusiastic, with a high level of energy and endurance.

To Apply

UVA Executive Search is an internal retained search firm in the Office of the President. Nalini Turner is leading this national search with Anda Webb, Search Chair. Additional information can be found at:

The search will be carried out with full confidentiality; candidates will be notified before references are contacted. To apply, email materials to Please include a resume and letter of interest. 

For confidential inquiries or to nominate someone for this opportunity, please contact Nalini Turner at 

The University of Virginia is fundamentally committed to the diversity of our faculty and staff. We believe diversity is excellence expressing itself through every person’s perspectives and lived experiences. We are equal opportunity and affirmative action employers. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, and family medical or genetic information.