Colorado Mesa University — Vice President of Academic Affairs

Colorado Mesa University (CMU) invites applications and nominations for the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs. CMU is seeking a visionary leader and a savvy academic innovator with strong interpersonal skills who will embed themselves in a mission-driven and relationship-oriented institution and community.

Located in Grand Junction, CO, with a dual role and mission, Colorado Mesa University provides exceptional educational opportunities on a state-of-the-art campus. As western Colorado’s largest university, CMU serves students on its main campus in Grand Junction; its satellite campus in Montrose; its community college, Western Colorado Community College in Grand Junction; and via online offerings.

With low student-to-teacher ratios, students have the opportunity to build one-on-one relationships with professors dedicated to providing tools to succeed in today’s interconnected world. An education at CMU offers value through more than 60 programs that enable students to discover and pursue their dreams. A dedication to providing the highest quality education in a student-centered environment guides Colorado Mesa University into the future.

CMU has the distinction among Colorado’s public four-year institutions of having the authority to award undergraduate and graduate degrees in addition to technical certificates. With this span of degree authority, the institution supports the widest range of credentials for students to pursue of any higher education institution in Colorado. Enrolling more than 10,800 students on an annual basis, most of whom are undergraduates, CMU awarded nearly 1,900 degrees and certificates in Academic Year 20-21. Forty-six percent of the University’s students identify as first-generation students, and 35 percent are Pell-eligible students. CMU is approaching Hispanic Serving Institution status, with 21 percent of current students identifying as Hispanic. The first-year student retention rate is 75 percent. A major employer in the region, the University had an estimated economic impact of $539M. 

CMU’s forward momentum includes a recently reformed undergraduate curriculum, new programs, and improved classroom facilities. This dynamic campus environment exists within a broader context of change in higher education that includes persistent funding challenges, altering demographics, and the ever-increasing number of educational options for students and their families. CMU’s ability to innovate carefully has allowed the institution to thrive when external threats might well have motivated it to entrench and settle for mere survival. This need to remain nimble while continuing to grow has informed both the spirit and methodology of the current strategic planning effort.

The 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio is a distinctive feature of the University that consistently draws students to CMU. The University has 313 full-time faculty and 261 part-time faculty, encompassing a breadth of practical experience and academic degrees. Just over 100 faculty teach primarily at CMU’s two-year division. The faculty teaching load is 4:4. While faculty frequently engage in scholarship and contribute service in a variety of ways central to the lives of their students and the broader community, their role as educators is central to their professional identities. Faculty regularly go beyond what is seen at most institutions to provide meaningful learning opportunities and support the development of their students. 

The VPAA will serve on the senior leadership team and work across all divisions at the University. They will be a valued participant in high-level strategy conversations, ensure that an academic perspective is considered for all important policy and strategy discussions and decisions, and have 15 direct reports. The next VPAA will have the opportunity to enhance community and industry impact, ensure relevant academic programs, steward the University’s finances, strategically generate and utilize resources, and foster a culture of inclusive excellence.

The long-format position profile is accessible here. For best consideration, please send all nominations and expressions of interest to:

Jim Sirianni, Managing Director
Mark Halligan, Senior Associate
Storbeck Search

Colorado Mesa University is committed to providing a safe and productive learning and living community. To achieve that goal, we conduct background investigations for all final applicants being considered for employment. Background investigations include reference checks, a criminal history record check, and when appropriate, a financial and/or motor vehicle history. Applicant must be able to verify U.S. employment eligibility. Colorado Mesa University is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to a culturally diverse faculty, staff and student body. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.