American University — Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Admissions

American University is a leading student-centered research university where passionate learners, bold leaders, engaged scholars, innovators, and active citizens unleash the power of collaborative discovery. We partner with key organizations in the Washington, DC, region, and around the globe to better the human condition, learn from a vast array of experiences and internships, create meaningful change, and address society’s current and emerging challenges.

American University Vision Statement

American University in Washington, D.C., is seeking an enrollment professional who is an artisan of recruitment, enrollment, and retention that is experienced, collaborative, and authentic to assume the role of Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Admissions (AVPUA). Reporting to the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Enrollment, the AVPUA will lead undergraduate admissions in support of the institution’s mission to advance knowledge, foster intellectual curiosity, build community, and empower lives of purpose, service, and leadership. The AVPUA will provide strategic vision and oversight to the recruitment of new students with a mindset to appreciate the entirety of the student experience through graduation and will effectively engage key constituent groups in the recruitment and enrollment process. They will include students, parents/families, alumni, faculty, and staff, as well as other key internal and external constituents in that pursuit.

The Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Admissions will develop, plan, and implement recruitment efforts for freshman, transfer, and international students through analyzing admissions data and trends, forecasting changes in enrollment, and developing appropriate enrollment models and operational strategies. The AVPUA will oversee the undergraduate admissions operation including recruitment, admission, awarding of merit scholarships, and conversion of undergraduate students. In addition, the AVPUA will lead the admissions team in developing retention- and graduation-focused admission practices and policies. 

This position serves as a member of the Office of Enrollment’s senior leadership team which, through their shared expertise, is responsible for the activities leading to the achievement of the university’s strategic enrollment goals for undergraduate students. The AVPUA needs to understand and manage student volume as they will be responsible for the management of a freshman inquiry pool of over 70,000 names and a freshman applicant pool of more than 20,000, as well as a transfer inquiry pool of approximately 6,000, and 2,000 transfer applications. In consultation with the Assistant Vice Provost for Operations, the AVPUA will monitor the admissions portion of the Office of Enrollment’s operating budget and will collaborate on the processing of related documents. Also, in collaboration with the Assistant Vice Provost of Enrollment Marketing, the AVPUA will contribute to the creation and maintenance of all undergraduate recruitment publications; in concert with the senior director of data analytics, the AVPUA will analyze data to inform recruitment goals; and with the Assistant Vice Provost for Financial Aid, will collaborate on the awarding of merit scholarships. The person in this role is also called upon to serve on campus-wide committees and working groups, offering enrollment leadership and wisdom both inside the division and externally.  

Overseeing a staff of 24, the AVPUA will directly supervise four directors of admissions responsible for international admissions, domestic recruitment, first-year application review, and transfers and special populations, as well as the assistant director overseeing AU’s Shorelight partnership. The other 18 members of the admissions staff are represented by Services Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 500 (Provost and Enrollment Division Staff) . The AVPUA will establish clear goals and expectations, allocate resources, provide training, and carefully monitor progress. In addition, this function includes working closely with the senior leadership team in the Office of Enrollment to ensure an effective enrollment management plan, the result of which is the successful recruitment and retention of undergraduate students.  

The AVPUA will collaborate with academic units to develop publications, programs, and other efforts to recruit and enroll new students within each academic unit. In addition, the AVPUA will work in cooperation with Athletics to ensure the proper compliance with NCAA and Patriot League recruitment procedures and be available to assist other members of the campus community who have an interest in the recruitment of undergraduate students. The AVPUA will act as an official spokesperson at admissions and recruitment functions and to external constituencies (media, parents, counselors). The AVPUA will work with the office of Media Relations to respond to media requests for information. In addition to speaking directly to outside audiences, this AVP will be responsible for providing the staff with accurate and consistent information in a way that supports the University’s key messages.

American University employees currently execute their positions in a hybrid work environment tailored to the needs of their office and the manner in which they serve students. The AVPUA will be required to live within commuting distance for on campus work hours. As a leader within the division and university, the AVPUA must be available, both on campus and as a representative of the university, in person.  https://www.american.edu/hr/how-we-work/.

Responsibilities of the Assistant Vice Provost of Undergraduate Admissions:

  • Supervise five direct reports and an overall team of twenty-four professional staff members in meeting the strategic goals of American University.
  • Provide inspiration, mentorship, training, and professional development for the staff; evaluating individual and team performance and capitalizing on the skills and abilities of the team and its members. 
  • Establish and communicate clear and concise expectations for recruitment staff and maintain ongoing communication when expectations, goals, or circumstances evolve.
  • Train the staff in best practices in data collection, management, reporting, and analysis to support decision making. 
  • Foster a culture of inclusive excellence, collaboration, continuous improvement, and knowledge.
  • Interpret external and environmental changes and guide both the undergraduate admissions team and university in the appropriate changes to admission policies and practices.
  • Partner with senior leadership within enrollment management in the development and implementation of strategic enrollment goals, plans, and tactics to support institutional goals.
  • Manage a modest recruitment territory, conducting high school visits, attending fairs, evaluating applications, and making recommendations for both admission and special programs. 
  • Oversee initiatives to support the shaping of an academically talented class and the enrollment of a diverse student body which meets overall headcount and revenue goals while also fulfilling the needs of individual programs.
  • Oversee the recruitment and enrollment of international students through the development of partnerships, programs, and relationships with both domestic and international partners. 
  • Develop relationships with on-campus partners in academic and administrative departments to support enrollment and retention, the individual needs of students, and further enhance the positive reputation of the department.
  • Enhance the reputation of American University, providing information, responding to requests, and developing relationships with counselors, parents/families, students, and community organizations.  
  • Oversee the application review process and the committee selection process in a manner which upholds the values of the institution and supports the annual and strategic goals. 
  • Actively participate in both regional and national professional organizations. 
  • Serve and lead campus committees and engage in the broader campus community by participating in community events both on and off campus. 
  • Partner with Operations to maximize efficiency and maximize technology in meeting the needs and expectations of students and families. 
  • Enhance the strong working relationship with the Office of Financial Aid to execute financial aid leveraging strategies, increase communication and efficiency, and share information regarding costs, aid, and process with prospective students and their families.
  • Offer wisdom and feedback in the development of strategic marketing communications to reach, influence, and compel prospective students and their families.
  • Partner with the senior leadership team in the development of a university-wide strategic enrollment plan.

Competencies, Skills, and Characteristics:
A master’s degree is required, or equivalent in training or experience, as well as a minimum of 10 years progressive experience in higher education admissions or an enrollment-related position. Candidates must possess the ability to manage in a diverse, rapidly changing environment. Excellent oral and written communication skills and supervisory experience are required. Additionally, the ideal candidate should possess the following competencies, skills, and characteristics.

  • A strong collaborator with a sincere desire to work transparently and openly across teams and departments, valuing the voice of individuals across the university. 
  • Flexible with the ability to pivot, a willingness to take calculated risks, and lead others in doing so through education, support, and enthusiastic, creative problem solving.
  • Ability to lead and inspire a highly effective admission organization, balancing needs of the university, enhancing the effectiveness of the office, and developing, celebrating, and fostering the leadership skills of talented individual team members.  
  • An experienced and supportive manager who will advocate for, motivate, and mentor a hard-working team, promoting a culture of transparency, consistency, and trust.
  • The desire and ability to build positive, intentional, and lasting relationships with staff, students, community members, and strategic partners. 
  • Demonstrated success in creating, building, and evaluating innovative and creative recruitment strategies and admission programs to support the strategic goals of the university in the enrollment and retention of students.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, exceptional listening skills, and the ability to deliver effective presentations to a wide variety of audiences.
  • An inclusive problem solver, who thrives in an environment where teams come together to develop solutions and innovations for the betterment of the division and institution. 
  • A demonstrated understanding of CRM databases, student information systems, and best practices in partnering with other offices in the collection, management, and use of data.  Ideally will have experience with both Salesforce and Workday.
  • The ability to leverage technology appropriately and train others in utilizing technology in a manner which increases communication, efficiency, and knowledge.
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze data and build a culture of data management, analysis, and shared insight. 
  • Forward looking with an understanding of regional, national, and global trends and attention to changes in student behavior, evolving technology, and a shifting landscape in public law and policy; and the ability to communicate, plan for, and lead changes within the organization to meet the needs of an evolving marketplace. 
  • A sincere regard for both the authentic student-centered culture at American University and the ability to articulate the student experience and value proposition in a manner that is both accurate and compelling. 
  • An experienced admission professional committed to the values of the profession with an understanding of current issues, challenges, and opportunities, who fosters their own knowledge and engages with a network of invested enrollment management professionals. Committed to—and experienced in—the recruitment of diverse populations, both domestically and internationally, with the willingness and ability for introspection, continuous growth, and fostering the skills of others. 
  • Mission driven and personally invested in the care of students and their success with a strong belief in the values and community of American University.

American University:
American University is a student-centered research institution located in Washington, D.C., with highly-ranked schools and colleges, internationally-renowned faculty, and a reputation for creating meaningful change in the world. AU students distinguish themselves for their service, leadership, and ability to rethink global and domestic challenges and opportunities.

American University is a Methodist-affiliated institution chartered by Congress in 1893. An answer to George Washington’s call to create a national university in the nation’s capital, American University was designed to train public servants for the future, a vision it still holds to this day. AU has always been defined by its groundbreaking spirit. Before women could vote, they attended American University. When Washington, D.C,, was still segregated, 400 African Americans called American University home. At AU, passion becomes action, students actively engage in the world around them, and the leaders of today train the leaders of tomorrow. American University combines a tradition of strong undergraduate and graduate education with a focus on experiential learning, global leadership, and public service.

In 2017, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who was most recently the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under former President Barack Obama, was named the 15th President of American University. She is the first woman to hold the highest leadership position at AU.

AU’s strategic plan, Changemakers for a Changing World, is a 7-year plan started in 2019 and is organized into three strategic themes—scholarship, learning, and community—with key imperatives to guide AU’s focused efforts:

SCHOLARSHIP – Scholarship is central to AU’s future. We will develop areas of strategic focus that draw on fields where AU already excels, where our expertise crosses schools and disciplinary boundaries, and that hold promise for the future. We will establish new ways to support the work of faculty across a range of disciplines.

LEARNING – Learning is at the core of AU. As we prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities, we continue to embrace the highest-quality teaching, while exploring new frontiers of learning and scholarship. We will expand opportunities for lifelong learning experiences that are more flexible, personalized, and accessible.

COMMUNITY – AU is an institution deeply rooted in community—locally, nationally, and globally—and when our community grows stronger, so do we. Over the next seven years, our strategic efforts will expand and strengthen our ties to communities, both internal and external.

Academics
The American University curriculum challenges students to combine serious theoretical study with meaningful real-world learning experiences. Whatever major students choose, they acquire a solid foundation in the liberal arts and pursue in-depth study in their chosen fields. Faculty at AU are both world-class academics and serious practitioners. Our professors teach, mentor, and invest in the success of every student. American University offers 80 bachelor’s degrees, 99 master’s degrees, 11 doctoral degrees, JD, LLM, SJD, and MLS degrees, and certificates and associate degrees.

Schools & Colleges
College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)

The college provides a rich education in the liberal arts and sciences for all of American University’s undergraduate students, offering challenging programs of study for its undergraduate and graduate majors; and fosters outstanding research, practice, and creative activity.

Kogod School of Business

American University’s Kogod School of Business takes advantage of its unrivaled location in the heart of an international business capital. Experiential learning is at the center of the business education philosophy. Students have opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom to get real-world experience, including internships, pro bono consulting projects, co-op programs, study abroad, the AU Center for Innovation Entrepreneurship Incubator, capstones and practicums, and professional certifications.

School of Communication (SOC)

The American University School of Communication empowers undergraduates and graduates in its programs to tell stories that influence change, inspire action, and transform communities and the world. Each of the bachelor of arts programs will hone students’ professional skills for audio, video, mobile, and online platforms. Students build a core knowledge and bolster that with solid fundamentals in communication and media theory and research, writing, editing, and media production.

School of Education (SOE)

The School of Education aims to be locally, nationally, and globally recognized for making a meaningful impact in the field of education through innovative teaching, research, and service. This impact will be achieved through rigorous scholarship; advocating for equitable and inclusive learning environments; advancing social justice; preparing effective educators; providing leadership in public-policy arenas; and collaborating with local, national, and global communities and organizations.

School of International Service (SIS)

American University’s School of International Service is a top-10 school of international affairs. Its world-renowned faculty—leading political scientists, economists, sociologists, anthropologists, demographers, geographers, historians, and experts in international development, global health, communications, energy, and the environment—produce transformational research and prepare graduate and undergraduate students for global careers in government, nonprofits, and business.

School of Public Affairs (SPA)

The School of Public Affairs at American University has been a hub for policy-related research and teaching for 85 years. SPA builds a culture of excellence and transforms the student experience through personalized teaching and experiential education; empowerment to conduct and produce research for those who seek knowledge; and ongoing engagement and collaboration between the academic and policy-planning spheres.  

Washington College of Law (WCL)

The law school’s groundbreaking initiatives and comprehensive programs make an American University Washington College of Law education a complete experience. Students, faculty, and alumni enrich their legal understanding, broaden their perspectives, specialize in cutting-edge legal fields, and serve others by participating in any one of the innovative programs available at the law school.  

Diversity & Inclusion – Striving for Excellence
American University envisions a thriving AU community where equity prevails because diverse ideas and perspectives from individuals of all identities and experiences are understood, appreciated, and fully included. As the cornerstone for achieving institutional and educational excellence, AU’s Plan for Inclusive Excellence reflects the university’s commitment to holding ourselves and each other accountable for achieving real change. An abundance of resources allows AU’s students, staff, faculty, and external constituents to work together toward the goal of a truly inclusive American University.

Undergraduate Enrollment, Admissions, and Financial Aid:
American University is a diverse body of students, who represent all 50 states and more than 120 countries. AU enrolls approximately 7,900 undergraduates, 1,800 Master’s, 300 doctoral, and 950 law students. 

The current undergraduate enrollment strategy calls for a mix of 2,235 new first-year and transfer students. 

Prospective students may apply to American University through an Early or Regular Decision Plan without submitting standardized test scores. AU prides themselves on academic flexibility, and therefore, it only takes one application to apply for the six schools and colleges and for more than 60 undergraduate majors. Students are allowed and encouraged to double major and/or to take classes across schools and disciplines.

For American University need-based aid consideration, both the CSS Profile and FAFSA must be received on the same day as the chosen admissions application deadline. AU offers a comprehensive financial aid program based on recognition of both academic excellence and demonstrated financial need. AU meets 100% of demonstrated institutional need for first year students. Over 80 percent of incoming students receive some form of financial aid, and nearly $100 million is awarded in financial aid each year. A staff of 24 individual counselors in financial aid are assigned to incoming students.

Undergraduate Student Life
American University’s residence halls are dynamic communities that promote positive and affirming atmospheres for student learning. Each building has unique features, special communities, and promotes student success. AU offers six traditional style halls, three suite style halls, and two apartment style halls. Roper Hall, with fifty residents, has been designated as Black Affinity Housing, and provides an intentional space dedicated to celebrating, exploring, and affirming Black student experiences at AU and beyond. On campus housing is guaranteed for first- and second-year undergraduate students.

The American University Eagles athletics program is a member of NCAA Division I and participates in the Patriot League, comprising private institutions of higher education and two United States service academies based in the Northeastern United States. American University participates in 11 men’s and 13 women’s sports. Students also have the chance to compete through 24 club sports supported by the Department of Athletics and Recreation.

Location:  The Epicenter of Impact
Located in a beautiful residential district of Washington, D.C., the campus—an accredited arboretum—combines the advantages of a traditional college setting with the energy, culture, and opportunities of a global capital city. American University is an intimate community within an urban city, where the stunning sights of the city are never far from view. The campus sits in the northwest quadrant of Washington, DC, just miles from downtown, where some of the world’s most influential government, media, and financial institutions are located, providing students, staff, and faculty with unparalleled opportunities to make an impact locally, nationally, and globally.

To Apply:
Napier Executive Search is assisting American University in identifying its next Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Admissions. For more information, or to nominate someone for this position, contact Robin Reynders (robin.reynders@napiersearch.com), Catherine Capolupo (catherine.capolupo@napiersearch.com), or Mary Napier (mary.napier@napiersearch.com). All conversations will remain confidential unless otherwise stated and agreed.

Interested candidates should submit a résumé and a letter of interest describing their unique qualifications for the AVPUA position at American University. Candidates should also provide the names and contact information of at least three professional references. For confidentiality, references will not be contacted without permission. For best consideration, all application materials should be submitted electronically to american@napiersearch.com by January 2, 2023. The preferred start date is no later than June 1, 2023.

American University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution that operates in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The university does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, veteran status, an individual’s genetic information or any other bases under federal or local laws (collectively “Protected Bases”) in its programs and activities.

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