University of Richmond — Assistant Vice President and Dean of Admission

The University of Richmond invites nominations and applications for Assistant Vice President (AVP) and Dean of Admission, a key senior position leading efforts to recruit, enroll, and retain a talented and diverse student body in support of the University’s mission and values. Reporting to the Vice President for Enrollment Management, the AVP leads a talented team of 29 professionals and many student interns, ambassadors, and seasonal staff, and partners with schools, departments, programs, and other stakeholders to recruit students who will contribute to and benefit from the University and the educational experience it provides.

UNIVERSITY OVERVIEW 

The University of Richmond is a top twenty ranked National Liberal Arts College which is also home to a highly rated undergraduate business school and the first undergraduate school of leadership studies in the nation, in addition to a highly regarded school of law, and a school of professional and continuing studies that reaches thousands of individuals in the region each year. Richmond offers both the close-knit community of a small college and opportunities that rival those of larger institutions, including a strong Division I athletics program, financial support for study abroad, internships, and summer research, and the nation’s only Spider mascot. 

Richmond’s learning and research environment is grounded in the liberal arts and enriched by its distinctive array of schools, with a singular integration of learning and scholarship across campus. It is defined by a culture of interdisciplinary connections, mentorship, collaboration, and creativity, guaranteeing students close interaction with faculty and the ability to shape their academic experience. The University emphasizes the importance of international experiences and educationally grounded civic engagement in transforming student learning and preparing students to be active citizens in a complex world. Consistently recognized among the nation’s most beautiful campuses, Richmond offers outstanding academic and residential facilities. While there is no on-campus housing requirement, over 90% of students will live on campus all four years. 

The University is committed to access and affordability, is need-blind in admission for domestic undergraduate students, and meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for all traditional undergraduates. It is one of only approximately 80 institutions in the country that is both need-blind and meets full need. The Richmond Guarantee guarantees each undergraduate student up to $5,000 to participate in a faculty-mentored research project or an internship.

Richmond enrolls approximately 3,100 traditional undergraduate students in the School of Arts and Sciences, Robins School of Business, and Jepson School of Leadership Studies, as well as over 700 students in the School of Law (JD and LLM), School of Professional and Continuing Studies (graduate, undergraduate, and certificate programs) and Robins School of Business (MBA) programs. Richmond enrolls approximately 820 first-year and 60 undergraduate transfer students annually. The undergraduate student body currently represents 47 U.S. states and 62 countries. Retention and graduation rates are excellent for students from all backgrounds. 

The University has more than doubled undergraduate applications since fall 2007 from approximately 6,650 to over 14,000. During that time, domestic students of color in the first-year class have grown from 11 percent to as high as 29 percent, and the percentage of Pell-eligible students has grown from 9 percent to as high as 18 percent, while average SATs for incoming classes have increased over 150 points. 

As the University seeks to build on the remarkable momentum of recent years, the AVP will play an important role in strengthening the University’s standing among the nation’s leading institutions by continuing to shape the application pool, improving diversity and academic quality, enrolling students who will engage in the rich experiences available at Richmond, and expanding awareness of the University nationally and internationally. 

THE LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITY PROFILE 

The University seeks a leader with an established record of success in admission and enrollment management, the demonstrated ability to serve as a trusted and valuable advisor to institutional leadership and colleagues, and a deep commitment to access, affordability, and inclusivity. The essential duties and responsibilities of the Assistant Vice President and Dean of Admission are as follows:

Department Leadership

  • Creates a culture of trust through transparency, authenticity, and genuineness; oversees, hires, leads, and inspires a highly functioning, goal-oriented, and data-driven team, and invests in the professional development of the staff
  • Thinks strategically, utilizing the latest technology and research, to shape a class to meet the University’s admission and enrollment expectations
  • Evaluates, interprets, innovates, communicates, and implements admission policies, guidelines, and procedures
  • Possesses financial acumen and the creative use of resources to leverage the $2M+ operational budget to effectively meet goals

Strategic Student Recruitment

  • In collaboration with the VPEM and Directors, leads the planning and implementation of comprehensive student recruitment plans and marketing strategies, including the development and implementation of short-, medium-, and   long-range planning, budget, targeted marketing, and communication plans 
  • Identifies opportunities to attract an academically talented, intellectually curious, and diverse student body that includes new markets, under-represented, transfer, and international students
  • Collaborates and communicates with college leadership to establish ways to ensure the participation of faculty, students, alumni or other brand ambassadors in recruitment and retention efforts

External Relations

  • Establishes and maintains relationships with college counselors nationally and internationally and with other influencers in the college guidance community
  • Represents the University through membership in various consortia and through public engagements in conference presentations, case studies, and college panels, and through other opportunities such as social media, podcasts, advisory groups, listservs, and other meetings
  • Possesses the outstanding interpersonal and communication skills appropriate for a position that is highly visible, both internally and externally, and demonstrates a willingness to involve and engage with every type of constituent, including prospective students and families, current students and parents, alumni, faculty, staff, high school counselors, media, and Trustees 

Enrollment Management

  • Contributes as a member of the Enrollment Management leadership team, working collaboratively with the AVP/Director of Financial Aid, Director of the Office of Scholars and Fellowships, and Director of EM and Student Information Systems/Slate to plan for and achieve University goals
  • Serves on the Faculty Senate’s Undergraduate Admission Committee and other University committees and working groups as needed
  • Works closely with the VPEM to develop and propose necessary changes in admission policy to enhance the University’s ability to meet its strategic objectives
  • Provides input as a subject matter expert for the UR community on local, national, and international issues related to admission and enrollment management
  • Collaborates with members of the Enrollment Management unit and other campus constituents to address policy and operational issues

Data Analytics    

  • Shares regular updates to the President’s Cabinet on University admission trends
  • Understands the intersectionality of humanity and data; leverages data and experience in order to inform admission recruitment initiatives, model admission decisions, and meet various enrollment objectives
  • Studies data and industry trends to inform strategic and tactical recommendations to enhance operations and practices

DESIRED QUALIFICATIONS, TALENTS AND QUALITIES 

This role requires fifteen or more years preferred, but at least ten years required, of progressive experience working in college admission and/or within enrollment management or higher education, including at least five years of leadership experience. A bachelor’s degree is required; however, an advanced or terminal degree is strongly preferred. In addition, the ideal candidate will also possess the following talents and personal characteristics: 

Knowledge

  • A thorough understanding of and appreciation for the highly-selective, private college admission process, the strengths of an undergraduate liberal arts experience, and the value of a diverse community
  • Demonstrated deep understanding of national trends and issues in higher education and college admission 
  • Proven success in leading successful admission office(s) including individual and team development, student recruitment campaigns, enrollment planning, demographics, travel strategies, marketing strategies, communications, and admission office operations
  • Mastery of strategic data tools, predictive modeling, and other complex data techniques and the ability to use these tools to assess, evaluate, and validate decisions
  • An analytical and collaborative approach to problem-solving
  • Proven knowledge of national and international markets; international experience, bilingual language skills, and experience working with populations underrepresented in higher education preferred
  • Extensive knowledge of Microsoft Office Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and student information and application systems such as Banner and Slate

Skills 

  • Excellent interpersonal, written, and oral communication skills with the ability to communicate clearly and compellingly in both individual and group settings
  • Strong project and resource management abilities
  • Strength in statistical research and analytical capacity; strong data acumen and the ability to use data to understand issues and develop effective strategies 
  • Even keeled and positive temperament with impeccable integrity, appropriate transparency, excellent judgment
  • Able to develop and communicate a compelling vision and execute actionable, cutting edge, and creative actions toward that vision
  • Demonstrated and active commitment to advancing diversity, inclusivity, and belonging

Abilities

  • Demonstrated ability to provide a thoughtful, positive, and inspirational leadership approach that develops, motivates, and inspires a talented and successful team toward a common goal through collaborative and inclusive practices
  • Exceptional work ethic; excellent organizational and delegation skills to manage multiple tasks simultaneously and handle highly confidential information
  • Deep commitment to collaboration and collegiality; demonstrated ability to work collaboratively yet independently with internal and external constituencies
  • Commitment to and embodiment of the highest standards of professionalism and quality; high standards for accuracy and attention to detail
  • Exceptional organizational, and management skills; highly self-motivated critical thinker with advanced problem-solving abilities and creativity
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and experience in a selective admission system, including understanding and developing frameworks for equitable evaluation
  • Practical application of recruitment and review technology, data applications, and other various software and Web applications
  • Proven ability to work with diverse constituencies, both on and off campus; ability to serve as an ambassador for the University and to engage effectively with prospective students and families, current students and families, high school counselors, faculty, staff, alumni, and external audiences on behalf of the institution.

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND

ACADEMIC LIFE 

Richmond’s expert and highly motivated faculty members exemplify the teacher-scholar model and are dedicated mentors to students. Personal engagement of students with experienced, committed faculty is an institutional hallmark. The undergraduate student-faculty ratio is 8-to-1. Students participate in collaborative research and other creative activity with faculty during, and in some cases prior to, their formal matriculation on campus. In recent years, students have received prestigious honors and awards, including Marshall, Goldwater, Truman, and Fulbright scholarships. The University has been named a Top Producer of Fulbright U.S. Students for four consecutive years. 

The University offers 64 undergraduate majors as well as minors and concentrations. Ninety-three percent of undergraduate students live on campus, providing significant opportunity to integrate academic dimensions into residential life. With more than 80 study abroad partnerships in 60 countries, Richmond has one of the highest student participation rates in study abroad in the nation. Through the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement, students, faculty, and staff partner with local organizations, bringing life to learning and building the capacity of organizations in the region. 

ADMISSION AND FINANCIAL AID 

Over the past decades, Richmond has consistently met or exceeded enrollment, revenue, and discount rate expectations. For Fall 2022, the University received a record 14,364 applications for first year admission through Early Decision I, Early Decision II, Early Action, and Regular Decision. The enrolled class of 851 exceeded the original enrollment target of 815 first year students. The average high school GPA of 3.78 and, for students who applied with testing, the 1451 average SAT and 33 average ACT were the highest on record. Yield increased three percentage points from 2021 to 2022. Ten percent of first year students are international citizens, 12 percent are first generation college students, and 26 percent are U.S. students of color. 

Among domestic students, 45 percent are from the Northeast, 33 percent are from the South (including Virginia), six percent are from the Midwest, and six percent are from the West. The largest states represented in the entering class are Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.

The institutions with which the University had the greatest overlap in admitted students are the University of Virginia, the College of William & Mary, University of North Carolina, Wake Forest University, and the University of Michigan. Northeastern University, Boston College, Emory University, the University of Southern California, and Villanova University round out the top ten competitors. 

The Office of Admission utilizes Slate as the CRM, and manages admission marketing, communication, and publications with a suitable budget for the external design and execution of publications. In addition to resources and talented staff within the Office of Admission, there is a  strong partnership with University Communications. 

The University of Richmond is a national leader in promoting access and affordability—one of less than two percent of colleges and universities in the country that are both need-blind in admission for domestic undergraduates and meet the full demonstrated need of all admitted undergraduate students (including international citizens). First-year Virginians with family income under $60,000 receive a grant equal to tuition, room, and board (no loans), and full need is met through grant aid (no loans) for graduates of Richmond Public Schools and participants in over 20 designated community partner programs including the Chicago Scholars, Prep for Prep, Emerge Scholars, and the Cristo Rey schools. The University also has a robust merit aid program which impacts approximately 15 percent of entering students. 

The ability to meet full demonstrated financial need supports student success, retention, and graduation rates, and as a result Richmond is consistently ranked among the best values among private liberal arts colleges by Kiplinger’s (26th among 100 best value private liberal arts colleges), U.S. News & World Report (22nd among national liberal arts colleges for “great schools at great prices”), Princeton Review, and other media. For more facts, rankings, and accolades: http://www.richmond.edu/facts.html. See the comprehensive collection of University data and survey results: http://ifx.richmond.edu/.  

CENTER FOR EQUITY AND INCLUSION

The Student Center for Equity and Inclusion strives to remove barriers and contribute to the community practice of belonging for University of Richmond students and to cultivate inclusive communities and empower students to be affirmed in their identities and the ways they intersect. SCEI and the University support First-Generation and Limited Income (SpiderFLI), LGBTQ+, and Multicultural students by providing avenues to build community, explore identity, and develop skills that encourage them to flourish at the University of Richmond and beyond. The Office of Admission has a strong and collaborative relationship with SCEI and joins their efforts to promote social justice, cross-cultural dialogue, and awareness of systemic inequity.

SCEI commits to:

  • Cultivating opportunities that further develop a sense of belonging to the UR student population.
  • Advocating for historically excluded students by engaging, collaborating, and educating the UR community.
  • Celebrating the inherent diversity of the human experience.
  • Empowering our students to seek deep understanding of themselves, their communities, and their place in the world as a way to exist fully and authentically.

ATHLETICS 

The University offers NCAA Division I athletics through 17 varsity sport programs.  The Spiders have won 65 conference championships since 2000, including most recently the A-10 Men’s Basketball title. The Athletic strategic plan, completed in 2021, helps to ensure that student-athletes may take full advantage of a Richmond education, including faculty mentored research and study abroad, supports competitive success of the University’s Division I program, and imagines new ways for Athletics to contribute to a thriving University community. The Spiders’ primary athletic conference affiliation is the Atlantic 10. Football competes in the Colonial Athletic Association, women’s golf in the Patriot League, and men’s lacrosse will move from the Southern Conference to the Atlantic 10 in 2023. 

ALUMNI AND ADVANCEMENT

With a dedicated cadre of more than 55,000 alumni, the University engages its graduates through a range of activities and programs. The Office of Admission partners with Alumni Relations to engage alumni through an alumni admission representative program. 

FINANCIAL STRENGTH 

Through generations of extraordinary philanthropic support and prudent stewardship, the University of Richmond has maintained an excellent financial position. The University’s annual operating budget is $330 million, and its endowment exceeds $3 billion.  The University’s bond ratings are excellent (Moody’s AA1 and S&P AA+ in 2014) given the University’s excellent balance sheet, an ethos of careful budget management, and strong student demand. 

CAMPUS AND FACILITIES

The University’s 350-acre campus is built in the Collegiate Gothic style on the hillsides surrounding a lake and is consistently recognized among the nation’s most beautiful campuses. Major capital improvements to the campus in recent years have included a new Center for Admission and Career Services with expansive space for open house programs and information sessions, significant renovations to performing and visual arts facilities, updates of existing campus student residences, and a state-of-the art Well-Being Center. A recent project resulted in the renaming of six buildings; an upcoming project will memorialize a burying ground located on campus. 

The University of Richmond is recognized for a commitment to improving the sustainability performance of our buildings. There are 17 certified green buildings on campus, an eco-corridor, pollinator meadow, and solar array. In Spring 2022, the Office of Admission provided carbon offsets for prospective students visiting campus. 

THE UNIVERSITY’S HISTORY 

The University of Richmond traces its roots to 1830, when Virginia Baptists opened a seminary for men. The seminary soon added a program for literary studies and was incorporated as Richmond College in 1840. In 1870, the University opened the School of Law. In 1894, the University elected as President Frederic W. Boatwright, a 26-year-old professor who remained in office for 51 years. In 1914, Dr. Boatwright led the move from downtown Richmond to the University’s current location: a 350-acre tract of land in the west end of Richmond. In conjunction with its move to a new campus, the University opened Westhampton College for women in 1914, one of the first liberal arts colleges for women in the south. In 1949, the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business was founded, followed by the School of Continuing Studies in 1962. In 1990, the academic missions of Richmond and Westhampton Colleges were combined to form the School of Arts and Sciences. The Jepson School of Leadership Studies was established in 1992 as the first school of Leadership Studies in the nation. 

For further information about the University of Richmond, see https://www.richmond.edu/. 

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 

Richmond, the capital of Virginia, is host to a number of federal and state agencies, a dynamic biotech research center, a highly respected teaching hospital, a Federal Reserve Bank, two of the nation’s top 100 law firms, and five Fortune 500 companies. The metropolitan population is 1.128 million, and Richmond’s neighborhoods showcase a diversity of settings, building styles, and demographics. The campus location in the west end provides options for urban, suburban, or rural residential lifestyles within a few easily commutable miles of campus.

The city has a strong network of public and private schools both within and outside the city limits and is home to seven colleges and universities as well as the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Richmond Symphony, the Virginia Opera, the Richmond Ballet, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, and the Flying Squirrels, a Double-A San Francisco Giants affiliate baseball team. The James River runs through the center of the city and offers white-water rafting, canoeing, kayaking, tubing, and fishing. The city and surrounding area have a great local food scene, with some 900 restaurants offering a wide variety of cuisines, plus many microbreweries, distilleries, and wineries. The city of Richmond has been ranked by Forbes magazine as the fifth best U.S. city for jobs and is frequently recognized for creativity and livability: www.grpva.com/why-richmond-region/rankings/. 

Richmond is situated 90 miles south of Washington, D.C., and less than two hours’ drive to an array of outdoor recreational opportunities including, to the east, the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay and, to the west, the Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah National Park, Appalachian Trail, and New River Gorge. For more information about Richmond and the surrounding area, visit www.visitrichmondva.com/ and www.grcc.com.

TO APPLY 

Napier Executive Search is assisting the University of Richmond with the search for Assistant Vice President and Dean of Admission.  To arrange for a confidential conversation or to nominate someone for this position, please contact Mary Napier or Laura Robinson. To apply, send 1) a resume, 2) a detailed letter of interest regarding your interest in the University of Richmond, and 3) contact information for three professional references by email to: richmond@napiersearch.com. The search will remain open until the position is filled and resumes will be reviewed beginning January 2, 2023. The expected start date will be June 1, 2023. All applications and nominations will be considered confidential, and notice will be given before references are contacted. 

The University of Richmond is committed to developing a diverse faculty, staff, and student body, and to modeling an inclusive campus community which values the expression of differences in ways that promote excellence in teaching, learning, personal development, and institutional success. In keeping with this commitment, our academic community strongly encourages applications from candidates from diverse backgrounds and candidates who support diversity.

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