San Francisco State University — Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students

A member of the 23-campus California State University system, San Francisco State University (SF State) is a major public urban university situated in one of the world’s great cities. Building on a century-long history of commitment to quality teaching and broad access to undergraduate and graduate education, the University offers comprehensive, rigorous, and integrated academic programs that require students to engage in open-minded inquiry and reflection. SF State encourages its students, faculty, and staff to engage fully with the community and develop and share knowledge. The University has an ambitious plan to become a residential campus by 2035 by increasing its housing capacity.

Inspired by the diversity of its community which includes many first-generation college students, and the courage of an academic community that strives to break down traditional boundaries, SF State equips its students to meet the challenges of the 21st century. With the unwavering commitment to social justice that is central to the work of the University, SF State prepares its students to become productive, ethical, active citizens with a global perspective.

With about 30,000 students, SF State is nationally recognized for its commitment to the community and toward diversity of ideas. SF State holds the distinction as being one of only 62 colleges and universities nationwide to receive the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement, Outreach, and Partnership classification, recognizing SF State’s dedication to engagement. 

Reporting to the vice president for student affairs & enrollment management, the associate vice president (AVP) for student life and dean of students is responsible for the strategic direction and oversight of the Division of Student Life, which includes the Office of the Dean of Students, New Student & Family Programs, Student Activities & Events, Residential Life, Campus Recreation, and The Office of Student Conduct. The AVP also serves as the administrative liaison to Associated Students, Inc., the shared governance auxiliary organization for students at SF State. The Division of Student Life facilitates student-centered learning through personal, community, and academic engagement, with transformative experience as its goal.

The AVP serves as the Vice President’s designee, as needed. As an integral member of the Student Affairs & Enrollment Management’s Executive Team, the AVP plays a key role in the development of university policy and participates in institutional planning, evaluation, and assessment. In addition, the AVP advances the educational mission of the University and supports Graduation Initiative 2025 by providing leadership for co-curricular programs and activities that foster student development and success; enhance student engagement opportunities; improve the quality of campus life; facilitate students’ holistic integration into university life; and promote positive campus climate.  

The AVP provides institutional leadership for developing, delivering, evaluating, and refining a cohesive and coordinated vision for student life on campus that supports student access, learning, and success. This position advocates for a student-responsive institutional focus, fosters a culture of excellence and quality service orientation within all areas of responsibility, conveys the needs and interests of students in university decision-making, and advocates for students’ voices in institutional shared governance. The AVP meets with student groups and student leaders; responds to student crises, issues, and concerns; mobilizes campus resources to respond to emergencies, crises, and disruptions that involve students; maintains a visible presence at activities and programs sponsored by student organizations; mediates conflict to promote outcomes that support student learning and well-being; guides, supports, and evaluates unit managers and office staff; facilitates assessment, program review, quality improvement, and the adoption of new technologies and strategies that are data-driven; manages budgets, personnel, and other resources in a manner that is efficient and demonstrates effective stewardship; and ensures compliance with applicable laws, policies, and regulations.  

The AVP is expected to work some weekends and be on-call during campus closure dates. It is imperative that the new AVP be able to competently interact with a culturally and ethnically diverse population of students, faculty, and staff.  

The successful candidate will possess a master’s degree in higher education administration, student affairs or a related field and at least ten (10) years of progressively responsible and relevant experience in student affairs administration, preferably within a comprehensive university with a highly diverse student population. In addition, the new AVP will have a demonstrated track record of accomplishment and leadership; significant experience facilitating change, allocating and managing resources, supervising staff, and managing facilities; and evidence of a strong commitment and ability to uphold the educational equity goals of the University and it’s increasingly diverse ethnic, cultural, and international character.

Preferred qualifications include: an earned doctorate in a relevant discipline; understanding of the California State University, University of California, or other large public higher education system; experience and expertise in working with students in an urban university setting; familiarity working in a collective bargaining environment; demonstrated experience with advancing campus-wide initiatives that improve student success; record of effectively managing complex budget portfolios, including revenue-generating enterprises; and a demonstrated track record of responsible management of the fiscal, facility, and personnel resources in a publicly controlled institution.

Review of applications will begin February 1, 2023, and continue until the position is filled. A resume with an accompanying cover letter may be submitted via the Spelman Johnson website at Nominations for this position may be emailed to Heather J. Larabee at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the San Francisco State University website at 

San Francisco State University values diversity and is committed to equal opportunity for all persons regardless of age, color, disability, ethnicity, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status or any other status protected by law.