University of La Verne — President

The University of La Verne seeks an experienced, innovative, and inclusive leader with a strong track record of success to join its diverse campus as its next president.

The University of La Verne is a private not-for-profit university located in Southern California. With nearly 6,000 traditional age and adult learners, La Verne is a federally-designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and one of the most diverse schools in the nation. It prides itself on its social mobility mission and for creating an inclusive and diverse community of learners and scholars. Of the traditional undergraduate enrollment, 44 percent are first-generation students, and more than half of this year’s freshman class are Hispanic. Its main campus in La Verne is approximately 35 miles east of Los Angeles. Its College of Law is located in Ontario, where La Verne is expanding its presence with a focus on health and community well-being. The university offers classes at an additional six sites across the state and has a growing online presence. Founded in 1891, the university offers 55 undergraduate programs, 18 master’s degrees, four doctoral degrees, and multiple credential programs across five colleges and nine campuses. For the past 50 years, the university has been recognized as a pioneer in adult education, offering specialized programs for adult learners at the La Verne and regional campuses. In January 2015, the Carnegie Foundation awarded the University of La Verne its prestigious Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification.

Like many institutions of similar scope and size, the University of La Verne is highly tuition dependent. Also like many similar institutions, the university has faced enrollment declines. It will be important for the incoming president to advance an effective enrollment and financial strategy for a sustainable future. This strategy should capitalize on its unique mix of students – undergraduates, graduates, adult – and degree programs, including its newly launched College of Health and Community Well-Being. A keen focus on leveraging current areas of academic excellence will be important, as is identifying new potential programs that respond to student interests and market forces. The president will need the financial acumen to support such needed innovations and ensure affordability for the students it serves. 

The president should be a consultative leader, well-skilled, and highly experienced at building relationships with faculty, staff, students, and business and community leaders. The president should also be an inspirational and visionary leader who prioritizes building community and is capable of working with diverse constituents both on campus, with faculty, students and staff, and with external communities, including donors, alumni, friends of the institution as well as local, state, and national civic and business communities. Although the university is racially and ethnically diverse, the president will be expected to build on its current demographic profile and its opportunities in Southern California to create an even more equitable and inclusive campus environment, one that has the potential to be a true national exemplar. 

Reporting to the Board of Trustees, the next president should be an inclusive, visionary, and experienced leader with strong communication and collaboration skills. The president should fully embrace and proactively support the mission and values of the institution, grounded in the traditions of the Church of the Brethren. The president should have extensive leadership and administrative experience and a track record of success from their prior experiences. The president should be a consultative leader with inclusive and collaborative relationship-building skills, and a business and community-minded perspective to create partnerships essential to carrying out the objectives of the institution. The president should value shared governance and appreciate faculty perspective. The president should know how to build and lead an effective executive team and encourage leadership at all levels of the institution. The president should have a forward-thinking perspective about the higher education industry in general, and how the current evolving landscape will impact the future of the University of La Verne. The next president should have experience in enrollment growth, new program development, and financial stewardship, and understand the relationship between those three areas. They should have the knowledge and capacity for identifying new resources and simultaneously advancing organizational efficiency while overseeing complex financial models and budgets. They should prioritize affordability alongside sustainability. Finally, without exception, the incoming president should have a robust track record of supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and demonstrate an understanding of how to do that in a context such as La Verne’s. The new president should build on the current strong relationships with the local community, and with elected officials in the region, the state, and nationally. The new president should build upon the current successful initiatives in the 2025 Strategic Vision.

All applications, nominations, and inquiries are invited. Application materials should include a current curriculum vitae and a letter addressing how the candidate’s experiences match the position requirements, as outlined in the leadership profile. 

WittKieffer is assisting the University of La Verne in this search. Application materials should be submitted using WittKieffer’s candidate portal. For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by Monday, March 6. 

Confidential inquiries and nominations can be directed to: Zachary A. Smith, Ph.D., Melody Rose, Ph.D., and Lauren Bruce-Stets at LaVernePresident@wittkieffer.com.  

The compensation range for this position is $226,994 to $545,979. 

The University of La Verne is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not unlawfully discriminate in employment. No questions will be used for the purpose of limiting or excluding any applicant from consideration for employment on a basis prohibited by local, state, or federal law. Equal access to employment, services, and programs is available to all persons. Those applicants requiring reasonable accommodation to the application and/or interview process should notify Human Resources.

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