Valparaiso University, located in the vibrant, larger Chicagoland area of Northwest Indiana, seeks an engaged, collaborative, dynamic, and entrepreneurial academic leader to serve as its inaugural Executive Director of the Valparaiso Access College (VAC).
An independent, Lutheran comprehensive University of nearly 3,000 students committed to excellence in liberal arts and professional education — “Valpo” as it is popularly known — has a longstanding national reputation for academic excellence. Its distinctive heritage promotes questioning, the search for truth, the development of self beyond strict career definitions, while preparing students to lead and serve in church and society.
The Executive Director is the chief academic and administrative officer of the Valparaiso Access College and reports directly to Provost Eric W. Johnson, Ph.D. The Executive Director is responsible for all aspects of planning, leadership, and administration of the VAC and they will be expected to demonstrate innovative leadership and provide vigorous support of the academic and co-curricular programing by fostering relationships within the University community and with regional constituencies.
The Executive Director must be an experienced and enthusiastic champion of student educational access accommodation, success and completion with experience allocating resources, programs, and opportunities to staff, faculty, and students to address historical imbalances and advance equitable academic outcomes. In addition to leading the College, they will work closely with the provost’s office on major University initiatives. Valparaiso University is in a time of transformation and revitalization. The University is implementing a new strategic plan that was developed during the 2021-2022 academic year and the incoming Executive Director will become a thought partner and important voice in this process, sharing innovative ideas and traditional strengths.
The Executive Director must demonstrate thoughtful and tactical leadership as the higher education landscape as demands from industry continue to evolve. They will have a solid track record of building consensus and inspiring leadership with a wide variety of constituents, including University leadership, colleagues, students, alumni, donors, and the general public. The Executive Director will be asked to work with colleagues across campus to develop and build a successful college and implement college wide initiatives and organizational structures that facilitate belonging and equity.
Valparaiso Access College
The Valparaiso Access College is a new educational program at Valparaiso University created for students with limited financial resources offered in a setting that promotes academic success. The program, leading to an Associate’s Degree in University Studies, will enable students to either transfer to a baccalaureate college or earn a credential that will make them more marketable in the workforce. The college provides a strong support structure that offers services and practices promoting student success. The Executive Director will play a pivotal role in the continued development of all support structures.
Students work through the degree as a cohort, taking classes all together or in smaller groups. As students discern their area of interest toward the end of the degree, they can take some electives with other university students. Valparaiso University faculty who teach in the program are not tied exclusively to the college but come from areas across the university. These faculty provide the advising and mentoring that further prepares the students for the completion of a baccalaureate degree.
The college is housed primarily in Wesemann Hall, former home of the Valparaiso Law School. The college shares the space with the Education and Social Work departments.
The Executive Director will be responsible for all aspects of the college’s academic and co-curricular programs, operations, financial and faculty resources, strategic partnerships, student recruitment, and fundraising efforts in coordination with Valpo’s centralized university offices and personnel. Specifically, the Executive Director will be expected to:
- Provide administrative leadership and direction for the college; Develop and implement a vision and mission for the college that ties to the university’s mission and identity;
- Supervise all college staff. Hire staff members to assist in the VAC administration; Perform annual evaluation of staff; Identify and provide opportunities for staff professional development.
- Work collaboratively with academic deans and department chairs across campus to schedule and manage faculty who will teach in the college.
- Actively participate in and expand the college’s fund-raising processes with a centralized university advancement office to secure external funding in support of the college’s programs and activities;
- Manage the college operations. Develop and administer the annual budget. Develop, communicate, administer and enforce the college’s and university’s policies and procedures;
- Work collaboratively with the faculty and staff to create an academic, cultural, and physical environment conducive to scholarship, intellectual vitality and learning, and establish a nurturing and supportive, team-focused work environment;
- Work cooperatively with faculty to develop curricula and methods of instruction to ensure that the educational programs are exceptional in quality and meets the needs of the college’s diverse student population;
- Promote student persistence, both personally and academically through the development of curricular and co-curricular programs and opportunities.
- Implement and monitor college wide initiatives and organizational structures that facilitate belonging and equity.
- Assist Enrollment Management on recruitment and enrollment efforts through building connections with important stakeholders, including high schools, community groups, college-prep programs, churches and other organizations that work with high school students.
- Actively participate in formulating and implementing the college’s marketing, branding and communication strategies in partnership with the University’s Office of Integrated Marketing and Communications.
- Promotes a welcoming community that engages all of its diversity in the service of student and organizational learning.
Valpo seeks an Executive Director for the Valparaiso Access College who is strategic, entrepreneurial, relational and collaborative. The successful candidate will be seen as a respected leader, and work well with colleagues in the spirit of partnership, transparency and fiscal responsibility. The successful candidate is expected to possess the following:
- A Master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university (although an earned doctorate or terminal degree is preferred);
- Administrative experience within an academic or similarly complex institution, including budget and supervisory experience; familiarity with academic and co-curricular programming with a focus on culturally sustaining practices;
- Experience allocating resources, programs, and opportunities to staff, faculty, and students to address historical imbalances and advance equitable academic outcomes.
- The capacity to function as a team member in a cooperative administrative structure and provide motivational leadership within a collegial setting; Ability to design new programmatic efforts;
- The demonstrated cultural competency necessary to work with individuals or groups from historically underrepresented populations;
- Experience working with university community members from historically marginalized groups.
- Experience in developing, administering and managing a budget.
- An interest in and commitment to working at a university engaged in Christian higher education in the Lutheran tradition;
- Evidence of an understanding of issues in higher education in general; Knowledge of academic accrediting agencies;
- Excellent communication skills including verbal, written and interpersonal skills; Skills in handling mediation and managing conflict;
- The use of computer applications related to work including Microsoft Office; Strong attention to detail;
- Willingness to be the visible leader for the program both on campus and in the community.
Founded in 1859, Valparaiso University is located in Valparaiso, Indiana, an hour’s drive from Chicago and only 15 miles from the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and central commuter train station. Valpo offers its approximately 3000 undergraduate and graduate students more than 70 majors, minors, and concentrations provided by its Colleges of Business, Engineering, Nursing & Health Professions, Arts & Sciences, and Christ College: The Honors College at Valparaiso. The campus of nearly 350 acres contains more than 60 academic and residential buildings, including the Chapel of the Resurrection, Center for the Arts, a fully-equipped athletic center which supports the University’s NCAA Division-1 teams, and a comprehensive library and information resources center. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as an outstanding national, professional-doctorate institution, Valparaiso University is a private, faith-based institution grounded in the Lutheran tradition of scholarship, freedom and faith.
Qualified candidates should submit a cover letter with salary requirements, resume, and contact information for five references to Interfolio at http://apply.interfolio.com/118815. Candidates should include in their cover letters a demonstrated interest in and an understanding of Valparaiso University and evidence of how their experience and skills will lead to the successful development and implementation of the Valparaiso Access College. Review of applications will begin on January 31, 2023 and continue until the position is filled.