Mount Holyoke College seeks candidates for the associate vice president for career development and student success role who are motivated by working in a student-centered environment where a deep and abiding care for students is a paramount value. This is a tremendous opportunity for an experienced career services professional to work closely with faculty, colleagues across campus, students, and alums to provide an engaging and inclusive student experience.
About Mount Holyoke College
Mount Holyoke is a world-renowned women’s college that is gender diverse. Since 1837, it has built and fortiﬁed a spirited, engaged and intellectually adventurous community, taught by an innovative faculty dedicated to their students and passionate about their disciplines. The ﬁrst of the Seven Sisters Colleges, Mount Holyoke prepares students with the skills necessary to become conﬁdent leaders in a rapidly changing world. Mount Holyoke is ranked consistently as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country by U.S. News & World Report, and its students go on to make a difference across a wide variety of professional and civic endeavors.
Mount Holyoke has a rich tradition of enrolling an unusually diverse student body. Among its enrollment of 2,200 students, 24% identify as domestic students of color and 25% are international students, making Mount Holyoke among the most diverse liberal arts colleges in the United States. Each year, students typically hail from 45 states and 84 countries. Approximately 15% of students represent the ﬁrst generation in their families to attend college.
The College’s current strategic plan was developed in 2016 and is scheduled to be accomplished by 2023. To date, many of the objectives have been completed, and of particular note for employees have been critical achievements as the result of establishing the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Division, investing in employee development and training, and navigating a complex employee relations and staﬃng environment as the result of the pandemic.
About the Position and Responsibilities
Reporting to the vice president for student success and dean of the college (VPSS), the associate vice president for career development and student success (AVP) leads the Career Development Center (CDC) and works in collaboration with the VPSS to align, develop, and evaluate student success for students and alums. As the administrative lead for the College’s CDC, the AVP contributes and supports the ongoing mission to support students in the development and realization of career aspirations through support of leadership development, career exploration, reflection and self-assessment. The AVP also serves as a strategic thought partner to the VPSS and colleagues across the College, toward the institutional priorities of student success. In addition, the AVP provides direction and supervision to a high functioning staff of ten and supports a culture of staff mentorship and professional development. The AVP will foster a culture of responsiveness, accountability, and support among staff for students’ career needs and initiatives. This leader will bring a facility with data, using it to inform decisions both with the team and about the populations the CDC supports.
The AVP will possess a robust approach to engaging first- and second-year students with the goal of an increased early usage of the center. The AVP will utilize benchmarking and metrics to assess potential scaling of career services balanced with a high-touch counseling approach.
The AVP must exhibit collaborative leadership working with both campus and external stakeholders to extend the reach of the CDC. Partnering with faculty and staff is crucial in this role in creating a campus culture that supports the center by reaching students through the classroom and campus community. The AVP will develop innovative collaborations with academic centers to integrate career development and experiential learning to ensure that students graduate well prepared to articulate the professional abilities and skills they have acquired through their curricular and co-curricular experiences. In addition, the AVP collaborates with the Alumnae Association around opportunities for alum engagement in recruitment, mentoring and supporting students.
In leading the CDC, the next AVP will be expected to:
- develop a strong understanding of and ability to articulate the vision, mission, and values of the center, of student success, and of the College;
- provide effective career services for Mount Holyoke’s diverse communities and understand the unique challenges of each population and create new and innovative ways for the CDC to respond to their needs;
- genuine interest in building strong relationships with campus partners to support experiential learning, internships, career preparation, development, and placement for students;
- develop a team that communicates critical information clearly and one that cultivates relationships across campus;
- lead from a framework that embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion;
- engage staff and campus stakeholders in strategic thinking and planning;
- champion and advocate for the student experience and the personal and professional development of staff in equal measure;
- bring an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit to the center;
- create vibrant and engaging programs, activities, and student support within the center;
- demonstrate a capacity to communicate broadly across audiences, cultivate and sustain collegial relationships, and build unity;
- value high-impact practices and continue to cultivate and nurture academic partnerships and programming leading to a philosophy of shared investment;
- bring flexibility and creativity to continuous improvement and shifting institutional priorities;
- understand the political acumen necessary to navigate a private liberal arts institution;
- convey a strong operational, administrative, programmatic, and student success philosophy.
The successful candidate must demonstrate the ability to develop and enhance a student-centered career development program that serves a diverse student population and identify employment and educational trends to meet the changing needs of employers, students, and alums. The AVP must have experience in developing strategic partnerships through collaborations with academic affairs/faculty and working strategically with employers and diverse external constituencies in developing a broad range of internship endeavors and industry partnerships.
The successful candidate must possess a Master’s degree and demonstrate a track record of progressively responsible experience in a higher education, business, or non-profit environment with at least five years leading career/professional development, and/or community partnerships in a collegiate environment or corporate environment focused on employer relations, college recruiting, sales, development or other areas where building relationships with individuals/organizations is a major responsibility.
In addition, the successful candidate will have the following professional qualifications and personal characteristics:
- a persuasive, charismatic, and articulate leader known for their fair-mindedness, consistency, resourcefulness and creativity in developing and presenting sound and well thought out ideas;
- collaborative leadership experience, integrity, and a sense of vision for the strategic direction of the center;
- high degree of initiative, judgment, discretion, and decision-making and an ability to analyze situations accurately and take effective action as needed;
- proven ability to lead with direct authority and through influence;
- highly developed collaborative, organizational and communication skills;
- ability to inspire trust and work collegially with staff, faculty, campus partners, administrators, students and alums;
- demonstrated adaptability to meet changing demands, including the ability to be flexible and available to leadership, faculty and staff on an as-needed basis;
- proven accuracy and attention to detail in managing multiple initiatives and priorities, along with experience in simultaneously implementing projects and events across multiple timeframes;
- experience managing teams, including hiring, developing, evaluating and retaining high-performing professional teams;
- experience with outcomes-based assessment; technology platform evaluation and implementation;
- responsible for fiscal planning and management of the center, including all operations and staffing matters;
- deep understanding and knowledge of National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) standards for professional ethical practice in career services and recruiting.
How to Apply
Interested candidates should send, as two separate documents, a resume and a letter of application that relates skills, abilities, knowledge, and professional experiences to the stated qualifications for the position and notable achievements. The packet should be sent to: AVPMHC@wspelman.com
Recruitment is underway and will continue until the position is filled. Confidential inquiries should be made to Megan Spelman at (585) 750-7091 or Megan@wspelman.com.
The College is committed to the elimination of all forms of discrimination whether based race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, handicap or disability, veteran/uniformed services status, or gender identity. We have also committed ourselves to the active recruitment of candidates from diverse backgrounds.
Mount Holyoke College believes in the right, indeed the necessity, of free inquiry and free expression for every member of the college community. The College aims to provide an environment hospitable to open interchanges of knowledge and opinion in the terms of reasoned discourse. The citizen’s rights to free speech, free movement, free association, peaceful assembly, and orderly protest extends to every member of the College. So do the citizen’s responsibility to uphold the law and the civilized person’s obligation to respect the rights and feelings of others.