StudentsRensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the nation’s oldest and among the top-ranked private, technological research universities, seeks a highly accomplished leader to serve as the Vice President for Student Life.

Under the leadership of President Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., Rensselaer offers degrees from five schools: Engineering; Science; Architecture; Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; and, the Lally School of Management, as well as an interdisciplinary degree in Information Technology. Institute programs serve undergraduates, graduate students and working professionals around the world.  The Institute’s long-standing reputation draws students from across the U.S. and the globe.  Rensselaer offers more than 145 programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels.  The university provides rigorous, engaging, interactive learning environments and campus-wide opportunities for leadership, collaboration and creativity.

The University currently enrolls 5,539 undergraduates and 1,166 graduate students in residential programs. Also, Rensselaer enrolls graduate students in engineering, science and management programs at Rensselaer at Hartford.

The mission of the Student Life Division supports Rensselaer’s over-arching goal to achieve greater prominence in the 21st century as a top-tier world class technological research university with global reach and global impact. In accordance with the Rensselaer Plan 2024, Student Life will endeavor to produce students who graduate with intellectual agility, multicultural sophistication and a global view. Therefore, Student Life will support and assist students in achieving personal and academic success as members of groups and communities, help create enthusiastic alumni/alumnae, and help Rensselaer to educate the leaders of tomorrow.

With this mission, and an ongoing commitment to meeting the goals and priorities outlined within the Rensselaer Plan 2024 one of the institute highest priorities is the CLASS Initiative (Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students). CLASS is designed to provide support and co-curricular opportunities for students throughout their undergraduate years. Through CLASS, students are connected to a network of faculty, staff, and other students who lend support and guidance and help to build a strong community of learners as they strive to become the leaders of tomorrow.

About the Positionstudent

The new Vice President for Student Life will be a champion for building on a tradition of school pride and spirit. This is a unique opportunity for a high-energy person with a shared leadership approach to maximize the talents of a strong staff in creating a vibrant and engaging campus community in which students experience a strong sense of pride in the history and traditions of the institution.

The Vice President oversees the areas of Athletics, Archer Center for Student Leadership, Career Development Center, Chaplain’s Office, Dean of Students Office, Office of the First-Year Experience, Office of the Registrar, Rensselaer Union, Residence Life programs, and Student Health Services Center. With approximately 207 full- and part-time staff reporting to the Vice President, the incumbent will additionally be responsible for an overall division budget, including athletics, of approximately $22M. The Vice President serves as a member of the President’s Executive Cabinet and participates in strategic planning and decision making for the institution and all subsidiaries.

Students2The Successful Candidate

The successful candidate must have a comprehensive knowledge of the issues and opportunities of a private technological research university, a commitment to furthering a high level of cooperation between student life and academics, and a willingness to continue to develop Rensselaer’s already strong student life program.

Additional qualifications include: the ability to assess, understand and be a key advocate for a healthy campus climate; a commitment to contribute to Rensselaer’s ongoing effort to promote a diverse and open campus community; competence with the use of research and assessment tools to monitor progress in meeting goals; a demonstrated record of success in managing conflict; the ability to develop and maintain productive community and campus partnerships; the proven ability to collaborate, both effectively and with enthusiasm; and strong strategic planning skills. Candidates must have evidence of depth of experience with organizational change as well as a proven ability to achieve buy-in and ownership of change.

Candidates must have a results-oriented approach to Student Life and a reputation among students that reflects a deep personal and professional commitment to participating with students in the life of the campus.  The incumbent will also have an appreciation for the important role that athletics plays in the healthful development of the scholar athlete. It is essential that candidates have a track record of success in working with all financial aspects and management of student life related facilities and services.  Evidence of collaborative work with all areas of an institution and exemplary communication skills are also required. The position requires a minimum of ten years of progressive leadership experience in a senior student life staff position. Preference will be given to candidates who have earned a doctoral degree and to Masters level candidates who have considerable experience in the Student Life units reflected in this announcement.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should send a letter of application and resume that relates the applicant’s skills, abilities, knowledge, and professional experiences to the stated qualifications for the position and notable achievements. The packet should be sent to  The subject line in the email should be VPSLRPI.

Confidential inquiries may be made by contacting Megan Spelman at or at 585-366-4329.

All applications are considered confidential and neither references nor will personal or professional contacts be contacted without prior knowledge or approval of the candidate. Materials will be received as submitted and will be considered until the position is filled. 

Rensselaer has a strong institutional commitment to diversity and is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. As such, the Institute welcomes applicants who will bring a diverse intellectual, geographical, gender, and ethnic perspectives to the Rensselaer community.

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