Vice President for Academic Affairs

Missouri, United States
Competitive Salary
Nov 13, 2020
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Position Available:  VP for Academic Affairs

Anticipated Appointment Date:  May 2021

Executive Summary

Avila University, a Catholic University founded and inspired by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, seeks a leader to serve as its next vice president for academic affairs.  This position supports faculty while being collaborative in a student-centered environment.

Avila University is dedicated to helping students learn through integrative and transformative learning experiences.  Avila is proud of its heritage of graduating students who make meaningful contributions to the global community.  With a strong background of vision and heritage from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Avila students experience a strong curriculum grounded in the liberal arts and professional studies.  Through this strong curriculum, Avila students become leaders in our communities after having experiences through student organizations , internships, research opportunities, and many cultural activities on campus and in the Kansas City metropolitan area.  Founded in 1916 and accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, Avila connects its 1,400 students to more than 70 undergraduate and graduate degree pathways, including adult degree completion options, and courses offered on campus, online, and in hybrid formats. 

The next vice president will lead Academic Affairs, which promotes and supports the mission of the university.  Academic Affairs is responsible for supporting the work of the faculty, whose teaching, scholarship and service bring academic programs and experiences to life.  The office of Academic Affairs works in a system of shared governance with the faculty to oversee the university curriculum and new curricular initiatives; academic policies and procedures; faculty hiring and promotion/tenure; support for faculty scholarship and teaching; the administration of all academic Colleges and Schools, the academic library.  Other responsibilities include the Registration Office; the Institutional Research Office; and overall Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment.

The vice president will play a key role in working with the President Ronald Slepitza and the university community as the institution identifies and implements new goals as part of a new strategic plan currently under development.  The vice president will partner with constituencies across campus to enhance student success outcomes, including support for the newly awarded Title III grant supporting this area.  The vice president will work with the University Deans in consultation with faculty to identify new dynamic programs and to ensure all academic programs and partnerships further the university’s mission in Kansas City and the surrounding communities.  The vice president is expected to lead a strong academic leadership team and further develop academic leaders throughout the institution, as well as to effectively engage faculty, staff and students in decision-making in ways that support the institution’s commitment to shared governance.

The ideal candidate should have a record of significant accomplishment in academic leadership, including success in academic innovation and program development.  An earned doctorate, or the equivalent terminal degree, a record of distinguished university teaching, scholarship and service are required.  This individual should have communication and interpersonal skills that effectively advocate for institutional needs and achievement, both internally and externally.  The successful candidate should also have evidence of promoting excellence in diversity, equity and inclusion.

Position Overview:

The vice president for academic affairs provides key leadership to the Academic Affairs area and has the following responsibilities:

Direct academic functions and activities to execute operations, achieve strategic goals and increase efficiency.

  • Serve as a member of the president’s cabinet representing Avila’s academic functions in support of Avila’s mission and values.
  • Champion teaching and faculty-driven decision-making in instruction, curriculum development, academic policy and other aspects of faculty support.
  • Lead administration of a broad array of academic support units and services.
  • Nurture partnerships and connections for academic functions across the Kansas City metropolitan area and state of Missouri.
  • Develop future leaders while overseeing the academic programs as support by the deans and departmental chairpersons.
  • Provide leadership for program reviews, including accreditation, and develop new academic programs in cooperation with the appropriate academic program development process.
  • Plan and allocate resources and participate in long-term planning efforts.
  • Provide overall direction for recruitment and selection of all academic personnel; review and recommend appropriate action on appointment, retention, and tenure and promotion of faculty.
  • Develop and apply financial plans and policies to meet changing academic needs and communicate effectively with internal and external constituents.
  • Assure handbooks relating to faculty governance and policies and governance remain current and updated.
  • Title III
  • Perform other related duties as assigned.

Professional Qualifications and Personal Qualities:

The vice president for academic affairs will demonstrate the following professional qualifications and personal characteristics:

Credentials & Experience Required

  • An earned doctorate, or the equivalent terminal degree,
  • A record of distinguished university teaching, scholarship and service to qualify for the rank of professor.
  • A proven discernible record of successful and innovative experience in leadership, administration and finance.
  • Five or more years of experience with academic planning, including program development and innovation, program prioritization and assessment.
  • Evidence of five years of successful higher education administrative leadership.
  • Evidence of promoting excellence in diversity, equity and inclusion.

Experience Preferred

  • At least seven years experience in academic administration
  • A record of increasing responsibility and significant accomplishment in university leadership.
  • Demonstrated experience working with institutional and programmatic accreditation.
  • Demonstrated communication and interpersonal skills to effectively convey and advocate for institutional needs and achievement, both internally and externally.
  • Experience working in a small liberal arts university.


  • Requires the analytical ability to interpret technical and detailed guidelines, policies and procedures.
  • Evaluate information in the development of new solutions for complex technical and/or managerial problems.
  • Exercises discretion and independent judgment in recommending solutions.
  • Acts as a focal point for recommending hiring/termination decisions, performance management, salary increases and disciplinary actions and/or budget management.
  • Uses creativity and collaborative empowerment in addressing unusual challenges faced within Academic Affairs and among university units and constituents.
  • Must be knowledgeable in the use of personal computers and commonly used office software programs.
  • Must have good leadership and managerial skills and be able to communicate effectively with a variety of constituencies.

About Avila University and Kansas City

Since its beginning as a two-year college for women in 1916, Avila University has prioritized serving first-generation and other under-served populations in the Catholic academic traditions. Founded and inspired by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (CSJ), Avila is a vibrant, four-year university providing liberal arts, professional, undergraduate, and graduate education. Avila is a values-based community of learning, where social justice and the charism of the CSJ are at the foundation of the institution. Today, the University prepares students for responsible, lifelong contributions to the global community through more than 60 undergraduate majors, minors, and concentrations and six Master's level graduate programs.

Avila combines its faculty and programs' academic excellence with its ideal size to foster individual student success. The recent $2.2 million U.S. Department of Education Title III-Strengthening Institutions Grant further validates Avila's mission. Over the next five years, Project RISE (Raising and Inspiring Student Excellence) will strengthen Avila's commitment to supporting at-risk and at-need students. These groups make up more than 50 percent of Avila's student population.

Avila University students are a diverse group of leaders. Ethnically more diverse than the Kansas City metropolitan area, the campus is also home to students from 21 countries. The student news magazine, the Talon, and the School of Visual and Communication Arts students consistently earn regional and national honors. Over the last three years, the School of Nursing graduates averages a 96.68% NCLEX-RN first-pass rate. The School of Natural and Applied Sciences, the School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, and the School of Social Science all provide undergraduate research opportunities. Avila undergraduate students go on to present their research at regional and national conferences. The University guarantees all majors a research or internship experience opportunity as part of a University initiative. That same initiative, the Avila Promise, helps pay for their expenses at these conferences.

Located in a suburban, residential neighborhood in south Kansas City, Missouri, the Avila campus sits on 50 tree-lined acres.

The surrounding metropolitan area, commonly referred to as a whole as "Kansas City" or KC, encompasses 14 counties and straddles the Kansas and Missouri state line. While known for its barbeque, Kansas City is a thriving creative art, cultural, craft brewing, and professional sports center. KC is home to six national museums, including the National WWI Museum and Memorial and the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kansas City Zoo, Sporting KC professional soccer, the NFL World-Champion Kansas City Chiefs, T-Mobile Center, Major League Baseball's Royals, and the NASCAR's Kansas Speedway helps make Kansas City is one of the most surprising cities in America. Furthermore, the Avila campus is within a 30-minute drive from it all.

Application Information: 

Please send a CV; cover letter; leadership philosophy; illustration of contributions toward diversity, equity and inclusion; and a list of five references with contact information to  (email preferred) or mail to the address below.  Candidate will be notified before contacting references.

Office of Human Resources

Avila University

11901 Wornall Road

Kansas City, Missouri 64145-1698

Avila University is committed to equal employment opportunity and does not discriminate on the basis of, sex, race, religion, age, color, sexual orientation, disability, national or ethnic origin, marital status, veterans status, genetic information or any other characteristic protected by law.