Senior Director for Student Athlete Academic Services and Assistant Athletic Director

Texas, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Mar 17, 2021
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Southern Methodist University (SMU), a nationally ranked private university located near the heart of Dallas, seeks a visionary and innovative leader, adept at both strategy and operations, to serve as its next Senior Director/Assistant Athletic Director and lead the creation of a newly formed department of Student Athlete Academic Services.

About SMU

A nationally ranked private university located near the heart of Dallas, SMU is a distinguished center for global research with a liberal arts tradition.

SMU’s more than 12,000 diverse, high-achieving students come from all 50 states and 90 countries to take advantage of the University’s small classes, hands-on research opportunities, leadership development, community service, international study and innovative programs. The University offers a strong foundation in the humanities and sciences and undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs through eight schools.

Now in its second century of achievement, SMU is increasingly recognized for the ways it supports students, faculty and alumni as they become ethical leaders in their professions and communities. On the most beautiful college campus in the country, SMU Mustangs are energized by unbridled opportunities – from teaching, learning and research to creativity, performance and athletic endeavor.

SMU offers 17 Division 1 sports programs and more than 30 club and intramural sports. SMU prepares student-athletes for life by equipping them with the knowledge and skills required to become valuable citizens and leaders in their communities.

About SAES:

The Office of Student Academic Engagement and Success (SAES) works to make sure that SMU students are aware of the academic opportunities and support systems that operate across campus to ensure their academic success and enrich their experiences inside and outside the classroom. Currently two departments, Academic Development of Student Athletes (ADSA) and Student-Athlete Academic Services (SAAS) are responsible for providing academic support services, mentoring and core skills support to student-athletes.

About the Position:

Reporting directly to the Associate Provost for Student Academic Engagement and Success, the Senior Director sets the strategy for all student athlete academic services, manages staff and budget and serves as a valuable partner and resource for University leadership and administration in Athletics. In this effort, the Senior Director will bring together two high performing departments to develop and manage academic advising practices, policies and procedures to support student-athlete success. Direct oversight of a selected sport(s) as determined in conjunction with direct supervisor.

Essential Functions:
  • Lead and manage the operations of Academic Services for Student Athletes
    • Develop and assess strategic goals
    • Provide leadership, supervision and development for staff both individually and as a team; establish and oversee performance expectations; assign and review academic counselor team assignments
    • Manage departmental communications, including handbooks, manuals, web site, forms and other communications necessary in the operation of the department
    • Develop, implement and monitor budgets and all related finances, including complete an annual budget plan, manage departmental programming and staff budget, monitor expenditures, prepare reports, and ensure compliance with university financial policies
    • Respond in a timely manner to student, parent, faculty, colleagues, administration or other constituent inquiries by phone or email; communicate in a timely manner appropriate information concerning issues with student-athletes to the appropriate coaches and sport administrators
    • Monitor all departmental  areas and/or programs activities closely to maintain compliance with applicable rules and regulations
    • Communicate regularly with the Associate Provost when trends, problems or issues arise regarding academic performance of student athlete
    • Develop and present student athlete academic data to various constituents upon request of the Provost office
    • Represent the Provost office in committees as assigned by supervisor
    • Serve on university committees to represent the interests of student-athletes
  • Develop, manage, enhance and implement academic advising practices, policies and procedures to support student-athlete success within the guidelines of the NCAA and the University
    • Develop and implement policies, procedures and programs regarding continued academic and athletic eligibility, tutorial services, study requirements, class attendance and academic goal-setting
    • Ensure student athletes are aware of all policies governing both university and NCAA eligibility
    • Develop academic and personal support programs, including study programs and academic skill-development initiatives
    • Keep current with university and academic program policies and procedures related to academic advising
    • Ensure access to tutoring services and other support services meet the needs and expectations for a student to be academically successful
    • Develop strategies to provide assistance for student-athletes with special academic needs
    • Develop and implement an effective plan for the systematic monitoring of student-athlete academic progress and experience; ensure that class attendance and study hall/sessions are monitored
    • Oversee tutoring services for student-athletes and develop plans to recruit and train high quality tutors
  • Serve as a liaison to the Associate Athletic Director overseeing academics
    • Support the Athletic Department by providing data for NCAA reports
    • Collaborate with the Athletic Department on Teamworks Data updates/ submissions
    • Assist the Athletic Department with Conference and National awards submissions
    • Assist the athletic department with pre-semester orientation sessions for incoming student-athletes
    • Communicate all eligibility concerns to the Associate Athletic Director in a timely manner
    • Develop and distribute periodic reports to the athletic coaches and other university officials on the status of student-athletes
    • Participate in recruiting programs and efforts with parents, prospects and coaches
    • Work directly with coaches and athletics department officials on student-athlete academic issues
    • Ensure that all Department of Athletics and University related activities operate in full compliance with university, conference and NCAA rules and regulations. Attends and participates in scheduled compliance seminars and complies with all the Athletic Department's efforts to monitor compliance with NCAA regulations
    • Seek interpretations from the compliance staff before acting when necessary; report potential rules violations immediately; complete required compliance paperwork in a timely and efficient manner
  • Partnerships/Referrals/Outreach
    • Collaborate with academic advising colleagues in a cooperative and productive manner to achieve the University Advising Center goals and objectives
    • Work closely with university and departmental academic advisors to facilitate academic planning, course selection and registration for student-athletes to develop four-year academic plans that focus on retention and graduation
    • Serve as the first point of contact for faculty providing information and academic concerns for student athlete academic performance
    • Collaborate with campus offices to provide assistance for at-risk student-athletes
    • Communicate on a regular basis with academic advisors, participate in events sponsored by assigned schools or departments, and coordinate efforts to ensure progress toward graduation
    • Serve as a liaison between student and faculty/ administration, communicate with faculty and administrators across the university on academic matters that affect student-athletes and serve as a mediator to successfully resolve academic and other student-athletes related issues. 
    • Work collaboratively with the other campus resources that support students and makes referrals as appropriate
    • Assist with coordination and planning of student activities related to advising, new student orientation, commencement and other related programs beyond those directly affecting student athletes
  Qualifications   Education and Experience

Masters is required.

A minimum of five years of professional work experience in positions of increasing responsibility, including experience in an educational setting advising student-athletes at a NCAA Division I Level Institution is required.

Also required are experience managing and leading a professional staff, experience managing organizational budgets and finances, and knowledge of counseling and student development theory.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:
  • Demonstrated commitment to integrity and a strong work ethic

  • Demonstrated experience in leading teams/projects through collaboration and developing effective working relationships

  • Ability to provide focus and motivation to a professional staff

  • Strong interpersonal and verbal communication skills, with the ability to communicate broadly across the University and interact effectively with student-athletes, academic advisors, coaches, faculty and administrators

  • Intuitive, perceptive, and well versed in reading both people and situations as well as the ability to be flexible and adapt as needed

  • Professional presentation skills with the ability to present clear and accurate information to small and large groups.

  • Ability to communicate effectively in writing, including skills to transfer concepts into a visually appealing reports designed for a variety of audiences

  • Experience implementing academic support best practices

  • Working knowledge of NCAA academic requirements and regulations

  • Demonstrated commitment and ability to assist student-athletes develop graduation plans that balance the demands of rigorous course expectation with excellence in their sport

  • Ability to process, apply, and easily reference policies and regulations across the university

  • Strong time management skills and a strong focus on attention to detail

  • Working knowledge of standard computer software such as office suite, email, etc. and ability to learn and utilize specific software necessary for academic advising practice and tutoring

Deadline to Apply:

Review of applications will begin immediately and full consideration will be given to all applications received by April 16, 2021. The position is open until filled.

EEO Statement:

SMU will not discriminate in any program or activity on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. The Executive Director for Access and Equity/Title IX Coordinator is designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies and may be reached at the Perkins Administration Building, Room 204, 6425 Boaz Lane, Dallas, TX 75205, 214-768-3601,