Assistant/Associate Vice President for Student Success

The University of Tennessee System
Tennessee, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Jun 10, 2021
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

About the UT System

The University of Tennessee is comprised of campuses at Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin, Memphis and Pulaski; the UT Space Institute in Tullahoma; the UT Institute of Agriculture, which has a presence in every Tennessee county; and the Institute for Public Service, which impacts city and county government and business and industry statewide. Through the combined force of education, research and outreach, the UT System serves students, business and industry, schools, governments, organizations, and citizens statewide.
The University of Tennessee System serves the people of Tennessee and beyond through the discovery, communication, and application of knowledge and is committed to providing undergraduate, graduate, and professional education programs in a diverse learning environment that prepares students to be leaders in a global society. The UT System’s delivery of education, discovery, outreach, and public service contributes to the economic, social, and environmental well-being of all Tennesseans.

The Opportunity

The Assistant/Associate Vice President for Student Success (AVPSS) reports directly to the Vice President for Academic Affairs & Student Success (VPAASS) and works collaboratively with each of the UT campuses to provide coordination of student success across the UT System. The AVPSS is expected to collaborate with campus leadership, chief student affairs officers, academic affairs and student success staff, as well as other campus stakeholders in an effort to promote a high- quality academic student experience. The AVPSS will coordinate with UT campuses in areas including, but not limited to, recruitment, retention, enrollment, access and affordability, campus change, transfer student success, First-Year Experience, advising, mental health and wellbeing, UT Promise, career development, high impact practices, mentoring and coaching, financial literacy, veteran resources, student support services, and tracking outcomes. The AVPSS is expected to support student success at all UT campuses and represent the UT System in state, regional, and national student success initiatives.

Additionally, the AVPSS provides support to the Education, Research, and Service Committee of the UT Board of Trustees, and interfaces with the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), Tennessee Department of Education, Tennessee Board of Education, Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC), Locally Governed Institutions (LGIs), and the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA).

Primary Responsibilities

The AVPSS supports the Vice President in staffing the Education, Research, and Service Committee of the UT Board of Trustees; strategic and long-term student success planning; overseeing systemwide student success initiatives; and coordinating admission, progression, and retention standards and initiatives. The AVPSS further assists with University policies and campus implementation procedures concerning student conduct, rights and responsibilities, and implementation of the campus Student Handbooks. The successful candidate is expected to provide innovative leadership and engage in purposeful collaborations in the areas of strategic planning, communication, program development, and assessment of activities that support the systemwide goals of increasing retention and graduation, as well as enhancing the student experience. The AVPSS will interface with colleagues across UT campuses to implement and measure student success efforts, particularly in areas that positively affect access, engagement, wellbeing, belonging, and affordability, and utilize data and available evidence to identify opportunities systemwide.

Working collaboratively with the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success, the AVPSS will support transfer and articulation policies and initiatives with the TBR institutions and among institutions within the UT System; collaborate on reverse transfer policy and processes statewide; review and refine student policies affected by the Tennessee Uniform Procedures Act; provide input and/or gather information for proposed legislation affecting students; and assist in preparation for budget hearings with the governor and state legislature.

The AVPSS will supervise system-level student success staff; advise the VPAASS and UT President on matters related to student success; utilize data-driven, decision-support tools to identify opportunities to enhance retention, persistence, and degree completion; and advance the use of data to inform best practices for student success to meet benchmarks for retention, graduation, and student success.

As a member of the Office of Academic Affairs and Student Success, the AVPSS will be responsible for keeping the team apprised of any issues that impact student success across UT; developing and maintaining collegial and productive working relationships with UT System colleagues, chief academic officers and chief student affairs officers of each campus; and facilitating efforts to ensure the System achieves its overall mission to educate, discover, and connect.

The AVPSS is expected to champion a culture of engagement and belonging by providing leadership in an environment that actively promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion. The AVPSS will possess a deep commitment to these values and demonstrates action


The position requires a Ph.D. or other terminal degree (earned or in progress) in Higher Education, Student Affairs, Leadership, Student Personnel or a related field. A minimum of ten years of progressively responsible administrative experience in or with higher education, including developing and leading undergraduate student success initiatives at the university and/or system level. Administrative and leadership experience at a multi-campus university system, a large comprehensive university campus, or other complex organization in or working with higher education is also required.

Knowledge and Skills

The Assistant/Associate Vice President for Student Success must demonstrate a robust understanding of higher education. Specific skills include:

  • deep knowledge of and experience with student services (academic and co-curricular) to enhance student success;
  • experience developing and accessing student success interventions, tracking outcomes, and leading organizational change to address barriers to student success;
  • knowledge of student retention theories and models, and demonstrated ability to access efficacy and course-correct;
  • in-depth understanding of current research associated with student success and retention, student transition and development, mattering and belonging, and student engagement;
  • expertise in the development and implementation of intervention strategies to enhance retention, engagement, student satisfaction, belonging, and graduation rates;
  • proven ability to work across complex organizations and lead diverse teams;
  • demonstrated expertise in developing and accessing learning outcomes for student co-curricular experiences;
  • university policy development and implementation across multiple university campuses;
  • rich experiences in multiple areas of student life including curriculum development;
  • experience with initiatives related to high-impact practices, student engagement, and persistence to degree;
  • engagement with academic advising, early warning, and student support services to enhance student success;
  • ability to build and execute programs and initiatives designed to close student equity gaps;
  • demonstrated leadership of campus-level and/or system-level student success initiatives;
  • strong commitment to excellence, integrity, and transparency;
  • demonstrated leadership skills and abilities;
  • proven ability to work effectively both independently and collaboratively with cross- functional teams;
  • understanding of and appreciation for system and campus governance;
  • demonstrated success in decision-making and leading transformational change;
  • exceptional skills in communications and interpersonal relations, including excellent written and presentation skills;
  • exceptional listening skills;
  • demonstrated commitment to diversity, engagement, and inclusion; and
  • ability to work effectively with a wide variety of audiences (e.g., faculty, students, alumni, legislators, administrators, parents).

The Assistant/Associate Vice President for Student Success must exhibit qualities of emotional maturity, honesty, humility, authenticity, self-confidence, collegiality, objectivity, creativity, discretion, decisiveness, diplomacy, tact, resiliency, tenacity, adaptability, courage of conviction, and tolerance for ambiguity. Demonstrated behavioral expectations include:

  • uncompromised integrity, honesty, transparency, and trustworthiness;
  • unwavering commitment to students and student success;
  • untiring dedication to making consistent, fair, and data-informed decisions;
  • eagerness to learn and grow in the position;
  • ability to foster teamwork and to work effectively with cross-functional teams; and
  • unfailing commitment to the UT Systemwide mission, values, and strategic vision, as well as missions and strategic visions for each campus/institute.

For full consideration, candidates should apply electronically using with a cover letter addressing their interest in and qualifications for the role, CV, and list of professional references by July 12, 2021.

Compensation for the position will be competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience. The University offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, and much more. Additionally, Tennessee residents do not pay a state income tax. For more information on the University of Tennessee’s benefits, visit

All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment and admission without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, and parental status, or any other characteristic protected by federal or state law. In accordance with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the University of Tennessee affirmatively states that it does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, or disability in its education programs and activities, and this policy extends to employment by the university. Inquiries and charges of violation of Title VI (race, color, and national origin), Title IX (sex), Section 504 (disability), the ADA (disability), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (age), sexual orientation, or veteran status should be directed to the System Human Resources, 826B Andy Holt Tower, 1331 Circle Park Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996, telephone 865- 974-8170. Requests for accommodation of a disability may also be directed to this office.