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Director, Residential Life

Colgate University
New York, United States
Salary Not Specified
Posted Date
Aug 16, 2022

Department Statement

Colgate University, among the top liberal arts colleges in the country, seeks an energetic, motivated, and highly visible Director of Residential life. Reporting to the Assistant Vice President for Residential Planning and Programs, the Director of Residential Life takes an active leadership role in creating residential communities that foster student learning, engagement, and success, while also ensuring that the department is contributing to the Dean of the College division and to the University’s pursuit as one of the small handful of truly outstanding colleges and universities in the nation and the world.
This is a distinctive opportunity for an accomplished professional with a strategic approach to student affairs to elevate the breadth and depth of the residential education available to Colgate students. It is an exciting time for the University as Colgate is in the first year of its third century. President Brian W. Casey is leading the campus through a comprehensive Third-Century Plan to raise the institution’s profile as a distinctive and strong undergraduate liberal arts institution to even-higher levels of achievement. Under the leadership of Vice President and Dean of the College Paul J. McLoughlin II, there has been tremendous growth, including the recent addition of career services to the division and a steadfast commitment to enriching the student experience. The energy on campus is palpable as four Residential Commons living-learning communities were created in 2014 long-term goals have been established for further enhancing the student experience. The director would have a role in contributing to a fifth residential commons (capital project to commence within 3-5 years) as well as significant transformations in the upper level residential experience of students.
The next Director of Residential Life will provide leadership for a comprehensive, contemporary, professional, innovative, and service-oriented department. The Director will also serve as a collaborative partner to the VP and Dean of the College; to further develop the residential experience in ways that challenge and support students; and to guide Colgate to be a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable institution. This position is integral to the Division’s success and the ability to create an unparalleled education as a residential, liberal arts university.

Colgate is a residential university with more than 93 percent of students living on campus. Housing options include traditional residence halls; interest-based residential communities; townhouses; apartments; and University-owned houses. The University’s Residential Commons system, which launched in 2014, creates strong and welcoming living/learning communities and has required the renovation of existing residential facilities and the construction of two new residence halls .
The way students live at Colgate shapes their experiences and their education. First and second-year students live within one of four Residential Commons led by faculty and staff directors, where the integration of living and learning expands how and where learning occurs, strengthening the intellectual bonds of the community. The vision for Colgate’s Residential Commons system is also grounded in the desire for every student to have a strong foundational community from the first day of enrollment, a place where students experience tradition and build class unity, and where university affinity is cultivated.
Colgate assigns first-year roommates through careful selection according to students’ living and learning preferences. The Director of Residential Life is integral to these processes and assignments as they contribute significantly to a first-year students’ residential experience. Through membership in their residential commons, students engage with professors and each other in special recreational, social, and intellectual activities. More on the Residential Commons .
Continuing a developmental residential education, junior and senior students live in college apartments, college houses, fraternity- or sorority-affiliated chapter houses (which Colgate owns), or townhouses, while a small number of seniors apply to live off campus during their senior year. The seniors approved to live in privately-owned off-campus housing, through a lottery process, are expected to contribute positively to the Village of Hamilton to ensure a positive and healthy relationship between the village and the campus. The Director of Residential Life communicates with the Village of Hamilton and local landlords to create this cooperative relationship.


As Director of Residential Life, this position is primarily responsible for the effective administration of all aspects of Colgate’s comprehensive residential program. This includes approximately 2,500 beds within traditional residence halls, special interest communities (which includes fraternity and sorority chapter houses owned by the University), apartment complexes and townhouses. In total, the residential inventory is nearly 200,000 total square feet. This director is responsible for the effective and efficient execution of housing strategies and residential programs developed to support all residence communities as well as their ability to enrich the student experience as well as the broader University.
Areas of responsibility include:
  • Arranging, directing, reviewing, and monitoring personnel activities for the department, including staffing projections, compensation, staff development, and evaluation for eight professional staff, four residential fellows, and approximately 80 student staff members
  • Ensuring that the residential experience is student-centered, safe and secure, and focused on students’ development within communities
  • Developing a departmental strategic plan and implementing relevant divisional and University objectives, in collaboration with other departmental and University colleagues
  • Oversight of an associate director of housing operations and assignments (as well as the housing-related software systems (Simplicity) and the accuracy of its data);
  • Stewarding on-campus housing processes as well as those related to the private, off-campus student living experience within parameters set by the University and in cooperation with the Village of Hamilton;
  • Maximizing the occupancy of residential facilities with awareness of revenue needs, enrollment planning and accessible housing needs;
  • Planning and oversight of facilities management, capital renovation, and tracking the ongoing maintenance of all housing facilities, including serving as a liaison with the University’s Facilities department;
  • Managing escalated conflict mediation, advice, and resolution with roommate and families, including providing guidance that actively supports the growth and intellectual development of students;
  • Development and oversight of programs that align with and foster the development of students within living areas including the Residential Commons;
  • Training and recruitment of student Community Leaders, ensuring that all student leaders receive sufficient training to meet their responsibilities;
  • Training and recruitment of Residential Fellows, ensuring that all these new professionals receive sufficient training to meet their responsibilities;
  • Ensures event registration, conduct and other relevant University policy and processes are followed by department staff and student leaders; and
  • Assessing and making appropriate judgements in the initial response to emergencies occurring in residential areas.

As part of this role, the incumbent is responsible for the following:
  • As required, effective emergency response and crisis management as part of division on-call rotation and for residential life;
  • Effective financial management of department funds and budgets;
  • Effective development of residential policies;
  • As required, may be responsible for providing effective advice, counsel, and leadership on University committees.

This position is responsible for the job evaluation, development and continued professional growth of all direct reports. Responsible for the effective supervision of staff as assigned. Ensures selection and hiring of high-quality employees; ensures appropriate distribution of work assignments and quality of employee work product; ensures fair, accurate and timely performance assessments and feedback to include identifying areas for professional development and documenting and conducting disciplinary measures, as needed. Responsible for ensuring fair and accurate decisions regarding employment status (hire, promotion, salary increases, termination); ensures the creation of effective opportunities and programs for employee mentoring, development and sustained performance.
This position has been designated as a Campus Security Authority ( CSA ), in accordance with the federal statutory requirements of the Jeanne Clery Act. CSAs are required to and responsible for reporting allegations of crimes they receive from students and employees to the Campus Safety Department.

Professional Experience/ Qualifications

Additional required skills and abilities of the ideal candidate include:
  • Progressive experience in the supervision and management of a dynamic portfolio of programs and services;
  • Experience with housing information management systems;
  • Demonstrated strategic thinking and planning combined with assessment;
  • The ability to work collaboratively and constructively with students, families, faculty, and staff;
  • Demonstrated evidence of building and maintaining strong relationships with key partners;
  • Demonstrated personal and professional commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion;
  • Broad understanding of housing operations, residential education, and capital planning;
  • Capacity to create a collegial, productive, and positive team environment;
  • Professional philosophy that sees residential education as integral to the liberal arts mission and Colgate’s Third Century Plan;
  • Strong written and interpersonal communication skill, with particular emphasis on effective communications with students;
  • Strong record of assessment and continuous program improvement; creative thinking and problem-solving;
  • Accessible, student-centered approach that inspires, motivates, and empowers student leaders and staff.
Preferred Qualifications

  • A Master’s Degree in Student Affairs, Higher Education, or related field with a minimum of five years of progressively responsible experience in housing and residential life are required.
  • A Doctoral Degree and demonstrated accomplishments in developing or contributing to the creation of a residential college system, collaborative learning, learning communities, diversity and inclusion efforts, and student staff development are preferred.
Job Open Date

Job Close Date

Open Until Filled

Special Instructions Summary

EEO Statement

It is the policy of Colgate University not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of their race, color, creed, religion, age, sex, pregnancy, national origin, marital status, disability, protected Veterans status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, being or having been victims of domestic violence or stalking, familial status, or any other categories covered by law. Colgate is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. Candidates from historically underrepresented groups, women, persons with disabilities, and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.

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