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Deputy Commissioner for Academic, Research & Student Affairs

Montana University System, Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education
Helena, Montana
A compensation package, including benefits, commensurate with experience and skills will be offered.
Posted Date
Oct 24, 2022

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Job Details

The Montana Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education (OCHE), the administrative head of the 16 public campuses of the Montana University System (MUS), invites nominations and applications for the position of Deputy Commissioner for Academic, Research & Student Affairs. OCHE seeks a creative, collaborative, and visionary leader to increase resident student access; strengthen student success; support campus academic and research programs; and drive workforce and economic development through higher education. 

This position serves as the Chief Academic, Research, and Student Affairs Officer for the MUS and reports directly to the Commissioner of Higher Education. The MUS is governed by the constitutionally empowered Montana Board of Regents (BOR), which consists of seven citizens appointed by the Governor. The MUS delivers an array of teaching, learning, research, and support services to more than 40,000 enrolled college and university students across 16 campuses in Montana. The MUS includes two preeminent Research 1 universities (Montana State University and the University of Montana), four regional comprehensive universities, a number of two-year institutions, and three community colleges.

OCHE works with the campuses to guide and improve student success, academic progress and college attainment, technological and scientific discovery, economic development, and workforce readiness. OCHE also provides academic, administrative, fiscal, legal and policy leadership to the MUS. Under the direction of the Board of Regents and Commissioner of Higher Education, OCHE leaders frequently interact and collaborate with campus leaders, students, policy makers, business and industry leaders, and education advocates at all levels. OCHE is committed to providing Montana taxpayers and students with a single efficient, effective system of higher education. 

The MUS Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education is in Helena, Montana, the state’s capital city. Helena is located along the Continental Divide near the scenic Missouri River, halfway between Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park.  

Position Detail

The Deputy Commissioner for Academic, Research & Student Affairs (ARSA) is responsible for driving positive change in the areas of resident student access; student success and research; and workforce and economic development. Each of these areas connects directly to the three pillars of the MUS Strategic Plan. Major MUS initiatives in the ARSA Deputy’s portfolio include, but are not limited to the Montana 10 Student Success Program, Apply Montana Central Application, MUS Career & College Readiness Portal, Seamless System Course/Program Sharing Initiative, Montana Innovation Alliance, MUS Sprint Degree Program, MUS Transfer & Common Course Numbering Project, Montana’s Grow Your Own Education Program, Montana’s Future At Work Program, Complete College Montana, Montana Second Chance Pell Initiative, and Montana’s 1-2-Free Dual Enrollment Initiative. Broadly, the ARSA Deputy Commissioner is responsible for compliance with Board of Regents policies and procedures.

A description of key responsibilities is available here:

Required Qualifications 

  • An earned doctorate from an accredited university and administrative management experience at a university system office or on a college campus at a minimum of a dean level or equivalent;
  • A breadth of successful leadership and management experience across academic, research, and student affairs programs.

Desired Qualities, Experience, and Skills 

  • A person with an impeccable record of academic achievement in teaching, research, policy, graduate education, and program development, accompanied by strong academic credentials;
  • Knowledgeable and supportive of four-year and graduate education, including research institutions;
  • Understanding of the mission and issues facing comprehensive two-year and community colleges;
  • Team-oriented, and able to function effectively as a member of the Commissioner’s cabinet;
  • A strategic planner and manager, with proven abilities to conceptualize and implement policies and programs within complex political and academic environments;
  • Strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels;
  • An analytical thinker who will apply his or her skills to enhance the core values of the System;
  • A skilled communicator with refined writing and speaking abilities that easily engage others;
  • A competent supervisor who is able to lead, inspire, and manage the staff of the ARSA division;
  • Engaged in national public policy issues and trends, and able to transform academic processes to meet the need for change;
  • Accomplished in leading change, being innovative and open to nontraditional ideas;
  • Skilled in collaborative decision-making and facilitative processes, ensuring that all interests are heard;
  • Preferably, a professional who is experienced with collective bargaining environments.

Applications and Expressions of Interest

A complete vacancy announcement can be found at

The position is open until filled, with priority consideration given to applications received by Friday, November 18, 2022. Applications should consist of a letter of interest, current curriculum vitae, and contact information for five professional references.

Candidates will be notified before references are contacted. Applications and expressions of interest can be submitted to OCHE (Attention: Jackie Salveson), 560 North Park Avenue, P.O. Box 203201, Helena, MT 59620-3201, or emailed to

This position is eligible for veterans’ preference in accordance with state law.

Reasonable Accommodations: Under state and federal law qualified applicants with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations. Modifications or adjustments may be provided to assist applicants to compete in the recruitment and selection process.  An applicant must request an accommodation when needed. If you need any such accommodation, contact the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education at 406-449-9155. TDD users may use the relay service by dialing 711.

The Montana University System is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer committed to recruiting, supporting, and fostering a diverse community of faculty, staff, and students.





The Montana University System (MUS) is the state system for post-secondary education in Montana, which includes 16 campuses and enrolls over 40,000 students annually. The MUS is governed by the Montana Board of Regents under the direction of the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education, located in Helena, Montana.

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