Director of the Residential Commons Program

Colgate University
New York, United States
Salary Not Specified
Posted Date
Dec 2, 2022

Department Statement

The Residential Commons: 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 is 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. A cross-departmental team is integral to the initial housing 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 .


The Director of the Residential Commons Program reports to the Assistant Vice President for Residential Planning and Programs and is an integral member of the Dean of the College division. The director has significant responsibility for ensuring the success of the residential commons program, launched in 2014. The director will help to advance the original goals of the program, outline a continuing vision and assessment process for the program; and, have frequent, collaborative interactions with faculty and staff co-directors, residential life staff, faculty and staff affiliates, and students residing in the four (eventually five) residential commons. Because the Residential Commons program is a foundational element to the first- and second-year experience, the director will also work closely with the residential life staff and assistant director of new student programs and a broader team within the Dean of the College division to advance the Division’s goals for first- and second-year student development and engagement.
Given the importance of the Residential Commons program to the University’s strategic objectives as outlined in theThird-Century Plan, it is imperative that the director possess student affairs knowledge or related residential life experience and experience working with faculty to provide the needed relationships and framework to connect students’ living and learning. The director will have frequent interactions with the colleagues in the Provost and Dean of the Faculty division as well as other senior staff. The director will also work in partnership with 45-50 faculty members who teach in the Freshman Seminar Program (FSEMs), many of which are taught in classrooms located in the Residential Commons (students are also housed in their Commons according to their seminar).
The successful candidate will be a champion of the Residential Commons program to the Colgate community, excel at developing strong partnerships with faculty and staff directors in each Commons, work closely with the Residential Life team on administration of the Residential Commons, and identify opportunities for new connections and possibilities to advance the program.
  • Coordinating Colgate University’s Residential Commons program, which includes over 1,700 first-year and second-year students in 22 residential facilities;
  • Utilizing sound student development, learning, managerial, and assessment approaches to develop and deliver a high-quality, engaging, and intellectually meaningful experience for students;
  • Establishing and communicating clear goals and outcomes of the Residential Commons program;
  • Creating and executing an assessment plan for the Residential Commons, that is connected to student learning outcomes for the Dean of the College division;
  • Identifying opportunities to create some operational consistency across the Residential Commons, while maintaining the unique identity of each Residential Commons;
  • Serving as a point person for the Residential Commons directors for administrative and personnel processes;
  • Offering learning and development opportunities for faculty and staff, related to the work of the Residential Commons;
  • Facilitating monthly Residential Commons leadership team meetings;
  • Broad oversight of the Residential Commons budgets;
  • Supervising four Residential Commons Fellows (post-graduate fellows), who implement programs for each Commons;
  • Assisting with the selection and training of Residential Commons student Community Leaders;
  • Working with Residential Life staff and the Administrative Deans to create housing assignments for first-year students, within each Residential Commons;
  • Serving on the team responsible for creating and implementing first-year Living-Learning Workshops as part of Colgate’s Core Curriculum;
  • Partnering with faculty, students, and staff to design and create a First-Year experience that helps students make connections across the Residential Commons, First-Year Seminars, Living-Learning Workshops, and more.
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
  • Experience with the creation and/or implementation of living-learning programs and/or residential colleges;
  • Demonstrated ability to work with faculty in a residential setting;
  • Experience with supervision and management in a matrix or complex environment;
  • 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;
  • Working knowledge of residential education and housing operations;
  • 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’sThird-Century Plan;
  • Strong written and interpersonal communication skill, with a particular emphasis on effective communications with students;
  • Strong record of assessment and continuous program improvement; creative thinking and problem-solving; and
  • Accessible, student-centered approach that inspires, motivated, and empowers student leaders and staff.
Preferred Qualifications

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.


A Master’s Degree in Student Affairs, Higher Education, or related field with a minimum of five years of progressively responsible experience working with living-learning communities and/or residential colleges.

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.
For more information, click the "How to Apply" button.

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