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Senior Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students

University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia
Posted Date
May 11, 2023

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Position Type
Administrative, Deans, Student Affairs
Employment Type
Full Time

The Opportunity

The University of Virginia seeks an accomplished, student-centered, creative, and dynamic leader as the next Senior Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students (Dean). Reporting to the Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer, the Dean will work alongside a strong and highly dedicated team to foster the best possible experience for our students and create a social, physical, and organizational environment that advances the educational mission of the University.

With an enrollment of just under 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students, UVA is known for its student experience, access, affordability, and commitment to excellence in research. As part of the student experience, UVA takes a groundbreaking approach to student self-governance, providing students with a variety of opportunities to govern almost every aspect of life on Grounds. In the Division of Student Affairs, more than 270 professionals support the University’s students as they make real, consequential contributions to the University. Through the Honor CommitteeUniversity Judiciary CommitteeStudent CouncilClass Councils and Trustees, and hundreds of Contracted Independent (student-led) Organizations, students hone leadership skills that they carry for the rest of their lives. The Dean will be a central figure in this effort, responsible for maintaining the system of student self-governance that has defined the University of Virginia since its inception.

The University of Virginia strives to be a diverse and inclusive community and one that welcomes a broad range of ideas and points of view through our commitment to free inquiry and freedom of expression. The Dean will play a critical role in cultivating a welcoming environment for our increasingly diverse student body and for ensuring that our students have the freedom to speak, write, inquire, listen, challenge, and learn, including through exposure to a range of ideas and cultivation of the tools of critical thinking and engagement.

A three-pronged mission guides Student Affairs at UVA: to help students build community, pursue wellness, and grow as citizen leaders. Student Affairs professionals help students develop in these three essential areas by upholding policies and resources that:

  • Foster a university environment that promotes students’ intellectual inquiry and responsible decision-making.
  • Support students as they clarify personal values, develop a personal identity, build sound interpersonal relationships and explore career directions.
  • Promote diversity, cultural richness, and full participation of all students in the University community.
  • Respond to students' changing needs at varying intellectual, social, personal, and career development stages.
  • Attend to students impacted by a unique status, including minority, disability, health, financial resources, and nontraditional, among others.
  • Equip students to be informed and active citizens within our society

In March of 2021, UVA named Robyn Hadley as the next Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer. Since beginning the position on June 1, 2021, VP Hadley has worked to align the work of the Division of Student Affairs with the University’s 2030 Plan (also known as The Great and Good Plan), which provides a roadmap for the future of UVA focusing on strengthening our foundation, cultivating the most vibrant community in higher education, enabling discoveries that enrich and improve lives, and making UVA synonymous with service. The Division of Student Affairs will complete its yearlong strategic planning process this summer, highlighting its work over the next 5 years.

The Role

The University’s intention is to cultivate the most vibrant community in Higher Education; support exceptionally talented, diverse, and service-oriented students, regardless of their economic circumstances; and prepare students to be servant-leaders in a diverse, globally connected world. The Senior Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students will contribute to these goals by cultivating a student experience that builds community and belonging, challenges and supports students to explore and develop skills, and fosters a safe environment that promotes student well-being. The Dean will provide senior leadership and managerial direction for several areas core to the student experience, including: The Career Center, Judicial Affairs, Student Care & Support, Student Engagement, Fraternity & Sorority Life, Multicultural Student Services, Orientation & New Student Programs, Student Success, Event Planning Services and Facilities Operations.


Leadership and Management

  • With the Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer, provide strategic leadership and vision for the student experience.
  • Serve as a visible champion of students on Grounds – including by developing close working relationships with key student leaders and spending time attending, supporting, and participating in student events.
  • Lead a seasoned team of colleagues, and recruit, develop, and mentor staff to achieve stated goals. Promote collaboration throughout the organization.
  • Manage the office's operations, including planning, personnel, and budget management.
  • Maintain open communications with the Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer to share information and engage in issue-spotting and creative problem-solving to benefit the University community.
  • Stay informed and educate the University community and stakeholders as needed regarding issues and trends affecting the student experience and student affairs practice generally.
  • Proactively identify opportunities to apply an entrepreneurial mindset, innovation, and creativity to address areas of improvement, growth, and concern.
  • Play a key role in divisional planning, resource allocation, and policy formulation, and ensure compliance with federal and state laws, including those which govern students' rights. 
  • Work collaboratively with units, departments, Schools and stakeholders within and outside the University to enhance the student experience.
  • Represent the Vice President at meetings and events as needed; serve as chair or member of University, Vice Presidential, ad-hoc and other committees.
  • Take on additional responsibilities, as needed, to further support the Division.

Student Experience

  • Design processes, practices, and programmatic interventions that empower the team in Student Life to facilitate a vibrant, world-class student experience for all University of Virginia students.
  • Together with the Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer and other colleagues, serve as an advocate for and liaison between students and the University’s administrative offices and the faculty. Advise and help problem-solve with students, staff and faculty, families and others as needs arise.
  • Facilitate collaboration across staff and students to provide opportunities for students and student organizations to enhance a sense of community and belonging at the University.
  • Engage staff in promoting student involvement in university life, including supporting students in fulfilling the responsibilities delegated to them by the Board of Visitors and student self-governance by creating a range of opportunities for students to partner with student affairs and other stakeholders to achieve goals and develop skills.
  • Actively support a community that embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion, and expect the same from staff.
  • Promote and support opportunities and interactions that expose students to different experiences and viewpoints and allow them to learn.
  • Help determine and sustain policies and practices which promote a safe environment for students and that support students’ general well-being.
  • Serve as a key leader in determining the University's response in a crisis, including outreach and support to students and their families. 


The successful candidate will be an experienced, student-centered leader who embraces forward-thinking strategies to anticipate the well-being and needs of students. The Dean will also be a proven leader, manager, and collaborator with the relationship-building and entrepreneurial skills required to work successfully with a wide range of individuals and constituencies across the University and in the community. The following professional qualifications and personal characteristics are preferred:

  • Demonstrated 10+ years of increasingly responsible leadership and management experience, with a deep understanding of student development.
  • An advanced degree in an appropriate and relevant discipline or field or comparable work experience.
  • Direct experience building and motivating an effective team, including direct experience in recruiting, selecting, supervising, coaching, retaining, and providing growth opportunities for a diverse staff.
  • Direct budget planning and management experience.
  • Demonstrated ability to foster change management and program improvement using methods informed by data, creativity, and innovation.
  • Demonstrated record of success working in a highly collegial environment with other student affairs units and University and community constituencies, including building collaborative relationships characterized by mutual respect, trust, and commitment to shared goals.
  • Demonstrated understanding of and commitment to student learning and development and a passion for working with students.
  • Sensitive, diplomatic, and highly skilled in written and verbal communications with all constituencies.
  • Demonstrated mastery of managing a major crisis, providing outstanding student advising and support, and excelling in a fast-paced work environment with multiple competing priorities.
  • Knowledge of specific trends and issues affecting student affairs practice, including student wellbeing, legal issues, and regulatory expectations such as Title IX.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and how these issues manifest in building community, belonging, and student health and well-being.
  • Oversight of event planning and facilities operations, services, and communications.


  • Integrity, kindness, creativity, and decisiveness, along with the capacity to engage and inspire others.
  • Ambition to ensure UVA has the best student experience in higher education.
  • Versatility, with the ability to lead, listen, and serve.
  • A commitment to practicing open and transparent communication and inspiring trust.
  • Desire to collaborate with colleagues and create a culture that rewards teamwork.
  • Demonstrated sincere enjoyment from working with students.
  • A high level of energy and endurance. 

To Apply or Nominate

The Executive Search Group, an internal executive search firm in the Office of the University of Virginia President, is assisting in the recruitment of the next Senior Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students. The search will be carried out with full confidentiality. Confidential inquiries and nominations should be directed to Nalini Turner at

COVID Vaccination Requirement and Guidelines

Please visit the UVA COVID-19 Job Requirements and Guidelines webpage prior to applying for current information regarding vaccination requirements and guidelines for employment at UVA.

The University of Virginia, including the UVA Health System which represents the UVA Medical Center, Schools of Medicine and Nursing, UVA Physician’s Group and the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, are fundamentally committed to the diversity of our faculty and staff. We believe diversity is excellence expressing itself through every person's perspectives and lived experiences. We are equal opportunity and affirmative action employers. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, and family medical or genetic information.

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