Job Listing

Human Resources

Vice President for Student Success


The Vice President for Student Success (VPSS) reports directly to the president and is a member of the president's council\t.  The VPSS provides vision, strategic direction, and executive management of student life, student services and student development.  As the university's strategic and policy leader on matters related to student success and persistence, the VPSS plays a central role in implementing BVU's strategic plan.  The VPSS also leads senior-level discussions and makes decisions which enhance the student experience for all BVU students.  The VPSS is tasked with inspiring staff and leading in a manner consistent with institutional goals and objectives. 


The VPSS reports directly to the President and is a member of the President’s Council.  The VPSS provides senior level, strategic leadership to design and deliver a comprehensive suite of initiatives, services, and practices to ensure a high quality, campus experience for students.  

The VPSS is primarily responsible for campus wide initiatives in student retention, student engagement, and programmatic efforts that foster an inclusive and collaborative environment. The VPSS is a key partner with the Vice President for Academic Affairs to promote the intentional integration of students’ academic and cocurricular experiences—experiences expressly designed to enrich student learning, build and maintain strong college and student cohort identities, and advance campus retention and graduation goals.  The VPSS will also partner closely with the Vice President for Enrollment to ensure campus recruitment and retention models are aligned. The VPSS will be a campus-wide thought-leader and collaborator around best/next practices that foster a culture of student achievement, cultivate students’ sense of belonging and self-confidence, integrate approaches that will reinforce the codependency between academic, social, personal, professional, and spiritual development through growth mindset.

The Division of Student Success is compromised with the following departments: Career and Personal Development, Diversity, Student Conduct, Diversity, Inclusion and Interfaith, Student Leadership/Activities, Civic Engagement, Retention and Outreach, First and Second Year Experience, Counseling, Health and Wellness, Campus Security, Residential Life, Recreation, and Athletics.  All aspects of the Division of Student Success will focus on retention and persistence.  

The new VPSS will charged with strategically reviewing the current organizational structure, staff functions and staffing levels with an understanding that the President will support strategic change and growth with a focus on increased student success.  In addition, the VPSS will work closely with the Buena Vista University Board of Trustees.  


The VPSS has a considerable impact on academic success, student development, student life and student satisfaction.  The VPSS is the chief retention officer and plays a vital role in the persistence of all students to graduation.  The manner in which a vibrant, engaged and inclusive community of students is developed has a profound effect on the total college experience and academic success of every student.  It is the responsibility of the VPSS to ensure that the total student experience is positive, that a sense of community is developed, and that good relationships are maintained within the BVU community, between and within all student types.

In addition to possessing extensive knowledge of BVU, state and federal, policies, programs and academic enterprise, the VPSS must be an extraordinary visionary and collaborator.  The VPSS must consistently demonstrate outstanding interpersonal skills when relating to traditional-age, as well as adult students, parents, faculty and staff.  It is essential that this individual have a genuine interest in and concern for the people he/she serves.

It is also important that the VPSS, in addition to being an exceptionally effective administrator, is able to relate positively to students from a wide variety of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. This individual interacts with members of diverse groups of students as an advisor, at times in emotionally charged situations, and also serves as a role model.  It is essential that the VPSS consistently displays empathy and compassion, demonstrates high standards of professional conduct, and exercises appropriate discretion.  It is also essential that this individual maintains a vision of excellence for individual students and for the student success and athletic programs.  

Contributing to the challenges of this position is the fact that unique and spontaneous situations, which must be dealt with immediately, occur regularly and may occur at any hour of any day.  Each situation requires the application of sound judgment in determining the most appropriate course of action. While these situations often require decisive action, the VPSS must in other instances be comfortable functioning in a supportive rather than a directive role when this approach will allow students to derive the maximum benefit and satisfaction from their experiences.


  • Provide vision, strategic direction, and executive management of student life, student development and student services at Buena Vista University that are in alignment and supportive of the university’s goals and objectives.
  • Ensures a welcoming, inclusive community of engaged students with extensive opportunity for leadership development; health and wellness; and a strong slate of engaging student activities; paying special attention to the need for students to have extensive choices in the evening hours and on weekends.
  • Develop top quality, documentable, effective service to students and outstanding educational opportunities that build student satisfaction and community among traditional and non-traditional students alike.
  • Collaborates with the Provost and Faculty on curricular and co-curricular programming and other student learning opportunities.
  • Establishes and deepens relationships with faculty members to make a positive contribution to the academic mission of the institution.
  • Champions experiential learning in and outside the classroom and includes experiential learning into all aspects of student services and athletics.
  • Develops a comprehensive set of co-curricular learning outcomes and appropriate assessment tools. Coordinates the assessment process in student services and athletics. Provides an annual report of co-curricular learning outcomes for decision making and budget development purposes.
  • Uses assessment data to create a culture of continuous improvement that is in alignment with our accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Coordinates with the BVU Accreditation Liaison Officer to ensure the appropriate staff are helping prepare HLC accreditation assurance arguments related to the student success areas overseen, and to ensure compliance with HLC expectations.
  • Provides the overall leadership for the programmatic and outreach efforts for the Center on Diversity and Inclusion and the Interfaith Center.
  • Leads the university's Title IX process. Ensures that Title IX reports are dealt with in an expedited manner with detailed tracking of all activities related to Title IX training, investigations and decisions. Ensures that appropriate staff are trained to assist with Title IX processes and investigations as appropriate. Communicates on a regular basis with the legal counsel on Title IX issues. Collaborates with student services personnel and other campus leaders, especially the residence life and athletics staff, to ensure regular, ongoing, and effective educational programming is offered to all students regarding the prevention of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, gender discrimination, as well as education regarding healthy student relationships and behaviors.
  • Oversees the university's judicial process. Collaborates with the residence life staff and public safety staff members to respond to student disciplinary matters which may include investigating incidents, conducting administrative hearings, referring cases and writing regular reports.  When hearing panels are warranted, ensures that they are conducted properly.   Develops policies, standards and practices and communicates them to the staff and students.
  • Collaborates with the athletic director to develop a vision for the athletic department. In collaboration with athletic department and coaching staff, ensures that the student athlete experience enhances the academic and personal development of every student.
  • Collaborates with the residence life staff to ensure excellence in service and depth of student community, in keeping with the university mission and values. Develops systems of intervention with resident students who are struggling academically or personally.
  • Collaborates with the director of the Center for Academic Excellence, faculty and staff to evaluate patterns of student persistence. Develops and implements strategies for addressing student persistence across campus. Coordinates programmatic, written and electronic resources designed to increase persistence among student sub-populations. Collaborates and communicates on all issues related to student retention and success initiatives.  
  • Coordinates with the Assistant Dean of Students on programs related to student clubs and organizations, student activities, diversity initiatives and student leadership to ensure excellence and involvement. Provides overall direction for in-person, online or hybrid student orientation programs for both traditional and non-traditional students. Works with the vice president for enrollment to ensure successful registration/orientation days for students prior to actual new student orientation at the beginning of each semester.
  • Oversees Career and Personal Development Center. Provides direction and support for the director of career and personal development and the programs of the center.
  • Works with the Director of Campus Safety to create a response procedure and coordinates a response team who will deal with campus emergencies relating to students. This includes maintaining a working relationship with community agencies (e.g., the Storm Lake Police Department, Storm Lake Fire Department, Buena Vista Regional Medical Center, etc.).  Trains staff members and student paraprofessionals to respond appropriately to emergency, crisis, and difficult situations.
  • Oversees effective budget development and management in the area of student development, student leadership, student services and athletics. Ensures that budgets are appropriate for goals and functions of particular areas.
  • Oversees the student services departments and athletic web presence and communication strategy. Advances new ways to utilize technology to develop a better informed, involved and productive student community.
  • Coordinates institutional compliance with student oriented federal and state mandates.
  • Produces reports and documents that comply with these mandates while keeping abreast of new compliance issues.
  • Represents the Division of Student Success in person (e.g., public speaking, informal discussions) and in writing, to various audiences both on and off campus. Works collaboratively with all areas of campus, representing student services and athletics, to improve the student experience.
  • Develop major policies in consultation with the President, President’s Council, and the Buena Vista University Board of Trustees.
  • Develop an energetic and robust workplace environment that fosters a culture of teamwork, collaboration, performance accountability, and commitment to excellence.


  • Master’s degree required, PhD preferred.
  • An understanding of academic culture combined with a deep appreciation for the power and value of Buena Vista University’s mission, and a willingness to support the University’s mission and strategic plan.  
  • Ability to build productive relationships with the President’s Council and other senior academic leaders, faculty, students, parents, alumni, Board of Trustees, and other constituents important to the success of Buena Vista University.
  • Clear commitment to and understanding of the mission of a comprehensive university with a liberal arts and professional focus with a substantial resident student population as well as an adult population. Commitment to an environment that nurtures cooperation, diversity and academic excellence.
  • Deep experience and knowledge about proven practices in student retention; demonstrated achievement in implementing practices to retain and graduate diverse student populations.
  • Knowledge of national trends in strategic recruitment, retention and state/federal rules and regulations.
  • Broad knowledge of University academic and non-academic policy, structure, governance, and service delivery.
  • Broad knowledge and experience in student life and co-curricular engagement.
  • Strong data analysis skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to facilitate partnerships among academic programs, and other divisions of the university,
  • Knowledge of and sensitivity to governance structures and practices in higher education.
  • Confidence and the ability to provide advice, as needed, and to serve as a strategic thought partner to Buena Vista University leadership and key colleagues.
  • The ability to remain calm in crisis situations, to act decisively, and to apply sound judgment in determining appropriate action regarding interventions, assistance and referral of students to other university staff members.
  • Professional demeanor, excellent interpersonal and listening skills, highly organized and disciplined, and the ability to relate easily to a wide range of groups.
  • Leadership, flexibility, efficiency, attention to detail, the ability to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines for a wide variety of assignments.
  • Tact, diplomacy, and confidentiality in dealing with members of the Buena Vista University community.
  • Proven ability to recruit and retain high-performing team members.
  • Outstanding ability to motivate and empower staff to get results.
  • Strong writing and speaking skills.
  • Ability to represent the Buena Vista University in a variety of settings as required.
  • Willingness, and ability to travel, as well as attend evening and weekend activities.


Recognizing the importance of the position to the organization, Buena Vista University will offer an attractive compensation package consisting of a competitive base salary plus benefits.


The Vice President for Student Success Search Committee will begin reviewing application on Friday, July 13, 2018. For full consideration, applications should be complete by noon on Friday, July 13, 2018. Applications must include a letter of interest, resume and five professional references with email and telephone numbers (references will not be contacted without prior authorization from the applicant). 

Applications and nominations should be sent electronically to:

Buena Vista University is an Equal Opportunity/Americans with Disabilities Act/Smoke-Free Employer.