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Position Announcement

The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) seeks an experienced and innovative leader to serve as its Vice President for Student Life (VPSL). The next VPSL will join UNI at a critical moment in its history, will build on a strong foundation and will revitalize the Division of Student Life. Reporting directly to President Mark Nook and serving as a member of the President's Senior Leadership Team, the next Vice President for Student Life will have a primary focus on student success including being a proactive partner with academic affairs; champion data-informed and metric-oriented student success efforts; strategically manage the resources, programs and personnel of the division with clarity and efficiency; and advance the institution's efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion to fully realize the benefits of a robust multicultural community.

The university's next vice president will be a strategic and experienced student affairs leader who takes initiative and has the collaborative and interpersonal skills to operate effectively with multiple constituencies and to achieve results. In the midst of the university's safe and flexible return to campus for the academic year, the student life division plays a critical role in rebuilding and broadening the sense of community with student-centered practices that meet the needs of a diverse and changing student population. 

As one of three public universities in the state of Iowa, UNI is the only comprehensive and serves the state, region and beyond with programs designed to support and enhance the economy. The University is proud of its rating at #2 among Top Public Regional Schools – Midwest (US News and World Report) and its recognition as the site of Iowa’s #1 teacher education program. True to its roots, UNI continues to emphasize hands-on learning and service as preparation for meaningful careers and civic engagement. With a population of 9,231 undergraduate and graduate students, UNI offers more than 90 fields of study, 300+ student clubs and organizations, 17 Division I collegiate athletics programs, a multitude of fine arts options, and more.

The vice president oversees a talented, dedicated team and has executive responsibility for the Division of Student Life which currently includes the following units: Career Services; Center for Multicultural Education; Counseling Center; Dean of Students; Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice; Gender and Sexuality Services; Maucker Union; Military and Veteran Student Support; Student Accessibility Services; Student Employment; Student Health Clinic; Student Involvement and Event Services; Student Wellness Services; and Recreation Services. The university plans to move the housing and dining portfolio into the Student Life division in 2023.

A doctorate or other relevant terminal degree and at least seven years of progressive, senior management experience in higher education and/or student affairs is required. The vice president will be expected to offer demonstrated competence in budgeting, financial, human resources, and crisis management; an ability to work and build positive relationships with students and others on campus and to partner with key constituencies; experience in strategic planning and assessment; strong communication and problem-solving skills; commitment to educational excellence, and ability to provide inclusive and collaborative, transparent and data informed leadership; and a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and social justice is required. More details about this position and the University are available on the WittKieffer web site.

Inquiries, nominations and applications are invited. The search process will continue until the position is filled. Application materials including a current resume or cv and a letter of interest should be submitted by January 5, 2022 using WittKieffer's candidate portal. Nominations and inquiries can be directed to Sheila Murphy and Jennifer Meyers Pickard, Ph.D. at UNIVPSL@wittkieffer.com.

Search Committee

Shelley O'Connell

Shelley O'Connell

Search Chair; Executive Director, Student Health & Well-being Services

Christina Roybal

Christina Roybal

Senior Associate Athletic Director/SWA, Athletics Administration

Connie Hansen

Connie Hansen

Student Organizations Coordinator, Student Life & Event Services

Joellen Hatchett

Joellen Hatchett

Orientation Coordinator, Student Success & Retention

Deedee Heistad

Deedee Heistad

Executive Director, Undergraduate Studies

Chiquita Loveless

Chiquita Loveless

Interim Director, Diversity, Inclusion & Social Justice

Nick Rafanello

Nick Rafanello

Executive Director, Housing & Dining Administration

David Schmid

David Schmid

Asst Professor, Educational Psychology, Foundations, & Leadership Studies

Alisanne Struck

Alisanne Struck

NISG Vice President

Cavounda Taylor

Cavounda Taylor

Custodian I, Student Life & Event Services

Placeholder for Opy Akinbobuyi photo

Opy Akinbobuyi

Student

About UNI

The University of Northern Iowa (UNI), located in Cedar Falls, Iowa, is one of three state universities in Iowa and the only comprehensive institution. 

A member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the institution has been honored with two AASCU Excellence and Innovation Awards in the past five years. The first award, in the area of Student Success and College Completion, recognized UNI’s peer mentoring program and its focus on first-year students, making them feel at home and putting them on a path to success. The second award for Regional and Economic Development acknowledged the UNI Regional Entrepreneurship Project, reaching into 17 Iowa counties to develop a customized strategic plan in each area, thus assisting local leadership in success for their local economies. The University and its faculty, staff, and students are ranked consistently and recognized regionally and nationally for success.

Founded in 1876, the University’s enrollment is approximately 10,000 students in five colleges: the College of Education; College of Business; College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences; College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; and the Graduate College. UNI is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission; there are many programs within the institution that have discipline- specific accreditation based on their high quality.

In addition, the current University Strategic Plan runs through 2022.  The institution is beginning preliminary steps to formulate the next plan. The timing of the hiring of a new provost will allow for significant input into the development of the University’s new strategic direction.

In addition to a robust academy of faculty focused on teaching, research and service, outside the classroom UNI’s vibrant campus is home to more than 260 student clubs and organization, 17 Division 1 collegiate sport teams, a multitude of fine arts options and more.

A campus focused on students, both individually and collectively, we invite you to consider joining the University’s faculty and staff in the amazing leadership position as Vice President for Student Life.