Job Opportunity: Inaugural Executive Director, Weinstein Learning Center

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Inaugural Executive Director, Weinstein Learning Center - 476011

 

https://richmond.csod.com/ux/ats/careersite/1/home/requisition/3109?c=richmond

 

THE SEARCH

The University of Richmond (“the University” or “Richmond”) seeks an innovative and experienced higher education leader to serve as the inaugural Executive Director (ED) of the University’s new Weinstein Learning Center (“the Center” or “WLC”). Supported by a generous gift of $25 million from alumni and longtime benefactors Carole and Marcus Weinstein, the WLC will enable the University to create a uniquely collaborative and state-of-the-art center that co-locates, integrates, and expands services that support academic engagement and achievement and furthers the holistic development of students and the mission of a modern liberal arts education.

The inaugural Executive Director will develop and articulate a forward-looking vision for the Weinstein Learning Center that allows the whole to be greater than the sum of its parts. The WLC will bring together the University’s existing Academic Skills Center, English Language Learning Center, Quantitative Resource Center, Speech Center, Technology Learning Center, and Writing Center to create a singular, integrated student support hub, unprecedented among Richmond’s peer institutions. It will be strategically and centrally located in the Boatwright Memorial Library, further affirming the Library as the intellectual heart of campus life at the University of Richmond, an institution nationally recognized for its beauty and for the stellar liberal arts experience it provides to its students.

The Weinstein Learning Center will support Richmond’s unique institutional profile as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the nation with an impressive record of student engagement in faculty-mentored scholarship and research. The Executive Director will serve as a critical partner to campus leaders in supporting students’ intellectual and professional development as 21st century citizens prepared to address future challenges, whether they be containing infectious diseases or harnessing generative AI. The WLC Executive Director will position the Center and the University more broadly as innovative leaders in the development of student talent and engage in national conversations around best practices in academic support and excellence.

The Executive Director will play a key role in operationalizing a plan for the Center, integrating its subparts, assessing and addressing campus needs, and collaborating across the institution to provide a signature suite of student-oriented resources. The role demands a leader with a clarity of vision and the flexibility to adapt as needs evolve, excellent relational skills to work across the entire University, a passion for serving an incredibly talented and engaged student body, and the capacity to engender trust and inspire a team and campus.

The University of Richmond has retained Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist in conducting this important search and to help identify outstanding candidates. All inquiries, applications, and nominations for this opportunity should be directed to the search firm as indicated below.

THE UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND

The University of Richmond offers a distinctive educational experience where academic and campus life are well integrated and the faculty and student relationship is at the core. Ranked 25th among liberal arts colleges by US News and World Report, Richmond is home to an intellectually rich and diverse community of 4,000 students (with about 3,200 traditional undergraduates), 1,200 staff, and 650 faculty. The University is organized into five schools (Arts and SciencesLeadership StudiesBusinessLaw, and Professional and Continuing Studies), the first three serving undergraduate students and the latter two graduate learners. Exceptionally well-resourced to meet its high ambitions, the University offers both the close-knit community of a small college and opportunities that rival those of larger institutions, including innovative research and a strong Division I athletics program.

The University of Richmond is the nation’s only top liberal arts college that is also home to a top-20 undergraduate business school, the first undergraduate school of leadership studies in the nation, a highly regarded school of law, and a school of professional and continuing studies that reaches thousands of individuals in the region each year. Richmond’s learning and research environment is grounded in the liberal arts and is enriched by a singular integration of learning and scholarship across its five schools. It is defined by a culture of mentorship, interdisciplinary connections, collaboration, small class sizes, and robust curricular and co-curricular opportunities, guaranteeing students close interaction with faculty and the ability to shape their academic experience. The University emphasizes the importance of international experiences and educationally grounded civic engagement in transforming student learning and preparing students to be engaged citizens in a complex world. Consistently recognized among the nation’s most beautiful campuses, Richmond offers outstanding academic and residential facilities. Richmond also has an endowment of approximately $3.2 billion as of June 30, 2023.

For more information about the University of Richmond, visit: www.richmond.edu. For more facts, rankings, and accolades, please see: www.richmond.edu/about/facts.

ACADEMIC AND STUDENT LIFE

Personal engagement of students with experienced, committed faculty is an institutional hallmark. Richmond’s 3,200 undergraduates enjoy a student-faculty ratio of eight-to-one. Richmond’s faculty exemplify the teacher-scholar model and are deeply dedicated mentors to students. Students participate in collaborative research and other creative activities with faculty, often enabled by the Richmond Guarantee which bestows each undergraduate student up to $5,000 to participate in a faculty-mentored summer research project or an internship. Students have received prestigious honors and awards in recent years, including Marshall, Goldwater, Clarendon, Truman, and Fulbright scholarships. The University has been named a Top Producer of Fulbright U.S. Students for four consecutive years.

The University offers 64 traditional undergraduate majors as well as minors and concentrations. It offers a wide array of high-impact educational practices from undergraduate research to experiential education to living-learning communities and more. The faculty have just completed a general education curriculum revision. The new Web of Inquiry curriculum, a play on Richmond’s unique spider mascot, engages students in new and relevant modes of inquiry across all four years of their education, preparing them to build their networks and map their journeys through the University by forging pathways that are not always linear, but are connected and integrated. Faculty are currently piloting integrative learning courses that focus on meta-cognition, reflection, and knowledge transfer. This exciting new curriculum will begin in fall of 2024.

The relatively new Teaching and Scholarship Hub (Faculty Hub) supports the teaching and research goals of faculty and instructional staff through individual and small group consultation, workshops, seminars, professional development, and opportunities to be in intellectual community together.

Approximately 90 percent of traditional undergraduate students live on campus, providing significant opportunity to integrate academic dimensions into residential life. Distinctive living-learning communities blend academic and campus life and allow students to join a community who live together in a residence hall, take a class, do research, travel off-campus, and become engaged in a topic on a deeper level. The Richmond Endeavor is the University’s premiere living-learning experience for first-year students. It begins the summer before matriculation, and students are assigned dedicated faculty and peer mentors, participate in a pre-orientation process, live together in a residence hall, and take linked topical courses throughout the year. The University offers a number of other signature co-curricular opportunities designed for students at different points in their journey at the University, including the Sophomore Scholars in Residence (SSIR) program and a variety of themed communities that let students live in an intentional residential community centered around a topic.

The undergraduate student body in the School of Arts and Sciences, Robins School of Business, and the Jepson School of Leadership Studies currently represents 47 U.S. states and 62 countries. Student retention and graduation rates are excellent. As with each entering undergraduate class for the past four years, the 2023 fall entering class set a new standard for academic quality. The average high school GPA was 3.9 and, for students who applied with testing, the SAT was 1485. Over one quarter of students identify as U.S. students of color, and 15 percent are first-generation college students. Ten percent are international citizens.

Richmond is one of only approximately 80 institutions in the country that practices need-blind admissions and meets full need for domestic undergraduate students. Undergraduate Virginians with family income under $60,000 receive a grant equal to tuition, room, and board (no loans), and full need is met through grant aid (no loans) for graduates of Richmond Public Schools and participants in designated community partner programs. The University also has a robust merit aid program. The institution’s commitment to access and affordability is strengthened by ongoing efforts to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in pursuit of creating a campus where all students, faculty, and staff feel a sense of welcome and belonging.

ABOUT THE WEINSTEIN LEARNING CENTER

Propelled by the University of Richmond’s second largest single gift in its historythe new Weinstein Learning Center is an opportunity to reimagine student support in a high-achieving environment and contribute to the formation of academic and life skills central to a liberal arts education. Each of the current academic support centers utilizes a peer-learning model whereby a professional director recruits, trains, and mentors student consultants. Together, the directors and consultants provide student support through 1:1 tutoring, embedded course mentorship, and faculty-supervised review and recitation sessions. The inaugural Executive Director will bring together the following six centers to elevate the impressive support that each individual unit currently provides:

Academic Skills Center

The Academic Skills Center (ASC) provides students with support that enhances their academic experience and personal development through assisting them in understanding and learning ways to improve their cognitive skills. The ASC offers individual and group tutoring throughout the academic year and provides assistance in exam preparation, time management, stress management, and learning and study strategies.

English Language Learning Center

The newly established English Language Learning Center seeks to support Richmond’s multicultural campus community as well as the language learning journeys of students from international and domestic backgrounds.

Speech Center

The Weinstein-Jecklin Speech Center assists those who wish to pursue effective presentation and speaking skills across academic disciplines. The Center offers services related to courses and extracurricular opportunities, as well as advance planning for career interviews, conference presentations, broadcast appearances, senior theses or capstone course defenses, and group presentations.

Speaking-intensive courses across disciplines take advantage of the Speech Fellows Program to provide mentoring that is tailored to the individual needs of class members. The Speech Fellow meets with each student several times during the semester and uses the sequence of consultations to observe and encourage progress toward higher levels of speaking and competence.

Quantitative Resource Center

Richmond’s newest center provides services related to quantitative and computational learning across the curriculum through tutoring, consultation, and training. The Quantitative Resource Center (QRC) aims to provide assistance to faculty and students involved in courses that utilize quantitative skills, as well as those aiming to incorporate quantitative analysis into their teaching and research endeavors. The QRC offers individual tutoring, drop-in tutoring, workshop sessions, and statistical consulting.

Technology Learning Center

The Technology Learning Center (TLC) supports the creation and use of multimedia teaching and learning with an emphasis on course-related digital media projects. While the TLC’s primary focus is curricular support, it also provides an environment for exploration and helps users adapt to the changing needs of the University academic community.

Writing Center

The Writing Center offers writing assistance and support to writers at all levels of experience, across all majors. Services include individual writing consultations in any subject; assistance with planning, revising, and documenting papers; in-class orientations and workshops; and special assistance for second-language students. Students can meet with writing consultants in person or through Zoom during scheduled windows. Faculty who elect to involve their classes in the Writing Across the Curriculum program receive an assigned student writing consultant to work with class participants on their writing projects.

THE ROLE OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The six centers that will comprise the new Weinstein Learning Center have individually enhanced the student experience at Richmond. Through the co-location of the centers into one centralized space in a highly visible location, the WLC has the potential to reach a larger and broader audience by lowering logistical barriers to accessing these services. The inaugural Executive Director will form a plan to meld the distinct centers into one cohesive unit, with a shared sense of identity and purpose and some standardized policies and procedures to elevate student success support at the University. The Executive Director will plan for short- and long-term needs, ensuring that the Weinstein Learning Center is agile and adaptable as teaching and learning evolve in the years to come.

Reporting to the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, the Executive Director will manage an ample annual operating budget that is generously augmented by an endowment fund specifically created to support the operation and goals of the Center. The WLC Executive Director will additionally manage a sizeable budget that currently supports the six centers, including their staff salaries and benefits.

KEY OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

Specifically, the inaugural Executive Director will work to address the following opportunities and challenges:

Coalesce and integrate six distinctive centers and their practices into a new, innovative hub.

The inaugural WLC Executive Director has a distinctive opportunity to create and implement a vision for a world-class academic support unit that leverages best practices in the field to advance student learning and achievement. The Executive Director will partner with faculty and other co-curricular partners across campus to further weave these academic support units into the fabric of the institution. The initial six centers that constitute the Weinstein Learning Center will enter this new operation with distinct histories and missions, and the WLC should leverage and honor the assets of each distinctive component to build a trailblazing suite of resources.

The successful Executive Director will integrate these centers into a shared space and standardize operational practices to provide the campus community with a consistent read of the WLC’s identity and offerings. Standardized practices of high priority include the creation of a comparable application process for student consultants, as well as consistent training and accountability for these key partners. As a first step in centralization, the centers comprising the WLC are currently rebuilding and aligning their scheduling processes to increase accessibility with a goal of enhancing university-wide participation in WLC services.

Address community needs to successfully serve students.

In recent years, student and faculty needs have evolved as a result of the impacts of the pandemic on educational preparation and outcomes and will continue to change with developments in artificial intelligence, novel technologies, and other unforeseen factors. The successful Executive Director will consistently collaborate with peers across campus to stay attuned to, in real-time, the needs of students and faculty and to ensure that the WLC continually and effectively supplements the curricular and co-curricular dimensions of a Richmond education. The University of Richmond is known for its brilliant and high-achieving community, and the Executive Director will leverage these cross-campus connections to contribute to a culture of support seeking. The University seeks to position the WLC as part of a larger intellectual hub of campus life in the library—a place where learners from across the University go to strengthen their skills, provide each other support, and engage with best practices in teaching, learning, and pedagogy.

Create a culture of assessment and data-informed decision-making.

The Executive Director will be skilled in assessment and will use that expertise to collect data on Center usage, including but not limited to, demographic information, frequency of usage, and quality of services. The Executive Director will pay special attention to student and faculty satisfaction and outcomes to identify gaps in audience, offerings, and customer service, and will use that data to inform future directions for the Center.

Ensure the WLC’s breadth of resources is widely known across the Richmond community.

In addition to providing exceptional service to students and faculty, the WLC as a new and novel resource will require proper marketing to reach members of the Richmond community to create a sizable impact on student learning and achievement. Imperative to the success of the Center will be the communication of its additive value to a liberal arts education and the ways that the Center furthers the liberal arts mission of learning core life skills such as writing, speaking, and critical thinking, applicable not just on Richmond’s campus but throughout a lifetime of personal and professional environments. The Executive Director is expected to be a strong relationship builder and communicator to encourage faculty to further integrate WLC resources into the curricula and to work with other partners in both academic affairs and student development to advance a culture of seeking help and holistic student support.

Collaborate across the institution to elevate student learning and success.

The creation of the Weinstein Learning Center presents a unique opportunity to connect student support services with the Academic Advising Resource CenterCareer Services, and the Faculty Hub, among other campus resources to enhance a university-wide ecosystem of best practices in teaching, learning, and student support. With an understanding of the purpose of a holistic education, the Executive Director will identify opportunities to leverage partnership and collaboration with other campus offices, services, and the curriculum.

CHARACTERISTICS AND QUALIFICATIONS

The University of Richmond seeks in its inaugural Executive Director of the Weinstein Learning Center a thought leader in student success who is passionate about serving students and will relish the opportunity to build a forward-looking, world-class, integrated student support center.

The search committee understands that no single candidate will have all the ideal qualifications, but it seeks candidates with the following experience and abilities:

  • Significant experience creating and executing new initiatives that provide academic support services to students in a higher education setting; knowledge of best practices in the field;
  • The ability to articulate and champion the value of a liberal arts education;
  • Proven ability to lead and mentor diverse and high functioning teams and a demonstrated capacity for change management;
  • Demonstrated ability to manage large budgets and strategically deploy resources in support of institutional priorities;
  • Evidence of working with diverse constituencies in a confident, supportive, and inclusive manner;
  • Emotional intelligence and intercultural competence;
  • The curiosity and ability to learn areas outside their own expertise quickly;
  • Exceptional organizational, project management, and problem-solving skills, and the ability to consider and take calculated risks when appropriate;
  • Ability to exhibit and foster creativity and innovation in both the process and product of a team’s work;
  • Integrity, strong listening skills, and a transparent and open style;
  • Willingness to work hard and respect the hard work of others, balanced with the capacity to foster and model a culture of well-being;
  • Teaching experience and the capacity to build strong relationships with faculty and academic leaders in a culture of shared governance; and
  • A doctorate or equivalent terminal degree strongly preferred.

TO APPLY

Confidential inquiries, nominations/referrals, and applications (including resumes and letters of interest responding to the opportunities and challenges outlined above) should be sent electronically to the Isaacson, Miller executive search team via the link below.

Jeff Kessner, Partner

Elizabeth Dorr Weithman, Managing Associate

Diana Carmona, Senior Associate

Jenny Rubin, Senior Search Coordinator

Isaacson, Miller

https://www.imsearch.com/open-searches/university-richmond-weinstein-learning-center/executive-director

The University of Richmond is committed to developing a diverse faculty, staff, and student body, and to modeling an inclusive campus community which values the expression of differences in ways that promote excellence in teaching, learning, personal development, and institutional success.  In keeping with this commitment, our academic community strongly encourages applications from candidates from diverse backgrounds and candidates who support diversity.

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