Hamilton College, a pre-eminent, residential, private liberal arts college in Upstate New York, invites applications and nominations for the position of dean of admission.
Reporting to the vice president for enrollment management, the College seeks an exceptional leader to oversee Hamilton’s admission strategy, manage all aspects of recruitment and selection, and sustain and improve upon recent successes the College has achieved in removing barriers and attracting record numbers of talented students from across the globe, while at the same time prioritizing the academic quality, diversity, and retention of the institution’s student body. The dean will be a highly visible leader both on and off campus, and an effective spokesperson for the College.
Responsibilities and Essential Functions:
Strategic Student Recruitment Leader
The dean of admission will serve as a member of the vice president’s leadership team and should have demonstrated experience in strategic recruitment and enrollment practices. The dean will manage all admission recruitment, selection, and yield initiatives, and will strategically analyze enrollment data and trends to ensure the Admission Office’s outreach efforts are responsive to changing demographics and are designed to meet the goals of the institution. Working closely with a strong cohort of associate deans and program directors, the dean will oversee the development and implementation of recruitment plans for all targeted populations and will demonstrate a strong commitment to access, equity, and inclusion in all student recruitment initiatives. The successful candidate will lead a best-in-class campus visit program (with a parallel virtual experience) and model excellent service to internal and external constituents.
Hamilton’s admission dean should possess a strategic mindset and the ability to analyze admission market and enrollment trends, along with a desire to work closely with the vice president for enrollment management and institutional research, communications and marketing, and institutional technology departments to conceptualize and execute a recruitment and communications plan that is informed by such analysis and designed to meet the College’s objectives. The dean will also partner with the vice president, director of admission communication, and director of admission data and technology on vendor management and assessment, including the identification of new student sources and recruitment partnerships or opportunities.
Hamilton takes seriously its role as one of the most generous colleges in the country and practices a need-blind admission policy. As a member of the enrollment management senior leadership team, the dean will work closely with the vice president and executive director of financial aid to represent the College’s generous resources responsibly and effectively and to evaluate their effectiveness in helping Hamilton achieve its goals.
The dean will represent Hamilton through selective travel, speaking engagements at strategic partner schools and programs, attendance at conferences, and active engagement with professional organizations, and will serve on campus-wide committees and be a visible leader within the larger Hamilton community. Possessing excellent written and oral communication skills, the dean will represent Hamilton to a variety of internal and external audiences, ranging from prospective students and their families to the College’s Board of Trustees.
Office Management and Staff Cultivation
While engendering a sense of camaraderie, the dean will inspire, recruit, develop, retain, motivate, and oversee a highly effective full-time admission team of 16, plus seasonal application readers and part-time help as needed. The dean’s leadership team includes an exceptionally strong and dedicated cohort of associate deans, program directors, and an operations manager.
The dean must demonstrate the ability to make good hires, provide excellent training, and promote professional development through external opportunities and internal coaching and mentorship. In addition to overseeing team members and their individual and collective responsibilities and strategic initiatives, the dean will manage and optimize the Admission Office budget.
The Dean must demonstrate a strong commitment to access, equity, and inclusion in management practices and will cultivate a positive team culture for the admission staff and overall enrollment division.
Data Analytics and Communications & Marketing Expertise
With the vice president and the director of admission data and technology, the dean will ensure ample resources and prioritization are given to data reporting, analysis, and evaluation of all admission initiatives. Expertise with data analysis and an appreciation and passion for technology, including successful use of enterprise systems and CRMs, are expected; extensive experience using Slate is preferred.
The dean of admission will have a lead role in admission marketing, including the admission website, print materials, email campaigns, social media, and digital content. With the vice president and the director of admission communication, the dean will ensure a segmented and data informed strategy for all recruitment, applicant, and yield communications.
Education and Progressive Experience
The position requires a proven leader with impeccable integrity, outstanding communication skills, innovative thinking, high energy, inclusive and equity mindedness, and excellent managerial ability. The dean will bring to the role a highly successful record of achievement in admission, a belief in Hamilton’s liberal arts mission, substantial experience with effectively using technology and data to enhance and inform the student recruitment and selection process, and a desire to partner with others across campus. The position requires at least 10 years of increasingly responsible related experience; an advanced degree is preferred.
Characteristics and Requirements Desired in a Successful Dean of Admission:
- Talented and engaging leader with high energy, strong work ethic, and unquestioned integrity
- Community collaborator with a strong focus on service and excellence
- Demonstrated experience with smart, analytical, strategic, and informed decision making
- A deep understanding of and ability to articulate the merits of a liberal arts education
- Ambitious and goals-driven, while also being efficient, detail-oriented, and pragmatic
- Strong writer and gifted communicator and presenter
- Experienced, compassionate, fair, and accessible manager who is an effective motivator and team builder
- Dedicated to ethical and transparent admission, and values diversity, equity, and inclusivity in all practices
- Financial aid knowledge or experience as it relates to private, liberal arts education is preferred, and an appreciation for working in a need-blind admission environment that also meets the full demonstrated financial need of students is desirable
Hamilton’s Commitment to Being “A School of Opportunity”
Hamilton has a reputation for being “prestigious but not pretentious,” and long-standing commitment to access and opportunity. Nearly a dozen years ago, the College made that commitment even more clear. During an economic recession, and when balancing the College’s budget was a top challenge and priority, Hamilton joined roughly four dozen colleges that pledge to be need-blind in admission (meaning a family’s ability to pay will not be a factor in admission decisions) while still meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need. Since that momentous decision, in addition to attracting classes of unprecedented academic ability and talent, Hamilton has set records for applications and selectivity, increased diversity of all kinds, and improved retention. This stance has helped the College attract and retain excellent leaders and teachers who want to be at an institution that admits and supports the very best students possible. To ensure Hamilton sustains this financial aid promise, the largest component of Hamilton’s current and most ambitious fundraising campaign is allocated to financial aid endowment. The income earned from scholarship funds in Hamilton’s more than $1.3 billion endowment provides approximately 40 percent of the College’s financial aid budget.
The College: Guided by the motto “Know Thyself,” Hamilton prepares students for lives of meaning, purpose, and active citizenship. The College’s distinctive open curriculum gives students the freedom to explore their passions while honing critical thinking and communications skills.
Founded more than 200 years ago, Hamilton is both traditional and progressive, having supplemented its focus on teaching students to think independently and communicate clearly with a cocurricular program that provides internships and other experiential learning and leadership opportunities. The College is led by Hamilton’s 20th president, David Wippman, and has been involved in strategic planning since 2018, which has focused the campus on issues ranging from curricular innovation and student success to diversity and inclusion. One of the most ambitious and distinctive outcomes is the implementation of ALEX (Advise, Learn, EXperience), Hamilton’s coordinated advising network tailored for each student’s academic success, career preparation, experiential learning, and personal growth.
Hamilton’s mission to prepare students for lives of meaning, purpose, and active citizenship is inextricably tied to its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Serious intellectual inquiry and informed engagement with an ever-changing world depend on open dialogue among people with differing perspectives and values, and from different backgrounds. The work of achieving an inclusive, equitable community is of paramount importance. Hamilton is continually striving to make further progress through positive action, change, and growth.
The College received an unprecedented 9,899 applications, from all 50 states and 137 countries, for Hamilton’s Class of 2026. This year’s admit rate of 11.8% is the lowest on record for Hamilton, and while the Class of 2026 composite will not be finalized until students arrive, it is on par with the upward trajectory of entering cohorts from recent years. The first-year class that entered last fall was the most ethnically and socioeconomically diverse class on record (33% U.S. students of color, 7% international citizens, 22% Pell Grant recipients, and 18% first generation to college). The College’s current financial aid budget of $52.4 million supports roughly half the student body, with an average financial aid award of $53,937. Hamilton’s overall enrollment is roughly 2,000 students from 47 states and 51 countries, with 34% identifying as U.S. students of color or international citizens.
As a residential college, Hamilton has invested more than $236 million in campus facilities during the past decade, with $186 million committed to academic facilities. Students are required to live on campus in one of 29 different residence halls or apartment-style housing, learn in a distinctively attractive open curriculum, and choose from 45 majors (called “concentrations”) and 58 areas of study; approximately 33 percent of students participate in 29 NCAA Division III varsity sports as part of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). Students also engage in 15 club sports and 17 intramural programs, and in more than 200 clubs and organizations including those focused on volunteerism, religion, public affairs, culture, the media, comedy, music, and performance.
Those employed at Hamilton often cite a caring campus community that fosters long-term appreciation of individuals. The enrollment management division has created a “culture club,” which offers social activities during and after work hours for the division’s employees. In addition to providing a competitive benefits package that features robust tuition reimbursement plans and retirement contributions, Hamilton is located in a region with a relatively low cost of living and access to quality child care, including the Clinton Early Learning Center. The College also provides support, at no cost, for relocating employees and their families to the area. M3 Placement & Partnership concentrates and specializes in many aspects of transitioning to Central New York, including work opportunities for the spouses and partners of new Hamilton employees.
Location: Hamilton’s 1,350-acre campus is situated on a hilltop overlooking the safe and picturesque village of Clinton, with quaint shops, historic homes, several restaurants, and an award-winning school district. Additional shopping and amenities are located 10 minutes away in New Hartford and Utica (pop. 65,000), which is home to an outstanding regional art museum, the historic 3,000-seat Stanley Theatre, an AHL hockey team, the popular Utica Boilermaker 15k road race, and a rich variety of cultural cuisine. Cooperstown, home to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Fenimore Art Museum, is less than one hour away, and the southern border of the Adirondack Park is about 60 minutes to the northeast where hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, skiing, and snowmobiling are popular. The College is 45 minutes east of Syracuse, 90 minutes west of Albany, three hours from Niagara Falls, and four hours from Boston or New York City.
Napier Executive Search is helping Hamilton identify the College’s next dean of admission. For more information, or to nominate someone for this position, contact Robin Reynders (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mary Napier (email@example.com). All conversations will remain confidential unless otherwise stated and agreed.
Interested candidates should submit a résumé and a letter of interest describing their unique qualifications for the dean of admission position at Hamilton College. Candidates should also provide the names and contact information of at least three professional references. For confidentiality, references will not be contacted without permission. For best consideration, all application materials should be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org by September 12, 2022. The position is campus-based and the preferred start date is no later than January 1, 2023.
Hamilton College is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer and encourages diversity in all areas of the campus community.