Dean of Graduate Admissions at Elon University

Elon University, the premier student-centered environment for experiential learning, seeks an experienced and progressive Dean of Graduate Admissions. The Dean will embrace Boldly Elon, the 2030 strategic plan which will advance the University as a leading residential institution and will sharply define Elon’s graduate programs.  Elon’s rigorous curriculum is grounded in the liberal arts and complemented by nationally recognized and accredited professional programs.  Elon has more than 60 undergraduate majors and 10 graduate programs across five schools.  Elon’s 6,302 undergraduate and 825 graduate and professional students come from 46 states and 49 other countries.

The Opportunity
The Dean of Graduate Admissions will report to the Vice President for Enrollment and be responsible for annual enrollment of graduate students to support the overall enrollment objectives of the university.  Working in close partnership with academic deans, program directors, and assistant directors of graduate admissions, the Dean of Graduate Admissions will develop and lead strategic efforts that range from generating new interest in a wide range of programmatic offerings to communication and marketing strategies that result in increased graduate student applications and yield.  In addition, the forward thinking and innovative Dean will provide dynamic leadership and strong management to a talented staff of five reports. While the Dean will have overall supervisory responsibility for all graduate programs, they will also have specific recruitment responsibility for one of two areas: the School of Communications (Interactive Media) or the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education (MHE and M.Ed.).

Responsibilities and Priorities
The essential duties and responsibilities of the Dean of Graduate Admissions include:

  • Provide strategic vision for graduate programs in partnership with the Vice President for Enrollment and the deans and ensure alignment with the University’s mission and strategic plan.
  • Partner with graduate program directors across schools to set enrollment goals and ensure successful outcomes.
  • Utilize data analytics and research insights to develop and manage marketing strategy and comprehensive tactical plans for print, online, and social media outlets targeting local, national, and international students.
  • Promote the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in graduate students’ enrollment management.
  • Identify, secure, and utilize appropriate lead generation for each graduate program.
  • Develop and manage comprehensive marketing, promotion, and recruitment plans working directly with graduate admissions staff, University Communications, School Deans, and program directors/coordinators.
  • Coordinate and manage strategic flow of communication with prospective  students from the point of inquiry through time of enrollment.
  • Conduct and communicate routinely a strategic analysis of market trends, key factors, and competitors of graduate program markets.
  • Develop and provide enrollment reports, analysis, and projections.
  • Oversee development and maintenance of a statistical history of graduate students.
  • Conduct appropriate research to determine effectiveness of various recruitment initiatives.
  • Organize and host virtual and campus visit/open houses/interview days with prospective students and families; advise and counsel students about program benefits, admissions process/requirements, and financial aid/scholarship information.
  • Represent graduate admissions externally at university functions including University undergraduate admissions and advancement events plus travel to select graduate/health profession fairs.
  • Serve on Graduate Council, Department Leadership team and respective program admissions committees.
  • Liaise with Law School admissions staff.
  • Communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing, with prospective graduate students and program staff.
  • Manage and coordinate application review process; evaluate applications for admission: transcripts, test scores,  recommendations, statements of goals and work experience; and identify candidates to interview and admit.
  • Develop scholarship models for all graduate programs with merit-based aid.
  • Research and complete surveys for graduate guides and rankings.
  • Provide regular, data updates for Vice President of Enrollment/other university leadership and Board of Trustees.

Qualifications, Abilities and Desired Characteristics
Most critically, Elon University expects candidates to have a minimum of five years of graduate admission experience with a track record of innovation and success in growing and launching graduate and professional programs and modalities. It is required that the Dean of Graduate Admissions will have a bachelor’s degree and it is strongly preferred that the Dean will have a master’s or other advanced degree.

The successful candidate will also possess the following abilities and characteristics: 

Partnership and Collaboration

  • Excellent communication, organizational, management, planning and marketing skills; the ability to manage multiple responsibilities and meet deadlines.
  • Ability to contribute to divisional senior leadership team in innovation, planning and implementation.
  • Engagement with the campus in the recruiting process by building an atmosphere of enrollment management through collaboration and transparent communication with faculty, deans, and other key internal constituencies.
  • Experience hiring, managing, motivating, retaining, and providing vision for high-performing staff of varied levels and fostering an environment of teamwork and collaboration.

Expertise in Enrollment Management best practices for graduate and professional programs

  • High level knowledge of national and international market demographics, demands, and trends in graduate admission to help inform recruitment strategy.
  • Ability to formulate a multichannel marketing approach to engage varying pipelines of prospective students, appropriate to industry standards and based on data-informed behavior of adult students.
  • Entrepreneurial mindset with regard to generating active leads and interest in existing programs, then actively recruiting students from prospect to enrollment.
  • Effective command of data evaluation to determine new market opportunities and analyze results as recruitment efforts continue to unfold.
  • Proficiency in appropriate software systems including Slate; experience with Ellucian Colleague is preferred.

Extraordinary Communicator

  • Outstanding communicator who possesses strong interpersonal and presentation skills for speaking confidently and engagingly with prospective students, their families, campus colleagues, employers, and alumni.
  • A desire to create an open, transparent, and ongoing dialogue with faculty and administrators that will engender cooperation, trust, and confidence.
  • Ability to meet and work well with university leaders, faculty, staff, students, families, and alumni to represent the institution with polish, professionalism, confidence, and knowledge.

Ability to Embrace Elon’s Culture, Mission, and Excellence

  • An understanding of Elon and a deep respect for the mission, as well as the ability to build out and advance the mission, especially by partnering with others.
  • Desire to make immediate contributions to an ambitious, forward thinking and quickly moving culture.
  • Demonstrated commitment to and success in recruiting and enrolling students from diverse and historically under-served populations.
  • Experience in identifying those students who would thrive and contribute to Elon’s quality programs.

High level Management and Leadership Skills

  • Ability to work independently as well as inspire, mentor, motivate and be a part of a talented and hard-working team, engendering trust that brings success.
  • Possession of critical self-reflection, emotional intelligence and multicultural competence in order to engage and promote a culture of inclusivity.
  • Sense of humility, integrity and accountability, and a willingness to create an environment of transparency and a community of enjoyment in the workplace.
  • Innovative, creative, and flexible spirit with personal compassion, approachability, and the willingness to listen to all members of the admissions staff as well as others throughout the university.

Elon University
Elon’s historic 656-acre campus in central North Carolina is designated as a botanical garden and includes the 56-acre Elon University Forest, a land preserve and natural area for scientific research; and the Elon Environmental Center at Loy Farm, a center for environmental research and sustainability that includes a solar farm.

Led by Elon’s 9th president, Connie Ledoux Book, Elon’s rigorous curriculum is grounded in the arts and sciences and complemented by nationally accredited professional and graduate programs. The 447 full-time faculty members teach in more than 60 undergraduate majors, along with master’s programs in business administration, management, accounting, education, higher education, interactive media and physician assistant studies; and doctoral programs in physical therapy and law.

The university includes Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences; the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business; the School of Communications; the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education; the School of Health Sciences; and the School of Law, which is located on a campus in downtown Greensboro, N.C.

Global engagement is central to Elon’s experience and the Institute of International Education has ranked Elon #1 in the nation for study abroad for 15 straight years. Eighty percent of students have at least one international study experience, often combined with internships, research or service. In addition, Elon’s Study USA program includes opportunities to study in Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Alaska, and other locations.

Elon’s engaging intellectual climate is distinguished by supportive and collaborative human relationships that promote personal growth at the graduate and professional school level, as well as during the undergraduate experience. Student Professional Development Center counselors work with students to create personal development plans, resumes and strong networking skills. The robust Elon Network of faculty, employers, alumni and parents provides connections to internships and career opportunities.

Elon is ranked among the top-100 National Universities by U.S. News & World Report, with a #2 ranking for excellence in undergraduate teaching and #10 for innovation. In addition, Elon is the leader in the “Focus on Student Success” feature – the only college or university ranked in the top-20 in all eight categories of high-impact academic programs. Included are #1 rankings for study abroad and learning communities and #2 rankings for first-year experiences, senior capstone and service learning.

Princeton Review ranks Elon the nation’s #1 “Best-Run” college, with the #1 “Most Popular Study Abroad” program, the #4 “Most Beautiful Campus” and the #4 “Best Career Services” program. The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education ranks Elon #16 in the nation for student engagement. Poets & Quants ranks Elon among the nation’s top undergraduate business, marketing and MBA programs. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine names Elon one of the nation’s top-30 “best value” private universities.

Elon is an academic community that provides a calibrated balance of challenge and encouragement, helping students discover the ambition to seek something great and the courage to achieve it. Elon is a university with a powerful trajectory—ever on the rise and always striving to achieve higher levels of excellence.

To learn more about Elon University, go to https://www.elon.edu/.

Location
Elon University is in the beautifully historic Alamance County. The Town of Elon, with a population of approximately 10,000, is home to a number of businesses envisioned, developed and run by Elon University alumni including Pandora’s Pies, The Oak House, The Root and Simply Oak Boutique all of which are located in Downtown Elon. Downtown Elon is also home to the first MaGerk’s Pub in the South and is the second location in North Carolina for the Mediterranean Deli & Grocery. The Town of Elon also offers two parks with walking trails and programming five minutes from campus. Downtown Elon hosts a variety of events throughout the year open to the community.

Just ten minutes from campus, the city of Burlington (population approximately 53,000), features Alamance Crossing, a large outdoor shopping mall, a variety of restaurants and the beautiful Lake Mackintosh, an 1100-acre lake with canoeing, paddle-boats and outdoor picnic facilities, just minutes from campus. It is home to the Burlington City Park Carousel, a handcrafted menagerie carousel built in the early 1900s by the Dentzel Carousel Company and featuring hand-carved animals. The county also includes historical sites, such as the Alamance Battleground and the WWII Home-front Museum.

The first phase of the Burlington Greenway and Bikeway was completed in summer of 2020.   Connecting downtown Elon and downtown Burlington, the Greenway creates a convenient and safe way for bikes and pedestrians to travel from campus to Burlington, enhancing the quality of life.

Three of the public elementary schools in the county offer Spanish language immersion programs. With the help of Splash! Language Immersion, several schools have been established where all instruction is given in Spanish by native speaking teachers.

Just off the I-40 corridor, Elon’s location provides access to some of North Carolina’s largest metropolitan areas, as well as numerous outdoor and leisure activities. A short distance from Elon are the triad cities of Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point, and to the east Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh, the anchors of the Research Triangle Park. With populations of 1.6 million and 1.7 million respectively, these areas contain renowned furniture factories, top golf courses, shopping opportunities and historic sites, as well as hiking, swimming and skiing opportunities. 

To Apply
Napier Executive Search is assisting Elon University with this search for Dean of Graduate Admissions. For more information or to nominate someone for this position, contact Mary Napier (mary.napier@napiersearch.com) or Laura Robinson (laura.Robinson@napiersearch.com) for a confidential conversation. Interested candidates should submit a résumé along with a cover letter expressing interest in this position. Candidates should provide the names and contact information of at least three professional references; references will not be contacted without permission. All application materials should be submitted electronically to elon@napiersearch.com as soon as possible. Materials will be reviewed beginning April 20, and the search will remain open until the position is filled.  The anticipated start date is Summer 2022.

Elon University is an equal employment opportunity employer committed to a diverse faculty, staff and student body and welcomes all applicants. 

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