Vice President for Enrollment Management



 Columbia’s intent is to educate students who will communicate creatively and shape the public’s perceptions of issues and events and who will author the culture of their times.

~excerpt from the Columbia College Chicago Mission


Columbia College Chicago, a private nonprofit institution located in downtown Chicago, Illinois, offers a distinctive curriculum that blends creative and media arts, liberal arts, and business for nearly 7,500 students in more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Dedicated to academic excellence and long-term career success, Columbia College Chicago seeks an inaugural Vice President for Enrollment Management.


The Position

The new vice president will report to Columbia College Chicago’s tenth president, Dr. Kwang-Wu Kim, and serve as a member of his cabinet.  Overseeing all aspects of enrollment, including prospect, applicant, and admitted-student marketing and recruitment, special population recruitment (international students, diverse students, veterans, and transfer students), and awarding and management of all institutional and donor-based scholarships, the vice president will lead a staff of more than 90 professionals and oversee an operational budget of nearly $12 million.  They will collaborate with the Provost, deans and chairs in discussions of market capacity and viability of existing and future programs; collaborate closely with the Chief Financial Officer to set pricing; and help coordinate activities of departments across the college on activities and operations that may affect recruitment or retention efforts.



  • Conceive of and implement policy, strategy and tactics in the recruitment of students, and help inform and guide retention efforts for the college;
  • Set enrollment goals, design and oversee the execution of recruitment plans;
  • Oversee scholarship and financial aid strategies and processes;
  • Manage marketing to student prospects, applicants and admitted students;
  • Collaborates with Institutional Effectiveness to analyze, leverage and report market, enrollment and other institutional data;
  • Work effectively with Student Affairs in designing and implementing a full complement of support services to enhance the out-of- classroom experience and extend student learning at Columbia College Chicago;
  • Provide leadership, oversight, and direction to Enrollment Management, Undergraduate Admissions and Student Financial Services departments;
  • Help guide and support the President in his enrollment-related outreach activities and appearances, serving as a co-strategist on enrollment management issues;
  • Ensure that the President is well briefed and that his time spent in enrollment management-related activities is highly productive;
  • Support and position the Board as thought leaders, validators and advocates for the college. Similarly guide and support senior staff, faculty, and other community members in their capacity as formal Columbia representatives;
  • Set clear direction and priorities for the staff of professional and administrative support personnel;
  • Continually assess staff strengths and recruit new staff as necessary, maintain a high-quality, diverse team;
  • Promote excellence through well-defined and measurable goals; inspire and motivate staff through the free flow of information; and continually frame staff work and projects within the context of Columbia’s strategic priorities and mission; and
  • Provide professional development opportunities as appropriate, and encourage staff to set personal growth targets.



The successful candidate should have significant documented experience in a senior management position leading a successful enrollment management program at a college or university. An undergraduate degree is required, an advanced degree is highly preferred. In addition, candidates for this position should demonstrate the following characteristics, skills, abilities and understanding:

  • Track record of success in the field of enrollment management, particularly in the areas of enrollment projections and growth, selective enrollment, and financial aid leveraging;
  • Strong ability to use enrollment trend data in establishing priorities and developing strategies and objectives, a strong commitment to diversity as well as a deep understanding of state and federal financial aid regulations, institutional-aid leveraging strategies and knowledge of current national and international enrollment management practices and issues;
  • Strong budget management and supervisory skills;
  • Superior analytical skills and an interpersonal style that is collaborative and collegial;
  • Expert knowledge of the current higher education enrollment landscape, the ability to evaluate and utilize data and predictive modeling in planning and decision-making, and an ability to engage faculty, staff, students, and other campus constituents in successful recruitment and retention efforts;
  • Excellent writing as well as interpersonal communication and presentation skills and the ability to connect with a variety of audiences, including a refined and nuanced ability to craft and disseminate messages in ways that reflect, engage and enhance various complex cultural perspectives;
  • Track record of working directly with top leadership;
  • Ability to build relationships and collaborate across the institution, serving as a resource to others and obtaining their input;
  • Strong personal integrity and work ethic;
  • Experience building and sustaining effective and collaborative teams as well as managing staffs and budgets strategically; must be able to work effectively with, delegate to and provide direction and leadership for multiple large teams; and
  • Ability to create operational efficiency and optimal use of resources; the ability to plan, monitor, and manage a budget;
  • Appreciation for a student body and faculty comprised of creatives who leverage their talent and passion to shape what’s next.


About Columbia College Chicago

Founded in 1890 as the Columbia School of Oratory, it was named in honor of the 1893 Columbian Exposition.  At the time, the school occupied just part of a single building and students studied Elocution, Voice Culture, Visible Speech, Literature, and English. Since then the College has not only grown, but it has earned a reputation for being a world leader in arts and communication education.

Columbia College Chicago educates students for the real world through hands-on training in the arts, media, and communications for careers in the creative professions and beyond. Surrounding and infusing this practical preparation is a strong framework of required courses in the liberal arts and sciences. A Columbia education combines the pragmatic and the theoretical, the entrepreneurial and the academic as students engage in more than 100 majors and programs. Thanks to its faculty members’ immersion in the working world and its location in the heart of downtown Chicago, Columbia students and graduates are surrounded by exceptional internship and career opportunities. In addition to the strong liberal arts core, Columbia is embedding business/marketing into all its majors, and has just undergone a complete curricular overhaul. Historically an open-access institution, Columbia strategically opted to become moderately selective in the last five years. These changes are guided by a five-year plan that places students’ academic and career outcomes as the key hallmarks of the college’s success.

Building on its heritage of creativity, innovation, and strength, Columbia College Chicago continues to challenge its students to realize their abilities according to the school’s motto, “esse quam videri” –to be rather than to seem– and encourages its students to author the culture of their times. For more than 125 years, the educational purpose of Columbia College Chicago has continuously informed its evolving pedagogies, curricula, and student experiences. Unafraid of change, the College continuously incorporated new technologies into creative communications coursework to remain current and adhere to best practices.  Columbia has woven itself into the fabric of Chicago and is an integral part of the South Loop community. The College’s motto “to be rather than to seem” and its original classroom philosophies of “learn to do by doing” and “theory never made an artist,” remain vital to the Columbia experience today.

Columbia College Chicago believes a solid foundation in the liberal arts and sciences is essential to any creative career; every undergraduate must complete the requirements of the Liberal Arts and Sciences Core, and Columbia is embedding courses like business, marketing and technology into all its majors. Columbia students are creatively charged, seeing and understanding the world through a creative lens. Students are driven to pursue their passions and are willing to put in the hard work to get there.

Columbia’s students, nearly a third (2,500) of whom live in residence centers, have the opportunity to participate in more than 85 student organizations–from the Student Dance Organization to Japanese Anime and Manga.  Columbia’s student organizations express the diversity, interests, and energy of its students. Set to open in 2019, Columbia’s new $50 million Student Center will offer students a dedicated space to collaborate across disciplines and student in informal settings outside the classroom.

For more on the College, see 


Location: Chicago, Illinois

With countless parks, museums, galleries, music venues, boutiques, restaurants and so much more, the city of Chicago is Columbia College Chicago’s campus and a major part of student life at Columbia.  Columbia occupies more than 15 academic, administrative, and residence life buildings in the South Loop neighborhood, part of Chicago’s downtown area and central business district. The campus stretches just over a mile from Grant Park on Michigan Avenue north to south and approximately three blocks wide.

Chicago, the third largest city in the United States with a population of nearly three million people, serves as a laboratory and a playground, and allows students to explore the vast cultural and professional opportunities that abound in the city.  A world-class commercial, industrial and cultural city, Chicago functions as a major national center and as the major regional center for America’s heartland.

From summer festivals to winter zoo lights, Chicago offers a with a diverse mix of activities for everyone. Known as the Jewel of the Midwest and the Windy City, Chicago is a true American city with a storied past and a promising future.


To Apply

Napier Executive Search is assisting Columbia College Chicago to search for a Vice President for Enrollment Management. For a confidential conversation, or if you wish to nominate someone for this position, contact Mary Napier at or Laura Robinson at To  apply, send a résumé; a cover letter outlining your specific interest in this opportunity at Columbia College Chicago; and, contact information for three professional references by email to: For assurance of full consideration, submit materials before June 1, 2018. There is an anticipated start date of summer 2018. All applications and nominations will be considered confidential and notice will be given before references are contacted.


Columbia College Chicago is an equal opportunity employer and complies with all local, state, and federal laws and regulations concerning civil rights.   The college does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law.

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