Executive Director of Graduate Enrollment


The University of Denver seeks nominations and applications for an Executive Director of Graduate Enrollment.  Reporting to the Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Education, the individual in this new position will coordinate efforts for graduate domestic, international, and online students when there are efficiencies to be gained through a centralized effort. The successful candidate will work in concert with the Graduate Enrollment Advisory Council to provide leadership in the development, management and execution of enrollment goals.


The Executive Director will be involved with all levels of graduate education at the University of Denver, but in varying capacities.  Overseeing the Graduate Admissions Office, the Executive Director will provide greater support for graduate programs in Arts and Humanities; Social Sciences; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science; Morgridge College of Education; Joseph Korbel School of International Studies, DU-Iliff Joint PhD program and Graduate School of Professional Psychology.  In addition, the Graduate Admissions Office serves as a resource for Daniels College of Business; Graduate School of Social Work; Sturm College of Law; and University College.


The University of Denver: An Overview

Founded in 1864, the University of Denver is an independent, doctoral granting university with high research activity. The University has become increasingly known nationally and internationally for its creative, 21st-century approaches to problem-based scholarship, a holistic, student-centered approach to learning, and a dedication to the public good through local, national and international partnerships. It plays an integral role in the cultural, social, economic and educational life of the vibrant and fast-growing city and region it calls home.


Known commonly as DU, the University of Denver is located on a 125-acre campus less than 30 minutes from downtown. During the last 20 years, the University has invested more than $640 million in the construction of new buildings, including the Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness, the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, the Chambers Center for the Advancement of Women, Olin Hall, the Ricketson Law Building, Ruffatto Hall (Morgridge College of Education), the Daniels College of Business, the Joy Burns Center and the Anderson Academic Commons (home of Penrose Library), as well as two new residence halls. In just the last year, the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science building and the Anna & John J. Sie International Relations Complex, which expands the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, have opened. Currently, the University is in the design phase of three transformational projects: a new Community Commons (reimagined student center), a 500-bed first-year residence hall and a Career Achievement Center—all being designed to support programming aligned with DU IMPACT 2025. The University is also undertaking a campus/community master plan to integrate the campus and its surrounding neighborhood into a knowledge/innovation/residential village. The beautiful campus, with sweeping views of the Denver skyline and the Rocky Mountains, is also designated as an arboretum.


Academic Profile

U.S. News and World Report lists the University of Denver among the nation’s top 100 universities. The Carnegie Classifications identify DU as a research university with higher research activity. The University enrolls about 11,600 students from all regions of the United States and 83 foreign countries in its distinguished undergraduate liberal arts and sciences, graduate and professional programs.  The academic programs are led by twelve academic deans. Each program features cutting-edge curricula, professor-led courses and access to the latest tools and technology. The 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio and small class sizes allow personalized instruction as well as multiple opportunities for research, exploration, and holistic student development. There are more than 700 full-time appointed faculty members, of which 90 percent have earned the highest degree in their fields. DU faculty often collaborate on scholarly inquiry and pedagogical reflection with faculty and students from other disciplines, divisions, schools, colleges across campus and community partners. These efforts—and many others like them—deepen the University’s intellectual portfolio and expand the opportunities available for its faculty and students.


Graduate level work is offered at twelve schools and colleges in programs that integrate independent study, research and professional development.   Graduate students may study in 32 doctoral programs; more than 120 master’s level programs; and earn certificates in 68 areas.  In 2016, graduate teaching and research assistant funding topped more than $11 million.


Student Life

In fall 2016, there were 5,754 undergraduates and 5,861 graduate students. Ten percent of students are international, 55 percent of students are female, and 19 percent identify as domestic minority. DU students display great ethnic, cultural, and spiritual diversity. What binds them together is a commitment to scholarly excellence, attention and access to professors and an insatiable curiosity and drive to make a difference in the world.


Denver, Colorado: A Preferred Location

Both the city of Denver and the state of Colorado are attractive destinations for business and industry. Denver holds the top position for the second year in a row for best places for business and careers. The city is the second fastest growing city in the country and is a magnet for young professionals (its median population age is just 34). In 2015, Denver ranked Number 13 in the country for best cities for technology jobs. The nine-county Metro Denver and Northern Colorado region ranked fourth for fossil fuel energy employment and fifth among the nation’s 50 largest metros for cleantech employment in 2015. Colorado has one of the highest per capita concentrations of federally-funded science and research centers in the nation with 30 federal laboratories including the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Colorado is expected to rank among the top ten states for job growth for the sixth year in a row in 2017.


U.S. News and World Report’s 2016 Best Places to Live  study ranked the city of Denver in the top spot, citing the city’s proximity to outdoor recreation, a progressive mind-set, and its walkability. The ethnic and cultural diversity of the Denver Metro area includes a Latino/Hispanic population that represents about a third of the population, a strong and visible African American community, a diverse array of Southeast Asian refugees and immigrants, and a similarly diverse population of refugees and immigrants from East Africa.


With 300 days of sunshine a year, there are plenty of reasons to get outside. Not only is Colorado the country’s most popular ski destination, but it is also home to four national parks, 42 state parks and many outdoor recreation areas for boating, hiking, camping, swimming, snowmobiling, bird watching, picnicking, world-class fishing, hunting, and biking. DU students, faculty and staff enjoy countless adventures in the great outdoors of the vast Rocky Mountains and can explore the diverse cultural attractions, sporting events and the vibrant city scene of Mile High City.


Diversity and Inclusive Excellence

DU shows a demonstrated commitment to inclusive excellence. Three senior administrators on the Chancellor’s senior staff have direct accountability in areas of inclusive excellence: the Vice Chancellor for Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence; the Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Inclusive Community; and the Senior Advisor to the Chancellor and Provost on Diversity and Equity, who works with academic deans on unit-specific diversity plans. The University is fully committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse community and promotes the full participation and prosperity of all of its members.


Since 2005, DU has seen a 62 percent increase in domestic students of color, from 13 to 21 percent of the student body. Another 8-10 percent are international students from over 35 countries around the globe. Seventeen percent of appointed faculty members are domestic persons of color, and three percent are international. New hiring guidelines and retention efforts are designed to support an increasingly diverse set of faculty and staff members.


Opportunities and Challenges for the Position

The Executive Director of Graduate Enrollment will have the following opportunities:


Support annual and long-range enrollment goals and recruitment initiatives: The Executive Director and his/her/their staff will collaborate with deans and division-level enrollment staff to understand the university’s larger goals, working to provide data and assisting to clarify graduate enrollment goals.  Additionally, the executive director and deans and division level enrollment staff will facilitate and participate in the achievement of overall graduate enrollment along with specific divisional and collegiate targets.


Establish metrics-based delineation of graduate enrollment efforts:  The Executive Director will map out the history of past enrollment, gather market research for future growth and study the opportunities for maximizing graduate enrollments overall and at the division level in conjunction with key partners at the University of Denver. Through productive administration and further deployment of Technolutions Slate CRM (launched at the graduate level of DU in 2016) and Ellucian Banner, the Executive Director will assist in facilitating maintenance of data that can inform future strategies.


Collaborate with the Graduate Enrollment Advisory Council: This newly formed working group was convened by the Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Education.  Chaired by the Executive Director of Graduate Enrollment, the group involves enrollment staff from each academic division as well as undergraduate admissions. The group will serve as a connecting point, fostering collaboration, exchange of ideas and services, and sharing ideas for efficiency and advancement of admission efforts at the graduate level.


Garner support for efficiencies of scale: With best enrollment management practices in mind, the Executive Director, working with his/her/their team, will implement centralized admission services to varying degrees for division level recruitment efforts.  By providing clarity and increasing efficiency of efforts, the Executive Director will enhance the graduate student applicant experience and prioritize customer relations resulting in increased and maximized enrollments at the graduate level.


Innovate and strategically grow revenue for graduate enrollment: He/She/They will work with the Director of Financial Aid, deans, division level enrollment staff and senior leadership team to determine the most effective strategy to leverage need and merit aid to enroll graduate students who will thrive at DU. One of the goals of Impact 2025 is to address affordability and reduce student debt.  The Executive Director will work with others on campus to develop sustainable strategies to recruit and retain outstanding graduate student scholars, increase financial aid and scholarships and reduce student debt, and develop philanthropy to meet the need for graduate students.


Enhance campus diversity: The Executive Director will promote efforts to identify, attract, recruit, enroll and support students from a diverse array of domestic racial, ethnic, economic backgrounds, as well as a diverse mix of international students, representing the global community.


Serve as a ‘player-coach’ and manager of a strong operations team: The Executive Director will join his/her/their staff in the day-to-day enrollment and admissions efforts of the graduate admissions office.  This work will range from organizing and collaborating internally and externally to “hands on” work with the Slate CRM and inputting data for timely admissions decisions in a largely paperless environment.


Desired Qualifications and Experience


The ideal candidate will bring substantial experience in graduate enrollment and a record of success as a manager of people and processes. In addition, the individual must have significant experience collaborating with colleagues, an understanding of marketing, as well as a demonstrated ability to provide strategic and flexible solutions in a complex environment.


The Executive Director of Graduate Admission will possess many of the following qualities and experiences:

  • A bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree is preferred;
  • At least five years of related experience in higher education enrollment management is desired with priority given to those with more extensive experience at the graduate level in a distributed, decentralized environment;
  • Results-oriented and student-centric in approach;
  • Facile with internal and external data sources; capable of asking key questions and using data to assist in effective goal-setting;
  • Steeped in understanding of tools of enrollment and marketing for recruitment, admission and yield of the desired students;
  • Organized and punctual in providing information to colleagues, deans, faculty, and divisional-level enrollment staff;
  • Demonstrated experience and commitment to recruiting students from diverse and varied backgrounds, and from domestic and international populations;
  • Knowledge of financial aid leveraging and experience deploying need and merit based assistance at the graduate level;
  • Proven record of budget management;
  • Success in partnering and developing rapport with multiple stakeholders; ability to instill trust and confidence;
  • Able to provide a strategic view of larger market forces and forecast trends in higher education, especially as they relate to graduate education;
  • Technical ability to oversee and manage admission processes;
  • Proficiency with Technolutions Slate CRM and Ellucian Banner is highly desired;
  • Strong communicator who is humble, credible, capable, engaged and persuasive;
  • Skilled collaborator with evidence of success as a proactive, diplomatic partner in the recruitment process.


Application process: Napier Executive Search is assisting the University of Denver in their search for the Executive Director of Graduate Enrollment.  For more information or to nominate someone for this position, contact Mary Napier at mary.napier@napiersearch.com  or Laura Robinson at laura.robinson@napiersearch.com  for a confidential conversation.  Interested candidates should submit a current resume along with a cover letter directly expressing interest in the position and in the University of Denver, as well as sharing qualifications for the position to DU@napiersearch.com  on or before November 25, 2017.  Candidates should also provide the names and contact information for at least three references.  References will not be contacted without permission. The preferred start date is February 2018.


The University of Denver is committed to enhancing the diversity of its faculty and staff and encourages applications from women, minorities, members of the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities and veterans. The University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

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