Director of Advising and Retention

Southwestern University
Georgetown, Texas
Jul 11, 2017
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Southwestern University is an independent, four-year, undergraduate, national liberal arts college comprised of the Brown College of Arts and Sciences and the Sarofim School of Fine Arts. For over 175 years, Southwestern has been offering students the opportunity to think, create, and connect….to make meaning and make a difference. Located in the heart of Central Texas, Southwestern’s 1,528 students enjoy the warm, small-town feel of historic Georgetown as well as the close proximity of Austin with its vibrant, innovative and creative culture.

Southwestern’s residential campus offers a true liberal arts and sciences education with small classes and numerous collaborative undergraduate research and creative works opportunities. Outside the classroom, students are civically engaged and volunteer in the community at more than twice the national average. One-third of all students study abroad and most take advantage of leadership, service and activism opportunities in Southwestern’s 90+ student organizations.

Reporting directly to the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Director of Advising and Retention is responsible for providing visionary leadership within the University’s primarily faculty-based academic advising system and collaborating with departments across campus, including the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, to strengthen, connect, implement and assess student retention efforts. Principal responsibilities include coordinating oversight and management of the academic advising system, including managing faculty/staff advising loads; analyzing advising-related data to inform decision-making about tools and technologies for advising and retention efforts; planning and facilitating New Advisor Training and on-going professional development for faculty and staff advisors; developing effective advising evaluation and assessment systems; and exploring sub-models for specialized advising, group advising, first-year advising, etc. and following through with implementation and evaluation as appropriate. In addition, the Director will collaborate with Academic Success staff on retention/academic success programs including PASS (Planning for Academic Success Seminar – scholastic probation program), Captain’s Academy ( mentoring program for first generation students), and the Peer Academic Mentors; coordinate advising aspects of Pre-Orientation Day and Orientation Week; and maintain a caseload of advisees.

The successful candidate will have a master’s degree in higher education, student development, or related field with a minimum of three years of advising/retention experience in a higher education setting. Preferred qualifications include experience with a primarily faculty-based advising system as well as experience in (or familiarity with) a residential liberal arts college/university setting. Other desired characteristics include ability to effectively deliver content through trainings, workshops, etc.; effectiveness in working with faculty and professional staff on best practices in academic advising, and incentivizing the execution of strong advising standards. Proficient data analysis/interpretation skills, including tracking, reporting and synthesizing data from different sources are also required. The ideal candidate will be a confident, independent, and proactive leader who is comfortable with a high degree of collaboration with multiple departments, displays a willingness to adhere to the University’s core values, and has excellent interaction and communication skills (verbal and written). A strong knowledge, understanding, and acceptance of cultural differences and the diversity within the campus and community is also required.

Review of applications will begin August 8, 2017 and will continue until the position is filled. A resume with an accompanying cover letter may be submitted via the Spelman Johnson website at Nominations for this position may be emailed to Heather J. Larabee at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Spelman Johnson

Southwestern University – Director of Advising and Retention

Heather J. Larabee – Search Associate

Visit the Southwestern University website at

Southwestern University is an equal opportunity employer.