Vice President, Student Experience

Salt Lake City, Utah
Competitive, market-based, with rich benefits
Sep 12, 2017
Executive Administration Jobs
Vice Presidents
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Job Description:

Reporting to the Provost, the leader in this role is responsible for developing and implementing strategies, practices, user experience, and technology road maps to achieve strategic and tactical improvements across academic administrative functions that directly impact student success. This individual will provide data-driven business analysis to a team of leaders who are directly responsible and accountable for achieving college-specific student outcomes, such as on-time progress, retention, graduation rates, student satisfaction, faculty productivity, etc. This leader will operate as a “virtual owner” of the end-to-end student experience design, working effectively with respective peers across academic programs, academic operations, student services, evaluation, as well as with WGU’s IT and Institutional research teams to strategize, plan and coordinate initiatives that will optimize the value proposition of WGU education and the student experience as they impact student outcomes.


  • Effectively internalize the many strategies, initiatives and operating processes across functional practices and simplify into aggregated execution priorities and goals.
  • Develop deep understanding of the University value chain and key practices and their relative impact on driving student outcomes and success. Apply this understanding to shaping the end-to-end, technology-enabled student experience, and the 360-degree system of practices to improve engagement, learning, progress and outcomes.
  • Define and develop key processes and technology models to improve alignment and execution effectiveness across the colleges, academic value chain and operating functions.
  • Engage in strategic, operating and change management planning to define student experience road map and key priorities and initiatives, with related dependencies, metrics, etc.
  • Develop practices to coordinate programs, projects and activities across the University to ensure efficiency and increase effectiveness. Establish cadence of regular project and program reviews to ensure programs, outcome gains, and advancement in student success, as well as prioritized fixes and opportunities for further innovation.
  • Develop and earn trust of peer leaders in measuring performance, diagnosing root causes, and devising action plans to address gaps or further improve performance in student journey and experience.
  • Be an inspiring and motivational leader for individuals at all levels, and in all functions of the University.
  • Authentically reflect and portray the mission of WGU. Become a reliable spokesperson for student success, innovation, and competency-based education.
  • Assist executive management with research, coordination, and simplification of business structures and processes that may engage multiple academic functions and business units such as instructional design, enrollment, mentoring, evaluation and student support services
  • Analyze multiple segments of the WGU academic organization and establish measures to quantify cost and benefits of complexities, and recommend strategies for complexity reduction
  • Advise senior managers across the academic organization on strategy, business excellence, and strategic student experience projects.
  • Lead process development and improvement initiatives from concept to execution related to multiple operational units and multiple stakeholders.
  • Align policies and procedures to optimize service delivery to multiple operational units and diverse customers, and create executive dashboards to simplify communication of key information.
  • Conduct benchmarking, operational and financial analysis.



The successful Vice President, Student Experience is an experienced operational leader and business analyst. This leader will have a track record of achieving aggressive goals, while operating in a cross-functional leadership capacity, working with many constituents and achieving results through others. The successful individual in this role will develop influence and ownership through demonstrated student obsession and mastery of the student journey, value chain processes, metrics and University differentiators. This leader successfully dives deep into metrics, data and analysis at all layers of operations. S/he effectively engages senior leaders, and is probing, open-minded, data-driven, and solution-oriented. S/he will also be comfortable with ambiguity, willing to experiment, make decisions and commit resources with less than perfect information. Must be able to clearly articulate WGU’s purpose, mission, vision and goals, and able to motivate others to achieve those goals and be enthusiastically accepted as a leader.

These qualities are driven by the following competencies:

  • Execution and Results oriented – focused on results, not just activity. Exceptional skill and demonstrated success in delivering and improving results in a higher education senior leadership role. Strong bias for, and practical experience in, measuring and improving performance metrics.
  • Ownership – willing to operate and execute priorities, especially absent direct hierarchical management authority; P&L owner mindset, with clear ownership of performance outcomes and related ROI
  • Strategic thinking – applies broad strategic direction, with university-wide impact, and in a distributed organization context.
  • Inquisitive, analytical thinker – a data-driven thinker, who effectively diagnoses root causes, and identifies primary drivers of performance outcomes. Obsesses about controllable inputs, and defines and priorities activities to change them for the positive.
  • Team and individual development – defines success in terms of the whole team; creates a feeling of belonging; hires and develops top talent and future WGU leaders.
  • Clear, effective communicator – exceptional and persuasive communication skills, oral and written, in addressing internal and external audiences, especially in operation reviews; is vocally self-critical, and exudes ownership in engagement style.
  • Great judgement – deals effectively with paradox; exhibits good instincts, while willing to make tough calls, with some degree of adaptability.

The successful leader in this role will demonstrate these leadership principles in their daily work:

  • Student focus – keeps the student at the center of what we do, and why we do it. Makes decisions and guides efforts to improve and expand value for students and employers. Demonstrated and documented track record of measuring and improving academic quality, student and institutional success.
  • Managerial courage – willing to tackle difficult topics and conventional thinking; doesn’t hold anything back that needs to be said.
  • Develops and earns trust – works effectively across functions, internalizing their motivations and priorities, and energizing others’ engagement in devising solutions and driving execution; a personal style that favors inquiry over advocacy, listening over speaking.
  • Thinks big / innovation – formulates a bold vision, sees around corners, and inspires results. Fosters creative thinking, and brings innovation successfully to market. Experience in entrepreneurial business operations experiencing rapid growth.


Education: BS/BA minimum, Master’s or PhD preferred.

Experience: 10+ years of demonstrated leadership in successive roles of increasing scope, scale and responsibility. Strong background in defining, implementing and managing customer-centric processes and operations, with experience in higher education and academic operations highly desired.

  • Process improvement, change management and project management experience. Strong financial background is desired.
  • Experience in financial, corporate development, lean management, shared services, process improvement is desired.
  • Demonstrated expertise and aptitude with conducting strategic, quantitative and qualitative analysis, particularly for rationalization and simplification purposes.
  • Ability to build and foster effective client relationships at all levels within the organization.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced and result-oriented environment.