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Job description

Oberlin College and Conservatory

Oberlin, Ohio




With a charismatic and resourceful new president and a bold program of renewal now on the horizon, Oberlin College and Conservatory (“Oberlin” or “the College”), the storied undergraduate institution 35 miles west of Cleveland, seeks a new Executive Director of the Career Development Center (“CDC”) who will also serve as Associate Dean of Students while finding a long-term platform for field-leading innovation in liberal arts career services.


Enhancement of the CDC to be a true partner with academic affairs, alumni and parent relations and admissions in creating an integrated campus experience is now among Oberlin’s top non-academic financial and strategic priorities.  Major new endowment support for the CDC will be a notable portion of Oberlin’s upcoming capital campaign, with significant additional resources during the bridge period now earmarked for the CDC in the College’s budget projections.  As now imagined, the CDC that the new Associate Dean will design and realize will work with faculty to showcase the achievements of Oberlin alumni from every academic major, will equip faculty members and professional staff to provide encouragement and guidance to their advisees as they begin their post-graduation visioning and discernment; will substantiate and expand the Career Communities established during the 2018-19 academic year; and will encourage students to broaden their career exploration beyond the professions that have historically been the aspiration of a high percentage of Oberlin matriculants (the academy, law, medicine and musical performance).   The new Associate Dean will also be called upon to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit that is already characteristic of Oberlin students into greater capacity and readiness for autonomy and self-sufficiency upon graduation.  


Reporting to the Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, the Associate Dean will lead the CDC in assuming a more integral and visible role in the education of Oberlin students, while creating new opportunities and structures for alumni, parent and vendor involvement in campus life.   The Associate Dean will expand the CDC team through hiring several additional professionals (with later further expansion contemplated).  The new Associate Dean will oversee the design and relocation of the CDC to new quarters expressly built for it in a high-traffic, central campus location.  The new Associate Dean will be an important liaison to the Conservatory’s Office of Professional Development, a separate operation advising on orchestral and other professional musician careers.


The Associate Dean will be able to harness new faculty interest in a high-functioning career-services operation and an openness to fresh approaches during a transformational moment in Oberlin’s history.   Academic departments are eager for greater cooperation in developing department-specific career exploration and post-graduation data that present a clear picture of the rich diversity of career paths in each major.  


The new Associate Dean will benefit from the technological and programmatic improvements that a succession of forward-looking recent leaders brought to the CDC’s operations.  Oberlin adopted Handshake in 2017.  Signature initiatives include the Ashby Business Scholars program (now in its tenth year); summer internship funding; and a Career Connections Week in March.   Outside but closely engaged with the CDC, the two-year old Peer Academic Leaders (“PALs”) program for first-year students and the new Sophomore Opportunities and Academic Resources (“SOARS”) program ensure a smooth transition to campus life and help undergraduates make intentional progression through course and major selection and the pursuit of internship and employment opportunities.   Oberlin’s entrepreneurship incubator, the Center for Innovation & Impact, offers academic courses, project funding, guest lectures and experiential learning opportunities in addition to the LaunchU Bootcamp and Pitch Competition, which is open to anyone in the College community.  Oberlin participates in Summer on the Cuyahoga (“SOTC”), which brings together 60-80 students for an intensive summer immersion program designed to help interns explore the professional, civic and social offerings of the Cleveland area.  The new, $42 million Hotel at Oberlin provides overnight accommodations and conference facilities for the CDC that are unsurpassed on any American campus.


An avatar of undergraduate access, intellectual rigor and critical thinking, Oberlin uniquely combines an outstanding professional school of music and a leading undergraduate college of arts and sciences with one of the great college art museums in the country. The Oberlin Conservatory of Music provides flexible programs to prepare students as professional musicians and teachers of music.  The College of Arts and Sciences offers a rich and balanced curriculum in the humanities, social sciences, mathematics and natural sciences.  Within that framework, Oberlin expects that its 2,875 students will work closely with the faculty to design an educational program appropriate to their own particular interests, needs and long-term goals.


Qualifications: Oberlin seeks an articulate, confident, resourceful and self-directed individual who is—or who will quickly become—a field-leading liberal arts career development officer.  Professional experience in university career services, corporate university relations, human resources, alumni affairs, institutional advancement and professional services are equally welcome, but all candidates should evidence an affinity for liberal education and an appreciation for the role faculty governance plays in advancing a pre-eminent private college with a venerable history.  A graduate degree is preferred.  A minimum of five years of progressive professional experience is required, preferably involving undergraduates and/or recent graduates, as well as employers and/or alumni.  Demonstrated skill in fostering new institutional relationships, marshaling professional and volunteer networks, staff supervision and development, budget management and strategic planning, are essential.  A high level of conversational sophistication, broad intellectual interests and discretion are essential.  The ability to engage faculty, trustees and senior administrators, to counsel creative, diligent, professionally ambitious and service-minded students, and to cultivate and steward alumni and parents, is required.  Facility with developing effective assessment methods and data analytics, articulating strategic priorities, and a capacity and appetite for fundraising, are essential.  The successful candidate will have a record of working effectively with persons from diverse backgrounds and the ability to promote an inclusive campus and community culture. 


Review of candidate materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment is made.  A complete application will include a letter of interest, a curriculum vitae or résumé and contact information for five professional referees who can speak about the candidate’s qualifications for this position.  (Named referees will not be contacted without the candidate’s express prior consent.)  Expressions of interest, nominations and inquiries should be directed to Oberlin’s search consultant, Mr. Chuck O’Boyle of C. V. O’Boyle, Jr., LLC, at [email protected].




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Job No:
Posted: 3/14/2019
Application Due: 5/13/2019
Work Type: