Vice President for Admission and Financial Aid at Kalamazoo College
The mission of Kalamazoo College is to prepare its graduates to better understand, live successfully within, and provide enlightened leadership to a richly diverse and increasingly complex world.
As a highly selective, nationally renowned, and internationally oriented four-year college of arts and sciences, Kalamazoo College—affectionately known as “K”—has developed a tradition of excellence in the fulfillment of this mission. Located in southern Michigan in the thriving Kalamazoo-Portage metropolitan area (population 335,000), K is among the 100 oldest colleges and universities in the nation, and remains highly innovative and progressive in its academic offerings. K’s open curriculum and K-Plan were developed before other such plans existed to emphasize students’ ownership of their own educational experiences. Students learn to think creatively and analytically and to bring extraordinary depth and passion to their particular fields of interest. While these programs have been copied in various forms at other institutions, K continues to evolve and clearly articulate a vision for the future.
Kalamazoo College seeks a highly qualified and effective strategist for the position of vice president for admission and financial aid to lead the College in meeting its goals for undergraduate recruitment and enrollment. Currently, K has the largest enrollment since 1970 with the highest number of students coming from out of state in the history of the College. The new vice president will build on the existing strengths of a successful enrollment team and look to continue to effectively shape and enroll a class that reflects the established, yet innovative nature of the College. Reporting to President Jorge G. Gonzalez, the vice president will serve as a member of the President’s Staff.
The vice president for admission and financial aid will be responsible for employing best practices to enroll first year and transfer students who will flourish and persist to graduation at Kalamazoo College. To accomplish this, the vice president will supervise the offices of admission and financial aid. Further, the vice president will partner with internal constituents to include faculty, the athletic department, and students; and with external groups to include alumni, guidance staff, community-based organizations, community college staff and more.
The expectations for this vice president require that the successful candidate has the ability and experience to accomplish the following:
- Balance headcount goals to maximize campus size and resources with net tuition revenue.
- Understand who persists at Kalamazoo College and recruit and admit students who will be successful from day one through graduation.
- Study trend lines and data points to capture the full picture of past success and use that information to chart the course for future opportunities.
- Consider external data and demographics to frame a strategy and give context to proposed solutions.
- Employ a long-term view building a multiyear strategic plan, recognizing the demographic shifts and declines, particularly in K’s important Midwestern market.
- Develop recruitment goals and strategies that will encompass the diverse environment at K and continue to increase diversity in all aspects.
- Compile and interpret useful data in the functions of predictive modeling, leveraging, net tuition revenue, and price forecasting. Work with the external partner, EAB, to create financial aid packaging policies to optimize enrollment, both for new and for continuing students.
- Offer innovative and sustainable ideas for connecting deeply with alumni networks.
- Communicate to the campus the goals and objectives in recruiting and retaining students.
- Build upon the strengths of a well-established partnership with college marketing and communications (CMAC). Recognizing nearly half of CMAC’s time and efforts are committed to admission and financial aid related work, the vice president will participate, collaborate, and add value to all marketing and communications efforts related to enrollment management.
- Reach in a compelling way to key community partners such as alumni, counselors, and community-based organizations on behalf of Kalamazoo College.
- Partner with faculty. The enrollment division has had a history of connecting with faculty and listening for ways they can influence prospective students. Faculty want to continue to contribute in ways that are rewarding. The vice president will serve as an informing member of the Faculty Admissions and Financial Aid Committee.
- Work in collaboration with key administrative areas for the purpose of strategically providing support to retain students. Serve on the retention committee chaired through the vice president for student development and dean of students office.
- Promote programs and opportunities that will enhance K’s ability to seek out and retain well-matched students.
- Focus on best practices in continuing student financial aid and financial literacy programs for the benefit of student satisfaction and retention.
- Engage a highly interested and invested alumni base in recruitment efforts and activities.
- Work closely with athletic staff with an understanding of NCAA schedules and deadlines in an effort to walk hand-in-hand to recruit student athletes to Kalamazoo College.
- Provide professional leadership and collaboration with colleagues serving on the President’s senior team and play an integral part in all executive-level decisions.
- Regularly inform and interact with the Board of Trustees.
- Develop and direct a team of 17 admission and four financial aid professionals with the goal of enhancing all aspects of student enrollment. Cultivate a senior team to ensure the day-to-day operations function to meet the goals and objectives of enrollment and of the institution.
- Continue to attract, retain and lead a competent staff into creative and innovative recruitment strategies, while offering support and mentorship.
- Build relationships externally—locally, regionally, and through professional organizations and networks—to connect K advantageously for recruitment and for marketing purposes.
Qualities and Characteristics:
The vice president will have significant progressive experience in higher education and a deep understanding of higher education enrollment management principles and practices. A bachelor’s degree is required, though an advanced degree is strongly preferred. The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications and characteristics:
- Ability to serve Kalamazoo College with integrity and transparency.
- Strategic mindset that is informed by analytics and a data savvy approach.
- Leadership approach that offers great vision and forward thinking.
- Skill to motivate as a passionate influencer, involving all campus constituents and alumni in recruitment activities.
- Well versed in NCAA Division III athletics and collaborative best practices for athletic recruitment.
- Experienced in student information systems and customer relations management; direct experience in Colleague and Slate is preferred.
- Possess a track record of developing new markets while sustaining and growing primary markets, in-state and out-of-state.
- Proficient in recruitment practices for international students.
- Focused and intentional in serving an institution and meeting institutional goals and objectives through enrollment practices.
- Experienced in new and continuing financial aid strategy, and values the importance of customer service.
- Features excellent oral and written communication skills.
- Presents an optimistic, upbeat approach.
- Demonstrates skill as a self-starter, motivated by the importance of the work.
- Collaborates with expressed excitement of involvement in all College business.
- Able to manage up with wisdom, manage down with humility, manage sideways with diplomacy.
- Displays a sense of humor at key moments.
Institutional Strength and Competitive Advantages
Kalamazoo College is a premier liberal arts institution that has gone through many eras of growth and change, and through it all, has maintained a tradition of excellence. K has led the way in tying liberal learning to measurable outcomes in a variety of ways.
A recently completed 10-year strategic plan guided the re-imagination and integration of elements of the K-Plan for a more inclusive, student-focused environment. Building on a history of deliberate planning and forward thinking, Kalamazoo College is currently engaged in a five-year plan, “Advancing Kalamazoo College: A Strategic Vision for 2023.” This strategic work is centered on making K a definitive leader in integrating academic rigor with life-changing experiential education in a values-driven community.
The Heart of Kalamazoo College
Kalamazoo College students work very hard, and they do so in a supportive environment, where faculty, staff, and peers want everyone to succeed. K offers a shared rigor in a place where people—students, faculty and staff—seek and foster intellectual and personal transformation.
Kalamazoo College enrolls 1,467 students (2018-19) from 39 states and 28 countries; 32.8 percent of our students identify as domestic students of color, and 8 percent are international students. Fifteen percent of all students are first generation college students. The class of 2022 had an average ACT of 27.3, and an average SAT of 1290. Kalamazoo College is a test optional school. The College holds a 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio.
The First Year Experience at K is a nationally recognized program that helps students achieve academic success, identify and pursue their passions, connect with Kalamazoo College and the greater Kalamazoo communities, construct complex intercultural understandings, and develop a purpose-filled and balanced life. The program extends focused attention on new students to the entire first year rather than just the orientation period. Programs offered during orientation week focus on the dimensions of student growth in hopes that students develop lifelong learning, career readiness, intercultural understanding, leadership and social responsibility—the goals of a Kalamazoo College education. A common reading for the summer culminates with a discussion of the reading held during the orientation week. The first-year seminars start during orientation week and continue through fall quarter. Nearly all faculty participate in the first-year experience through advising and/or teaching a seminar.
Kalamazoo College is committed to fostering a campus climate and academic experience in which the diverse community of learners can thrive. In recent years, the College has made great strides in enrolling a significantly more diverse student body in terms of race/ethnicity and country of origin. One example of this commitment has been being first in the state of Michigan to be a Posse Foundation partner. The Posse/Kalamazoo College collaboration was made possible by a grant from the Arcus Foundation, which was founded by Jon Stryker '82, Kalamazoo College trustee and alumnus. The total amount of the grant to the College will exceed $5 million over the nine-year period of the program and provides full scholarships for each Posse Scholar, as well as on-campus academic support. The student body has also become much more diverse in family income level, geography, and first-generation status. This achievement in representational diversity is indispensable and will continue.
In 2018, 98 percent of students received need-based and/or merit-based financial aid, totaling nearly $49 million in grants and scholarships. Nearly 23 percent of students receive Federal Pell Grants. Kalamazoo College believes in both financial aid based on promise and ability, and financial aid based on need.
When students in the Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) receive their diplomas, 92 percent of them are eligible for an outstanding graduation gift: a tuition-free post-secondary education thanks to the Kalamazoo Promise. Beginning with the 2015-16 academic year, as a member of the Michigan Colleges Alliance (MCA), a consortium of independent, liberal arts-focused colleges, Kalamazoo College enrolls and supports Kalamazoo Promise-eligible students according to the terms of the program. The Kalamazoo Promise funds K students at the level of the undergraduate average tuition and fees for the College of Literature, Science and Arts at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). K has committed to covering any difference between that amount and the amount of K’s yearly tuition and fees.
Kalamazoo College’s 100 full-time faculty of nationally and internationally respected scholars is dedicated to developing the strengths of every student, preparing them for lifelong learning, career readiness, intercultural understanding, social responsibility, and leadership. During the academic year, professors visit each other’s classes and discuss issues surrounding teaching and learning. The result is an amazing group of dedicated teachers who spend long hours preparing for classes, meeting with and getting to know students, and working on their craft. Ninety-eight percent of the faculty hold a Ph.D. or terminal degree and 79 percent are tenured or tenure-track. Fifty-three percent of faculty identify as women.
Over the last several decades, the K community has continually evolved to reflect the increasing diversity and complexity of the world. K is committed not only to building a faculty that reflects the diversity of its ever-changing student body, but to supporting its faculty as they lead in shaping K’s distinguished academic mission. The quality and content of K’s academic programs is enhanced by the presence of a diverse faculty and K actively seeks and cultivates an inclusive and supportive environment that enables and promotes success and recognition for K’s distinguished faculty.
At Kalamazoo College, student-faculty interaction goes beyond the classroom to include working together on research projects, college committees, and community projects. The connections students and faculty form last well beyond graduation.
Kalamazoo College is on the quarter system. Some time ago, the summer session was eliminated, leaving three quarters during the academic year. Each quarter is composed of ten weeks of class plus an examination period for a total of eleven weeks. Students normally carry a course load of three academic units per quarter. In most cases, a course is equivalent to a single unit. Each Kalamazoo College unit is equivalent to 5 quarter hours or 3.33 semester hours. This course load enables a student to complete all graduation requirements (36 academic units and 1 physical education unit) within 12 quarters.
Leadership and Governance
Jorge Gonzalez became the 18th president of Kalamazoo College, July 2016. Prior to becoming president, he served as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college of Occidental College from 2010 until 2016; and he was a member of the Trinity University faculty from 1989 to 2010. President Gonzalez served as chair of Trinity’s economics department for nine years and as special assistant to the president from 2008 to 2010.
A graduate of the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Monterrey, Mexico, Gonzalez earned his master’s degree and Ph.D. in economics from Michigan State University. He has published extensively on such topics as foreign investment, undocumented immigration, international trade in the Americas, the Mexican financial system, and the political economy of U.S. trade and immigration legislation. He has presented his research findings at professional conferences in North, Central, and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. He is often invited to speak to companies, organizations, and community groups about the Mexican economy, He has been on the Board of the Flintridge Preparatory School (La Cañada, CA), KIPP Aspire Academy – San Antonio, the Asociación de Empresarios Mexicanos – San Antonio, the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, and the World Affairs Council of San Antonio. He served as the president of the International Trade and Finance Association during 2014. He is currently the president of the board of the F.W. and Elsie L. Heyl Science Scholarship Fund and serves on the boards of the Council of Independent Colleges, Bronson Healthcare Group, Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Southwest Michigan First and the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
The Kalamazoo College Board of Trustees is composed of 34 members including the president. The Board, which represents the major sectors of society, is national in composition and has strong representation from the Kalamazoo community and from alumni. Additionally, 25 individuals hold the status of Emeriti Trustee. The president and vice president of the Alumni Association Engagement Board may serve as ex-officio members of the Board.
Kalamazoo College is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Kalamazoo College is an institutional member of the American Council on Education, the Great Lakes Colleges Association, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Kalamazoo College offers an excellent learning environment. Its hilltop campus covers nearly 60 acres. At the heart of the campus is the quadrangle (fondly known as the Quad), bordered by academic and administrative buildings, the student center and Stetson Chapel. Beyond the Quad are the fine arts facilities, including theatres and recital halls, the nationally recognized Dow Science Center, classrooms, offices, living/learning houses and residence halls, an athletic center, a racquet center, tennis courts, a swimming pool, and athletic field complex.
Prospective students begin their Kalamazoo College campus tours and visits at K’s new Admission Center, opened October, 2017. The former bed and breakfast, next to West Main and across the street from Dow Science Center, is conveniently located and conveys the high quality of a K education and comfort to visitors. The Admission Center’s homey environment provides excellent work space for the admission staff, and a welcoming place for students and families.
The College also owns a 140-acre arboretum located in Kalamazoo County. The Lillian Anderson Arboretum is a private facility open to the public and welcomes those who share in the commitment to preserving the natural qualities of the Arboretum. It is comprised of marsh, meadow, pine plantation, and second-growth deciduous forest.
Kalamazoo, a city in southern Michigan, contains all the advantages of a big city with the intimacy of a small town. The city’s downtown district is within walking distance of the campus. Kalamazoo and Portage comprise a metropolitan area with more than 335,000 people. Today Kalamazoo hosts three higher learning institutions, two nationally recognized healthcare systems, diverse and affordable housing, award winning water and water reclamation systems, and many parks, lakes and golf courses. A wide variety of industries and businesses call Kalamazoo home, including major players in the pharmaceutical, medical science and craft beer industries. The City also offers an assortment of cultural attractions including music, visual art, dance and theatre. Kalamazoo is located approximately 136 miles west of Detroit, 73 miles southwest of Lansing, and 145 miles east of Chicago, and only 35 miles from Lake Michigan. Several major airlines serve the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport, and Amtrak service is available.
Napier Executive Search is assisting Kalamazoo College with the search for the vice president for admission and financial aid. To nominate someone or arrange for a confidential conversation, please contact Robin Reynders ([email protected]) or Mary Napier ([email protected]). For best consideration, candidates who plan to apply should electronically send a resume, a detailed letter of interest, and contact information for three professional references by email to [email protected] by November 11, 2019. All applications and nominations will be considered confidential and notice will be given before references are contacted.
An equal opportunity employer, Kalamazoo College is committed to equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal protection under the law. The College administers its programs, activities, and services without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, height, weight, marital status, familial status, physical disability as protected by law, or sexual orientation. The College’s definition of sexual orientation proscribes discrimination based on a person’s, sexuality, or gender identity, actual or presumed.
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