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Associate Director for Student Life, Inclusion & Belonging

Columbia University
New York City, New York (US)

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Position Summary


Reporting to the Associate Vice President for Student Life, the Associate Director for Student Life, Inclusion & Belonging works to create a more inclusive campus culture and support students’ success as learners, leaders and University community citizens.  The Associate Director will develop, implement and evaluate programs and initiatives, and will foster and participate in dialogue with students, including student leaders, from across the University, as well as campus partners.  We are looking for a candidate with a strong student affairs background and deep experience working on inclusion & belonging issues to broach sensitive and complex topics thoughtfully and deliberately with all campus stakeholders

University Life’s mission is to develop and enhance the university-wide student experience by working in collaboration with students, faculty and staff across Columbia.  University Life is a central administrative office comprised of four departments: Student Life, Student Conduct and Community Standards, Religious Life and Community Impact. The Associate Director will be a part of the Student Life department, which focuses on providing programming for the student community, increasing dialogue and conversations about critical issues of the day, strengthening resources and policies and building community outside of the classroom.



  • Lead student-centric work in the realm of inclusion & belonging, including meeting with students on these issues, developing and evaluating programming that is responsive to campus climate issues that impact the student experience, developing and implementing training sessions, preparing and editing materials and communications to support the work, working collaboratively with staff and faculty throughout the University, and more.
  • Oversee, develop, and evaluate student programs and events focused on inclusion such as Campus Conversations, Racial Justice Mini-Grants program and the Graduate Initiative for Inclusion and Engagement, and other programs that nurture a sense of belonging, build community, encourage critical reflection on social identities, and enable students to successfully communicate across differences.
  • Provide essential support and leadership, as needed, within the Bias Incidents Support Team and other University-wide networks. 
  • Evaluate inclusion & belonging program efficacy, develop recommendations and reports, and implement changes as necessary. Evaluate training initiatives, program activities, and collaborative events to ensure projects and resources are data-driven and responsive to the needs of the University and the needs of students from historically marginalized communities. Develop learning outcomes and comprehensive, on-going assessments of initiatives.
  • Build, develop and maintain relationships with leaders of student organizations that serve students from historically marginalized communities across the University, student groups, and other student leaders.
  • Co-advise the executive board of the Interschool Governing Board (IGB), as well as advise student organizations recognized by IGB.
  • Collaborate with the University Life Communications team on the development of communications projects for the student community that promote a sense of inclusion & belonging across the University.
  • Supervise members of the Student Life team and a small team of student staff, to support inclusion & belonging priorities. Assist in hiring student staff on an annual basis.
  • Work with the Associate Vice President for Student Life and the Finance team to manage the department’s budget setting and expense tracking. 
  • Participate in regional and national diversity in higher education associations.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience and a minimum of four to six years of relevant experience. At least two years of management experience. Master’s degree or other advanced degree preferred
  • Proven ability to generate ideas, develop strategy, create and implement programs, and manage against projected outcomes. Track record of building programs from the ground up with knowledge of how to push projects forward in a complex structure with a number of stakeholders.
  • Strong project management skills with demonstrated ability to coordinate, manage, implement and evaluate multiple projects over varied timelines, involving both internal and external partners.
  • Proven ability to work with a dynamic and engaged student population, both individually and in groups. Experience working with diverse communities preferred.
  • A culturally responsive professional who demonstrates the ability to communicate cross-culturally and interpersonally with a wide range of stakeholders and can grasp differing viewpoints with cultural humility.
  • Excellent interpersonal, collaboration, conflict management, and team-building skills required.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills with a strong knowledge of grammar and efficient and effective writing.  Graphic design skills are a plus.
  • The right candidate is patient, solutions-oriented, sensitive to others, politically savvy, discrete. Exercises sound judgment and maintains a positive outlook during periods of high intensity.
  • Availability for some evening and occasional weekend work.


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