Director of Admissions

Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado, United States
25 Jul 2017
End of advertisement period
22 Aug 2017
Contract Type
Full Time

Description of Work Unit

Colorado State University is a land-grant institution and a Carnegie Research University, with annual research expenditures of $332 million in 2016. As the State’s land-grant university, one of Colorado State’s core values is a bedrock commitment to access and success for undergraduate students. Colorado State continues to be the “university of choice” for Colorado residents; 13 percent of students who choose to stay in-state pursue a degree at CSU. While Colorado State remains committed to its in-state population, it has simultaneously increased its non-resident enrollment as well. The five home states for the largest number of non-resident undergraduate students are California, Texas, Illinois, Washington, and Arizona.

CSU students are highly involved and down-to-earth. The residence halls feature 15 Residential Learning Communities that unite students with shared interests. Students can pick from more than 400 student organizations – service clubs help students reach out to the greater community; academic organizations speak directly to students’ interests; and professional and business clubs offer valuable insight into different fields. CSU is home to 16 Division I sports in the Mountain West Conference. And over 6,600 students participate in intramural and sport clubs on an annual basis.

Tuition and fees for resident undergraduates for 2016-17 are $11,052. Tuition and fees for non-resident undergraduate students are $28,346. Room and board for undergraduates living on campus is $10,700. CSU offers a variety of University-wide scholarships that are awarded based on a combination of criteria including financial need, scholastic achievement, and leadership qualities. Approximately 77 percent of CSU undergraduate students receive financial aid, with CSU awarding over $240 million in total aid for the 2015-16 school year.

The University has achieved significant success in undergraduate recruitment and enrollment over the last few years in particular, and has seen growth in total new freshmen enrollment of 16 percent since 2009 while maintaining strong academic quality. For the Class of 2016, over 21,000 applications were received from freshmen candidates. From those applicants, 16,963 were selected and 4,956 first-year students enrolled (a yield of 29 percent). The first year retention of full-time freshmen students is approximately 86.2 percent and the six-year graduation rate is 66.8 percent. The typical profile of the CSU freshman includes an average GPA of 3.60 or above. The mean ACT score is 25; the mean SAT Math score is 570 and Critical Reading is 560. Currently, CSU’s top overlap institutions for freshmen are UC Boulder, Arizona State University, University of Oregon, UC Davis, and Texas A&M.

Colorado State University’s total headcount enrollment (including non-resident instruction students) is 33,198. CSU enrolls approximately 23,768 undergraduate students (49% male and 51% female), from all 50 states and 79 countries. CSU is committed to providing a diverse and robust learning environment, and 19.1 percent of undergraduate students come from minority populations.

In fall 2016, the University enrolled a record number of students, both in the incoming freshmen class (4,956), incoming transfer class (1,674) and 23,768 overall undergraduates. Transfer student numbers typically make up a third of our incoming total classes, and within the Office of Admissions, the University has a dedicated Transfer Student Center and staff.

Led by Melissa A. Trifiletti, Vice President for Enrollment and Access, the Division includes the offices of Central Administration, Office of Admissions, Office of Financial Aid, the Access Center, and the Registrar. The Office of Admissions consists of five functional units: Admissions Marketing and Communication, Admissions Processing (UG, GR, INTL applicant processing), Recruitment, Outreach and Visitor Services, Systems (IT), and Central Support (includes HR, budget, and program support). Admissions is charged with leading undergraduate recruitment and outreach efforts for the entire University, as well as making decisions on all undergraduate applications, and processing applications for graduate, professional, and several non-degree programs.

This complex office of over 50 staff recruits actively around the state of Colorado, travels from coast to coast and internationally to interact with an annual prospect pool of over 200,000 students each year, and manages over 35,000 applications per year including 5,900 transfer applications. Through innovative and strategic approaches, Admissions strives to balance its growth in attracting an increasingly diverse and well-prepared student body while still remaining true to its land-grant mission and heritage. Colorado State was the first public institution west of the Mississippi with membership in the Common Application Organization, and employs a holistic, comprehensive review process to select new undergraduates not only in light of their preparation, but their potential to successfully contribute to the campus community.

Position Summary

This position offers an exciting and challenging opportunity for the individual who seeks a collaborative collegiate environment with strong and effective leadership. The University has ambitious enrollment goals buoyed by cross-functional units, newly established recruiting outreach with the eight Colleges, and excellent resource support. The staff within the Office of Admissions is highly dedicated and talented, and poised to meet the University’s enrollment goals under the leadership of a Director who engages and supports staff, respects transparency, makes data-informed decisions, and establishes themselves as a respected leader on campus.

Reporting to the Vice President for Enrollment and Access, the Director of Admissions is responsible for the leadership, oversight, and management of the Office of Admissions and all its functions. The Director of Admissions will be an internal leader and mentor in the admissions office and an external voice for the value of a CSU education. The Director will be a skilled relationship manager and develop connections with faculty, deans, administrative staff, University leadership, and current students. The position oversees an office currently consisting of 51 staff and is responsible for a $4.8 million budget.

The Director will work with the Vice President in recommending and determining admissions policies and strategies in order to realize the University’s enrollment goals. The Director is the University’s lead person on all matters related to admissions and plays an integral role on the University campus. The Director of Admissions will work closely with the University community for the purpose of building effective relationships and communicating the goals and strategies of the Office of Admissions.

Colorado State University is a large campus with the warmth and welcoming feel of a small campus. As an institution, morale is high, interdivisional collaboration is strong, and the entire community is united around an ambitious, forward-thinking vision for the future. For an innovative and energetic enrollment professional who is market savvy, strategic, respected, and data informed and wants to play a central role at an extraordinary University that is becoming even more remarkable, this is a phenomenal opportunity.

The Director of Admissions will be a key partner for the Vice President for Enrollment and Access as they work to achieve the institution’s overall strategic enrollment objectives. In doing so, the new Director of Admissions will set an ambitious course that best reflects the distinctiveness of the University, supporting an inclusive and diverse campus environment that is committed to student success.

The opportunities for this position are many, and the following represent the key challenges and opportunities for the first few years of their tenure:

Contribute to University-wide conversations to achieve strategic priorities, providing particular support for undergraduate enrollment strategy

The Division of Enrollment and Access will begin the process of developing a comprehensive strategic enrollment management plan to chart an ambitious course for the future of the University and set priorities for the division. The Director will be a key player in helping lead parts of this process.

The racial/ethnic composition of Colorado’s public high school graduating classes will continue to show substantial diversification over the coming decade and beyond, with Hispanic students accounting for nearly 28 percent of the graduating class of 2015. To prepare for these changing demographics, CSU seeks to be a top destination for a diverse population of Colorado high school graduates and community college transfer students. The definition of diversity will include, but not be limited to, low income, first generation, geographical origin, gender, ethnicity, and race.

As a leader among the Vice President’s team, the Director of Admissions will capitalize on recent success and support for enrollment to contribute to the University-wide conversation regarding enrollment strategy. The Director will help the institution achieve its growth objectives while assessing and responding to the ever-changing higher education landscape, embracing a strategy that is inclusive and committed to programs that will benefit the changing population. The Director will help to convey a vision for enrollment and promote a tone in the CSU community of open conversation, transparency, and shared goals relating to strategic enrollment management, and will have a strong grasp of statewide and national education trends and how those trends will shape CSU’s enrollment strategy and affect CSU’s target student population.

Develop collaborative relationships across the University

The Director of Admissions will elevate the visibility of the Office of Admissions and the scope of its work. They will build and maintain strong collaborative relationships across campus. Frequent and ongoing dialogue with faculty, deans, and other staff and administrators will be essential to the success of the admissions function. They will join a supportive campus with willing partners who are cognizant that a campus-wide effort is necessary to achieve success.

The Director must develop credibility with each of the Colleges and serve as an effective advocate for the admissions team. In doing so, they will develop relationships with each academic department with the goal of communicating that admissions is genuine in its interest to support their enrollment needs. Knowing whom to call in admissions is a basic need, and the Director will assure this information is widely available on campus.

An ongoing open dialogue with senior administrators and faculty will engender cooperation, trust, and confidence and will be essential to the success of the admissions functions.

Achieve enrollment growth and diversity goals

To achieve growth, mix and diversity goals, the Director, along with the Vice President, will be charged with developing a nimble and forward-thinking admissions strategy that is informed by best practices and cutting-edge technology and responsive to the shifting higher education landscape, marked by a decrease in state support and changes to the socio-demographic makeup of potential applicants.

They will learn, embrace, and embody CSU’s culture in order to design enrollment strategies that are authentic and address the institution’s unique challenges and opportunities. The Director will make an effective case for an undergraduate education at a brick-and-mortar research university; build deep pipelines for incoming students through strong support of early outreach programs; and create strategic initiatives to advantage students and the University. In addition, the Director will develop a proactive plan to build strong partnerships with the members of the high school and transfer counseling community across the country.

The Director will continuously evaluate admissions processes, ensuring that they are used strategically and creatively, and to maximum benefit. In doing so, it will be crucial that the Director incorporate the systematic use of data to shape strategic directions and assess effectiveness of recruitment activities.

Further the development of a cohesive and collaborative team environment

While building cooperation with various faculty, deans, staff, and administrators, the Director will also be focused on putting great attention to the admissions staff on a day-to-day basis. This is a position for a skilled relationship manager. The Director will foster a team environment that is cohesive, imaginative, energetic, and results-oriented. They will work to develop a culture of talent management, providing the support to help the admissions staff grow and develop as a team and as individuals.

Help improve retention

The Director of Admissions will actively support the University’s retention efforts. This will require a sophisticated approach to analytics in studying which student populations experience the greatest success at the University or might benefit from intervention. The Director will be charged with attending constantly to the entire enrollment trajectory of the individuals brought into the University community, and they will partner with Student Affairs to bring more connectivity between the student experience and recruitment planning.

Personal Qualities and Qualifications

The successful candidate will be a collaborative, transparent, creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial leader who has the vision and confidence to serve as a campus leader and willingness to take calculated risks to engage students and families in new ways. The new Director of Admissions will be an internal leader and mentor in the admissions office and an external voice for the value of a CSU education. The Director will be a skilled relationship manager and develop connections with faculty, deans, administrative staff, University leadership, and current students. Off-campus relationships with the student recruitment community will be highly developed, as will be those at the local, statewide, regional, and national level. The Director will be an emerging thought leader in the admissions field.

The Director will have progressive leadership experience in the area of admissions and the ability to operate successfully in a complex organization. They will embody the values and mission of the University and support CSU’s efforts to remain the “school of choice” in the state. They must be committed to diversity in all its forms and working with first-generation and low-income students.

The ideal candidate will have the following professional qualifications and personal characteristics:

  • Vision and leadership: ability to shape and deliver CSU’s future student body within the context of University goals; entrepreneurial leadership style; proven effectiveness and expertise in change management; ability to build and motivate a team and to inspire joy in their work; willingness to go the extra mile; affinity for developing complex recruitment strategies; and an understanding of undergraduate education at a research, land-grant university;
  • Strong analytical capacity: the ability to produce plans and budgets that link expenditures to outcomes, to assess the effectiveness of how recruitment funds are employed, to produce regular and systematic comparative reports that detail progress toward enrollment goals, and to employ information on national trends in higher education and on developments in competitor institutions effectively in planning; and the willingness to engage in continuous dialogue about admissions with enrollment and senior leadership;
  • Balance strategic plans and operational detail: evidence of ability to focus and lead an organization to achieve the elements of a strategic plan, and to continuously refine the organizational plan, structure, and operations as the plan evolves; and sophisticated understanding of the laws and regulations that significantly affect admissions operations;
  • Demonstrated ability in creative marketing: proven success in innovative thinking; excellent execution of both complex and routine marketing strategies; a record of taking programs to new levels of success; and ability to think creatively and to leverage technology;
  • Superior communication skills: dynamic speaking and strong writing skills to communicate effectively with all constituencies, including prospective students and their families, the admissions staff, faculty and staff, alumni, trustees, and the public

Required Job Qualifications

  • Master’s Degree in Student Affairs and Higher Education, Business, humanities, sciences or a closely related field that emphasizes analysis and critical thinking skills.
  • 7 or more years of previous and progressive admissions experience or related higher education experience.
  • 5 years of direct supervisory experience.
  • Personal and professional commitment to diversity as demonstrated by persistent effort, active planning, allocation of resources and/or accountability for diversity outcomes.
  • Able to work irregular work hours, including nights and weekends.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license or the ability to obtain a driver’s license or access to a licensed driver by the employment start date.

Preferred Job Qualifications

  • higher education administration, education, student affairs, counseling or a related field.
  • Familiarity with the complexity and student recruitment volumes of a large institution.
  • 1 year of on campus visit programming experience or event planning experience.
  • Experience leading a professional staff with a focus on leadership training and the development of competent, fully functioning team members.
  • Evidence of experience leading an organization to develop and achieve the elements of a strategic plan, including strategies for target populations and goals.
  • Strong written communication skills with extensive experience giving presentations to groups of various sizes and compositions.
  • Experience with holistic file review.
  • Proven ability to work collaboratively and independently.
  • Demonstrated analytical skills in the area of budgets, program/initiative assessment and/or return on investment.

Diversity Statement

Reflecting departmental and institutional values, candidates are expected to have the ability to advance the Division of Enrollment and Access’ commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Essential Duties

Job Duty Category Marketing, Recruitment, and Outreach Duty/Responsibility

This individual will direct the admissions marketing, recruiting, and outreach to prospective undergraduate students in conjunction with the University’s External Relations Division. A Common Application school, the University’s enrollment growth goals include increasing applications and yield from freshmen and transfer students, maintaining market share of Colorado residents, and continuing its success in increasing diversity. A particular emphasis is placed on increasing enrollment of out-of-state and international freshmen and transfer students.

Percentage Of Time 10% Job Duty Category International Recruitment Duty/Responsibility

In 2012, Colorado State University entered into a joint venture with INTO North America in order to increase the enrollment of international students. The Director will work closely with the INTO CSU office and the Office of International Programs to reach the international enrollment goals of the University. The Office of Admissions is responsible for recruitment and outreach along with processing and evaluating over 3,000 UG/GR international applications each year.

Percentage Of Time 10% Job Duty Category Diversity Duty/Responsibility

The Director must be consistently committed to recruiting and enrolling diverse undergraduate populations and to ensuring diversity among staff. They are expected to stay current with issues and policies pertaining to the achievement of a diverse student body, and to play a leadership role on campus in assisting the University in reaching its diversity goals.

Percentage Of Time 10% Job Duty Category Leadership Duty/Responsibility

As a member of the Division’s leadership team, the Director is expected to work collaboratively and strategically with other units within the Division and across the University. This person will be the lead on campus for admissions-related issues, and is expected to participate in discussions on such issues at the state, regional, and national levels. The Director will serve on numerous University committees, as well as external committees related to the work of admissions. The Director will also assign other staff to committee service as appropriate to their position and responsibilities.

Percentage Of Time 15% Job Duty Category Supervision Duty/Responsibility

The Director oversees an office currently consisting of 51 staff, with seven direct reports. Of utmost importance is the Director’s role in the daily operations of the Office, not in a micro-managing sense, but rather ensuring that staff have appropriate information and direction so that decisions can be made in a timely manner and that tasks can be accomplished successfully. Connecting with staff throughout the office on a regular basis is critical to the Director’s success.

Percentage Of Time 15% Job Duty Category Data Analysis and Research Duty/Responsibility

The Director is expected to provide regular reports, data analyses, and evaluation tools to the Vice President, the Colleges, and other designated persons/units on campus. The Director shares a research staff member with the Vice President for her data management and analysis needs.

Percentage Of Time 15% Job Duty Category Retention Duty/Responsibility

The Director of Admissions will be actively involved in retention planning and initiatives on campus. The University has a freshman to sophomore year retention goal of 90 percent (currently 87 percent) and a six-year graduation goal of 80 percent (currently 67 percent).

Percentage Of Time 10% Job Duty Category Budget Management Duty/Responsibility

The Director is responsible for accurate oversight and management of a $4.8 million budget for the Office of Admissions.

Percentage Of Time 5% Job Duty Category Professional Development Duty/Responsibility

The Director is expected to stay current with issues related to admissions, recruitment, and marketing, particularly through participation in RMACAC, NACAC, the College Board and ACT. Ensuring that all other staff receive appropriate and timely professional development opportunities is an important value of the office and division.

Percentage Of Time 5% Job Duty Category Other Duties as Assigned Duty/Responsibility

The Director will be involved in other committees, activities, and programs as assigned by the Vice President of Enrollment and Access including, but not limited to:

University Welcome Center: Ammons Hall serves not only as the location for the Office of Admissions but as the University’s Welcome Center as well, and is under the direct supervision of the Director of Admissions.

Development: The Director of Admissions will be involved at the direction of the Vice President in activities and programs that fund-raise for the Division’s goals.

Percentage Of Time 5%

Application Details

Special Instructions to Applicants

For full consideration, please apply by August 27, 2017 with a resume, cover letter addressing the minimum and preferred qualifications and contact information for 3 professional references. References will not be contacted without prior notification of candidates.

Conditions of Employment

Pre-employment Criminal Background Check (required for new hires), Valid Driver’s License

Search Contact Susan Lucero,