The Director of the Office of First-Year Experience at the University of Kansas (KU) is responsible for providing vision, strategic direction, and accountability for programs and services designed to enhance the transition and experience of first-year undergraduate students. This position provides leadership for a coordinated set of programs providing freshman and transfer students with clear pathways to campus information and resources, individual connections to staff and faculty, and shared experiences to foster belonging and promote inclusive learning.The Director uses assessment and evaluation data to ensure that programs assist in the academic and social transition and connection of first-year students to the KU community through activities including orientation programming, Hawk Week, seminars, and learning communities. The Director also oversees the development and enhancement of initiatives and experiences to meet the needs and interests of first-year students.This position works collaboratively across the university and draws upon student development literature and best practices to ensure meaningful connections for students as they transition to KU. This position reports to the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies. The Director supervises the day-to-day operations of the Office of First-Year Experience which includes approximately seven full-time staff, a team of undergraduate and graduate student staff, and faculty fellows.The successful candidate must understand the importance of and demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion, as the university aspires to become a leader among its peer institutions in making meaningful and lasting progress in responding to the needs and concerns of minoritized and marginalized demographic groups.
Provide strategic vision and leadership for first-year programs, including new student orientation, Hawk Week, KU Common Book, UNIV 101, seminars and learning communities. Collaborate with leadership in Undergraduate Studies, Enrollment Management, Student Affairs, Diversity and Equity, International Programs, and the academic units to employ strategies that promote connections across campus programs and resources to bring greater coherence to the first-year experience for undergraduate students. Monitor program effectiveness and provide accountability for unit initiatives through assessment findings and institutional data.
Manage complex budget and resources across all FYE activities, aligning resources to best support and advance program and institutional goals. Responsible for oversight and supervision, hiring, and training of varying levels FYE staff. Provide guidance or coordination of professional development opportunities, and mentoring for student staff, professional staff, and faculty fellows to enhance program quality.
Represent the Office of First-Year Experience and Undergraduate Studies on various campus committees and working groups. Serve as a member of the Undergraduate Studies Leadership Team. Opportunity to serve as an instructor or back-up instructor for UNIV 101 and/or seminars.
Other duties as assigned by the Vice Provost or Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies.
The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university that serves as a center for learning, scholarship and creative endeavor. The University of Kansas is the only state university in Kansas to hold membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU), a select group of 62 public and private research universities that represent excellence in graduate and professional education and the highest achievements in research internationally.The mission of the University of Kansas is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities, and making discoveries that change the world.We will do that by raising the expectations we have for ourselves, the aspirations we have for our state, and the hopes we have for our world.
April Blackmon Strange
Master’s degree in college student personnel, higher education administration, education, counseling, or a related field. Five years of experience managing programs focused on first-year students, student retention/success, or related experience. Five years of progressive leadership responsibility and supervisory experience as evidence by application materials. Previous work experience managing budgets and assessing program effectiveness. Previous experience working collaboratively across cultures and styles at all levels of the organization. Strong written and verbal communication skills as demonstrated by application materials and interview process.
Terminal degree in college student personnel, higher education administration, education, counseling, or a related field. Knowledge and working understanding of principles, practices, and procedures involved in first-year experience program development including student development theory, best practices, emerging trends, and current issues. Experience teaching in a higher education setting. Experience working with student recruitment and admissions processes. Prior experience working with or managing orientation programs, first-year student programs, or transfer student programs. Ability to effectively interface with a wide variety of constituents including students, faculty, staff, family members, and community members.