Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) announces the search for its next Vice President of Student Affairs (VPSA) and invites expressions of interest, nominations and applications. The new VPSA will have the opportunity to partner with CCSU’s new president, Dr. Zulma R. Toro, and provide collegial leadership to a creative and energetic faculty and staff.
Under Dr. Toro’s leadership, the CCSU community has a renewed sense of its special identity and mission, an increased level of energy and excitement, a determination to be the leader in Connecticut public higher education, an infectious determination to take on new challenges and solve old problems, and a commitment to serve its community in new and more effective ways. The oldest of Connecticut’s public universities and the largest of its regional comprehensives, Central is in a very strong financial position and has enjoyed stable enrollments. With Dr. Toro’s leadership, it is poised to grow both in size and in the effectiveness with which it serves its students and the wider community.
The University seeks an energetic and student-centered VPSA who will be a good partner with
Dr. Toro—one who shares her vision for Central as an urban university serving an increasingly diverse population, who readily gains the trust and respect of the students and student affairs staff, who has a strong commitment to student-centered education, and who can work collegially with all members of the University community. The ideal candidate will advise and collaborate with colleagues across the University on a variety of matters that shape the student experience and campus culture.
Connecticut State Colleges and Universities: In January 2012, Connecticut reorganized the governance and structure of higher education to create the 17- member Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) system, governed by the Board of Regents for Higher Education. In creating the new structure, the state brought together under a single governing board, its four regional comprehensive universities, its 12 community colleges, and Charter Oak State College, an online adult education, degree-completion institution. As one of four comprehensive universities within CSCU, Central maintains strong relations with its system peers, especially Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, and Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.
Central Connecticut State University: The largest of Connecticut’s regional comprehensive universities, Central currently enrolls 11,880 students. This includes 7,605 full-time undergraduates, 1,949 part-time undergraduates, 648 full-time graduate students, and 1,678 part-time graduate students. A third of its undergraduates are students of color, the largest group being Hispanic. Ninety-three percent of the students are from Connecticut. An increasingly residential campus, 64 percent of Central’s first-year students live on campus; 24 percent of all undergraduates live on campus.
A longstanding strength of Central is its faculty. Partnered with its 448 full-time faculty are 485 part-time faculty, many of whom are practitioners in their fields and who add a breadth and depth of experience to the classroom. Central faculty members are actively engaged in research, scholarship, and other creative activity, as well as the supervision of undergraduate and graduate research. At the same time, a sustained primary commitment to personalized teaching and learning permeates the campus. Many faculty members oversee internships, undergraduate research, graduate and undergraduate theses, special projects, and independent studies, and conduct faculty-led, short-term study/travel courses. Most also serve as academic advisors. A 16:1 student-faculty ratio allows for substantial individual attention. Consequently, CCSU provides the diversity of educational opportunities generally found only at larger institutions with the close student-faculty relations found at the best private colleges.
Central also has 215 full-time and two part-time administrative faculty and a full-time staff of 297 and a part-time staff of 123, all of whom are true partners in the educational enterprise at Central. A strong network of collective bargaining units represents nearly every constituent group of Central’s faculty and staff. A collective commitment to shared governance unites faculty and staff and is a hallmark of the University. For more information about Central Connecticut State University, please visit www.ccsu.edu.
Campus Community: Central is a campus community very focused on students and their educational development. The low student/faculty ratio allows for close interaction with faculty and individual attention to students. The faculty teach eight courses per year, and no courses are taught by graduate assistants. Over three-quarters of Central’s classes are under 30 students; over 40 percent are under 20 students. The faculty serve as teachers, mentors, advisers, and research partners with students.
The University offers a three-year interdisciplinary honors program to eligible students in any of the undergraduate schools. The program requires two four-credit courses per semester during the first two years and a capstone honors thesis during the junior year. All honors courses are team-taught. Honors students are eligible for a half-tuition scholarship which, upon strong academic performance, may be increased to a full-tuition scholarship.
Central’s students have a variety of opportunities to conduct individual research with the guidance of a faculty member, both during the year and over the summer. Currently, 21 percent of Central’s graduates have had a research experience. The University hosts an annual research day where students of all disciplines can present their research or creative activity. The University awards travel support for the best work in each academic area so that students can present their work at the national meeting of the National Council for Undergraduate Research.
Reflecting the growing diversity of Connecticut, Central is an increasingly diverse campus. Hispanic/Latinos are 13 percent of the student body; Black/African-Americas are 12 percent; Asians are four percent. Hispanic/Latino students and Black/African-American students have both increased significantly in number over the past several years. Twenty-six percent of the faculty are people of color, with Asian, Black, and Hispanic being the largest groups. The staff includes a similar percentage of members of color, with Asian, Black, and Hispanic being the largest groups. The Office of Diversity and Equity provides support for Central’s increasingly diverse population. There is also a very active LGBT Center on campus, and Central offers strong support to students with disabilities and veterans. The curriculum affords students the opportunity to study in depth the history and culture of the minority groups represented on campus. For all, Central is a welcoming and supportive campus.
During the past ten years, Central has become a more residential campus. Sixty percent of first year students live on campus, an increase of 16 percent over the last ten years—a growth made possible by the addition of residential living space. Central offers its students a full range of clubs and activities, including musical groups; academic, honorary, and special interest clubs and societies; dance and theatre groups; student government; student-run media; campus ministry; and social fraternities and sororities. As Central has become more residential, the level of student activity has increased, making the campus more vibrant.
At the same time, a large portion of Central’s students are commuters, many of them balancing their academic work with family obligations and full-time employment. Central values its commuter students, recognizes their special needs, and makes every effort to integrate them into campus life.
The Central Connecticut Blue Devils, an NCAA Division I athletics program that competes in the Northeast Conference, offers intercollegiate competition in six men's sports and eight women's sports. Central students are offered a variety of recreation, fitness, and wellness options, including 20+ intramural activities and club sports, five fitness centers across campus, and a variety of wellness and fitness classes.
Enrollment: During the past ten years, Central has been successful in maintaining stable enrollments in an increasingly competitive admissions environment and in a state with a declining number of high-school graduates. More importantly, Central has been successful in managing its enrollment to achieve broader institutional goals. The total headcount undergraduate enrollment has been roughly flat over the past ten years, as has the number of full-time students and the number of students living on campus. While the graduate school has seen a decline in headcount enrollment over this same period, this trend is turning around with the addition of new graduate programs such as the MBA and the Master of Science degree in Accounting.
Central has also devoted its attention to increasing retention and graduation rates. Over the past ten years, the first-year/second-year retention rate has hovered around 80 percent. However, the 4-, 5-, and 6-year graduation rates have increased. The 6-year rate is currently 54 percent. The University awards $15 million in institutional financial aid. During the past ten years, institutional aid has increased, both in the amount given and the number of students who receive it.
The Campus: Central’s 165-acre main campus sits on the northern edge of New Britain, with easy access to major highways and Interstate 84. Its Downtown Campus, located in the heart of New Britain, is the home of its Institute for Technology and Business Development as well as its Office of Community Engagement.
Central was a signatory of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, and the University subsequently has become a leader in sustainability efforts. As a result, Central is recognized by the Princeton Review as “one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the USA and Canada.”
Finances and Fundraising: Central is in strong financial shape in spite of the challenging financial environment of the state of Connecticut. Its current operating budget is $230 million. It has ended the past several years with operating surpluses, creating sizable strategic reserves. Funding from the State provides approximately 33 percent of its revenue; gross tuition and mandatory fees provide 47 percent. The endowment is currently at $78 million, the largest of Connecticut’s regional comprehensive universities. In-state tuition and mandatory fees for 2017-18 total $10,225; room and board is $11,816.
The institutional advancement effort at Central is well established, with effective leadership, a history of success, and a very engaged Foundation Board. The top fundraising priority for the University has been the growth of the endowment, which during the past ten years has increased from $17 million to its current level of $78 million. Institutional Advancement has also set for itself the goal of contributing $2 million annually to student financial aid through a combination of annual giving and endowment income. The goal has been reached and, in fact, exceeded. Its goal of $2 million in annual giving has also been exceeded; the Foundation has raised over $4M during the past three consecutive years and over $3M during the past eight consecutive years. The University recently brought to conclusion an eight-year fundraising initiative, CCSUCCESS, during which it raised a total of $36 million. Its successor campaign, CCSUConnected, is scheduled to launch in Fall 2018.
Central has 92,254 living alumni, 79 percent of whom live in Connecticut and the affection for Central by its alumni is palpable. The Alumni Association Board is very active and continues to have effective, dedicated leadership.
New Britain: Located nine miles southwest of Hartford, New Britain is a city of some 70,000. Part of the Greater Hartford area of 1.2 million residents, New Britain is centrally located in the state and is within easy reach of much of Connecticut and several metropolitan areas in the region.
New Britain’s population is characterized by a high degree of racial and ethnic diversity. Known as “Little Poland,” 17 percent of its population are of Polish background. It is the home of three Polish language newspapers and one television station, and annually hosts the Little Poland Festival. Significant portions of its population come from Puerto Rican, Italian, and Irish backgrounds. Currently, 37 percent of its population are Hispanic; 11 percent are African American; 25 percent live below the poverty line.
New Britain is the home of the New Britain Symphony, founded by Central faculty members and first conducted by Central’s president Dr. Etzel Willhoit. It is also home to the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and the Repertory Theatre of New Britain. Charter Oak State College, the online branch of the CSCU system, is also in New Britain.
In addition to all that Hartford provides, New Britain is 40 minutes from Springfield, Mass., two hours from Boston, and two hours from New York City. It is also part of the Hartford-Springfield “Knowledge Corridor” and, therefore, within easy driving distance of a host of private and public institutions of higher education and many cultural opportunities.
Role of the VPSA: As the chief student affairs officer, the VPSA is a key partner in student decision-making, providing leadership in all student affairs matters and working collaboratively with the directors, faculty, staff, and administration to further the University’s mission and vision. The VPSA reports directly to the president, serves on the President’s Cabinet, and works collaboratively with other members of the president’s leadership team. There must be especially close and collegial relations between the chief student affairs officer and the Provost, given the many ways in which they must partner to achieve the best educational outcome for Central’s students.
The VPSA will be responsible for providing leadership and administrative oversight of all student affairs programs and services that promote and advance the University's mission and strategic plan. The VPSA supervises the following seven departments: Student Wellness Services (health, counseling and wellness education); Residence Life, Student Activities and Leadership Development; Student Center; Student Conduct; Student Disability Services; and Veterans Affairs.
Assisting the VPSA is an associate dean, an administrative assistant, a university assistant, and several student employees.
Qualifications for the VPSA: The successful candidate is expected to have a record of collaborative decision-making, a high standard of professional integrity, and a strong sense of professional ethics. The position demands both inspirational leadership and a thorough understanding of best practices in student affairs. The next VPSA will be an innovative and energetic leader with a strong student-centered philosophy.
- Master’s degree in a student development or related area from a regionally accredited institution
- Seven or more years in higher level student affairs leadership experience, at the level of Director or above, with an outstanding record of student affairs leadership and student-centered philosophy
- Experience with developing, sustaining, promoting and evaluating student development programs, including knowledge of current strategies in student affairs
- Demonstrated success with improving student retention and graduation rates
- Experience with planning, budgeting, and fiscal management in a complex organization
- Experience working collaboratively with a student government organization and other student organizations
- Experience in employee recruitment and retention, promotion decisions, and the ability to recruit and retain a diverse faculty and staff
- Capacity to effectively communicate with a variety of constituency groups, both internal and external to CCSU
- Commitment to shared governance and ability to work in a complex matrixed environment, build consensus, develop new approaches to problem solving, ability to adapt to an ever changing environment, and recognize the worldwide geographic nature of the university
- Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion
- Doctorate from a regionally accredited institution
- Proven track record of establishing partnerships with academic affairs and the greater community
- Experience working in a unionized, public institution of higher education
- Experience in two or more student affairs areas including but not limited to: Student Wellness Services (health, counseling and wellness education); Diversity or Multicultural Affairs; Orientation; Residence Life, Student Activities and Leadership Development; Recreation; Student Center; First Year Experience; Parent or Family Relations; Student Conduct; Student Disability Services; and Veterans Affairs
- A track record of advocating for and developing diversity (e.g., cultural, racial, linguistic) among students, faculty, staff, alumni, university and community constituencies
- Commitment to building and maintaining relationships with community colleges
Application & Appointment: The Search Committee invites nominations and applications (a letter of application that addresses the responsibilities and qualifications described in the position description, curriculum vitae, and the names and contact information of five or more references) to be submitted to the search firm assisting Central Connecticut State University. References will not be contacted without prior knowledge and approval of candidates. Confidential review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. These materials should be sent electronically to the search firm consultant. It is preferred that all nominations and applications be submitted by September 30, 2018.
Search Firm Consultant:
Jacob C. Anderson, Principal
Parker Executive Search
Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 2900 Atlanta, GA 30328
770‐804‐1996 ext. 111
As an affirmative action employer, CCSU actively seeks and encourages applications from women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and individuals with protected veteran status. The University provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request.