Dean of Students

Kenyon College Gambier, OH

Kenyon College, one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country, seeks a Dean of Students to serve as a trusted resource for students on campus. Reporting to the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Dean of Students takes an active leadership role in developing students into healthy mature adults while managing the oversight of individual student issues, problem-solving, and conflict-resolution with students and families in collaboration with other members of the Kenyon staff. The successful candidate will serve as a key partner for the VPSA in all student life issues; oversee the Office of Student Rights/Responsibilities and the Cox Health and Counseling Center; and coordinate services for individual students on campus.

This is a distinctive opportunity for an accomplished professional with a strategic approach to student affairs to elevate the breadth and depth of resources available to students. Kenyon has a demonstrated commitment to providing students an unparalleled experience on campus and recently created a new Vice President for Student Affairs position to enhance the Student Affairs Division’s capacity. In creating this new position, Kenyon has given the Dean of Students the ability to focus on individual student development and concerns. The next Dean of Students will coordinate the many stakeholders across campus involved in student life, and be a visible and engaged member of the campus community and a known problem-solver for students and others. In addition to this important work, the Dean of Students will be a thought partner for the VPSA and serve a central role on the VPSA leadership team.

Since its founding nearly 200 years ago, Kenyon has developed a distinctive identity and has sought a special purpose among institutions of higher learning. As a private and independent residential liberal arts college, Kenyon seeks to enable its graduates to deal effectively with problems outside of academia. To achieve this goal, Kenyon students learn to develop a broad set of capacities, skills, and talents: to be able to speak and write clearly so as to advance thoughts and arguments cogently, to be able to discriminate between the essential and the trivial, to arrive at well-informed value judgments, to be able to work independently and with others, and to be able to comprehend cultures familiar and unfamiliar. As the go-to person for nearly all student concerns, the Dean of Students has a profound effect on students’ experience on campus, both inside and outside of the classroom, and can enhance their ability to achieve these goals.

Kenyon seeks candidates with an understanding of and appreciation for a residential liberal arts education; compassion and thoughtfulness, and experience using these traits to develop trusted relationships with students, staff, faculty, and external constituents; sophisticated interpersonal skills, including a firm but fair approach to the resolution of conflict; a commitment to consult extensively balanced by a willingness to act decisively when consensus is elusive; energy, agility, sense of humor, and flexibility to work with a talented team; a demonstrated track record of advancing diversity and enhancing inclusiveness; an ability to bring groups and individuals to common ground across lines of difference, including race, class, and socio-economic status; wisdom and superb judgment, including the capacity to make and stand by difficult decisions, demonstrated capacity to communicate sensitive issues broadly both in writing and verbally; and to cultivate and sustain collegial relationships.

Natalie Leonhard is leading this search with Jeff Kessner.