Vice President for Student Life

Candidate visits

The name of each candidate will be announced one day before their open forum. The campus community is encouraged to provide feedback to the search committee through this site.

Candidate feedback

We welcome your feedback on all four of the finalists either by completing the individual surveys for each candidate and/or the overall feedback survey. Deadline for submitting feedback is 5:00pm on Friday, February 21, 2020.

Send feedback on all candidates here

Candidate 4: Brian Lai

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Candidate 3: Danielle Martinez

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Candidate 2: Sarah Hansen

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Candidate 1: Kenneth G. Brown

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Open forum dates and times

The finalists for the University of Iowa’s vice president for student life will participate in open forums during the first two weeks of February.

All forums will take place in the Iowa Theatre (room 166) of the Iowa Memorial Union. The dates and times of the open forums are as follows:

  • 3:15 to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3
  • 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4
  • 1:45 to 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10
  • 3:15 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11

Send your feedback here

About the position

The University of Iowa seeks a dynamic leader to fill the position of Vice President for Student Life. The Vice President provides creative vision and leadership for all student life programs and activities, including Iowa Memorial Union, Marketing and Design, Office of the Dean of Students, Office of Leadership, Service and Civic Engagement, Office of Student Engagement and Campus Programs, Office of Fraternity and Sorority LifeOffice of Sexual Misconduct Response Coordinator, Rape Victim Advocacy Program, Recreational Services, Student Disability Services, Student Health, Student Wellness, University Housing and Dining, University Counseling Service, and Women’s Resource and Action Center

Characteristic duties and responsibilities

Provide administrative oversight for the individual units of the Division and for the operations of the Office of the Vice President for Student Life. Recruit and select assistant and associate vice presidents for student life and other professional direct reports and support their professional development.

Support an environment that is inclusive and welcoming for all students by providing programming, service, educational programs, and cultural experiences to the campus community. 

Work closely with students, staff, faculty, administrators, and community members to advocate for students so their needs are recognized and addressed.

Identify, allocate, and assume responsibility for financial resources of the Division of Student Life (such as general education funds, student fee revenue, income from auxiliary operations, and philanthropic funds) to meet the Division's strategic goals.

Foster innovation in providing access to quality services throughout the division by effectively identifying, acquiring, developing, and deploying technology and human resources.

Participate in university-wide strategic planning, lead division-wide strategic planning, support unit-level strategic planning, and ensure alignment among those plans.

Collaborate with the Office of the Provost and other units to promote and enhance student success programs and initiatives.

Advise the president and other senior administrators on policies and practices as they relate to the university's students.

Serve as a member of the President's Cabinet and advise the President on policy development and other issues as appropriate.

Foster a culture of evidence-based decision making by advocating and supporting assessment with an emphasis on assessment of student learning outcomes.

Lead the planning for capital project construction and the continued reimagination of the Iowa Memorial Union, the Cultural Centers, and the Well-Being Center initiative, in support of the Division’s mission.

Represent the University at appropriate local, state, regional, and national meetings.

Communicate and consult regularly with elected student government representatives as the primary executive liaison between university administration and the student governance structure.

Universal competencies

The following universal competencies apply to all positions at the University of Iowa. For this position, the expert/leader proficiency level is required.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Ability to work with a variety of individuals and groups in a constructive and respectful manner while appreciating the unique contribution of an inclusive workforce that brings together the talents of people across multiple identities, including race, creed, color, religion, national origins, age, sex, pregnancy, disability, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or associational preferences.

Collaboration and Positive Impact: Ability to work with a variety of individuals and groups in a constructive and civil manner and utilize existing resources and learning to achieve or exceed desired outcomes of current and future organizational goals/needs.

Service Excellence and Customer Focus: Ability to meet or exceed customer service needs and expectations and provide excellent service in a direct or indirect manner.  Ability to effectively transmit and interpret information through appropriate communication with internal and external customers.

Required qualifications

A terminal degree in Higher Education, Student Development, or a related field, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Leadership experience with demonstrated increases in responsibility in student affairs or academic administration (typically 10 or more years).

Proven record of accomplishing student success and implementing student engagement initiatives.

Demonstrated experience creating and maintaining an inclusive, welcoming environment and providing cultural experiences for all members of the campus community. 

Experience with budget planning and financial analysis to inform strategic priorities and operational efficiencies (typically 3 or more years). 

Preferred qualifications

Experience advocating for and forging productive partnerships with a broad array of internal and external university constituents, including students, faculty, staff, parents, and the public.

Evidence of multicultural competency and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), specifically having advanced knowledge about DEI through hiring, mentoring, and promoting professionals from historically underrepresented backgrounds.

An understanding of methods for learning outcome assessment, decision-making via evidence, and deployment of high-impact educational practices.

Ability to lead change and manage conflict in dynamic and high-pressure situations.

Ability to be innovative, creative, and courageous when addressing institutional challenges.

Ability to be a university spokesperson and work closely with the advancement team and campus leaders to engage with alumni, prospective individual donors, foundations, and companies in achieving fundraising goals.

Teaching and scholarship experience suitable for appointment as a tenured faculty member in the appropriate academic department.

Excellent analytical and communication skills.

Procedure for applications and nominations


Job applicants who presently work at the University of Iowa are advised that their names and application materials are subject to disclosure upon request pursuant to the Iowa Open Records law. 

All applications must be completed online via the Jobs@UIOWA  website by referencing requisition number 73837, however, if you need an accommodation in order to apply for this position, please contact Karen Shemanski by email at or by phone at (319) 335-5091. You may also email the search committee at

Screening begins immediately and will continue until the position is filled. To be fully considered for the position, please submit your application materials by December 6. We expect the first round of interviews to occur in mid-late December.


We are accepting nominations for this position.  If you’d like to submit a nomination, please fill out the nomination form.

About the search committee

Meet the members of the search committee.

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