Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Success Cleveland State University - Cleveland, Ohio

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This leadership profile is intended to provide information about Cleveland State University and the position of Vice President of Enrollment Management & Student Success. It is designed to assist qualified individuals in assessing their interest in this position. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, the original source documents and factual situations govern, and the material presented here should be relied upon for informational purposes only.

Cleveland State University (CSU), an urban public research institution, invites applications and nominations for a forward-thinking, and transformative leader to serve as vice president for enrollment management & student success. This newly created position combines the enrollment management division (recruitment and admissions, registrar, treasury services, financial aid, one- stop and processing) with student success support programs (first year and exploratory advising, undergraduate inclusive excellence coaching, and the Transfer Center). This is an opportunity to play a lead role in developing a new enrollment management model and to influence broad campus policy regarding student recruitment and retention. Building a robust and high performing enrollment management & student success division, transforming the student experience from cradle to career, effectively blending technology/data and human interaction are just a few of the opportunities that await the new vice president for enrollment management & student success.

Under the dynamic leadership of newly appointed President Harlan Sands (June 2018), Cleveland State University is committed to building upon its substantial enrollment success, its outstanding academic programs already in place, and to providing a transformative student experience from the moment students arrive on campus through graduation. An unwavering focus on putting students first; affordability and access; building internship and career opportunities for students; expanding continuing education and certificate programs in market demand driven fields, and a commitment to planning, implementation and continuous improvement are top priorities of President Sands.

Founded in 1964, CSU is a dynamic institution with over 17,000 students, 10 colleges and schools and offers more than 175 academic programs. The Brookings Institution ranks CSU #18 in the United States among public universities that fulfill a critical dual mission: providing upward mobility and conducting impactful research. US News & World Report consistently lists CSU among America’s Best Colleges and Universities. Also noteworthy:

  • For the 2018-2019 academic year, CSU welcomed the largest freshman class in its history, with 1,950 first-year students.

  • Cleveland State’s dynamic campus in the heart of downtown Cleveland continues to evolve. In early 2018, CSU’s Washkewicz College of Engineering opened a striking addition.

  • In fall of 2018, CSU’s new School of Film & Media Arts ---the only standalone film school in Ohio--- opened on the top floor of the Idea Center at Playhouse Square.

  • CSU has strengthened its ties to Cleveland through a series of forward-thinking partnerships, Campus International School and MC2STEM High School provide pathways to college for young people, by way of the Education Park that CSU has created with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

  • CSU serves unmet healthcare needs in the community through the Partnership for Urban Health and its joint medical programs with NEOMED and Ohio University.

  • The Campaign for CSU exceeded its fundraising goal --- two years ahead of schedule --- and raised more than $114 million, largely to benefit scholarship and student success programs.


Our mission is to encourage excellence, diversity and Engaged Learning by providing a contemporary and accessible education in the arts, sciences, humanities and professions and by conducting research, scholarship and creative activity across these branches of knowledge. We endeavor to serve and engage the public and prepare our students to lead productive, responsible and satisfying lives in the region and global society.


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Harlan M. Sands was appointed by the Cleveland State UniversityBoard of Trustees to serve as the University’s seventh President, effective June 1, 2018.

Sands is a highly regarded and widely respected higher education leader with extensive experience at urban research universities. He has a proven track record of advancing academic excellence, empowering faculty, championing research and aligning strategies and operations to meet the emerging needs of higher education in the 21st century. He brings 30+ years of experience as a higher education thought leader, academic administrator, business process transformer, teacher and student advocate.

Sands came to CSU from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was Vice Dean of Finance and Administration, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer.

He previously served as Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer at the University of Louisville, and as Vice Provost for Administration and Quality Improvement and Chief Operating Officer for the Provost at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He also held several positions at Florida International University, including Executive Director of the FIU Applied Research Center, Associate Vice President for Research and Associate Dean of the College of Health and Urban Affairs, where he had a faculty appointment in the Department of Criminal Justice.

Prior to his career in higher education, Sands practiced law as an assistant public defender in Miami, where he litigated over 50 trials in state and county court, representing indigent clients.

He also served on active duty for more than a decade in the U.S. Navy, including service as a surface warfare officer on the USS Guam (LPH-9) and several tours of duty as an intelligence officer. He received two Naval Commendation Medals during Operation Desert Storm and was a Department of Defense bone marrow donor.

He holds a B.S. in Economics (Finance) from The Wharton School, an MBA with a major in Finance from George Washington University and a J.D. from George Mason University.

To view President Sands’ speeches and remarks, please visit:


The Vice President of Enrollment Management & Student Success is a member of thePresident’s Cabinet, a highly collaborative and engaged group of campus leaders. The Cabinet also includes the Provost; Associate Vice President and Chief of Staff; Interim Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer; Vice President, University Advancement; Associate Vice President, Budget & Performance Management; Senior Vice President, Business Affairs & Finance; Chief Human Resources Officer; Chief Marketing Officer; Senior Advisor to the President, Governmental Relations; Athletic Director; and General Counsel.

The Cleveland State University Board of Trustees consists of nine trustees, a Secretary to the Board, two faculty representatives, and two student representatives, who, in collaboration with the University President, are charged with fulfilling the goals set forth in the University Mission Statement. The Board has the authority to act as the governing body in all policy matters of the University requiring attention or action. Only the nine trustees have voting power. The Governor appoints the Trustees of the University to nine-year terms of the remainder of vacated terms. The Governor also appoints two student trustees for two-year terms, and fills the unexpired term of a graduating student trustee.

Role of the Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Success

Reporting to the president and serving as a key member of the Cabinet, the vice president for enrollment management & student success (VPEMSS) will be responsible for developing and executing comprehensive enrollment management, retention and degree completion strategies designed to achieve ambitious enrollment goals, continue to enhance academic quality and elevate CSU to higher levels of institutional distinction.

The VPEMSS will be a collaborative professional who can articulate a complex vision with the confidence of a thought leader and who will be eager to engage the CSU community in a university-wide effort to meet annual enrollment goals, improve academic success, and increase

retention and degree completion. The VPEMSS collaborates closely with the provost, cabinet members, and academic deans to determine short and long term goals for both tuition revenue and headcounts, retention and graduation strategies and to expand degree programs in market demand driven fields. The VPEMSS is responsible for an operating budget of more than $9 million, financial aid awarding of over $146 million and 113 full-time staff. CSU utilizes PeopleSoft software.

Areas Reporting to the Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Success

Admissions & Recruitment

Staff in the Admissions Office includes the director of undergraduate admissions, coordinator of special recruitment programs, assistant director for campus visits and orientation, campus visit and alumni recruiter, coordinator of international recruitment, two assistant directors and eight counselors. Currently, 90 percent of CSU students are from the state of Ohio, five percent are international and 5 percent are from out of state. Freshman enrollment has increased 100 percent over the last ten years. CSU partners with EAB on application generation and utilizes CampusManagement (formerly Hobson’s) as its CRM.

Enrollment Operations and Processing

Direct reports to the assistant vice president for operations includes the director of enrollment processing, and 12 processing specialists. All applications to CSU are processed by the Processing Center.

All-in-1 Enrollment Services

The All-in-1 is a one stop student services center that assists students with any questions regarding admissions, academic records, financial aid, registration and student accounts. The mission of the Center is to provide a centralized location where the University community is effectively and efficiently served, issues in support of educational goals are resolved and students are empowered to manage their academic life. The assistant vice president/director of Campus 411/All-in-1 oversees an associate director and 13 student services specialists. Staff working in the Center are committed to providing exemplary customer service. For more information about the Center, please visit:

Financial Aid

Staff in the Financial Aid Office includes the director, associate director, three assistant directors, one scholarship coordinator, three financial aid specialists, two production specialists and a financial aid literacy coordinator. The office performs verification and awarding for all students, including graduate and law school students and utilizes PowerFAIDS software.

Registrar’s Office

The registrar oversees a staff of ten. Students can access their academic records, register for classes, print their schedules, request transcripts, manage their account and more online via CampusNet. Also housed within the office are a lead business analyst and a programmer/analyst. Additional information about services provided by the registrar’s office can be found at:

Treasury Services

Treasury Services assist students with assuming financial responsibility for their education while providing exceptional customer service, timely and accurate billings to students, disbursement offinancial aid and scholarships to the student’s account and processing tuition and fee payments, refunds and credits.

First Year Advising, Exploratory Advising, First Year Experience & TRIO

First Year Advising, First Year Experience, TRIO & Inclusive Excellence are programs committed to ensuring the success of students, a smooth transition to the University and building a foundation for academic success which leads to graduation. Exploratory Advising Office provides academic advising and academic support services for students who are undecided about their academic major or academic plan, and students who do not immediately meet the academic requirements for admissions directly into the academic college of their choice. Services offered to students include individual one-on-one attention, assessment tools, assistance in course selection and registration and monitoring of student academic progress. TRIO provides academic advising and support for first-generation college students

Please visit for more information about advising at CSU.

Graduation Coaching Office

In keeping with our commitment to student success and inclusive excellence, Cleveland State University has a team of success coaches that specifically focus on the recruitment, retention and graduation of underrepresented minority, low-income and first-generation students. The team works with student support units across campus to enhance services for underrepresented minority and at-risk students, with the ultimate goal of enhancing retention and graduation rates.

Transfer Center

Transfer students account for roughly 55 percent of CSU’s enrollment. The Transfer Centerprovides opportunities to explore CSU’s bachelor degree programs, learn how credits transfer and ensure that students are taking the right classes at their current school. The Transfer Center also connects transfer students with CSU’s essential and elective resources such as studentorganizations, financial aid, and admissions. For more information about the Transfer Center, please visit:

Challenges and Opportunities Associated with this Position

Cleveland State University is charting a path of innovation, achievement and aggressive enrollment growth. The new vice president will have the opportunity to work with an inspiring leader and become part of a forward thinking leadership team. The VPEMSS will find a collaborative environment but one not willing to maintain status quo. The new vice president will face familiar enrollment challenges associated with changing state and national demographics, increased competition from other institutions, affordability issues, and uncertainty regarding the value of higher education as a whole. The Vice President will be charged with creating a culture of continuous and sustainable improvement, along with the leadership that is needed to ensure consistent enrollment growth and improved retention and graduation rates through exemplary student success programs and initiatives.

Qualifications and Characteristics of the Successful Candidate

A Master’s degree is required; earned doctoral degree preferred. At least ten years of progressively responsible management experience directly related to enrollment management and/or student success and experience in analyzing and organizing information to produce data- driven decisions is required. Commitment to and demonstrated success in recruiting, enrolling and retaining an academically strong and diverse student population are also required. The ideal candidate will have experience with change management as related to continuously improving business processes and have experience working at a large, complex, urban university. The ideal candidate will be forward thinking, highly energetic, and able to anticipate and effectively respond to all matters that influence enrollment and student success. Excellent written and verbal communications skills, strong data analytics and technology skills, integrity, ability to motivate staff and to foster collaboration across diverse groups of constituents is expected. A high degree of understanding of the complex facets of enrollment, including recruitment, strategic awarding of financial aid and scholarships, retention and student course and academic planning will also be factors considered in the selection of the vice president for enrollment management & student success.

In addition to the above academic and experiential requirements, Cleveland State University seeks an enrollment management and student success professional who is a bold and pioneering leader able to partner broadly across the University. This is not a status quo position; the opportunity for impact is significant.

Stakeholders at Cleveland State University indicated that the following characteristics would be desired in candidates for the vice president for enrollment management & student success position:

  • Visionary leader willing to take calculated risks;

  •  Strong facilitator able to lead and manage in a complex environment;

  • Knowledgeable about state and national demographic trends impacting enrollment;

  • Knowledgeable about enrollment and yield forecasting;

  • Strong analytical skills;

  • Student-centered;

  • Commitment to and ability to develop cradle to career pathways and improve student outcomes;

  • Change agent;

  • Ability to help anticipate and navigate the challenges and opportunities in higher education, bringing together colleagues from across campus to support innovative ways to reach the goals of the President and the University;

  • Proven ability to analyze, summarize, and present complex data to various constituencies;

  • Ability to think strategically;

  • Nimbleness as priorities shift;

  • Politically savvy;

  • Possess the power of persuasion;

  • Has demonstrated success in working collaboratively with academic deans on issues and

    initiatives related to enrollment management and student success;

  • Understands predictive modeling and financial aid leveraging;

  • Energy, integrity, grit and ambition; and

  • Respects the opinion of others.

Measurements of Success

The following items will be important barometers of success:

  • Targeted enrollment goals for the University and colleges have been met;

  • Retention and graduation rates increase;

  • Staff reporting through the vice president have confidently embraced this new

    leadership and division and have established strong and effective working


  • A clear enrollment matrix outlining strategies for attracting specific targeted groups

    of students has been established;

  • Data and analytics are utilized to influence and/or drive decisions;

  • Proactive communication within the division and with external offices and stakeholders;

  •  Collaborative relationships with deans and increased understanding among them regarding the mission and vision of enrollment management and student success;

  • Survey the enrollment management landscape today and create a plan that prepares Cleveland State for the future;

  • Financial aid is being utilized most effectively to achieve targeted enrollment objectives.


Benefits are an important part of the vice president’s total compensation. Cleveland State University strives to provide high-quality, affordable, family-friendly benefit offerings to meet the needs of a diverse workforce. The University’s highly competitive and comprehensive benefits package includes:

  • Comprehensive Healthcare (including medical with prescription drug)

  • Dental and Vision Insurance

  • Flexible Benefit Options

  • Voluntary Life Insurance

  • Long Term Disability Insurance

  • Retirement (State of Ohio STRS, OPERS & OPERS-LE)

  • Medical and dependent daycare flexible spending account

  • Immediate Eligibility for Tuition Remission

Details of benefits offered at Cleveland State University can be found at:

The cost of living in a particular geographic area should be a key consideration in salary expectation when job hunting. Listed below is a link where applicants can enter a current salary and location and learn what the comparable salary would be in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Cost of living calculator:

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland is a dynamic city located on the shores of Lake Erie. With family-friendly neighborhoods, a four-season climate, a vibrant arts and cultural scene, major league sports teams, and residents known for their welcoming nature and spirited loyalty, Cleveland is a place to live comfortably. It's also known for the stately Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the I.M. Pei–designed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum. The city proper has a population of over 388,000. For more information about Cleveland, please visit:

Application & Nomination

Review of candidates begins immediately and will until the position is filled. Interested candidates should apply for this position online via the Williams & Company website at: Confidential inquiries and/or nominations may be directed to Martha H. Smiles at: or (802) 497-0151.

Please visit Cleveland State University’s website at

It is the policy of Cleveland State University to provide equal opportunity to all qualified applicants and employees without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.