Reporting to the Executive Director for University Housing in the Division of Student Affairs and Academic Support, this position provides leadership for a comprehensive residential life program that supports 7,900 beds distributed through 36 campus residence halls and houses, occupying approximately 2.1 million square feet of space at the main Columbia campus. The Director of Residence Life supervises approximately 40 professional staff, 4 graduate assistants, 300 + resident mentors, and 400+ student workers. They are responsible for ensuring that all programs and services are aligned with and supportive of the mission and strategic plans of the Division of Student Affairs and Academic Support and the academic purposes of the University of South Carolina. The Director also ensures that experiential learning finds expression in the activities and programs of Residential Life and will create and sustain an environment of innovation and creativity. The Director serves on the departmental leadership team with seven other departmental directors for Business Operations, Construction and Renovation, Administration and Assignments, Marketing and Communication, Information Technology, Assessment, and Residence Life. The leadership team works collaboratively to address the regular work of the department and other unique issues that arise.
Founded in 1801, The University of South Carolina is a public research university located in Columbia South Carolina. It is the state’s flagship university, governed by a board of trustees appointed by the governor and state lawmakers, and led by President Robert L. Caslen, Jr, President and senior officer of the Columbia Campus and the entire USC system.
The University has received many distinctions, among which are consistently being rated as: a Kiplinger’s and Princeton Review “Best Value,” a U.S. News top twenty “Living and Learning Community program”, a U.S. News top twenty “University 101 program to watch”, and one of only 32 public universities to earn the Carnegie Foundation’s top-tier designations in research activity and community engagement.
A Master’s Degree in Student Services and eight years (or bachelor’s degree and ten years) of progressively responsible, full-time, related experience are the minimum requirements. The successful candidate must be able to lead a team of seasoned professionals in managing a multifaceted residence life program. They must demonstrate such high level skills as: budget management, supervision, teaching, training, and counseling, assessment and evaluation, familiarity with the residential curricular model, a deep understanding for student development, a strong commitment to diversity and the needs of special populations, and the ability to build and maintain interpersonal relations with campus partners and the general public.
The new Director of Residence Life will need to demonstrate active leadership ability and foster an atmosphere of excellence equal to the reputation of the Housing and Residential Life program, the Division of Student Affairs, and the University of South Carolina. They will understand the distinctions of a 24/7/365 student life operation that must manage both academic year and seasonal transitions. The Director should become aware of and embrace the university culture as it relates to a student focused mission. They should embrace cultural diversity and advocate for equity in hiring practices and wages. The Director should encourage their staff to be professionally engaged with student, campus, and community partners.
The University has received state approval for a major re-development of the south campus housing area, which will require the replacement of three high rise residence halls and an apartment complex with a newly envisioned “Campus Village” housing nearly 4,000 students. This project is essential to accommodate residential students at a growing institution and will require the new Director of Residence Life to engage quickly to help move the project forward.
The new Director of Residence Life will foster strong relationships and work cooperatively with faculty principals who provide academic leadership for students residing in living and learning residential communities. The connection between these student communities and their designated buildings are very important. First, the living space for students themselves, but also the unique features of those communities that require Residence life support and community building. Examples include: a “maker space” in the Rhodos community where students create; a “demonstration kitchen” in the Maxcy International House where students share cultural cuisine; or the “community garden” at the Green Quad Learning Center, where students help grow food organically and sustainably. These are but a few of the exciting partnerships that have been established and which require ongoing cultivation.
The issue of safety and security is important to every university where residence halls present unique challenges. The Director of Residence Life should have an appreciation for and awareness of such challenges and offer structural, technological, and behavioral solutions that will enhance safety and security in all the residence halls.
The new Director will come into the department at a time when curriculum and programmatic efforts are be evaluated and retooled to be more impactful with our students. It is an exciting time for University Housing and will require an innovative leader to guide the Residence Life program.
The University of South Carolina does not discriminate in educational or employment opportunities on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, age, disability, protected veteran status or genetics.