Director of the First-year Experience
Job no: 496385
Position type: full-time
Location: Lewisburg, PA
Categories: Student Affairs
The University seeks a dynamic and creative thought leader who is deeply invested in the first-year experience to serve as Director of the First-year Experience.
The Director of the First-year Experience is a key staff member within the Division of Student Affairs. Reporting to an Associate Dean of Students, the Director of the First-year Experience develops, evaluates, and facilitates transition programming grounded in a deep understanding of student development theory and new students’ lived experiences. Serving as a bridge between academic and student affairs, the Director works with partners across the University and draws upon national best practices and emerging trends in student transition, retention and engagement. The Director will oversee orientation programs, including the five-day first-year program and fall/spring transfer orientation, coordinate the First-year Reading Program, and create and work with other first-year engagement programs. The Director will also create ongoing opportunities to assist in the academic and social transition and integration of first-year students to the Bucknell community.
The department of Living, Learning & Leadership at Bucknell University provides intentional educational experiences for students that support the academic mission of the University. We are a team of 12 full-time professionals who lead the areas of the First-year Experience, Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, Residential Education, Student Leadership Programs and Housing Services. By centering student learning and affording students the authorship of their own Bucknell experience, we thoughtfully cultivate residential and leadership opportunities to advance individual growth and development. We are committed to diversity and inclusiveness, wellness and personal development. As a team, we challenge ourselves to strive for excellence.
This position requires some evening and weekend work.
Manage and direct all aspects of the Orientation program, including but not limited to:
• Mentor and train student Orientation staff, fostering a strong sense of community and responsibility with expectations commensurate to role and experience level (Orientation Assistants, Orientation Leaders and Orientation Coordinator/Assistant Orientation Coordinator).
• Coordinate the recruitment, selection and training of 100+ Orientation Leaders (OLs) and Orientation Assistants (OAs).
• Design and implement an intensive training program to equip student staff for their leadership roles during and after the Orientation program centered in both the program and University missions.
• Oversee fall and spring transfer student orientation, including collaborating with International Student Services in order to incorporate international exchange students.
• Coordinate communication to first-year students including creation and dissemination of both printed and virtual materials.
• Manage the budgetary process for Orientation and first-year programs.
• Assess first-year and transfer Orientation programs in order to innovate beyond best practices and ensure that the current programmatic model and offerings assist students in the transition to academic and co-curricular life at Bucknell.
• Facilitate the integration of first-year students to the University community by coordinating major campus events designed to introduce first-year students to university traditions and create a foundation for developing community. Such events include Matriculation, Convocation, First-year Reading and First Night.
• Work closely with campus partners (including Academic Affairs, Residential Education, Residential Colleges and pre-orientation programs) to create an intentional, collaborative experience for first-year students.
• Collaborate with staff of pre-orientation programs to provide coordinated arrival day for pre-orientation program participants and their families.
• Lead the First-year Reading Program including recruiting for and convening the First-year Reading committee, soliciting recommendations and feedback from the campus community, working with the Provost’s office on final book selection, and promoting ongoing student engagement with the book through various programs.
• Advise the First-year class government, supporting and guiding their University initiatives and fundraising efforts.
• Organize First Night, collaborating with Alumni Relations to engage the alumni community and advising the first-year class officers in the development of their class colors, crest, motto and presentations.
• Develop, create and lead first-year initiatives that connect students to the University and beyond actively seeking campus partnerships and responding to the needs and concerns of first-year students.
• Supervise a graduate assistant.
Departmental and Divisional Responsibilities
• Represent the Division of Student Affairs by serving on University committees.
• Attend and actively participate in office, departmental and divisional staff meetings, retreats and trainings.
• Maintain a high degree of visibility and availability to students, faculty and staff members.
• Manage complex and sensitive issues with compassion and confidentiality.
• Complete other duties as assigned.
• Minimum of three years of professional experience working with orientation and/or first-year students.
• Master's degree in college student personnel, higher education administration, education or a related field.
• Knowledge and a working understanding of student development theory.
• Ability to effectively interface with a wide variety of constituents including students, faculty, staff, family members, and community members.
• Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.
• Ability to work collaboratively across cultures and styles at all levels of the organization.
• Effective written and spoken communication skills.
• Strong commitment to student growth and development.
Founded in 1846 and located along the banks of the Susquehanna River in historic Lewisburg, Pa., Bucknell University is an undergraduate-focused institution that stands uniquely at the intersection of top-ranked liberal arts, engineering and management programs. Our students choose from more than 50 majors and 60 minors in the arts, engineering, humanities, management, and natural and social sciences, as well as extensive global study, service-learning and research opportunities. Bucknell’s 3,600 undergraduate and 100 graduate students enjoy a low 9:1 student-faculty ratio and exceptional opportunities to collaborate with faculty mentors.
Bucknell’s beautiful 450-acre campus includes first-rate facilities and is home to more than 90 percent of its students. Residential life is vibrant with about 150 student-run organizations, 27 NCAA Division I athletic teams, a robust arts culture, and a strong student commitment to community and global service work.
Bucknell is committed to fostering an environment that embraces diversity, equity and inclusion, and we seek candidates who will contribute to a climate that supports the growth and development of a diverse campus community. The University provides equal opportunity without regard to race, color, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, marital status, veteran status or disability in admissions, employment and in all of its educational programs and activities. We encourage individuals from historically underrepresented groups to apply.
Located in central Pennsylvania, Lewisburg features a variety of restaurants, beautiful Victorian homes, the restored art deco Campus Theatre (owned by the University), charming shops and boutiques, and the Barnes and Noble at Bucknell University Bookstore. About 33,000 residents live in the region.
The city of Williamsport is about a 30-minute drive from campus, and Penn State University’s main campus is about an hour away, as is Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s state capital. Bucknell is about three hours from New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
The cost of living here is low compared to that of major U.S. cities and suburbs. Bucknell’s surroundings yield fresh produce, cultural activities and events, and many opportunities for outdoor activity on the Susquehanna River and in the nearby state parks and forests. The Lewisburg Area School District receives excellent reviews for its schools at all grade levels. Lewisburg Area High School is consistently ranked among the top 50 high schools in Pennsylvania for SAT scores and statewide exams.
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