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Assistant Dean of Students for Residence Life

Apply now Job no: 492472
Work type: Full-time exempt
Location: Chester
Categories: Administrative (Exempt)

Widener University is currently seeking an Assistant Dean of Students for Residence Life.  The Assistant Dean of Students for Residence Life serves as a senior member of the leadership team for Student Affairs, providing leadership and direction for the development of Widener University's residential community.

Reporting to the Dean of Students, this role is responsible for the oversight and leadership of the Residence Life team. This position directly supervises the Area Coordinators (5), Assistant Director of Residence Life Operations (1), and non-exempt staff (1) as well as indirectly supervises paraprofessional staff (50+).

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: (include but are not limited to)

Essential Duties:

Strategic planning and leadership 

  • Serve as advocate to support the University and division’s strategic diversity initiatives to create a welcoming campus for all students.
  • Supervise the student housing operations function and area coordinator staff.
  • Develop and maintain departmental programming.
  • Develop and implement a plan to create a dynamic, student-focused team.
  • Develop and maintain departmental programming and operation budgets.
  • Develop and implement a strategy to increase occupancy of residence halls.
  • Provide vision and leadership for expanding the utilization of residential facilities during non-academic period (i.e. Summer conference housing).
  • Develop policies and procedures, programs, and services designed to improve the residence life program and support student satisfaction, engagement and retention.
  • Partner with the central office on maintenance, housekeeping and facilities.
  • Partner with faculty to develop a residential community that contributes to the education mission.
  • Provide leadership & direction for development and implementation of residence hall policies and community standards.
  • Provide crisis and emergency support in a 24/7 environment.
  • Oversee the Residence Life Office functions, including residence hall environments for approximately 1500-1700 residential students.
  • Provide leadership and autonomous decision making regarding the development and integration of a comprehensive residential education program designed to position the residence halls as extensions of the learning environment.
  • Oversee residential facilities, in collaboration with Operations, Maintenance, Housekeeping, and central office staff to maintain a safe, secure, and healthy living environment.
  • Work collaboratively with various offices on campus including Student Conduct, Student Engagement, Health Services, International Student Services, Multicultural Student Affairs, Admissions, Enrollment Services, Maintenance, Food Services and others on interdepartmental initiatives.
  • Serve in Student Affairs On-Call rotation on evenings and weekends to assist with emergency management.
  • Provide crisis intervention and referral to appropriate resources, including serving on University’s Care Team.
  • Coordinate content development for Residence Life publications including students, families and campus correspondence.
  • Provide leadership and direction for professional and paraprofessional staff recruitment, selection, training, and evaluation.
  • Maintain annual programming and operational budget to ensure efficient resources are allocated and aligned with departmental mission and goals.
  • In conjunction with office staff, oversee the function and administration of the technological resources of the office, including the Colleague housing management system, StarRez and the ORL Website.
  • Develop effective relationships with academic and university partners to enhance and increase Living Learning Communities and Themed Housing Communities.
  • Provide leadership in identifying and securing housing occupancy options congruent with enrollment targets.
  • Create and share priorities for assessments of departmental functions including, student learning outcomes, staff evaluations, staffing patterns, and student satisfaction with the Dean of Students.
  • Maintain off campus housing database; oversee relationships with university sponsored off campus housing entities.
  • Participate in and represent the Office of Residence Life on campus wide committees and Admissions Open Houses, Accepted Students Day, Summer Registration and New Student Orientations.
  • Oversee the Residence Hall Association (RHA) program through collaboration with other professional staff in Residence Life.

Secondary Responsibilities:

  • Maintains current working knowledge in the field of student personnel and/or higher education administration, especially residential living and learning. 
  • Responds to emergency calls on a 24-hour basis and participates in a rotating Student Affairs On-Call duty schedule.
  • Provides additional coverage and support for busy weekends and special events, i.e. Homecoming, opening, etc.
  • Performs additional duties and responsibilities as assigned.


Problem Solving:

The Assistant Dean will handle a variety of student, faculty, staff and parent concerns or issues on a regular basis.  The ability to anticipate, prevent and resolve concerns and problems is inherent in this skill.


Strong written and verbal communication skills are required represent the department and division.  Ability to interact and communicate with a wide variety of people is also very important.

Complexity of Tasks:

Ability to handle multiple daily tasks while assisting the Residence Life department in establishing vision, goals and objectives for the residence halls. Assume on call duty rotation as assigned and provide crisis response as part of the Student Affairs On-Call rotation. 

Leadership Skills:

Serve as senior leader on leadership team for Student Affairs. In addition, the Assistant Dean will participate in and lead committees within and outside of Residence Life.


Ability to take initiative and use creativity in accomplishing tasks and in generating new ideas for departmental continuous improvement.How


Directly supervises five Area Coordinators, Assistant Director of Operations, and non-exempt staff. Although Area Coordinators directly supervise Resident Assistants, the Assistant Dean will have regular contact and opportunities for providing feedback and indirect supervision of Resident Assistants and other student employees. 


MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: (Education/Training and Experience Required):

  • Master’s degree required in Student Affairs, Student Personnel Services, Higher Education Administration, Counseling or related field
  • Seven (7+) years of professional residence life experience required including experience as a Director of Residence Life
  • Proven track record of success leading a Residence Life team
  • Understanding of student development and residential living
  • Demonstrated expertise in housing software
  • Strong organizational and administrative
  • Demonstrated supervisory skills
  • Excellent time management and strong written and oral communication skills are required


  • Doctorate in higher education and Student Affairs or Comparable Field;
  • Ten (10+) years of professional residence life experience
  • Knowledge of StarRez housing software
  • Prior live on/in experience.


PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS AND/OR UNUSUAL HOURS:  Responds to emergency calls on a 24-hour basis and participates in a rotating Student Affairs On-Call duty schedule. This requires working nights and weekends.

*Incomplete applications will not be considered.  Only those selected to interview will be contacted. 

Widener has a strategic commitment to building an inclusive university community whose diversity enriches the lives of all members and where our students are prepared for living in a pluralistic and ever-changing world. As a leading metropolitan university, Widener strives to embody the values that are inherent in our mission: civic engagement, access, inclusion, academic excellence, innovation, and leadership.

Widener University, an independent, metropolitan, doctoral-intensive University, connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention and experiential learning are key components of the Widener Experience. Located in Chester, PA, Widener's main campus is nestled between Philadelphia, PA and Wilmington, DE, with Law School located in both Harrisburg and Wilmington. For more information about the University, please visit our website at


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