Date: February 4, 2016
Title of Position: Vice President for Academic Affairs
Salary: Commensurate with experience
Effective: July 2016
Berkshire Community College (BCC), located in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, is searching for an exceptional academic leader to guide the institution’s dynamic educational mission during a time of significant transformation and opportunity.
Founded in 1960, BCC was the first public community college in Massachusetts. It plays a central role in addressing educational and economic priorities for the westernmost portion of the Commonwealth by preparing knowledgeable, skilled, and engaged citizens. During an academic year, BCC enrolls 2,700 students in forty-seven degree and certificate programs. Another 3,000 students are enrolled in non-credit and workforce development programs. A further 1,030 seasoned learners are members of BCC’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. BCC has capacity for growth in enrollment and in academic programs that meet the local economy’s and students’ needs for degrees and transfer. BCC provides students with the academic programs and support services required for persistence in higher education.
BCC’s service area includes the thirty-two municipalities that comprise Berkshire County as well as adjacent areas of southern Vermont, eastern New York, and northwestern Connecticut. Berkshire County, the largest county in Massachusetts in terms of land area, is primarily rural, with 128,715 residents in 927 square miles. It is known for its scenic beauty and world-renowned cultural venues. Pittsfield (population 43,697) is the larger of the two county cities and the home of BCC’s main campus. Academic access is also provided with courses scheduled at three off-site locations and with expanding online offerings. Operating in what has been called the western gateway to Massachusetts, BCC is the only open-access public institution of higher education in Massachusetts west of the Connecticut River; as such, its educational mission is essential to the vitality of the region. The nearest urban centers are Springfield and Albany, NY (one-hour drives), and Worcester (one-and-three-quarter-hour drive). Boston and New York City are equidistant (approximately 3 hours).
While Berkshire County is facing demographic challenges (including a declining and aging population), the campus remains a vibrant and diverse community of learners, comprised of honors scholars, developmental learners, first-generation students, English-language learners, and students on a path to career preparation or to baccalaureate degrees. A critical part of BCC’s mission is to provide rigorous, accessible, affordable, and relevant educational degree and certificate options which are necessary to ensure the success of its diverse student population.
In recognition of its excellent work, BCC has been named to the President’s 2014 Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The College has also received a US DOE Title III Strengthening Institutions Grant, a US DOL TAACCCT Grant for Guided Pathways, and a renewal of its US DOE TRIO Student Support Services Grant. The College is in its second year of implementing a Five-Year Strategic Plan, a campus-wide initiative that involves over seventy individuals and addresses five strategic goals through a series of task forces. This process is designed to develop the next generation of campus leaders. Simultaneously, BCC is in the midst of a $23-million renovation of two academic buildings, with completion anticipated by January 2017. BCC’s most recent accreditation report to the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) was approved. Our next report will be submitted in 2019.
BCC’s greatest challenges include addressing the struggle that many students have in persisting through developmental education and in responding effectively to the demographic trends in Berkshire County. Regarding the former, BCC is currently implementing creative solutions for increased student success and degree completion consistent with the Complete College America national agenda. The College, as part of its strategic plan, is also conducting market research to identify educationally underserved county residents and to provide classes and programs for them.
Reason for Search:
The current Vice President is retiring after more than a decade of leadership. Concurrently, two of the three academic deans are also retiring. The next VPAA will have the opportunity to shape an appropriate leadership structure and oversee the hiring process.
Reporting directly to the President, the VPAA is responsible for planning, development, coordination and administration of academic programs at all college locations. The VPAA provides leadership and administrative direction in areas related to academic affairs including: curriculum, information literacy, program development and review, accreditation, scheduling, collective bargaining agreements, academic budget, grants development and management, internal and external committees, and other related responsibilities necessary for the effective functioning of the Academic Division. The VPAA assumes a leadership role in the implementation of the College’s strategic plan as it relates to academics.
* Lead planning, delivery and assessment of academic programs and services, accomplished in collaboration with faculty and staff throughout the institution.
* Oversee regular review and analysis of academic programs to maintain appropriate standards and ensure that necessary changes are made effectively. Direct short- and long-term academic planning consistent with institutional goals.
* Work with Academic Deans, faculty and professional staff to ensure that all academic programs, policies, and practices support the educational mission of the College.
* Provide leadership for policies and processes relating to program accreditation and regional accreditation of the College. Oversee participation of the College in statewide and national initiatives regarding assessment of learning outcomes.
* Lead campus review and discussion of developmental education. Identify and implement strategies to improve persistence and completion.
* Oversee and support service learning and civic engagement initiatives as well as demonstrate a commitment to environmental sustainability.
* Identify new and ongoing program and curriculum needs, initiating new programs, revising existing programs, ensuring that programs are current and designed to ensure student success in employment and/or transfer. Oversee approval of new programs as well as program termination or changes in delivery.
* Identify resource needs necessary to maintain successful programs, including personnel, facilities, equipment, and technology.
* Work with other community colleges and 4-year receiving institutions to develop collaborations and articulation agreements in academic programs, academic support, and professional development for faculty and staff where appropriate and practical. Promote collaboration where appropriate to increase student success.
* Lead collaboration with local high school districts on curriculum alignment, transition programs, articulation, and dual enrollment to improve recruitment and success of incoming high school students.
* Oversee academic support and transition programs to ensure student persistence and success. Work with Student Affairs to ensure ongoing improvements in developmental education outcomes and to implement strategies known to strengthen persistence and completion.
* Implement faculty and staff collective bargaining agreements; negotiate modifications in practice where desirable to support innovation for student success.
* Develop, manage, assess, and report on Academic Affairs budgets consistent with campus mission and institution wide planning. Includes oversight of division budgets as well as all grant budgets from which Academic Affairs draws funds.
* Represent the College on external boards and committees at all levels where consistent with Academic Affairs goals. Facilitate participation of faculty and Academic Affairs staff in external boards and committees where appropriate.
* Inspire faculty and lead them to innovate and excel in the classroom and in the laboratory. Establish goals and objectives, performance expectations, and professional development plans. Monitor and review performance and provide guidance and direction.
* Select successful candidates for positions within Academic Affairs; ensure orientation plans for new faculty and staff in Academic Affairs.
* Prepare various reports for the President including goals, objectives achieved, challenges, recommended new initiatives, project status, and other divisional activities and statistics.
* Oversee initiatives in Academic Affairs that support learning but are not directly linked to particular programs and courses; ensure these are consistent with college mission, with student retention and success, and with initiatives as set forth by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education.
* Earned Doctorate.
* Successful administrative experience in educational organizations.
* Experience working collaboratively with Student Affairs, Workforce Development, and Community Education.
* Ability to strategically define and streamline diversity initiatives related to faculty and staff recruitment, retention, and professional development; curriculum and pedagogy; and student support programs and services.
Desired Characteristics and Traits:
The faculty, students, staff, Board of Trustees, and community partners seek a bold academic leader who utilizes a collaborative approach; values academic excellence in a context featuring an affirming culture, increased diversity, and strengthened civic engagement; embraces accountability; respects the roles of all contributors; is engaged and engaging; and possesses strong communication and listening
skills. The next VPAA should be purposeful and achievement-oriented, with a history of accomplishing initiatives that benefit academic programs and, most importantly, students. Moreover, the candidate should demonstrate extensive knowledge of, and interest in, educational research on state, national, and global levels.
The College seeks a VPAA who is an innovative academic leader, one who is responsive, open to change, data-driven, resourceful, a creative problem-solver, and savvy regarding budgets and technology. The candidate should also value both online and on-campus learning and be experienced with, and supportive of, cross-curricular and cross-divisional initiatives. Furthermore, the VPAA should support and encourage professional growth for faculty and staff.
The VPAA should thrive in an informal environment, one in which a sense of humor is appreciated. The candidate will possess a strong interest in the broader community, demonstrating a respect for and experience with developing and strengthening relationships with a myriad of community stakeholders. A strong candidate should exhibit interest in forging a celebratory culture, while also leading or supporting multiple initiatives. Moreover, the VPAA should appreciate the vital role of diverse students in shaping a rich, learning-centered campus.
The President seeks a true partner to help lead the institution.
Application Procedures: For consideration, send cover letter, resume, and a one-page statement containing your philosophy of leading an academic division at a community college to Heidi Bailey, Berkshire Community College, 1350 West Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201. email@example.com A list of five professional references will be required for those applicants chosen as finalists.
Application review begins on March 1, 2016 and continues until this position is filled. BCC is committed to providing an inclusive learning and working environment that values the diverse backgrounds of all people and encourages applications from individuals whose experiences and perspectives model the opportunities and success derived from a college education.