Compensation: $135,000 – $150,000 DOE/Neg.
Location: San Diego, CA
Reports To: Dean, School of Law
Direct Reports:3 (Assoc. Dir. of Admissions & Financial Aid, Assoc. Dir. of Admissions & Diversity, Financial Aid & Admissions Counselor)
Assistant Dean, Admissions & Financial Aid School of Law
Compensation: $135,000 – $150,000 DOE/Neg.
WHO WE ARE:
The USD School of Law offers exceptional programs, providing students with an opportunity to apply their intellect and education to some of the most challenging issues facing society. With approximately 260 students per entering class, USD fosters an intimate, hands–on learning environment with an intensive focus on academic rigor, mentoring, culture and the overall student experience. The University’s location in central San Diego offers our students and alumni direct connectivity to one of the most dynamic and vibrant cities in the country, with an unbeatable campus and climate.
Among our core values is a commitment to helping our students leverage their legal education and skills to advance equity and social change. Our Clinical Education Program has become a national leader in bridging the gap between courses in legal theory and the practical skills and experience individuals need to become effective lawyers. These programs—particularly those directly serving clients—are a public service that instills in students a deep sense of social responsibility and a commitment to pro bono service. Clinical programs offer students the opportunity to train under experienced professors and attorneys, learn professional responsibility in the real world and acquire interpersonal skills. In addition, USD’s Field Placement Program provides students with academic credit for legal work performed at courts, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, corporations, and law firms.
Our student organizations are another pillar of the USD experience. With over 40 unique law student organizations, journals and teams from which to choose, the USD School of Law offers students superb opportunities to enrich their legal education, gain hands–on experience and network with professionals
working in their chosen field—all before graduation. Our student organizations include Advocates for Children and Education, Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Black Law Students Association, Environmental Law Society, First Generation Legal Professionals, La Raza Law Students Association, Pride Law and Pro Bono Legal Advocates, among many others.
Each year our Admissions team works exceptionally hard to recruit a diverse body of Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest law and taxation. The law school’s faculty is an exceptional group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 30th nationally among U.S. law faculties in scholarly impact and 28th nationally in past–year faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools.
USD strongly encourages and supports the educational development of its employees, their spouses, registered domestic partners, dependent children and dependent children of registered domestic partners. After one year of employment with the University, each employee is eligible for free tuition within most of the University’s programs, to obtain one undergraduate, graduate or terminal degree. After two years of employment, each employee’s immediate family members listed above are eligible for free tuition within most of the University’s undergraduate, graduate or terminal degree programs. In addition, the University’s tuition exchange program provides undergraduate scholarships to eligible children of employees to more than 600 participating institutions across the country.
Strategies around student recruitment and allocation of merit–based financial aid are the two most critical decision–making areas within the law school. Overseeing a team of 6 staff (Assoc. Dir. of Admissions & Financial Aid, Assoc. Dir. of Admissions & Diversity, Financial Aid & Admissions Counselor, Admissions Coordinator, Financial Aid Coordinator, and Admissions Assistant) the Assistant Dean will be encouraged to be innovative and creative, empowered to craft and execute their vision for reaching our goals around student enrollment and retention. USD takes a unique approach to our Assistant Dean position in that this executive will lead both our strategy and our modeling in these areas. In 2020 USD received over 3,400 applications, representing the third consecutive annual increase.
We seek an experienced admissions professional who will lead by aligning the strengths and passions of each team member within both the field of legal education and the operational needs of the department. Providing this experienced Admissions team with the flexibility and bandwidth to innovate will be key to the Assistant Dean’s success.
Strategic priorities for this position include:
- Ensure our Admissions & Financial Aid team is fully staffed and supported by a positive culture that is highly inclusive, creative and high performing.
- Provide team members with ongoing coaching, mentoring and professional development opportunities to ensure each individual reaches their full potential.
- Formulate and execute innovative strategies for both attracting top applicants to the USD School of Law and enhancing yield.
- Conduct an in–depth review of our systems, procedures and technology platforms; make recommendations for optimizing workflow and leveraging efficiencies.
- Continue developing innovative partnerships with other academic institutions such as our 3+3 program with Spelman and joint degree program with SDSU.
- Position USD as a leading institution for increasing access to representation and justice within our legal system; further our commitment to enhanced access to legal education for communities of color.
- Work closely with our new DEI Assistant Director to implement new strategies for attracting high caliber students from diverse communities, especially within the Black community.
- Enhance the geographic diversity of our applicant pool with strategies to increase our yield from the South and East Coasts.
- Visit other institutions to build relationships and further develop the USD brand.
- Work diligently to foster open communication and eliminate silos before they can form.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES:
The Assistant Dean is responsible for strategically distributing a $23M financial aid budget to 750+ students, focusing on competitive academic qualifications and the diverse lived experiences of the incoming class. This role works directly with potential students to encourage them to choose USD as their law school and, upon matriculation, works with them to encourage them to stay at USD. This position requires a fair degree of seasonal travel and attendance at on and off campus events during and outside of normal business hours.
This key executive provides the vision and administrative leadership for all functions related to law school JD admissions, diversity initiatives and financial aid programs. This includes: serving as the law school’s chief admissions and financial aid officer; developing and managing all prospective student diversity initiatives; developing and implementing competitive marketing and recruitment strategies designed to strengthen the academic quality and diversity of the student body; and utilizing a data– informed, comprehensive approach to building enrollment and strategically leveraging financial aid to meet JD enrollment, diversity and retention goals. Key responsibilities of this position:
Admissions and Financial Aid (40%)
- In collaboration with senior leadership, annually formulates enrollment targets and admission standards for the JD program.
- Oversees the application review and admissions process, making admissions decisions and determining strategic financial aid allocations.
- Serves as an ex–officio member of the Faculty Admissions Committee.
- Evaluates and determines parameters for financial aid packages for admitted and currently enrolled students with an eye towards increased yield and retention.
- Works with the Development office to establish and promote fundraising efforts to increase donor giving to scholarship programs.
- Works with faculty, students, administrators, and alumni to develop post–admission enrollment activities and events.
- Prepares and presents comprehensive reports and data analyses related to admissions trends and demographics to the faculty, leadership team, and law school constituents as needed.
- Maintains a network of relationships with peers at other law schools to gain marketing information.
Marketing and Recruitment (35%)
- Designs and directs a comprehensive marketing plan that results in a strong JD applicant pool and increased admissions yield.
- Develops an annual plan for college and university visits for recruiting and public relations purposes such as organizing travel to LSAC forums and college events.
- Devises targeted recruitment, marketing and communications efforts aimed at populations such as prospective part–time students, underrepresented populations, transfers, visitors, and scholarship–eligible candidates for law school.
- Identifies, analyzes, and responds to market trends to renew or adapt recruitment strategies.
- Ensures effective and professional communications with prospects, applicants, and admitted students. Oversees existing and crafts future legal education pipeline programs.
- Plans and oversees annual yield events such as Campus Visit Days. This includes budgeting and tracking travel stipends extended to admitted applicants.
Diversity Initiatives (15%)
- Develops and implements initiatives geared towards increasing the number of admitted students from historically underrepresented communities.
- Collaboratively works with Students Affairs to support educational and mentoring programs to assist diversity students in succeeding in law school.
- Partners closely with the Law School’s new DEI Assistant Director and serves as a member of the Law School’s Diversity Task Force.
Administrative Duties (10%)
- Serves as a member of the senior leadership team and assists in the development of policies, goals, and priorities that are aligned with the school’s strategic plan and mission.
- Hires, trains, supervises, and evaluates Admissions and Financial Aid team members.
- Works closely with other law school offices such as Alumni Relations, Career Services, JD Student Affairs, and Law School Records.
- Effectively manages assigned budgets and costs.
- Attends regular and ad hoc law school meetings and leads and serves on committees.
- Participates in regional and national peer meetings and discussions, keeping up to date on the latest programs and policies of the LSAC, the ABA, and the AALS, as well as best practices in law school admissions and financial aid.
- Other duties as assigned
USD’s admissions process is highly personalized: we recruit students one at a time, focusing on them as individuals with unique stories and career aspirations. We are passionate about increasing diversity, equity and impact, both at the student level and the organizational level. The Assistant Dean must be a relationship–driven leader who shares our student first approach and commitment to social justice.
Other specific qualities required for this position include:
- Authentic: honest and genuine; sets clear expectations; appreciates and employs direct communication; highly trustworthy.
- Visionary: an ideas person who is inquisitive by nature and always learning; someone who can envision the future and devise a path to get there.
- Entrepreneurial: a creative and innovative leader who is open to taking calculated risks to advance organizational goals and achieve performance breakthroughs.
- Communicative: always employs strong written and oral communication skills; ability to communicate the importance and value of both equity and learning and development.
- Approachable: a team player who works hard to ensure they are present and available to their staff; charismatic, warm, and welcoming; a true “people–person.”
- Reflective: a skilled listener who is effective at giving and receiving feedback and critique.
- Tactful: patient and diplomatic; highly skilled at identifying and activating connections and relationships to help the organization reach its goals.
- Confident: comfortable and effective working with a diverse array of stakeholders including students, faculty, and senior executives; not afraid of having the difficult conversations.
- Transparent: a collaborative leader who empowers others through the sharing of information and uses an open and inclusive decision–making style.
- Analytical: uses well–researched ideas and other data points to support their strategies and business plans; ability to carefully study issues, identify trends and formulate new ideas.
- Proactive: a self–starter who demonstrates strong personal initiative and the ability to drive projects through to completion; demonstrates exceptional follow–up in everything they do.
- Adaptive: ability to manage multiple (and sometimes conflicting) priorities, projects, and deliverables; enjoys working both independently and in teams.
- BA/BS required, JD, MA/MS preferred.
- Minimum of 5 years within an admissions and/or financial aid department.
- Demonstrated experience ensuring compliance with all federal, state, and university regulations and policies as they relate to admissions and financial aid.
- Proven success with enrollment management, including developing, implementing, analyzing, evaluating, and revising an annual recruitment plan and admissions plan.
- Experience developing community engagement programs to advance the recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented backgrounds.
- Experience in managing department budgets and financial aid budgets.
- Advanced data analysis skills.
- Exceptional communication skills, including effective writing and public speaking.
- Skilled at coaching, mentoring, developing and managing a team.
- Valid driver’s license required and the ability to travel during peak recruitment periods.
For more information or to apply, please contact:
Tia Anzellotti, Director, Blair Search Partners
1855 First Avenue, Suite 300, San Diego, CA 92101