Executive Director, Career Center

Apply now Job no: 500243
Position type: Full-Time 12-Month
Department: 300100 - Career Center
Location: Main Campus - Starkville, MS
Categories: Executive/Administrative/Managerial
Position Open Date:

Position Function:

The Executive Director of the Career Center provides strategic and visionary leadership to advance career preparation and success of all undergraduate students and recent alumni. The Executive Director will play a significant and visible role in moving the institution’s strategic and operational initiatives forward by building relationships across the institution as an innovative and trusted partner. Success in the role requires a solution focused leader with demonstrated breadth of knowledge, skills, and depth of operations. The role is responsible to think broadly and creatively in all aspects of delivering career services to the many constituencies. The Executive Director will be a champion of our core values and strategic commitment to attract, retain, advance, and support a broadly diverse workforce of the highest level of excellence that thrives in a respectful, inclusive, and equitable workplace culture. He/she leads a staff which is responsible for researching, adapting and implementing technologies and service delivery. This high-profile position reports to the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.

Salary Grade:  19

Please see Staff Compensation Structure or Skilled Crafts and Service Maintenance Compensation Schedule for salary ranges.  For salary grade UC, these positions are "Unclassified" and salary ranges are determined by the hiring department.

Anticipated Appointment Date:

August 1, 2020

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:


  1. Provides visionary leadership, direction, and support to achieve Academic Affairs and University mission and goals.
  2. Administers, coordinates and supervises functions of the Career Center including the university's Experiential Education Programs.
  3. Provides oversight of operations and maintains appropriate contact with personnel to ensure that response to the needs of students, faculty, staff and employers is effective, service-oriented, and reflects professional best practices.
  4. Ensures that the department continuously exhibits an exceptional quality of service and is strategic in planning Career Center services.
  5. Develops policies and procedures with appropriate consultation and review, serves as or appoints liaisons with other university and community organizations to accomplish departmental goals and objectives, and fosters cooperation and a sense of community.
  6. Understands the charge of the Career Center and ensures that the department meets the professional standards of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Planning & Evaluation

  1. Thinks strategically about the role of the Center in the university. Responsible for ensuring the vision, mission, and goals of the Center complement and support those of the university.
  2. Works collaboratively with MSU leadership and the Provost and Executive Vice President staff to identify, compile, monitor, and regularly updates departmental critical functions.
  3. Ensures key data related to student and employer traffic on a semester and annual basis is collected, analyzed, maintained, and appropriately reported to various University and external constituents.
  4. Ensures trends and patterns in student and employer data are analyzed to support strategic decision-making regarding resource deployment, and service and program delivery.
  5. Ensures that levels of student and employer satisfaction with various programs and services are systematically analyzed, and the results are used to optimize overall resource effectiveness.
  6. Ensures student learning outcomes and quality of service standards are developed and assessed to ensure identified outcomes are achieved.
  7. Develops and ensures a culture of continuous improvement exists in the Center, and data-driven strategic planning and decision making is conducted.
  8. Continually reviews, recommends, evaluates and implements best practices at peer and peer-plus institutions as appropriate.
  9. Reviews new technologies and tools in the field of career development to secure the best options for MSU.

Human Resources

  1. Models the values of MSU to balance the care of the person and care for the University, and in support of the mission-based competencies including collaboration, communication, diversity, integrity, leadership, and service.
  2. Conducts employee goal setting and annual performance evaluations for direct reports to ensure alignment with the vision and mission of the Center.

Financial Management

  1. Works closely with the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President to develop annual budget requests that are directly linked to departmental goals.
  2. Follows University fiscal procedures and monitors annual spending to stay within budget allocation.
  3. Annually reviews existing goals, conducts appropriate benchmarking, and establishes new goals and strategies consistent with university goals and objectives.
  4. Generates revenue to cover departmental operating expenses through job fairs, and partners closely with the MSU Foundation to obtain gifts and endowments.


  1. Creates a compelling brand and narrative which will result in a strong identity and vision for Center staff, students, faculty, university community and external partners.
  2. Develops stronger communications and nurtures relationships with student organizations, university administrative units, and non-university organizations concerning department activities.
  3. As the department’s chief ambassador and spokesperson, the Executive Director is responsible for designing, expanding, and sustaining strategic relationships with employers, alumni, and other partners in the extended college community to support MSU’s mission.

Direct Service/Programming

  1. Maintains leadership and strong oversight of the Cooperative Education Program, optional as well as mandatory, to ensure quality learning experiences for students.
  2. Conceives, designs and implements innovative career development programs appropriate for all levels of students seeking careers in all sectors of employment (business/industry, government, academia, not-for-profit, etc.), as well as those seeking further education in graduate/professional school.
  3. Nurtures existing and helps establish new relationships with employers who support the recruitment and employment of MSU students by maintaining excellent employer relations; consulting with employers regarding college relations/recruiting issues; and overseeing and conducting outreach to new employers.
  4. Works independently, or in collaboration with peer universities, oversees and directs research on college students (i.e., both those seeking employment and those continuing their education) related to a variety of career-related issues they are managing.
  5. Remains current on career issues, cooperative education programs, and services by maintaining strong professional affiliations through national, regional, and state associations, and by participating in best practices and benchmarking groups that include peer institutions and key employers.

The above essential duties are representative of major duties in this position. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary based upon departmental needs. Other duties may be assigned to the above consistent with the knowledge, skills and abilities required for the job. Not all of the duties may be assigned to a position.

Supervisory Responsibility:
This position has full supervisory responsibility for the department.

Minimum Qualifications:


Master’s degree in higher education, student personnel or
similar area.


Minimum of seven years of progressively responsible experience within career development, higher education administration, college student personnel or similar area, with a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion with the ability to advocate for students from all backgrounds and academic disciplines.

Preferred Qualifications:

Specialist or terminal degree in higher education, student personnel or similar area.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  1. Demonstrated visionary leadership, organizational, research and analysis, and strategic planning experience.
  2. Outstanding ability to conceptualize, design and implement innovative career development programs appropriate for all levels of students and alumni seeking careers in all sectors of employment.
  3. Ability to plan, organize, and implement projects with complex logistics involving multiple tasks and priorities.
  4. Demonstrated effective skills in supervising, instructing, and mentoring staff, graduate interns, and student volunteers.
  5. Extensive knowledge of state-of-the-art occupational, career and job information resources, technology and materials.
  6. Strong verbal and written communications skills; excellent presentation skills; excellent inter-personal skills.
  7. Ability to develop and manage budgets, and proficient computer skills, especially web based technologies.
  8. Skill in preparing clear and concise reports, policies, procedures, correspondence, and other written materials.
  9. Familiarity with career-related technologies and software including career services management systems for service delivery, record keeping, and reporting purposes.
  10. Ability to develop and execute assessment plans to improve service delivery.
  11. Proven commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion with the ability to advocate for students from all backgrounds and majors.

Working Conditions and Physical Effort

  1. No unusual physical requirements. Requires no heavy lifting, and nearly all work is performed in a comfortable indoor facility.
  2. Frequent externally imposed deadlines; set and revised beyond one's control; interruptions influence priorities; difficult to anticipate nature or volume of work with certainty beyond a few days; travel or irregular hours often anticipated; meeting of deadlines and coordination of unrelated activities are key to position; involves conflict resolution or similar interactions involving emotional issues or stress on a regular basis
  3. Job frequently requires walking, sitting, reaching, talking, hearing, handling objects with hands.
  4. Job requires standing, stooping/kneeling/crouching/crawling, and lifting up to 10 pounds.

Instructions for Applying:

Link to apply:

Please submit a resume and cover letter with your application.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement:

MSU is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, gender identity, status as a U.S. veteran, and/or any other status protected by applicable law. We always welcome nominations and applications from women, members of any minority group, and others who share our passion for building a diverse community that reflects the diversity in our student population.

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