Senior Director of FIRST@DU

Job no: 495972
Position type: Staff Full-Time
Location: Denver, CO
Division/Equivalent: Student Affairs & Incl Excellence
School/Unit: SAIE Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Department/Office: First @ DU
Categories: Student Affairs / Services, Business Operations / Services, Admin / Executive / Office Support

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Student Affairs & Inclusive Excellence (SAIE) is the central student affairs division of the University of Denver.

SAIE supports students in their holistic development through advocacy, collaboration, and education, and we strive to be full partners in students’ learning experience. SAIE values student centricity; diversity, equity, and inclusion; collaboration; adaptability; and accountability. The Division’s strategic priorities are:

  • Enrich the holistic student experience
  • Elevate & Embed diversity, equity & inclusion
  • Engage purposeful partnerships
  • Enhance staff development, learning & wellbeing
  • Enact sustainable practices & operations

SAIE includes Housing and Residential Education; Student Engagement; Fraternity and Sorority Life; Health and Counseling Center; Inclusion & Equity Education; Disability Services Program; The Cultural Center; Access & Transitions; Learning Effectiveness Program; Veterans and Military Resources; Student Outreach and Support; Student Rights & Responsibilities; Budget, Operations, and Division Resources; New Student Programs; Parent & Family Engagement; and Community and Driscoll Commons.

Dean of Students: FIRST@DU

FIRST@DU supports all first-generation and low-income students at the University of Denver (DU). FIRST@DU intends to assist first-generation and low-income students by providing resources, support, and funding to help enrich their experience at DU through pre-orientation, academic workshops, cohort experiences, seminars, events, and mentoring.

Position Summary

The Senior Director of FIRST@DU is a senior level position in the Dean of Students (DOS) area and the Division of Student Affairs and Inclusive Excellence (SAIE). The Senior Director is responsible for setting the vision for the FIRST@DU program through an intersectional approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and a focus on first-generation and low-income student success. The Senior Director is responsible for development, assessment, and implementation of programs, signature events, and cohort-based experiences for undergraduate and graduate first-generation and low-income students. This position supervises professional staff, graduate and undergraduate students.

The Senior Director will work in deeply collaborative ways to: (1) utilize best practices to develop an exemplary first-generation undergraduate and graduate student experience; (2) build community and assist first-generation students in developing a sense of belonging; (3) support and advocate for first-generation students, students from historically underrepresented communities and students from a variety of marginalized positionalities; and (4) foster the public good as centrally informed by a commitment to racial, ethnic, cultural, and other social equity outcomes on our campus and beyond.

The Senior Director will work evenings and weekends, as needed. This position is a full-time, 1.0 FTE position reporting to the Associate Dean of Students (Assoc. DOS) for SAIE.

This is a gift funded, term position with renewal after the five years contingent upon available funding and/or program development. 

Essential Functions

Divisional Leadership

  • Create/Develop Direction for first generation and low income initiatives
  • Provide leadership and guidance for FIRST@DU focused on first-generation students’ visibility, advocacy, and retention
  • Develop and implement first generation grant and FIRST@DU program
  • Facilitate a campus-wide committee on first-generation and low-income student success
  • Support Associate Dean of Students (Assoc. DOS) in developing university policies that impact first-generation and low-income students
  • Serve as the point of contact for first-generation and low-income initiatives with community engagement and support from DU,
  • Alumni, surrounding communities and families of first-generation and low-income students
  • Create and facilitate professional development on first-generation and low-income student success for DU community
  • Serve as first-generation and low-income student representative on campus-wide committees

Departmental Leadership

  • Cultivate connection and engagement of first-generation and low-income students and marginalized students, both undergraduate and graduate students
  • Collaborate with financial aid on scholarships for first generation and low-income students
  • Lead the visioning and direction of FIRST@DU including implementation of a first generation grant
  • Lead the visioning for program planning for all cohort-based programs in FIRST@DU
  • In collaboration with the campus community, develops the components of the FIRST@DU program Develop student support initiatives for first-generation and low-income undergraduate and graduate students
  • Work in partnership with the DOS, Assoc. DOS, SAIE Divisional leadership, the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Inclusion & Equity Education, and The Cultural Center


  • Supervise, train and evaluate full-time professional staff, graduate student assistants, and undergraduate students
  • Support program directors in leading the design and implementation of the program planning for cohort-based programs
  • Provide oversight of the graduate student assistants’ experience (training and supervision) in FIRST@DU
  • Initiate professional develop and continuous improvement for FIRST@DU team


  • Understand and implement first-generation and low income student best practices
  • Lead and manage the administration of assessment and budget management for FIRST@DU
  • In consultation with the Assoc. DOS, other duties as assigned to support the DOS area, Division, and University
  • Liaison for community outreach
  • Serve as the point of contact for community engagement and support of DU, Alumni and surrounding first-generation and low-income communities
  • Build collaborations with campus partners

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Expertise, knowledge and experience working with first generation and low income college students
  • Collaborative and transparent leadership style
  • Ability to direct the implementation of the strategic plan for FIRST@DU and the programs within
  • Ability to develop and mentor future leaders within FIRST@DU
  • Ability to establish performance standards and quality of results
  • Ability to develop and manage budgets and identify opportunities for revenue enhancement and ensure compliance with policies
  • Ability to make complex, independent decisions to ensure departmental objectives are met
  • Ability to productively engage across student affairs and academic units, departments, and divisions, including building connections with relevant academic centers, programs, initiatives, courses, and faculty experts

Required Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in Higher Education, or related field
  • Eight (8) or more years of administrative and/or program leadership experience
  • Five (5) or more years of experience working directly with first-generation students
  • Experience leading teams
  • Demonstrated commitment to and progressive advancement of DEI
  • Progressive leadership experience in higher education or large organization
  • Experience supervising, evaluating, and training full-time professionals
  • Demonstrated advocacy and leadership related to racial, ethnic, and/ other intersectional identities
  • Experience with program management and budget management

Preferred Qualifications

  • Doctorate degree
  • Ten (10) or more years of experience supervising full-time staff
  • Ten (10) or more years of administrative and direct program management experience
  • Ten (10) or more years of experience working with first-generation students
  • Strong record of leadership and commitment to developing a cohesive team focused on continuous improvement and professional growth
  • Experience with strategic planning and assessment

Working Environment

1. Standard office environment.
2. Unexpected interruptions occur often and stress level is moderate to high.
3. Noise level is quiet to moderate.

Physical Activities

1. Ability to sit in front of a computer for an extended period of time.
2. Occasionally required to move about the office/campus with the capability of transporting objects up to 20 lbs.

Work Schedule
Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Application Deadline
For best consideration, please submit your application materials by 4:00 p.m. (MST) May 2, 2023.

Special Instructions
Candidates must apply online through to be considered. Only applications submitted online will be accepted.

Salary Grade Number:
The salary grade for the position is 13.

Salary Range:
The salary range for this position is $85,000-$95,000.

The University of Denver has provided a compensation range that represents its good faith estimate of what the University may pay for the position at the time of posting. The University may ultimately pay more or less than the posted compensation range. The salary offered to the selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as the qualifications of the selected candidate, departmental budget availability, internal salary equity considerations, and available market information, but not based on a candidate’s sex or any other protected status.

The University of Denver offers excellent benefits, including medical, dental, retirement, paid time off, tuition benefit and ECO pass. The University of Denver is a private institution that empowers students who want to make a difference. Learn more about the University of Denver.

Please include the following documents with your application:
1. Resume
2. Cover Letter

The University of Denver is an equal opportunity employer. The University of Denver prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age (40 years and over in the employment context), religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital status, veterans status, and any other class of individuals protected from discrimination under federal, state, or local law, regulation, or ordinance in any of the university's educational programs and activities, and in the employment (including application for employment) and admissions (including application for admission) context, as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended in 2008; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Age Discrimination Act of 1975; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; and any other federal, state, and local laws, regulations, or ordinances that prohibit discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation. For the university's complete Non-Discrimination Statement, please see non‑discrimination‑statement.

All offers of employment are contingent upon satisfactory completion of a criminal history background check.

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