Openings >> Chief Student Success Officer
Chief Student Success Officer
Title:Chief Student Success Officer
Organization:Unity College
Location:Unity, Maine


Unity College

 Chief Student Success Officer 

Opportunity Guide


Through the framework of sustainability science, Unity College provides a liberal arts education that emphasizes the environment and natural resources. Through active and collaborative learning, our graduates emerge as responsible citizens, environmental stewards, and visionary leaders.




To become the nation’s premier liberal arts college focused on sustainability science.

Unity College, America’s Environmental College located in Unity, Maine, is a leader in sustainability science, educating responsible, optimistic individuals committed to solving the world’s most pressing environmental problems. For over fifty years Unity College has been preparing the next generation of environmental professionals and leaders to successfully face real-world challenges. The College serves a broad range of students from all backgrounds across the United States and the world. Student to faculty ratio at Unity is an impressive 15:1. 

In 2016, over 75% of Unity College seniors participated in some form of practicum, internship, field experience, co-op, or clinical assignment. Every year, Unity is host to the largest Environmental Career Fair in New England. According to a recent 2017 survey, 70% of alumni who responded were employed full-time or pursuing graduate degrees.

In 2016, U.S. News & World Report ranked Unity College 15th best liberal arts college in the North, and No. 6 position in the “Best Value” category among its peers. Unity College was listed among the Top 10 colleges nationally in two important categories — No. 10 for Food and No. 5 for Academics — in Sierra magazine’s recent list of “Cool Schools. Unity College was named a College of Distinction in 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years. And in 2011, the Washington Monthly ranked Unity among the top 20 baccalaureate colleges in the nation. Unity has been on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and is included in the Princeton Review’s guide to green colleges. Also in 2016, Unity College was ranked as one of the most affordable small sustainable colleges.

Unity College is ranked one of the best institutions (#2) in Sustainable Investment & Finance on the 2017 AASHE Sustainable Campus Index, and has obtained a Gold star level for sustainability initiatives.

On Unity’s flagship campus, the liberal arts curriculum is built upon a unique framework of sustainability science — the first of its kind in the nation. A distinctive approach to learning provides students with an exceptional, high-quality education, enabling them to drive real change with leading-edge knowledge and expertise within any of 17 environmentally focused majors. Unity College’s unique location provides extraordinary opportunities for hands-on learning and research, allowing active and engaged students to work together with forward-thinking faculty to make true community-based learning possible. From 225 wooded acres of farmland in rural Maine, Unity College prepares each of its students to make a mark on the world. Affordable housing and amenities are available in Unity and in nearby communities, including the more populated centers of Bangor (34 miles away), the state Capitol of Augusta (39 miles away), Belfast (24 miles away) and Waterville (18 miles away).

Unity College’s distance education unit, started in 2016, extends the effects of a Unity College education to adult learners, and beyond the physical confines of the flagship campus.

The Opportunity: Chief Student Success Officer

Serving as the most senior Student Affairs Officer at the College, the Chief Student Success Officer reports directly to President Dr. Melik Khoury. The Chief Student Success Officer is responsible for leading the strategy and implementation to improve metrics and outcomes related to student success in the areas of student retention, persistence and graduation, student support, academic support, and co-curricular living and learning. Under the framework of Leadership in Abundance, The CSSO supports and is supported by other senior level leaders and works with all constituencies to realize Unity College’s Mission and Strategic Plan. The CSSO serves as a member of the senior leadership team as a member of the President’s Cabinet, and partners with the Chief Advancement and Academic Officers to align student success, academic, and marketing/recruitment efforts.

This senior position oversees comprehensive services for a passionate student body of 750+ and collaborates with faculty to maximize students’ success and well-being across a multi-dimensional platform (Student Life, Residential Housing, Athletics, Wellness, Academic Support, Outdoor Adventure and Registration). The CSSO administers an expense budget of $500,000 and leads 17 reports dedicated to carrying out multiple initiatives directly impacting students. The CSSO participates as appropriate in College-wide activities pertaining to student affairs and represents the President as directed.


Performance Objectives

Leadership and Strategy

  • Fulfills a critical role as an implementer of the College’s strategic plan, focused on “Creating and Supporting a World-Class Student Body” as one of the plan’s six key goals and the seven objectives supporting this goal.
  • Leads student success, retention, persistence and graduation achievement efforts at Unity College and ensures achievement of institutionally established goals for each.
  • Sets strategic goals related to student success and leads a team in implementation to achieve them.
  • Provides informed, effective, and collaborative leadership within a model of functional leadership and shared governance.
  • Partners with Chiefs of Academics and Marketing to integrate curricular, co-curricular, and residential components into a transformative and developmentally-differentiated living and learning experience through the educational framework of sustainability science.
  • Works with Senior Staff and the Chief Marketing Officer to prepare and execute a comprehensive Enrollment Management Plan that aligns with Unity College’s strategic plan and includes a timeline with benchmarks, success metrics, and associated budgets.
  • Serves as a senior member of the administrative team as a member of the President’s Cabinet helping to advise the President and Senior Leadership on emerging issues of interest related to Student Affairs both at the College and in the broader context.
  • May serve as staff liaison to a standing committee of the Board of Trustees at the discretion of President.


  • Provides department supervision and managerial oversight for student success, retention, and student life areas.
  • Directly supervises departmental managers in related areas. Carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the College’s policies and procedures, laws, and regulations.
  • Establishes and maintains departmental plans for each supervisory area including goals, measurable outcomes, assessment plan, budget, timeline, and benchmarks for each.
  • Establishes business protocols, standards, and procedures for all supervisory areas and works with colleagues to ensure best practices.
  • Advocates for institutional resources to create and maintain high quality student success programs, and prepares and manages the budget for areas of oversight.
  • Manages academic financial, material, and personnel resources in accordance with governance policies and in alignment with the Strategic Plan.
  • Continually assesses and strengthens all phases of each functional area to improve processes and efficiencies and provides oversight of assessment and evaluation of co-curricular programs.

Outreach and Constituent Relations

  • Works to maintain a campus culture of customer service and advocates for student success.
  • Represents Unity College in formal and informal presentations and through networking as needed in student success related functions.
  • Assumes responsibility to maintain and upgrade professional knowledge and skills with regulations, industry trends, current practices, new developments, and applicable laws.
  • Serves as advocate for student concerns.
  • Serves as a role model for Unity College’s standards of conduct.
  • Demonstrates a high degree of commitment to quality education.

The Qualified Candidate

Unity College seeks an innovative, passionate, and effective leader with 10 or more years of relevant Higher Education administrative leadership experience with a focus on Student Affairs. They will be a skilled administrator and collaborator with a deep appreciation of the importance of environmental sustainability and the interpersonal skills required to work successfully with a diverse range of stakeholders including students, families, faculty, and staff. A strong record of demonstrated success in setting and achieving goals related to student success is required.

Specific Requirements include:

  • Demonstrated passion for Unity College’s mission.
  • Minimum of 10 years of progressively responsible experience in one or more of the key areas of student success; must have experience in managing multiple departments.
  • Successful experience preparing and executing student retention plans.
  • Experience setting and meeting or exceeding retention, persistence, and graduation rate targets.
  • Experience in managing 10 or more direct reports with additional indirect reports in different departments or functions.
  • Project and budget management experience and accountability including financial strategy experience.
  • Record of leadership and service that demonstrates integrity and accountability.
  • Strong interpersonal, and conflict resolution skills; communication style that is reflected in appropriate interaction with a wide variety of stakeholders.
  • Experience integrating curricular and co-curricular programs to achieve student learning outcomes.
  • Collaborative yet decisive administrative style that encourages informed risk and creative thinking.
  • Experience or formal training in crisis management issues.
  • Ability to respond effectively and ability to objectively coach others and make recommendations to resolve complex, difficult, and/or emotional issues.
  • Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration or a related discipline required, terminal degree preferred.

This position offers a competitive salary with generous benefits. Relocation assistance may be offered. All inquiries will be held in strict confidence.

Unity College is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability, marital status, veteran status, or any other occupationally irrelevant criteria.


To Apply

Candidates may apply by clicking the APPLY NOW button below.

To assure confidential tracking of all applicants, no applications will be accepted via email. ALL INQUIRIES WILL BE HELD IN STRICT CONFIDENCE.

This search is being managed by Laura Weinman, Assistant Vice President of KEES and Alison Lewin, Project Manager of KEES. Questions may be addressed to

KEES is a retained search and nonprofit consulting firm that builds transformative teams and leaders. For more information, please visit

In and Around Unity College

Come explore the area in and around Unity, including the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts, the Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, and our Field of Dreams—a beautiful outdoor recreation area just a short walk from campus. If you like local and organic farming, don’t miss the Unity Farmers’ Market or the nationally recognized Common Ground Country Fair, which is held each fall and organized by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.

In and Around Maine

There are also lots of amazing places to explore in and around Maine. Within a two-hour drive from campus you’ll find the breathtaking Acadia National Park—home to Mt. Desert Island and Schoodic Point. You’ll also find Baxter State Park, where you can spend the day climbing Mt. Katahdin, and Reid State Park, with its long, sandy beaches, picnic areas and scenic views. And if you like to ski, be sure to check out Sugarloaf and Sunday River ski resorts, also within a two-hour drive.

Here are some other fun attractions not far from campus:

Within A One-Hour Drive:

Within A Two-Hour Drive:

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