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Director, Retention - Online Degree Programs

Apply now Posting #: 3865
Position Status: Full-time regular
Location: San Diego
Position Type: Administrator, Continuing Education, Office of the Vice President and Provost

Position Title & Department:

 Director, Retention - Online Degree Programs; Professional and Continuing Education
Posting #


Department Description:

The University of San Diego's Division of Professional and Continuing Education (PCE) offers a robust portfolio of courses and programs needed by aspiring professionals that evolve in response to their professional development in the fields of business, education, and health care.

PCE nurtures key partnerships on the local, national and international level to better serve working professionals who seek to enhance or build their careers, as well as with their employers to help achieve their highest value and potential.

University Description:

The University of San Diego, a contemporary and engaged Roman Catholic institution, was founded by the Diocese of San Diego and the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1949. Governed by an independent board of trustees since 1972, USD remains committed to a liberal arts education grounded in the Catholic intellectual tradition and the pursuit of truth, goodness and beauty. Inspired by this centuries old tradition of Catholic higher education, the University welcomes people of all faith traditions and any, or no, religious background. The future success of USD relies on the contributions of those who seek to foster the development of engaged global citizens and an earnest confrontation of humanity’s urgent challenges.

Detailed Description:

Under the general direction of the Senior Director of the Division of Professional and Continuing Education (PCE), the Director of Retention serves as an integral part of PCE’s leadership team. In alignment with the university’s strategic goals and priorities, the Director of Retention will lead, envision, and communicate the development, implementation, and ongoing execution of retention efforts for degree programs at the University of San Diego. Working closely with the Senior Director, partner schools, university key stakeholders, as well as with PCE Directors, the Director of Retention will develop and expand coordinated retention efforts for our portfolio of programs consisting of graduate students. This position plays an integral role in leading and collaborating with campus partners, and internal teams on current and new programs. The Director of Retention will provide leadership in designing, building, and leading PCE’s retention strategies and is expected to make sophisticated use of high-quality, data-driven, evidence-based retention decisions. This position requires a strong ability to anticipate and solve problems, create scalable systems and procedures, and be comfortable working in a hyper-growth environment.

Duties & Responsibilities:

Organizational Leadership, Strategic Planning, and Management

  • Ensure alignment of PCE’s Mission and Vision with the University's strategic student retention priorities.
  • In conjunction with Senior Director, design and ensure scalability of teams, systems, and processes to ensure the needs of a contemporary university are met.
  • Lead retention strategies that yield a quantifiable and significant return on investments.
  • Identify and make strategic recommendations regarding PCE retention technology needs including CRM, website, and other major technology requirements.

Student Success and Retention Services Leadership

  • Lead student retention services team and serve as PCE’s student retention and key stakeholder experience expert.
  • Lead and develop standards and vision of outstanding program management for PCE-managed degree programs.
  • Set priorities for proactive retention services that result in a world-class student and key stakeholder experience. 
  • Lead strategy, vision, and execution of proactive, integrated student retention efforts and experience including but not limited to, email communications, phone calls, text messages, website communications, program collateral, student webinars, etc.
  • Set key performance indicators, and retention metrics based on historical and future projections. Lead student retention efforts using data-driven insights.
  • Lead the development of scalable systems and procedures that span across new-employee onboarding, new-program development, and key stakeholder onboarding processes.
  • Assist Senior Director and Director of Finance in new program pro forma development.
  • Researches and prepares retention and enrollment data, prepares studies and reports for regular reporting to University of San Diego partners.
  • Develop and maintain a system to track, analyze and report on the underlying reasons for student withdrawals, including implementing a comprehensive exit evaluation process.
  • Work closely with the Enrollment Advisors and Marketing to provide program updates and admission support.
  • Serve as a member of the Graduate Enrollment, Admissions, Recruitment and Student Services (GEARSS) committee.

Customer Relations and Partnerships

  • Maintain trust and cultivate campus and stakeholder relationships.
  • Collaborates with administrative departments including USD’s One Stop, Financial Aid, Information Technology, Graduate Admissions and Registrar’s office as needed regarding day-to-day management of programs.
  • Analyze student and internal partner experiences, define friction points, and create seamless outcomes.
  • Serve as PCE’s primary advocate for “client-centered” standards and best practices to serve PCE’s students and stakeholders. 

Other duties as assigned

Job Requirements


  • Bachelor’s degree required, master’s degree in business or related field preferred.
  • Experience in higher education student retention for online education preferred.
  • Minimum of five years of supervisory experience.
  • Ability to manage, motivate, and teach staff and vendors to deliver high quality executions on multiple concurrent projects. 
  • Expertise in Microsoft PowerPoint, and in the development of presentations. Ability to build, create, and experience developing executive-level briefs, presentations, and pitch decks.
  • Experience translating complex data into easy-to-digest findings.  
  • Experienced user of Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) databases with knowledge for building communication plans, extracting retention data, tracking student persistence and performance metrics, and building queries to show individual program and aggregate performance.
  • High level of budgetary and financial experience.
  • Understanding of the administrative functions, academic programs, and requirements of a university. 
  • Ability to negotiate and navigate highly matrixed and layered professional environments.  
  • Demonstrated ability and comfort in delivering presentations to a wide of variety of audiences.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills and ability. 
  • Evidence of strong, effective, ethical, and collegial collaboration.
  • Experience enhancing community relations and promoting the role of the organization both internally and externally.
  • Experience building organizational structures and in organizational design.
  • Strong change management skills. 

Performance Expectations - Knowledge Skills and Abilities: 

Thorough knowledge of functional area and understanding of how work may impact other areas. 

  • Strong analytical acumen.
  • Thorough and effective verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills and presentation skills. 
  • Thorough knowledge of campus policies and procedures. 
  • Thorough knowledge of retention strategies. 
  • Thorough knowledge of current public educational programs and trends. 

Possess understanding of the adult learner demands, needs, and expectations in higher education.

  • Skilled in using business software systems in the completion of work assignments; i.e. Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint.
  • Thorough knowledge of the fundamentals of writing, grammar, syntax, style, and punctuation. 
  • Thorough knowledge of appropriate editorial style and publication guidelines. 
  • Thorough knowledge of the campus, including its mission, goals, achievements, infrastructure, programs, and policies. 
  • Thorough knowledge of issues in higher education.
  • Thorough research and fact verification skills. 
  • Thorough attention to detail, project management, and organizational skills. 

Special Conditions of Employment:

Must be able to work flexible hours including evenings and weekends in order to meet project deadlines. Must be able to work with all required technologies and tools.

Background check:  Successful completion of a pre-employment background check.

Degree Verification Requirement: Persons offered employment in this position will be required to provide official education transcripts for degree verification purposes. 

Posting Salary:

Commensurate with experience; Excellent Benefits

The University of San Diego offers a very competitive benefits package, to include medical, dental, vision, a retirement contribution given to you by the University (with three year vesting period), and access to on-campus Fitness Centers.  Please visit the benefits section of our website to view all of the perks and benefits that USD has to offer.  USD: Human Resources: Benefits

Special Application Instructions:

Click Apply Now to complete our online application. In addition, please upload a cover letter and resume to your application profile for the hiring managers’ review.  If you have any questions or difficulties please contact the Employment Services Team at 619-260-6806, or email us at jobs@sandiego.edu

Additional Details:

Hours: 37.5 hours per week

Closing date: Open until filled

Note: External job postings will be up for at least five days. After that time, applications will be reviewed by the hiring manager/committee throughout the posting period. A candidate may be selected at any time which could then close this posting on a date earlier than listed.

The University of San Diego is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity and inclusion and is especially interested in candidates who can contribute to the diversity and excellence of the campus community.

The University of San Diego is a smoking and tobacco-free campus. For more information, visit www.sandiego.edu/smokefree.

Advertised: Pacific Daylight Time
Applications close:

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In compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, the Clery Act, the University of San Diego publishes a combined Annual Security and Fire Safety Report for review. This report includes institutional policies concerning: campus security; procedures for reporting crime, fire, and other emergencies; emergency response and evacuation procedures; sexual misconduct and relationship violence reporting and response standards and protocols; alcohol and drug policies; and statistics for the previous three years concerning reported crimes that occurred within the institutions Clery reportable geography. Individuals may request a print copy of the report at the University of San Diego Department of Public Safety, located in the Hughes Administration Center, Room 150.