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Executive Director of Admissions

Posted: 09/12/2022

Bemidji State University (BSU) invites applicants to join our team as the Executive Director of Admissions.  BSU’s vision is to educate people to lead inspired lives. BSU’s vision is to educate people to lead inspired lives. To accomplish BSU’s vision, the University prioritizes creating a culture in which diversity is embraced and all people are safe, welcome, and validated.  Centered between the three largest Tribal nations in Minnesota – Leech Lake, Red Lake, and White Earth – BSU also prioritizes increasing engagement with American Indian communities to become a destination university.
Enrolling more than 5,000 students, BSU offers more than 70 undergraduate majors and nine graduate degrees encompassing arts, sciences and select professional programs. BSU is a member of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities and has a faculty and staff of more than 550. BSU’s Shared Fundamental Values include civic engagement and leadership, international and multicultural understanding, belief in the power of the liberal arts, and environmental stewardship. BSU is located amid the lakes and forests of northern Minnesota and occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji.  BSU balances rigorous academia with the opportunity to enjoy a fun, robust, outdoor culture.  The proximity to the lake and the surrounding north woods allows easy access to an assortment of recreation.
The Executive Director of Admissions is responsible for leading the admissions and operations enterprise at Bemidji State University (BSU).  The Executive Director plays a central role in the development of the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management's (VPEM) comprehensive recruitment strategy; the implementation and managing the recruitment of both in-state and out-of-state recruiting of first-year, transfer, and graduate students; and collaborates closely with colleagues responsible for international undergraduate recruiting and Transfer, Online, and Returning Student Services (TORS), as part of the Enrollment Management Team.  The Executive Director serves as the representative of the Admissions Office on the Council for Student Success and the Student Affairs Joint Workgroup and provides expertise and advice to the VPEM and other BSU leadership, as well as to appropriate officers of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, regarding recruitment goals and trends. The Executive Director is responsible for the performance of the Admissions Office staff, providing leadership, direction, problem solving, staff development and team building. The Executive Director of Admissions represents BSU to prospective students, families, and various communities within Minnesota and beyond. The Executive Director also represents BSU with Minnesota State and other associated professional organizations and assigned by the VPEM.

Responsibilities of the Executive Director of Admissions include:

  • Leading and administering the functions of the Admissions Office (80%):
    •  Demonstrate self-awareness of one’s own cultural beliefs, perspectives, and privileges as a part of one’s orientation toward leadership.
    • Providing leadership, supervision, and performance management of the Associate Director, Assistant Directors, Admissions Representatives, Operations staff members and support staff.  Providing development, growth and leadership opportunities for Admissions and Operations staff, to encourage and influence all staff to provide the highest level of customer service.
    • Developing and managing the office budget.
    • Responsible for managing and appropriating merit-based scholarship budgets and resources consistent with strategic initiatives and enrollment goals.
    • Supporting, implementing, and continuously improving the development of Slate (CRM), and enhancement of existing and new computer systems used to perform various functions of the Admissions Office, overseeing, and troubleshooting use of all such systems by Admissions staff.
    • Recommending and supporting the VPEM’s development and interpretation of both University/College and Minnesota State policies regarding undergraduate admission (including transfer evaluation, residency, and reciprocity).  Distributing all forms of admissions information and records in a manner consistent with Minnesota State, state and federal regulations including Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Minnesota Data Practices Act, and oversee the implementation of such polices by Admissions staff.
    • Implementing and evaluating all university and college recruitment strategies; directing mail campaigns, phonation efforts, special visit days, including on-campus, off-campus, high schools, colleges, and community partners. 
    • Working with Institutional Research and Effectiveness to assess demographics and research pertaining to recruitment efforts to ensure that enrollment goals are met or exceeded.
    • Recommending and supporting the VPEM’s design and development of recruitment strategies in collaboration with the other members of the Enrollment Management team.
    • Implementing and overseeing the first-year segment of the VPEM’s multi-year recruitment plan to meet or exceed established enrollment goals.
    • Providing direction for all admissions communications and events to undergraduate and graduate students, high school counselors, college counselors, parents, community partners and faculty/staff/alumni of the institutions.
    • Evaluating all Admissions Office functions to identify areas of improvement and recommending changes to the VPEM.
  • Serving on internal and external committees and providing leadership on issues of student recruitment and admission, as assigned by the VPEM (10%):
    • Serving as the committee chair for the Admissions Review committee.
    • Representing the Admissions office on the Council for Student Success and the Student Affairs Joint Workgroup.
    • Serving as a representative and providing leadership in various state and national professional organizations {i.e., ACT, National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC), as well as statewide organizations for MN, WI, IA and the Dakotas}.
  • Developing strong and open lines of communication with other offices, specifically Financial Aid, Housing and Residence Life, Records and Registration, Advising Success Center, and Career Services, Center for Extended Learning and the Office of Communications and Marketing.  Develop strong and open lines of communication with the Deans to ensure proper promotion of academic programs (10%).

Minimum qualifications for this position include:

  • Bachelor’s degree and 5 years of professional experience in an admissions or recruitment related setting.
  • Experience in both in-state and out-of-state recruiting.
  • Familiarity with current national issues in higher education and awareness of their implications.
  • Capacity to think strategically and to work creatively, and the skills and discipline to bring initiatives to fruition.
  • Ability to foster intercultural competence, advance equity, and inclusion, and create a diverse, inclusive work environment; success recruiting a diverse student body.
Preferred qualifications include:
  • Master’s degree and 8 years of progressively responsible professional experience in an admissions or recruitment setting.
  • Ability to work with individuals from diverse backgrounds, interrupt oppressive structures and practices, and create an institutional culture that is equitable, inclusive, and just.

For more details:
If you have any questions, please contact Melanie Pakonen at