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Assistant Vice President/Executive Director of Career Services



The Assistant Vice President/Executive Director of Career Services (Executive Director) provides leadership, executive oversight, and strategic direction to Swarthmore’s comprehensive career education, internship, employment, and post-graduate opportunity program. Reporting to the vice president for student affairs, the Executive Director is a member of the Student Affairs Division’s senior leadership group and plays a significant role in shaping the strategic plan and direction of the College’s student affairs program. The Executive Director manages the Career Services staff and oversees all aspects of the department’s operations and programs. 

The newly elevated position of Executive Director represents a transformation and new direction of the career services, including expanding responsibilities and opportunity to impact the college more broadly. Under this new construct, the Executive Director position will demonstrate an innovative and strategic approach to career services, including a proven record of successful partnership and collaboration with a wide range of both campus and external constituencies, commitment to strategic planning and management, experience fundraising, and an understanding of the importance of branding and storytelling in framing and leading a successful program.

The Executive Director will lead the development and implementation of a strategic plan for career services that builds on existing strengths and incorporates ideas and recommendations from the Report of the 2019 Career Services Working Group. As such, the Executive Director must demonstrate knowledge of and commitment to the values and principles that guide the core ideas at the foundation of Swarthmore’s approach to career education:

  • Career education should be fully integrated into the Swarthmore student experience and build on the academic, co-curricular, and social experiences encompassed in a Swarthmore undergraduate education.

  • Career Services should ensure equal access for all students to career related programs, activities, and opportunities regardless of personal background, experience, or socioeconomic status.

  • Career Services’ identity and brand should clearly convey the breadth of its mission and purpose and signal its dynamic integration with the core mission of the College.

  • Career Services should feature high profile internship, employment, and employer relations programs which provide numerous opportunities for students during their time at the college and beyond.


Operations & Management

  • Provide strategic leadership and oversight to the Career Services Office and program.

  • Hiring, supervision, and management of Career Services staff.

  • Provide executive oversight to all aspects of the Career Services Office’s operations and programs including the staffing plan and annual budget planning and management.

  • Work with the vice president for student affairs to develop short- and long-term plans to ensure Career Services physical location and spaces are best situated to support the goals and objectives of the program. 

  • Oversee effective assessment of Career Services programs and outcomes including partnering with Institutional Research on the annual senior exit survey and regular surveys of alumni.


Strategy & Communication

  • Serve as primary ambassador for Career Services to generate buy-in and cultivate strong relationships with internal (e.g. students, faculty, staff, etc.)  and external constituencies (employers, alumni, parents, etc.). 

  • Grow the employer relations program to expand the number of internship and employment opportunities for students, including the diversity of industries and geographic locations, and ensure they are prepared to succeed in the search and hiring process.

  • Collaborate with key campus partners (e.g. faculty, the Provost, Lang Center, the Dean’s Office, etc.) to establish, implement, and scale a career education program that is fully integrated into the student academic and co-curricular experience at the College.

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive office identity and marketing plan for Career Services.

  • In collaboration with the vice president for student affairs and vice president for advancement, develop a fundraising plan and play a direct and active role in executing it (e.g. direct contact with donors, and other potential external funding sources).

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive communications plan and strategy for Career Services (including website, internal and external communications, social media, etc.).

  • Continue to expand and enhance efforts to ensure equal access for all students to career related programs, activities, and opportunities regardless of personal background, experience, or socioeconomic status.

  • Expand and highlight global focus and international reach of Career Services at the College.


Campus Partnerships & External Engagement

  • Serve as a member of the senior leadership group for the Student Affairs Division and contribute to shaping the strategic direction for the student affairs program at the College.

  • Work closely with Advancement (including Alumni and Parent Programs) to coordinate career services offerings to alumni and engage alumni and parents/families in the career education and employer relations programs. 

  • Partner with campus constituencies to raise the profile and impact of Career Services.

  • Work closely with Inclusive Excellence and Community Development (and related departments and programs) to ensure Career Service is truly inclusive in its approach and programs.

  • Actively participate in regional and national professional organizations related to college and university career work.

  • Serve on institutional working groups and standing and ad hoc committees/task forces as assigned by the vice president for student affairs.



  • Commitment to students and maintaining an inviting, inclusive, and equitable office ethos and environment.

  • Understanding of and appreciation for the role of career services within the context of a residential, liberal arts education.

  • Ability to effectively engage and communicate with a broad range of constituencies in a variety of settings on and off campus.

  • Ability to work collaboratively with partners across a wide spectrum of internal and external functions.

  • Effective team builder and group leader.

  • Knowledge of and experience in fundraising.

  • Understanding of marketing, branding, and public relations.

  • Outstanding communication skills: must be an excellent writer and public speaker/presenter.

  • Must have supervisory, management, and relationship-building skills. 

  • Demonstrated strategic planning, management, and visioning skills.

  • Understanding a wide range of uses and openness to exploring new applications for technology.

  • Budget development and management.

  • Innovator and creative problem solver.


  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree or higher strongly preferred.

  • 7-10 years management experience in a leadership role. Experience leading a career services function in higher education strongly preferred.

  • Proven knowledge of the role of career services in the college setting including advising, employer relations, and relevant software and technology applications.

  • Ability to promote the College to employers/internship providers and actively cultivate career/internship opportunities for Swarthmore students and alumni.

  • Demonstrated experience in fundraising, marketing/public relations, and communications.

  • Tangible experience as an innovative leader.

  • Ability to travel and work nights and weekends as needed.


  • Commensurate with experience

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Swarthmore is a highly selective college of liberal arts and engineering that prepares leaders to contribute to the common good. Located 11 miles southwest of Philadelphia, Swarthmore’s 425-acre campus is a designated arboretum, complete with gardens, rolling lawns, a creek, wooded hills, and hiking trails. Global in outlook and diversity, it draws students from around the world and all 50 states. As an undergraduate, residential college with an exceptionally talented student body of about 1,650 and a student/faculty ratio of 8:1, Swarthmore provides a vigorous, engaging intellectual environment and a vibrant, caring community. Founded in 1864 by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) as one of the nation’s first coeducational colleges, Swarthmore today is nonsectarian, but it still reflects many Quaker traditions and values. Foremost among them are commitments to civic engagement, the pursuit of knowledge, the peaceful resolution of differences, generous giving, and respect for the natural world. As a reflection of the College’s values, despite the significant financial disruption brought about by COVID-19, the College introduced pay continuity policies and committed to retaining and paying all its full-time employees, regardless of whether work was available to them.


Professors at Swarthmore are leading scholars and researchers in their fields and are passionately committed to their work as teachers and mentors. Swarthmore has the financial strength to offer students and faculty generous resources to extend their own and the world’s understanding of subjects from Islamic studies to plasma physics, from microbiology to public policy, from dance to economics, from engineering to art history. The College seeks to cultivate its students’ abilities to be leaders in identifying problems and developing solutions. With abundant opportunities for close, meaningful engagement with faculty and staff, students graduate with the capacity to translate the skills and understanding gained at Swarthmore into the mark they want to make on the world.


Swarthmore offers more than 600 courses a year and more than 50 programs of study; an exceptional, one-of-a-kind Honors Program; individual special majors; a program in education that leads to Pennsylvania secondary school teacher certification; and undergraduate research opportunities in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and engineering. Students are encouraged to spend one or two semesters studying abroad as part of their degree programs and also have the opportunity to take courses at nearby Bryn Mawr and Haverford colleges and the University of Pennsylvania. Swarthmore offers a B.A. degree in a wide range of fields, and is one of the few liberal arts institutions to offer an ABET-accredited B.S. in engineering.


Support from current and past donors enables the College to admit U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and undocumented students attending U.S. high schools without regard to their ability to pay for a Swarthmore education, and to meet the full demonstrated financial need of all admitted students. For 2020–21, tuition, fees, and room and board total $71,110. More than half of the student body receives financial aid from the College, with an average aid award of more than $50,000. Swarthmore’s financial aid awards are packaged entirely as grants and work-study expectations and do not include loans.



The town of Swarthmore is a vibrant community that boasts tree lined streets, award-winning schools, and architecturally interesting and varied housing options. An active arts and music scene enhances the vibrancy of the town center, and civic groups and small town traditions contribute to the town character. Incorporated in 1893, Swarthmore is a walkable community with tree lined streets, distinctive homes, interesting gardens, and a charming downtown. The downtown shopping district, nicknamed “The Ville”, features unique and independently owned shops, a variety of eateries, and a collection of personalized services. Central Park and the amphitheater, recent additions to the town, provide a delightful place to gather and enjoy a variety of family-friendly events and vibrant street festivals. Located only 16 miles southwest of Center City, Philadelphia and 16 miles northeast of Wilmington, Delaware, Swarthmore is a short 15 minute ride away from the Philadelphia International Airport.


Institutional commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Swarthmore College actively seeks and welcomes applications from candidates with exceptional qualifications, particularly those with demonstrable commitments to a more inclusive society and world. Swarthmore College is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.

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President Valerie Smith

Valerie Smith, a distinguished scholar of African American literature, is the 15th president of Swarthmore College, where her priorities have included strengthening and expanding initiatives focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion; supporting curricular innovation; improving the campus’s facilities and infrastructure; ensuring the College fulfills its commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2035; and strengthening relationships between the College and the region.

In service of those priorities and under President Smith’s leadership, Swarthmore recently concluded Changing Lives, Changing the World, the largest comprehensive fundraising campaign in the College’s history. The campaign raised more than $440 million, including more than $110 million for financial aid. This unprecedented support for students will help the College continue to diversify its student body, including by supporting more low-income and first-generation students. Swarthmore remains one of the few colleges in the country to practice need-blind admissions — admitting students regardless of their ability to pay tuition. 

The campaign has also helped fuel transformative facilities projects that provide new opportunities for collaboration and community building. In 2020, the College opened Maxine Frank Singer Hall, the new home of Swarthmore’s biology, psychology, and engineering departments. The building features flexible classrooms, state-of-the-art laboratories, and numerous spaces for collaborative activity. A new dining hall and community commons, currently under construction, will not only provide an expanded and reimagined social and dining experience for the community, but its innovative sustainable design will also facilitate the College’s efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035. 

In 2020, amid escalating instances of racial violence and xenophobia across the country, President Smith established the President’s Fund for Racial Justice, which supports programs focused on transformative racial justice and curricular and co-curricular initiatives that promote engaged scholarship, especially those in the local and regional communities — improving the lives of Black and Brown people and other minoritized groups.

President Smith is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the boards of the American Council on Education, the Consortium on Financing Higher Education, and Fulbright Canada. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Bates College, she earned her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Virginia. Previously, she was a professor of English and African American studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature, founding director of the Center for African American Studies, and dean of the college at Princeton University. She is the author of more than 40 articles and three books on African American literature, culture, film, and photography, and is the editor or co-editor of seven volumes.


Vice President for Student Affairs
Jim Terhune joined the Swarthmore community in 2018, bringing more than 30 years of experience in student affairs in his role, as well as expertise honed in serving a number of education clients as founder and principal of his own consulting firm. As the leader of the division of Student Affairs, he seeks to give shape and direction to all areas in which students are involved in outside of the classroom. The division helps students find support academically, helps to shape meaningful residential experiences, and to think intentionally about life outside the classroom.

Jim worked at Colby College from 2006-2017, serving as vice president for student affairs and dean of students and, in his last year, as vice president for strategic initiatives. Prior to his arrival at Colby, he worked at Colgate University for 15 years in a number of leadership roles including associate dean of the college and dean of student affairs, dean of first-year students, and director of student activities. At both institutions, Terhune led holistic student life programs built around clearly articulated student learning outcomes. He partnered with faculty on numerous initiatives, including efforts to enrich new student orientation, and academic advising and support programs. He also led efforts to enhance and expand diversity and inclusion education as well as support for underrepresented, international, LGBTQ, and first-generation-to-college students. 

Terhune earned an A.B. in English from Middlebury College and an Ed.M. in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University. Prior to Colgate, he worked at Middlebury as assistant to the dean of the college and assistant director of student activities.


Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, current resume, and three references saved as one document, either Word or a PDF. The file name should start with your first name and then last name, such as, “Susan Smith Swarthmore Application.” This should be emailed to with the email subject of “Application for Swarthmore AVP of Career Services.”

To be considered, interested applicants should submit the requested materials no later than Friday, October 29 by 11:59pm EST.

This job description and prospectus has been designed to indicate the general nature, working conditions and level of work performed by employees within this job. It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, working conditions and qualifications required of employees assigned to this job. 

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