Assistant/Associate Vice President

The John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, is pleased to announce its search for up to two highly skilled and dynamic educators to serve as Assistant / Associate Vice Presidents (AVPs). The Gardner Institute is a nearly twenty-year old non-profit organization that partners with colleges, universities, philanthropic organizations, educators, and other entities to increase institutional responsibility for improving outcomes associated with teaching, learning, retention, and completion. In doing so, it strives to advance higher education’s larger goal of achieving equity and social justice.

Like all Gardner Institute staff, the AVPs will help the organization advance its student success, equity, and social justice commitments and outcomes in its existing processes and services. The AVPs will provide coordination leadership for one of the Gardner Institute’s existing processes – Foundations of Excellence® in the First College Year and/or Transfer Focus as well as Retention Performance Management®. In addition, the AVPs will help the Gardner Institute in its continuous quality improvement and innovation efforts.

The AVPs will also serve as advisors to institutions engaged in the Gardner Institute’s work which includes the above-mentioned processes as well as the Gateways to Completion® course redesign and/or the Excellence in Academic Advising redesign processes. The AVPs are highly encouraged to contribute to the body of scholarship associated with teaching, learning, and/or student success and the ways in which those endeavors can be conducted to more equitably and justly serve the United States’ twenty-first century postsecondary student demographic.

This positions are exciting opportunities for proven leaders to work collaboratively with the Institute’s senior leadership, staff, and the educators and institutions that the organization serves. The AVPs will help develop and achieve a powerful vision for dynamic organizations that are committed to and/or wish to grow capacity and deepen the scale associated with closing attainment gaps and realizing equitable student success outcomes.

The Assistant/Associate Vice Presidents will report directly to the President and Chief Operating Officer. They will also receive guidance from the Institute’s Chair and Chief Executive Officer/co- founder, and work closely with the entirety of the Institute’s staff.  


The ideal candidates must have:

  •  A doctoral / terminal degree from an accredited institution

  • A minimum of 5 years of leadership experience including a strong record of accomplishment in developing, implementing, and championing strategic student success initiatives that close

    inequitable attainment gaps

  • A proven record of making contributions to the body of scholarship on student success and equitable student attainment outcomes

  • Experience working tactfully and effectively with faculty, staff, administrative leaders, and students in postsecondary institutions

  •  Excellent collaboration and consensus-building abilities

  • Exceptional writing, public speaking, presentation, and interpersonal skills

  • Demonstrated effectiveness and skill in working in changing environments

  • A proven record with college and university teaching and/or faculty development efforts

Additional preferred qualities include experience working with:

  • Two-year and/or four-year institutions on student success and equity efforts

  • Philanthropic organizations committed to student success efforts

  • Urban, rural, Hispanic serving institutions, minority serving institutions, tribal colleges, and/or historically Black college and university campuses

  • Discipline associations, regional accreditors, and/or sector-specific organizations

  • Assessment and evidence-based decision making on a college/university campus

  • Consulting work with higher education institutions and/or groups


It is highly desired that the Assistant / Associate Vice Presidents will work from and live near the Institute’s home office, which is located in Brevard, NC, approximately 35 miles from Asheville, NC. The Asheville area is described as “edgy, artsy, and inviting.” The region is known for its Blue Ridge mountain beauty, moderate climate, bountiful outdoor recreational opportunities, and rich cultural offerings.

The positions offer a competitive salary and excellent benefits package.


How to Apply

Candidates from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. The review of applications will commence immediately and continue until the position(s) are filled. Questions and/or applications (consisting of a cover letter and CV) may be directed to the search co-chairs listed below.

Sara Stein Koch, PhD
Institute Fellow and Senior Associate for Institutional Support
John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

Angela Whiteside, MBA
Vice President for Finance, Human Resources, and Events
John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education

The John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity Employer. Admission to, employment by, and promotion within the Institute shall be on the basis of merit, and there shall be no discrimination on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, creed, religion, disability, gender, gender identity and expression, national origin, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, or any characteristic protected by law.


The Institute has benefited from the contributions of graduate interns who have worked on a variety of projects including research, writing, and direct involvement in Institute activities.

Graduate students or working professionals who are interested in spending a period of time (usually one academic term) working with the Institute are invited to contact us as per the directions provided. On-site internships are preferred; however, the Institute will consider interns who combine off-site with on-site work. A limited number of internship slots are available during any academic term, and currently the Institute is unable to offer financial assistance to interns.



Customarily this  an uncompensated position.


Applicants should have appropriate professional qualifications, such as:

For internship applicants, preference will be given to those with a master’s and/or doctoral degree.

Chief among these qualifications are strong organizational and communication skills. The Gardner Institute may request a writing sample from applicants.

If you would like more information please email us.



Research Opportunities and Sabbaticals


The Institute also has a tradition of partnering with researchers including those who might wish to make a research visit.

These could be researchers working on masters theses or doctoral dissertations or fully credentialed researchers working on non-degree related research projects. The Institute will consider making its processes and services open to and available to external researchers.

The Institute also has a history of hosting sabbaticals, literally in residence with the Institute, or done remotely. These would be open to faculty or staff from any regionally accredited institution or a related higher education association or organization with a formal sabbatical policy for employees. 



The Institute is located in the beautiful western North Carolina Blue Ridge mountains, in Brevard, a small county seat town of 7,600 people. Brevard is a college town of note particularly because it is the home of the world famous Brevard Music Center and Festival. Also, the town and the Institute are very close, 35 miles, to an outstanding regional city, Asheville, N.C. with a regional airport just 19 miles from the Institute.

The Gardner Institute is located in downtown Brevard. The office is pleasant and accessible. Parking is absolutely no problem! Applicants would be able to work on site in a dedicated Institute office or from an off-site location. However, preference will be given to applicants who are able to work on site. 




If you would be interested in exploring internships, research opportunities, or sabbaticals please correspond with the Institute’s Senior Scholar, Dr. Betsy Barefoot.

Please provide a cover letter detailing your academic interests and experience and attach a resume.