Exempt Job Descriptions
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 Director of Retention Programs (Retentions Programs)

Job Summary

He/she collaborates with university faculty, staff, and administrators to design, develop, and implement new programs and adapt existing programs/courses/support services to increase the number of students at all class levels that return to MSU each year, complete their degree and graduate.
Manages the Retention Programs office.

Duties and Responsibilities


  • Responsible for the design, development, implementation, and coordination of retention programs at MSU including the regional campuses that train students, faculty, staff and administrators in True Colors and Strength-Based programming. 
  • Provide leadership for the development and implementation of Strength-Based advising and retention programs into academic content areas and curriculum.
  • Identify areas of needed change that would increase student retention in a continuous improvement environment.
  • Collect and organize information on what causes students to leave MSU and to develop policy recommendations on solutions, alternative systems and procedures that will increase retention.
  • Serve as a clearinghouse for information on developing a customer service culture in higher education.
  • Identifies gaps between actual and desired university personnel performance as it related to providing customer service in an academic environment and make recommendations to the Assistant to the Provost-Special Projects on needed changes.
  • Provide faculty and staff with professional development and training on our retention philosophy, systems, and tools.
  • Develops and implements strategies for increasing student, faculty, and staff participation in retention programs.
  • Collaborate with MSU 101 Instructors to ensure that Strength-Based and True Colors materials are vital to the retention efforts of each Instructor.
  • Conduct classes, workshops, and seminars on retention issues.
  • Provide retention support to students, faculty and staff.
  • Performs needs-assessment, planning, data collection and analysis in order to make continual improvement to on-going retention programs.
  • Oversee the smooth operation of the Datatel eAdvising and Early Alert Retention systems.
  • Work with Academic Computing and the Registrar’s Office to develop rules, policies, and procedures for eAdvising, and the Early Alert Retention computerized systems.
  • Establish and maintain a Retention Programs website which would include student, staff, and faculty resources on Strengths-Based and True Colors philosophy and tools.
  • Coordinate with others departments to expand the use of True Colors and Strengths-Based programming and other retention programs.
  • Provide leadership and training on retention to MSU Academic Advisors at the main and regional campuses.
  • Work with outside consultants as necessary to assist in retention programs.
  • Manages the budget for the Retention programs office.
  • Supervise the Retention Programs Coordinator and the Minority Retention Coordinator.
  • Educates faculty, staff, students, and the community on retention philosophy, tools, and issues by publishing articles in campus publications.
  • Publicize the availability of retention programs and services.
  • Design and implement evaluation and follow-up studies to determine the effectiveness, performance, and future needs of programs.


  • Identify emerging programs on retention issues and participate in appropriate professional development to acquire needed skills and remain current in the field.
  • Keep abreast of national trends in retention and Strengths-Based programs and True Colors.
  • Works collaboratively with the offices of University Marketing and University Communication to deliver print and electronic marketing materials that enhance the reputation and effectiveness of the university.
  • Be a proactive advocate and presenter for the program.
  • Attend professional development activities, associations and conferences related to retention, Strength-Based programming, True Colors, and customer service in an academic setting.
  • Serves on standing advisory and ad hoc committees of the university and community as required.
  • Performs other job-related duties as assigned.

Organizational Relationships

The Director of Retention programs reports to the Assistant to the Provost – Special Projects.  The Director works closely with the academic Deans, department chairs, Center for Teaching and Learning, academic advisors, First Year Programs, and the regional campuses to ensure that retention programs are vital to serving and enhancing the well-being of students.

Minimum Requirements

Masters degree in training and development. student services, counseling and guidance, adult and higher education, or related field and five years of experience in training, academic affairs, and student affairs or an equivalent combination of education and experience sufficient to successfully perform the essential duties of the position.  Superior oral and interpersonal communication skills as well as excellent presentation skills.
Ability to work independently, utilize professional judgment, make sound decisions, and accept responsibility for decisions made.  Strong computer skills are essential.

Additional Desirable Qualifications

PH.D. preferred.  Training or teaching experience.  Experience in developing programs for students.
Evidence of progressively responsible roles in higher education.  Knowledge of computerized database software, retention strategies, customer services programs, academic advising and new student orientation.
Certification in Strengths-Based or True Colors programming highly desirable.

Working Conditions and Atmosphere

Flexibility and cordiality are important traits needed due to regular interaction with students and university personnel.  He/she will work as part of a team in a results-oriented, collaborative office environment.
Occasional travel to the regional campuses to conduct trainings, monitor program activities.  Occasional program activities are conducted outside the regular workday.