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Executive Director for College and Life Design

Position Summary Life Design at Bowling Green State University is a fundamental shift and differentiator in the institution’s approach...

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Bowling Green, Ohio

Wood County


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Job Description

Position Summary

Life Design at Bowling Green State University is a fundamental shift and differentiator in the institution’s approach to undergraduate education. To provide a holistic experience, Life Design focuses on a student’s transition to college and provides them the tools and framework to leverage the strengths of our comprehensive, residential University for success while a student at BGSU and beyond.


This foundation embeds a design thinking approach, specifically life design thinking, founded by faculty and researchers in the Life Design Lab at Stanford University. Life Design focuses on four key pillars: career, connections, purpose, and well-being.


BGSU is in the midst of scaling this initiative to impact each undergraduate student at BGSU. Each student is assigned a college design coach, who serves as a clear contact and core guide for their early years at BGSU. This coach teaches a sixteen-week one-credit hour lab college transition course. The content and curriculum of this course is closely aligned with Stanford’s course, which has been prototyped and well-tested. It focuses heavily on the four pillars as they relate to each student’s BGSU experience. Following fall semester, each college design coach will meet with their assigned students regularly to provide the appropriate ongoing transition support.  


Reporting directly to the president, the Executive Director of college and life design will provide the overall leadership of the college and life design signature initiative at Bowling Green State University. This position is responsible for the pedagogy and content of college and life design, student engagement strategy, and it will provide the leadership and direction of 12 full-time college design coaches. As the University continues to scale this comprehensive initiative, this position will ensure that each coach is prepared with the technical expertise and are successful in pedagogy and teaching, along with meeting their success and retention metrics of their student portfolios.  


Essential Duties, Tasks and Responsibilities

College and Life Design Leadership and Implementation:

  • Provide the overall leadership of the college and life design initiative, including program vision and implementation, day-to-day operations and direction and alignment with the University’s strategic plan, Forward.
  • Design and build out a University-wide infrastructure to scale Life Design, which is available to impact each undergraduate student. Collaborate with campus partners on relevant student success initiatives.
  • Develop the overall assessment framework to measure program success (e.g. instruction effectiveness, planning, coach success, coach-student support) and to provide a sustainable and growing future. 
  • Direct and enhance implementation of pedagogy and content related to Life Design, including BGSU 1910 curriculum and co-curricular activities and programming. Ensure content is aligned with design thinking and life design principles and framework and is also achieving stated learning outcomes.
  • Leverage design thinking knowledge to design appropriate tools and metrics to track student engagement, retention and persistence related to Life Design. Assess student-college design coach interactions through Navigate dashboards to ensure progress and activity.
  • Design a comprehensive student-facing plan that is embedded into a student’s experience, which captures each student’s Life Design experience and progress.
  • Reaching beyond BGSU 1910, design and implement Life Design co-curricular programming that embeds Life Design across the University. 
  • Partner to aid in the development and build-out of career design, which elevates and connects the college and life design efforts with career coaching and employer connections. Career design will be a separate center at the University. Collaborate to link both signature programs to provide a coordinated student support system which ensures 1) college success and 2) employment success post-graduation. 
  • Serve as chief advocate of Life Design, interfacing with University’s leadership and external partners and influencers to advance the Life Design vision.


Supervision and Management:

  • Lead and manage 12 full-time college design coaches, each who teach BGSU 1910 course sections and are responsible for the retention and success of a portfolio of students.
  • Design and implement interactive professional development and continuing education opportunities for coaches to focus and improve knowledge and teaching of design thinking, life design and coaching. Serve as “coach of coaches” to ensure productivity, creativity inside the classroom and strategic support of students.
  • Assess the need of additional staffing needs to build out college and life design at BGSU, providing short- and long-term recommendations to the president. 



  • Perform other duties as assigned by the President in support of college and life design and BGSU’s mission to create public good.


Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Understanding of college student development and academic areas; ability to work with external constituents;
  • Deep understanding of life design pedagogy
  • Excellent communication (written and oral), interpersonal, collaborative, and supervisory skills;
  • Skilled in organization and coordination of complex projects;
  • Ability to work independently;
  • Ability to interpret and implement university policies and procedures;
  • Assessment, data analysis and data management;
  • Excellent verbal and written communications with demonstrated ability to take initiative, anticipate needs, act with diplomacy and exercise sound judgement
  • Demonstrated ability to perform at a high level and meet deadlines; excellent organizational skills, attention to detail required; ability to prioritize multiple requests.


Diversity Statement

In addition to your cover letter and resume, you will be required to upload a written response to the diversity and inclusion question listed below.  The Diversity Statement should not exceed 1 page that is double-spaced with 1-inch margins, using 12pt. font. 

  • How do you engage with equity, diversity and/or inclusion in the work setting?


Full-time, Administrative staff position available.  Administrative Grade Level 360.  Salary is commensurate with education and experience. Full benefit package available.

To Apply

For a complete job description & to apply for this position visit or contact the Office of Human Resources at (419) 372-8421. BGSU. AA/EEO/Disabilities/Veterans. In compliance with the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), if you have a disability and would like to request an accommodation in order to apply for a position with Bowling Green State University, please call 419-372-8421.


Job Requirements

Minimum Qualifications

A Master’s degree in business, communications, counseling, education, organizational development, or related field.  Degree must be conferred at the time of application.  Must have and maintain a valid driver’s license and comply with the university’s vehicle use policy.    

Experience Required

  • 5 years of applying design thinking strategies in an organizational or educational setting.
  • 4 years’ experience in higher education; experience teaching and working with students and implementing life design framework.
  • 4 years leading collaborative initiatives in higher education

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