This job has expired

Chief Growth Officer, Center for First-generation Student Success

District of Columbia, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
Jun 16, 2022

View more

Position Type
Employment Type
Full Time
You need to sign in or create an account to save a job.

Chief Growth Officer, Center for First-generation Student Success

Position: Chief Growth Officer, the Center for First-generation Student Success
Organization: NASPA
Location: Remote or NASPA Washington, D.C. Office
Reporting Relationship: The Chief Growth Officer will report directly to the President, Dr. Kevin Kruger

The Center for First-generation Student Success (Center) inspires, connects, and empowers those who want first-generation students to thrive in college—and beyond.

First-generation students face unique challenges and barriers to success. First-generation student graduation rates are significantly lower than their peers, student debt is often higher, and demands on their time more complicated. With appropriate support and clear options for first- generation student success, contributions to a highly educated workforce, economic stability, and generational impact are attainable.

The Center is the higher education community’s premier partner in the advancement of first- generation student success. The first-generation student population at institutions across the US is already significant—and it’s growing fast.

33% of undergrad students identify as first-generation. More than ever before, higher education professionals are striving to meet the unique needs of this student population. Yet the rise in first- generation student programs and supports on college campuses hasn’t translated into better outcomes. 

78% of senior higher ed administrators recognize the need to serve first-gen students, yet 86% of practitioners and administrators believe significant improvement in first-generation support is necessary. The Center’s systemic approach advances institutional efforts to close gaps between first-generation students and their peers while fostering an asset and evidence-based culture of support. Ultimately, we create avenues for improved outcomes and experiences for first- generation students leading to economic mobility, community contribution, generational change, and a highly educated workforce. Advancing first-generation student success is a commitment to a strong future.

Established in June 2017 as an initiative of NASPA and The Suder Foundation, the Center for First-generation Student Success drives innovation and advocacy as the premier source of evidence-based practices, professional development, and knowledge creation for the higher education community to advance the success of first-generation students. As college and university leaders and practitioners are actively seeking avenues to best meet the specific needs of first-generation students, the Center for First-generation Student Success leads scholarly discussion, information sharing, networking, and program development and aligns with four strategic priority areas for success. 

The key initiative within the Center’s Innovative and Scalable Approaches strategic priority, First Scholars, provides institutions of higher education with the tools, resources, and guidance to radically transform the first-generation student experience, advance academic and co-curricular outcomes, and take necessary steps toward a more inclusive institutional structure. First Scholars provides a framework of actionable outcomes supported through diagnostic tools providing critical institutional insight, a host of customized solutions and turnkey toolkits, robust data reporting, and the guidance of experts across the experience. The First Scholars Network, composed of institutions of higher education, serves as the backbone for this national scaling model. First Scholars is designed to allow institutions the flexibility to shape their experience to meet institutional needs while also aligning with the key evidence-based outcomes imperative to advancing the success of first-generation students.

The comprehensive approach of the Center includes:

Programs and Services

  • First Scholars: an ecosystem of frameworks, tools, resources, and expert guidance propelling Network institutions to transformational change and holistic student success.
  • First-gen Forward: the first national recognition program for institutions with a demonstrated commitment to first-generation student success.
  • CatalystFIRST: a one-stop resource for institutions or organizations to find first- generation student success experts for events or speaking engagements.
  • Center Online Learning: monthly virtual professional development offerings featuring evidence-based practice, emerging scholarship, and discussion of trending topics.

Research & Policy
The Center promotes research that examines supports and barriers for first-generation students and institutional approaches to first- generation programming. We are home to the Journal of First-generation Student Success, the first academic peer-reviewed journal with a specific focus on first-generation student experiences and outcomes. We also produce our own original research, including two acclaimed landscape studies and fact sheets with national data about first-generation students. The Center is also actively engaged with advancing public policy related to dismantling barriers for first-generation students and curates a monthly #AdvocateFirstgen campaign to raise awareness.

The Center offers multiple opportunities for professional development, knowledge sharing, and networking. Signature events include:

  • First-Generation College Celebration: co-hosted with the Council for Opportunity in Education, this annual November event reaches an audience of millions and brings together college and university campuses from around the nation to celebrate and recognize their first-generation students.
  • First-generation Student Success Conference: each year, hundreds of scholars, leaders, philanthropic partners, and advocates who care about first-generation student success come together to learn, network, and share experiences from the field. 

NASPA is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. We serve the diverse needs of our community, from vice presidents of student affairs to undergraduate student leaders considering a career in the field. Founded in 1919, NASPA includes more than 15,000 members in all 50 states, 29 countries, and 8 U.S. Territories. Guided by the principles of integrity, innovation, inclusion, and inquiry, we are dedicated to empowering our members to realize their full potential and to cultivating student success in collaboration with our institutional members, who represent every sector of higher education. NASPA centers justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in our work; read more about our commitment here.

All NASPA employees are strongly encouraged to follow the CDC guidance on vaccination, including becoming fully-vaccinated and staying up-to-date as eligible. 

In certain circumstances, NASPA may require testing for all staff regardless of vaccination status. All employees may flex their schedules for time taken to get a COVID test for any reason. Supervisors are encouraged to allow maximum flexibility for employees to take time to get a COVID test for any reason.

Masks must be worn per local, state, tribal, and federal guidance, including the CDC, with the most stringent level of guidance followed. Regardless of guidance, all employees must have masks available should masking be requested by other employees, members, or external constituents. In certain settings, NASPA may require or strongly recommend that employees wear masks.

The Chief Growth Officer is a new role and will serve as a critical member of the leadership team, cultivating current relationships and building new strategies to expand and deepen the Center’s capacity to transform the experience for first-gen students. The new leader must leverage their exceptional communication, strategy, and relationship-building skills--as well as a commitment to the Center’s core values--to build the growth operation.

Developing an authentic relationship with the co-founding and investors, Eric and Deborah Suder, the CGO will be an ambassador for the history and future of the Center’s work. The CGO will drive new revenue growth to support strategic initiatives as the Center continues to scale, innovate, and increase public engagement in support of its vision. The successful leader must be fully committed to the Center’s mission and translating that mission in donor-specific ways that inspire meaningful engagement and support. The CGO will have the exciting opportunity to recruit staff, build and implement the new fund development strategy, and lead scaling initiatives.

During year one, it is expected that the CGO will generate at least a dozen new conversations for the Center. Through year two and three, the new leader should be consistently leveraging and catalyzing seven-figure funding commitments. Additionally, the CGO will play a key leadership role with the expectation that the Center will spin off to a separate 501 c3 through a shared services agreement with NASPA in the coming years. 

The CGO will be responsible for all aspects of the Center’s comprehensive fundraising program that supports its work, as well as long-term growth, scale, and sustainability. The CGO will apply a philanthropic lens to the Center’s strategic planning.

The CGO is classified as a full-time exempt employee. Exempt employees by definition are exempt from overtime compensation requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, and are required to work as the job demands on a no time limit basis.

Specific responsibilities include:

Growth Strategy

  • Partner with leadership of NASPA and the Center to ensure strategic priorities are established and developed to ensure long-term growth and program viability.
  • Execute and own the comprehensive strategy that will cultivate and steward the financial resources from corporations, foundations, and individuals needed to advance the work.
  • Partner with philanthropic advisors to enrich and develop current relationships.
  • Identify innovative ways to grow and diversify partnerships and revenue uniting a diverse and passionate movement in support of the institutions and students served by the Center.
  • Define and measure success through analysis of revenue streams and relationships to optimize fundraising year over year.
  • Keep abreast of trends in the educational sector and philanthropy both within and outside the sector.

Organizational Leadership and Strategy

  • Work collaboratively with the senior leadership team in NASPA, the Center and The Suder Foundation (co-founders of the Center), providing input to decisions on issues of Center-wide magnitude.
  • Champion the Center’s mission, core values, and commitment to diversity, equity, access, and inclusion.
  • Build on new growth initiatives that serve the Center’s mission leveraging the new strategic and growth plan conducted by the Center.
  • Create and implement strategies to constantly improve the organization’s growth processes to maximize scale and impact.

Talent Management

  • Assess the staffing needs and recruit new development staff members.
  • Contribute to the development and maintenance of a diverse, inclusive, solutions- oriented, high-trust team and organizational culture.
  • Provide mentorship to junior colleagues across the Center.

External Relations

  • Play a key role as an ambassador for the Center’s work by representing the organization and liaising with key external stakeholders.
  • Seek strategic partnerships or cohorts to accelerate brand and funding efforts.
  • In partnership with NASPA and Center marketing teams, identify, communicate, and add value to a unique brand that allows the Center to tell its narrative and results broadly. 

The Center seeks an individual that is highly motivated, self-directed, and passionate about scaling the work of the Center to make a measurable difference for the students served. The ideal candidate will complement and collaborate with other senior leaders while creating new external relationships and establishing partnerships that are closely aligned to Center needs. A bias towards action and skill in communication and relationship-building skills will be beneficial as it is imperative for the Center’s growth.

The successful candidate will embody many of the following qualifications:

  • Demonstrated experience in a senior position, ideally in a high growth organization, with a proven track record of effectively growing fund development and/or revenue generation.
  • Experience with and/or an ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders including thought partners and philanthropic advisors.
  • Demonstrated commitment to access and equity.
  • Persuasive, credible, and clear communicator with stellar interpersonal skills.
  • Entrepreneurial spirit with a sense of urgency for outcomes.
  • An unwavering commitment to quality and excellence.
  • Sound judgment and high emotional intelligence.
  • Highest integrity. 

NASPA provides equal employment opportunity for all applicants and employees. NASPA does not discriminate on the basis of race; color, national origin; religion; sex; age; gender identity or expression, affectional or sexual orientation, veteran status, disability, marital status; personal appearance; family responsibilities; genetic information; educational status; political affiliation; unemployment status; place of residence or business; source of income; caste; matriculation; credit information; status as a survivor or family member of a survivor of domestic violence, a sexual offense, or stalking; reproductive health decision making; or any other basis protected by law in any of its policies, employment practices, or in any context in the workplace. When necessary, NASPA also makes reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.

The target salary for this position is $250,000. NASPA has provided a compensation expectation that represents its good faith estimate of base pay for the position at the time of posting. There could also be the opportunity for an incentive component of the salary package. NASPA may ultimately pay more or less than the target compensation. The salary package offered to the selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as the qualifications of the selected candidate, internal salary equity considerations, and available market information at the time of hiring, but not based on a candidate’s protected status.

BA, ideally with an MEd, MBA, MPA, or related advanced degree. However, as research demonstrates that education requirements can be a deterrent for qualified candidates to apply and can perpetuate gender and racial disparities, we encourage all candidates with the professional experiences and leadership qualities outlined in this position specification to apply.

The position will remain open until filled and materials will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Nominations and applications are welcomed at your earliest convenience. NASPA invites all nominations and applications for the position of Chief Growth Officer. Please send your resume to


You need to sign in or create an account to save a job.

Get job alerts

Create a job alert and receive personalized job recommendations straight to your inbox.

Create alert