Vice President of Academic Affairs

acct (South Mountain Community College) - Phoenix, AZ

President Richard Daniel, Ph.D., invites inquiries, nominations, and applications for the next Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPAA) for South Mountain Community College (SMCC). 


The Vice President of Academic Affairs is the chief academic officer of the college. Reporting to the President, the Vice President will work closely with Faculty Senate cabinet officers, Deans, and Department Chairs. The VPAA will join a committed team of senior executives led by a visionary President and supported by excellent faculty and staff, many of whom have been at SMCC for a number of years. The VPAA will promote academic quality and excellence, partner with Student Affairs to support students holistically, and support faculty in the development of new and innovative academic and CTE programs to meet the needs of the communities SMCC serves.

The VPAA will provide leadership to the Academic Affairs Division to fulfill the college mission, which states the College “provides a quality higher education for our diverse  community. We create a caring teaching and learning environment and foster student development and support productive citizenship in an increasingly global and technological society. Our purpose is to meet these needs by offering: (I) general education courses, (2) transfer programs, (3) occupational education and career development, (4) continuing education, (5) developmental studies and English as a Second Language; (6) cultural, civic and social events, and (7) academic support and student services.” With a broad understanding of local, state, regional and national trends, the VPAA will help guide the college’s efforts toward quality and innovation. Quality and innovation will be indicated by effective practices in instruction, student support services, and efforts to address labor market demands. The VPAA will work collaboratively with faculty, students, staff, and the community in a shared governance environment and further the college mission with attention to sustainable strategies to move SMCC forward and to foster transparency and trust.

The VPAA will be an active listener with strong communication skills. The VPAA will foster an enthusiastic environment as the college navigates post-pandemic challenges; will lead efforts to bring about enrollment growth, retention, and student success; and will develop new programs and partnerships with business, community organizations, tribal communities, government, and K-12 schools.

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is one of the nation’s largest and most innovative community college systems. Collectively known as Maricopa Community Colleges, the District’s ten individually accredited colleges and more than 30 satellite locations serve approximately 100,000 students and employ more than 10,000 faculty and staff.

Since its founding in 1962, the Maricopa Community Colleges system has continued to be an essential gateway for affordable higher education in the Greater Phoenix Metro Area, particularly for disadvantaged, diverse, and first generation students. MCCCD offers more than 600 associate degree and certificate programs and has opened the enrollment process for a select number of baccalaureate degrees – including one at SMCC – which are set to begin in the Fall 2023 semester. Its transfer agreements with more than 40 university partners, including Arizona’s public state universities, simplify the process for students wishing to continue their education at a four-year institution, making it an economical and popular option. Local and state business leaders and Fortune 500 companies partner with Maricopa Community Colleges as a driving force for economic development and prosperity in Arizona. The leader in Arizona career training, Maricopa Community Colleges continues to develop new programs to reflect the opportunities for students. For example, it recently added in-demand career programs like artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, cannabis business training, and unmanned aircraft systems. With an operating budget exceeding $1 billion, the District continues to have an enormous impact. Moreover, after graduation, most of its alumni remain in the county and, collectively with the district, infuse $7.2 billion into the local economy.

Employees enjoy a generous benefits package that includes paid vacation, sick and personal leave, a full menu of insurance coverage, membership in the Arizona State Retirement System, tuition reimbursement for employee and family members, and a holiday schedule that mirrors the Federal holiday schedule. The workplace experience also includes a Monday through Thursday “4 10’s” work schedule in the summer, competitive salaries, professional development opportunities, a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and organized professional employee groups that advocate for its members.

Maricopa County is Arizona’s most populous and fastest-growing county and is the Fifth largest metropolitan area in the country. The largest of Arizona’s fifteen counties, it is also the fourth largest one in the nation and is bigger than four states. Of its 9,224 square miles, 53 percent is federal land, 29 percent private, 13 percent state, and nearly five percent tribal land. Maricopa is named in honor of the Maricopa, or Piipaash, Native American tribe. Nearly five million people, or approximately two-thirds of Arizona’s entire population, call Maricopa County home. Phoenix is the seat of Maricopa County, the state capital, and the largest city in the state. In addition to Phoenix, other large cities in the metropolitan area include Chandler, Mesa, Tempe, Glendale, and Scottsdale, among others collectively known as The Valley of the Sun. The cities offer a cornucopia of culture, food, and diversity overflowing with world-class art museums, universities and colleges, thousands of restaurants, open-air concerts, spas, resorts, golf courses, and professional sports. As a gateway to other parts of Arizona and the Southwest, trips to signature places like the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Hoover Dam, the Saguaro National Park, or the OK Corral are part and parcel of experiencing the breathtaking splendor of Arizona. SMCC’s namesake itself stems from the South Mountain Park and Preserve bordering South Phoenix, one of many beautiful landscapes available to those living and working within Maricopa County


South Mountain Community College educates

minds, transforms lives, touches hearts, and

builds community.


South Mountain Community College provides quality higher education for our diverse community. We create a caring  teaching and learning environment that fosters student development and supports productive citizenship in an increasingly global and technological society.

Our purpose is to meet these needs by offering:

• General education courses

• Transfer programs

• Occupational education and career development

• Continuing education

• Developmental studies and English as a second language

• Cultural, civic, and social events

• Academic support and student services


We are inspired and guided by our core values:

COLLABORATION: We are inclusive in our relationships with colleagues, departments and community, and respectful of their ideas.

COMMUNITY: We serve our community by recognizing our inter-dependence, celebrating our history, honoring our diverse cultures, and building our future.

EXCELLENCE: We model exemplary teaching, learning,  service and leadership through continuous improvement, creativity and innovation.

INTEGRITY: We are accountable to the communities we  serve and are truthful, sincere, transparent and responsible for our actions.

WELLBEING: We are a college community that encourages and develops social, physical, career, community and financial wellbeing.

SMCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and was fully reaffirmed for accreditation for the maximum allowable period of ten years in 2020. This achievement marks the fourth consecutive time that SMCC has been reaffirmed for the maximum allowable ten-year period, following cycles in 2009-10, 1999-2000, and 1989-90. The next review cycle will take place during the 2029-30 academic year.

SMCC’s faculty and staff share a deep commitment to academic excellence and are seeking a VPAA who will continue to support innovative approaches to teaching and learning and professional development, particularly as SMCC promotes programs and pedagogy that have emerged during the challenges of  pandemic. SMCC faculty and staff work together to provide robust learning environments in the classroom, online, hybrid through state-of-the-art facilities and technology resources.

The VPAA will help the college continue the commitment of academic excellence by ensuring that facilities and technological resources at the campuses and centers are current and sufficiently cutting edge to meet students’ needs and the needs of community partners. In addition to serving as the chief academic officer, the VPAA will act as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO) at SMCC, and will provide leadership for maintaining accreditation and the re-accreditation processes.

South Mountain Community College (SMCC) was established in 1978 located in the heart of Phoenix. The main South Mountain campus and extended campuses, Guadalupe Center and the future site at Laveen, provide instruction in a variety of modalities. SMCC has over 60 degrees and certificates, innovative performing and visual arts, competitive athletics, and vibrant campus clubs. SMCC will launch its baccalaureate in Behavioral Sciences in the Fall of 2023, and partnerships with business and industry are expanding to ensure our graduates obtain living wage employment. SMCC faces challenges due to the pandemic, enrollment declines, limited resources, and interim leadership, not unlike many other colleges across the country. The new VPAA will have opportunities to meet these challenges and build a culture of collaboration to support faculty as they deliver high quality instruction and student support services to meet the expanded need to serve a diverse first-generation student population with limited resources , and continue the work to expand SMCC’s partnerships with business, nonprofits, K-12, and community organizations focused on student success, retention, and completion. 

Further Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to Serve Students and Community

SMCC serves a unique and rich community. As the “college with a heart”, SMCC strives to address diversity, equity, and inclusion in transparent and collaborative ways to promote a positive culture and effective workplace climate, thereby making a difference in students’ lives and transforming communities toward prosperity and opportunity. The VPAA will be a leader in diversity, inclusion and equity. The VPAA will lead the college in aligning SMCC with the HLC’s Equity standards with regard to quality assurance, access, and student success.

Supporting the development and implementation of a strategic enrollment and retention plan.

SMCC, like many other colleges across the country,  witnessed enrollment declines and is now positioned to develop and implement robust enrollment and retention strategies to move the college toward growth. The VPAA will strengthen the development and implementation of enrollment and retention plans that support associate degree programs, university transfer, baccalaureate degrees, career and technical education, and continuing education.

The VPAA will partner with Student Affairs to establish  comprehensive student success measures, empowering faculty, students, staff, and community to realize their potential and achieve their goals.

The VPAA will help lead and join college efforts to serve student needs comprehensively. The VPAA will seek to make a difference in student lives, budget effectively to develop and implement programs that partner with student affairs and the community. The VPAA will utilize proven technology for instruction and student support services and build on open resources and library offerings. The VPAA will promote a positive culture and climate and be adept in conflict resolution to build trust and advocacy for excellence and quality. 

Lead and engage in processes and results through systemic collaboration.

The VPAA will work with the President and the college community to engage in systemic solutions to propel students and community toward academic, career, and vocational success. This will be done by collaborating with business, industry, community organizations, government, colleges, and schools that address the emergent technological and workforce trends in the city, state, region and nationally. Examples of these initiatives are increasing dual enrollment programs, early college high school programs, entering workforce employment training and hiring agreements, and developing the identity of the college that guarantees  economic and social mobility.


Minimum Qualifications for Academic pathway:

Master’s Degree in a teaching field related to area(s) of assignment and four years of experience in an academic leadership and/or supervisory role in higher education and three years of teaching that includes curriculum/coursework development. Examples of academic leadership/supervisory experience includes: division/department chair, project management, policy development, administration, evaluation and compliance, committee leadership, program director, and shared governance.


Minimum Qualifications for Student Affairs or non-academic pathway:

Master’s Degree from a regionally accredited institution in education or field related to academic affairs and four years of progressively responsible management and/or leadership experience in the field of assignment that includes two years of supervisory experience. Examples of student affairs academic support management/leadership experience includes: program management, project management, budget development and management related to programs or projects, staff supervision, policy development, administration, evaluation and compliance. Equivalency allowed for Non-Academic areas. 


Earned Doctorate degree from a regionally accredited post-secondary institution.

• A minimum of three years full-time residential teaching experience at a comprehensive higher education institution.

• Experience leading academic and occupational programming in two-year and/or other higher education institutions.

• Leadership experience in a comprehensive community college environment.

• Experience with organizational, strategic, and academic strategic planning.

• Demonstrated and comprehensive budget planning, management, and maintenance.

• Demonstrated experience with evaluating probationary faculty, instructional complaints in a fair and logical way, and personnel management.

• Demonstrated experience with an accreditation (reaffirmation) agency, planning, preparation, and implementation (e.g. Accreditation Liaison Officer, Peer Reviewer, etc.)

• Demonstrate strong ties and responsiveness within a community and commitment and delivery of student success programs and enrollment initiatives.

• Demonstrate experience and knowledge of data driven and evidence-based decision-making

• Demonstrates a variety of strategies to solve complex problems that engage faculty, students, and staff.

• Experience with successful implementation of guided pathways practices (e.g. pathway mapping, developmental education, metamajors, integrated student support) and student success initiatives.

Posted On: Tuesday, May 2, 2023

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