Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the nation’s oldest and among the top-ranked private, technological research universities, seeks an accomplished leader to serve as the Director of the Rensselaer Union.

Under the leadership of President Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., Rensselaer offers degrees from five schools: Engineering; Science; Architecture; Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; and, the Lally School of Management, as well as an interdisciplinary degree in Information Technology.  Institute programs serve undergraduates, graduate students and working professionals around the world.   Rensselaer offers more than 145 programs at the bachelor’s, masters and doctoral levels.  The university provides rigorous, engaging, interactive learning environments and campus-wide opportunities for leadership, collaboration and creativity.

The University currently enrolls 5,539 undergraduates and 1,166 graduate students in residential programs.

With this mission, and an ongoing commitment to meeting the goals and priorities outlined within the Rensselaer Plan 2024, one of the institute’s highest priorities is Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students (CLASS). CLASS is the Rensselaer model for distinctive student engagement that is predicated on clustering as the mechanism for student growth and transformation.

Through CLASS, students are connected to a network of faculty, staff, and other students who provide support, guidance, challenge and opportunity. The Director will have the opportunity to develop programs to further advance the transformative student experience at Rensselaer.

About the Position

Reporting to the Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students, the Director of the Rensselaer Union directs the student programs, events, and activities of the Union. The incumbent, in the management of a student operated program, directs a professional and administrative support staff, and advises an Executive Board of the Union, led by students, and other student government organization leaders in developing proactive and comprehensive student activity programs; marketing the programs and events; developing and managing fiscal-year operating budget; developing policies and security protocols; and managing non-residential facilities. 

More specific responsibilities include:

  • Oversee annual planning within the Union, in conjunction with the Rensselaer Union Executive Board and Student Senate. Ensure these objectives are included in the fiscal year performance planning process for the Division of Student Life.

  • Implement proactive and comprehensive short and long-term initiatives that are designed to strengthen Rensselaer Union programs, activities and events.

  • Manage an operating budget of $3 million and ensure fiscal responsibility for decisions regarding all expenditures and develops and implements expenditure tracking and controls, oversee preparation of quarterly performance and budget reports, and initiate appropriate cost containment measures as necessary.

  • Assure the management of all non-residential facilities which includes space scheduling, repair and preventive maintenance for not only “the Union” but also the Playhouse, Academy Hall Gym and Auditorium, the Family Student Center, the Mueller Center and a number of other facilities that are used by student clubs and organizations.

  • Provide direction and administrative support to student led organizations and clubs; advises student government in the development and implementation of policies and procedures; security protocols for non-residential facilities; provide strategic programs in the area of diversity, community service, community relations, student leadership development, student activities, performing arts; and other areas vital to the personal growth, academic excellence, and global leadership for a transformative student experience.

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive marketing program to increase the engagement and participation of students in the programs, activities and events of the Rensselaer Union.

  • Consult with the Division of DotCIO in the implementation of information technology, networks and servers for the Rensselaer Union.

  • Partner with the Division of Administration in the preventive maintenance, repairs and renovations of non-residential facilities; and in the food services operations and services.

  • Work collaboratively with the Director of Athletics and the Director of EMPAC to either offer or ensure student activities and events and that the events and activities are coordinated when held in the East Campus Athletics Village; Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center the Houston Field House and/or the Rensselaer Union.

The Successful Candidate

The ideal candidate will be an effective, energetic, innovative and creative professional with extensive experience in student activities, leadership development, athletics, residential and timed-based student activity programs. The successful candidate will have demonstrated experience with budget development and fiscal management of student fee-funded operation.

A bachelor’s degree and 10 years of professional experience in leading and administering student leadership, recreational, intramural programs, activities and events; or a master’s degree and 5 years of leadership experience in administering student leadership, recreational, intramural programs, activities and events; and 3 years leading and supervising staff in overseeing student programs, activities and/or events. 

Other qualifications include:

  • Working knowledge of the mentoring process with respect to students and the University community with a ‘student governed’ Union;

  • Adept at being both a leader and a hands-on contributor;

  • Capable of building strong working partnerships across the institution and with external constituencies;

  • Strong planning, creative and innovative capabilities balanced with an ability to successfully implement new initiatives and maximize available resources;

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills;

  • Comprehensive knowledge of physical facilities and its impact on university programs; and

  • Thorough knowledge of student development theories and their application to students at a highly selective technological research university.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should send a letter of application and resume that relates the applicant's skills, abilities, knowledge, and professional experiences to the stated qualifications for the position and notable achievements. The application materials should be sent electronically to  The subject line in the email should be RPIDU. Confidential inquiries may be made by contacting Bill Spelman at or 585.787.9742.

All applications are considered confidential and neither references nor will personal or professional contacts be contacted without prior knowledge or approval of the candidate. Materials will be received as submitted and will be considered until the position is filled.

Rensselaer has a strong institutional commitment to diversity and is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. As such, the Institute welcomes applicants who will bring a diverse intellectual, geographical, gender, and ethnic perspectives to the Rensselaer community.

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