Mar 02, 2021

Executive Director

  • University of Free State
  • Bloemfontein, South Africa
Full time Executive

Job Description

Job ID: 3739
The Executive Director: Student Affairs is an executive member of the university administration, and will provide strategic leadership in fostering a progressive student environment. S/he is responsible for developing, maintaining, managing and optimising all student activities, including staff and financial matters. S/he must create and ensure the establishment of a productive and transformative environment for an excellent student experience.

KINDLY TAKE NOTE: Applications may only be submitted online through the official UFS vacancy website. Incomplete and applications submitted through any other platform will not be considered.

Please ensure that all relevant documentation is attached to your application:

• A detailed curriculum vitae and cover letter (please note that the first three (3) referees on your CV will be contacted with regard to reference checking)
• Certified copies (not older than six months) of all academic records
• Certified copies (not older than six months) of qualifications (please provide the SAQA accreditation in the case of foreign qualifications)
• A certified copy (not older than six months) of your identity document (ID)
• Proof of registration with a professional body (if applicable)
• A copy of your driver’s licence (if applicable)

Duties and responsibilities:

Staff management

Responsible for the overall strategic direction of student affairs and for the formulation and implementation of student policy and procedures.
Strategic policy planning, development and implementation across the division.
Provide academic and administrative leadership to the Heads of Units which fall under the ambit of Student Affairs, viz; Housing & Residence Affairs, Student Health & Wellness, Sports, Student Counseling, Disability & Universal Access, Student Life & Student Development and Governance.
Develop operational and quality improvement plans for the division.
Maintain unity of purpose through all levels and segments of the division.
Delegate responsibilities to direct subordinates within a framework of guidelines for delegation of accountability.
Student-related matters

Ensure that student affairs are managed optimally to enable students to have a productive living and learning environment.
Contribute to a vibrant university community through the holistic development of students to succeed academically as socially responsible citizens.
Develop programmes to enhance student success, student learning and the overall quality of campus life for students in a student-centred environment.
Design and implement learning experiences that advance students’ holistic development.
Responsible for reputational management that is not only based on academic excellence, but also on the quality and variety of student life.
Ensure any delicate situation regarding students that could lead to campus unrest is dealt with quickly and appropriately.
Assist senior and executive management in briefing meetings before sensitive days on campus.
Be available on campus on such days as stated above to monitor events and intervene when necessary.
Financial management

Oversee the overall financial management of the division.
Engage actively with the Senior Director: Finance on matters pertaining to student debt, exclusions and financial aid.
Inherent requirements:

• A master’s degree on NQF Level 9.
• Ten (10) years’ relevant experience in the tertiary-education sector, of which five (5) years must be in a senior and strategic leadership position.


• A demonstrated understanding of the changing higher-education landscape and its impact on student affairs.
• Proven experience in leading a team of people from a range of professional and administrative backgrounds in a complex environment.
• An in-depth understanding and experience of budgetary procedures, financial accountability and sustainability, public-management processes, people management, information systems and technology, and student affairs-related services.
• Experience in establishing and executing good governance within a matrix environment at departmental, interdepartmental and institutional level.
• A valid South African driver’s licence.

Required competencies:

• Results orientation
o The ability to cope with a frequently changing environment and to adapt to evolving situations.
o The ability to deal calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

• Strategic thinking
o The ability to deal with several activities at a time.
o The ability to carefully analyse information and use logic to address issues and problems at work.
o Demonstrated ability to make data-driven decisions, including a solid grounding in data analysis techniques.

• Business acumen
o Sound knowledge of student matters and the enabling role that the office of student affairs plays in contributing to student academic throughput and success, particularly within a constantly transforming, challenging and dynamic environment.
o The ability to adhere to rules and strictly follow work regulations.
o Proficiency in using MS Office.

• Leadership
o The ability to maintain high levels of personal motivation, energy and enthusiasm.
o The ability to lead, take charge of situations and offer opinions and give directions to others.
o The ability to cooperate with others, display a good-natured attitude and encourage people to work together.

• Building coalitions
o The ability to be self-assured and at ease with people in all types of social situations.
o The ability to relate to and work effectively with a wide range of constituencies in differing circumstances and contexts.
o The ability to be sensitive to and understanding of the needs and feelings of others.
o Established leadership and team-building capacity.
o Demonstrated ability to negotiate, collaborate, communicate and facilitate in complex environments.

Assumption of duties: As soon as possible.


Salary is available on request.

Fringe benefits:

Subject to specific conditions: pension scheme, medical aid scheme, group life insurance, housing allowance, leave and sick leave, service bonus and study benefits.


The University reserves the right not to fill the post. The University subscribes to and applies the principles prescribed by the Employment Equity Act. Preference will be given to candidates from the designated groups, in accordance with the principles of the aforementioned Act and the employee profile of the specific department/division.

The UFS is committed to the pursuit of excellence, diversity and redress in achieving its equity targets. For this post, we seek particularly to attract black (i.e. African, Coloured and Indian) and disabled South African candidates.

The UFS will only consider applications of candidates who meet all the inherent requirements of the position. Applications that are incomplete will not be considered. Communication will be limited to shortlisted candidates only. Should you not be contacted within six weeks of the closing date for applications, you may assume that your application was unsuccessful.

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