Assistant Commissioner of Postsecondary Education for Academic & Student Affairs

Job description

The Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner seeks an Assistant Commissioner of Postsecondary Education for Academic and Student Affairs, who is the chief academic officer for the office. The Assistant Commissioner is responsible for developing and overseeing Rhode Island’s system-wide postsecondary academic and student success strategy and policies. The Assistant Commissioner monitors campus-level progress on key state postsecondary attainment goal strategies and advances state-level work on RI’s higher education system of credential and degree completion, academic quality, institutional programs and policies, and student satisfaction and success. A key aspect of this role is the ability to work collaboratively with the academic and institutional leaders at RI’s public, private, and independent institutions to advance student success, implement strategic initiatives, and address educational inequities. The Assistant Commissioner participates in meetings of the office’s senior staff and serves as staff to the Council on Postsecondary Education’s Academic and Student Affairs Committee. This position is also the primary point of contact on all academic and institutional issues with the Governor’s Office, the Rhode Island General Assembly, and a key contact for OPC’s partners in other states, at local and national foundations, and as the liaison to chief academic officers (provosts) at the state’s institutions of higher education. 


Developing and executing OPC’s credential attainment as well as emerging statewide strategies for higher education. This includes:

  • Establishing a roadmap for reaching RI’s postsecondary attainment goal, outlining specific strategies for the state to reach its postsecondary attainment goal.
  • Evaluating and routinely reporting the system’s ability to make appropriate progress toward postsecondary goals and metrics that illustrate areas of growth opportunity or barriers to progress.
  • Developing policies and programmatic initiatives designed to improve student access, persistence, and completion rates.
  • Improving system accountability in support of the postsecondary attainment agenda of the Council on Postsecondary Education with specific focus on postsecondary attainment and quality.

Providing leadership for the coordination, administrative, and planning functions and assessments that identify, propose, and implement strategies to improve institutional effectiveness within and across RI’s postsecondary institutions. This includes:

  • Identifying institutional barriers and opportunities that take account of national best practices, institutional data, and evaluation, which enable RI institutions to improve delivery of postsecondary credentials for all students.
  • Ensuring RI postsecondary programs define and pursue quality within their academic and student affairs programs based on accreditation practices and the state’s priorities for higher education.
  • Monitoring the implementation of council policies and initiatives at the institutions for the postsecondary education sector and compliance with regulatory requirements for the independent sector. Identifing indicators and assessments that can be used to determine success of board-approved programs.
  • Coordinating and evaluating institutional proposals to offer new academic programs; compiling and analyzing program inventories to identify existing programs that require review.

Seeking and obtaining grant and foundation funding to further the state’s postsecondary attainment agenda and improve the coordination and effectiveness of RI postsecondary institutions.

Representing the commissioner at state, regional, and national meetings related to state postsecondary completion and institutional effectiveness.

Performing other duties and responsibilities as assigned by the commissioner.


Education:  Doctorate required.


  • At least 5-10 years of substantial professional engagement in higher education at the college, university, or system level.
  • Through collaborative leadership, proven accomplishment in on-campus administrative and leadership roles.
  • Previous successful experience in the areas of curriculum development, outcomes assessment, program evaluation, data analyses, and PK-20 coordination.
  • Demonstrated expertise in program and policy development and implementation.
  • Successful pursuit of extra-mural, programmatic funding.
  • Knowledge of current trends and issues in the global higher education community.
  • System work in academic or student affairs (strongly preferred).


  • Strong social networker, with demonstrated success in inter-agency collaboration.
  • Ability to represent statewide policy and testify to RI General Assembly.
  • ability to lead independently, meet deadlines, and maintain high expectations.
  • Demonstrated excellent verbal, written, and quantitative communication skills.
  • Outstanding research and organizational skills.
  • Effective people management and team-building abilities.
  • Demonstrated strong organizational skills.
  • Demonstrated experience with planning and budgeting of a complex organization.

This is a non-classified, non-union, full-time position offering competitive benefits and a pay grade of 16. The assistant commissioner reports to the commissioner. Application deadline is March 10, 2023.


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All requirements are subject to possible modification to reasonably accommodate individuals with disabilities. 

It is the belief and the policy of the State of Rhode Island that the race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, handicap/disability, age (subject to certain limitations established by law) or veteran status of an individual should neither serve as a barrier to his or her equal opportunity for employment nor be the basis of harassment in the workplace. The Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education fully endorses this basic policy of nondiscrimination.