American Access at American University — Associate Student Services Director

Washington, District Of Columbia


About Us 

The International Accelerator (IA) at American University is a partnership between American University (AU) and Shorelight Education. In support of the university’s strategic plan goal of bringing the world to AU and AU to the world, the mission of the program is to immerse first-year international students in the academic and cultural life of the university.

American Access, one of two programs within the IA portfolio, is designed to help international students integrate into campus life and provide the support that increases their academic successes in the U.S. higher education system.  After completion of one year in the Access program, through the program’s facilitated transfer process, students complete their degree at another top-100 university in the United States.

Job Overview

The Associate Student Services Director (ASSD) develops and executes all aspects of student services for Access participants. Reporting to the Associate Managing Director (AMD) of the IA, the ASSD is a senior team member whose primary responsibilities are to deliver high-quality academic and extracurricular support, and to guide and mentor newly admitted international students. In meeting these responsibilities, the ASSD will collaborate with the AMD and organize the overall support structure for Access students, facilitate accommodations and airport transfers for in-coming students, and provide academic support and acculturation services for students in consultation with the Director of Student Services. The ASSD also provides support for academic initiatives.

The ASSD is a skilled team player who is committed to quality, has excellent customer service skills, and is able to focus his or her attention on individual students as they are guided through the program. As the principal liaison between the program, the IA, the university, and the university’s community contacts, the person in this role possesses the interpersonal skills necessary to work closely with university administrators, community partners, students, and parents, and has intercultural skills to communicate with a diverse clientele.

Key Responsibilities

  • Manage all Access student services in collaboration with AU departments and the IA to provide for arrival support services such as airport transfers, orientation programming, on-going student services support, weekly events, acculturation into AU, creation and coordination of a student ambassador program and peer advising infrastructure, and management of the overall student experience
  • Ensure the program has a carefully designed and delivered offering of student support services providing a strong foundation for students’ university experiences
  • Deliver exceptional customer service in areas of housing, airport arrival, program orientation, and all student advising and support services
  • Ensure that the program retains students and guides, prepares, and motivates them to successful undergraduate experiences and ultimate degree completion
  • Collaborate with the AMD in designing an effective college transfer program
  • Work with the university to identify, hire, and oversee the student ambassadors and members of the program orientation team
  • Manage student services operations ensuring policies, systems, and procedures are established and followed
  • Maintain accurate records and reporting on all aspects of the student services program and student transfers
  • Partner with the Associate Managing Director, Director of Student Services, Academic Director, and Assistant Academic Director to liaise with key staff and administration at the university
  • Liaise with other offices and staff related to the onboarding of new students, tenure in the Access program, and progression/transfer into an affiliated university
  • Foster external relations and partnerships that enhance the profile and success of the program
  • Ensure the program adheres to relevant policies and procedures regarding student services and student life as established by the university
  • Set benchmarking, metrics, and evaluation that ensure continuous improvement of the program
  • Represent the program during student services events (e.g., airport arrival days, orientation, graduation), student activities, familiarization tours, and through relevant memberships and affiliations
  • Demonstrate sound judgment and common sense in all decisions
  • Assist in the hiring and training of staff members associated with the delivery of a high-quality student experience
  • Provide reports to the Managing Director, Associate Managing Director, and Steering Committee as requested
  • Other duties as assigned by the Associate Managing Director

Key Relationships

  • Partner with university administrators, faculty members, and staff members to ensure that the programs, employees, and students transition successfully into the Access program and campus community
  • Collaborate with academic and student services units at the university and key stakeholders at transfer universities
  • Collaborate with the IA student services unit
  • Partner with the Managing Director, Associate Managing Director, Academic Director, and university personnel to ensure a holistic program encompassing integration into the university environment, acculturation, student service support, and student success

Key Result Areas

  • Ensure a high level of student satisfaction
  • Provide exceptional student engagement with the campus, regional community, and transfer schools
  • Uphold a high record of student academic and personal success
  • Establish and sustain a high percentage of student progression into affiliate universities


  • Bachelor’s degree in higher education, student affairs, or field related to student and/or customer service
  • Minimum of five years of experience managing student support services in a university or Earned master’s degree in student personnel or field related to student and customer service, with a minimum of two years of experience in higher education or language school student services
  • Experience with academic advising and/or advising students about college transfer options
  • Proficiency in problem solving, decision making, and creative thinking
  • Proven customer service skills
  • Experience working successfully with non-native English speakers
  • Ability to work in a diverse environment and demonstrated cross-cultural awareness and understanding
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment and maintain a high-energy level
  • Demonstrated hands-on approach to customer service and business growth
  • Diligent work ethic
  • Demonstrated understanding of class management tools, including databases, Microsoft Office programs, course management systems, and forms of social media to connect international students to support services, programming, and other students
  • Experience working with international students in an administrative or academic capacity
  • Exceptional interpersonal, communication, presentation, and negotiation skills
  • Strong working knowledge of one or more of the following languages: Mandarin Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese; proficiency preferred
  • Eligible to work in, and travel freely to and from, the United States without sponsorship

Application Process

To apply for this position, please visit the Shorelight Careers page to submit an application with a resume and cover letter.

The International Accelerator at American University is an Equal Opportunity Employer.