Organization: Carleton College

Location: Northfield, MN

Express Interest

Carleton College


Assistant Vice President of Institutional Research and Assessment:

Carleton College seeks an innovative thinker and intellectually curious leader as its next Assistant Vice President of Institutional Research and Assessment (AVP). Reporting to the Vice President and Chief of Staff, the AVP will partner with senior leaders, faculty, and staff to transform data into information in support of decision-making and institutional priorities. The AVP provides leadership and coordination of institutional research and analysis, institutional effectiveness, and learning outcomes assessment at Carleton. S/he oversees the College’s external reporting of data, internal reporting and analysis of data, and survey administration programs in support of institutional assessment and planning. Working in collaboration with administration, faculty, and staff across campus, the Institutional Research and Assessment office is the central resource for institutional data and a key partner in developing and responding to research questions related to institutional priorities.

Carleton College:

Carleton College is a private liberal arts college in the historic town of Northfield, Minnesota. The college currently enrolls 2,042 undergraduate students, and employs 242 instructional faculty and 403 FTE staff.

Founded in 1866, Carleton is ranked among the top liberal arts colleges. In 2016, U.S. News & World Report ranked Carleton the seventh-best liberal arts college overall, and most notably, first for undergraduate teaching among all liberal arts colleges.

The 1,040-acre rural campus includes the adjoining 800-acre Cowling Arboretum. The school’s location in Northfield is 40 miles from the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area. Minneapolis is the larger of the Twin Cities and the 14th-largest metropolitan area in the United States, containing approximately 3.8 million residents. Behind Chicago, Minneapolis and St. Paul anchor the second-largest economic center in the Midwest.

Since 2000, the institution has produced 104 National Science Graduate Fellows, 96 Fulbright Scholars, 24 NCAA Postgraduate Scholars, 22 Watson Fellows, 14 Goldwater Scholars, and two Rhodes Scholars. Carleton is also one of the largest sources of undergraduate students pursuing doctorates per one hundred students for bachelor’s institutions. In 2016, the school was designated a “Top Producer of Fulbright Awards for American Students at Bachelors Institutions,” with nine grants awarded that year, ranking it 10th among liberal arts colleges.

Northfield, Minnesota

  • Population ~20,000; vibrant small town living in easy commuting distance to Twin Cities
  • Historic river town, with downtown in walking distance to Carleton campus and many housing options
  • Home to two top national liberal arts colleges
  • Among Kiplinger’s top 10 places to retire in 2017
  • Among Livability’s top 10 Best Towns in 2014
  • Among CountryLiving’s 50 Most Beautiful Small Towns in America in 2015

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Area

Located about 40 miles from Northfield, Minneapolis–Saint Paul is a major metropolitan area built around the Mississippi, Minnesota, and St. Croix rivers in east central Minnesota. The area is commonly known as the Twin Cities after its two largest cities, Minneapolis, the city with the largest population in the state, and Saint Paul, the state capital.

The Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area is considered to be the arts capital of the Upper Midwest. The Twin Cities has a vibrant and diverse theater scene that attracts remarkable talent.  Major fine art museums and prominent professional orchestras and musical ensembles also enrich the community. Minnesota is also home to professional teams in all major sports (MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL).

There are numerous lakes in the region, extensive bike trails, and park systems for recreation. In 2011 and 2012, the American College of Sports Medicine named Minneapolis–St. Paul the healthiest metropolitan area in America. This area also boasts a strong and diverse job market.

Leadership at Carleton College:

President Steven G. Poskanzer

Steven G. Poskanzer became Carleton’s 11th president in August 2010.  He developed and led the College through a comprehensive strategic planning process that brought faculty, students, staff, alumni, and parents together to chart Carleton’s course for the coming decade.  This plan, Carleton’s Future, is currently in the midst of being implemented.  In recent years, the College has seen a significant increase in the number of applications, along with continued success in faculty recruitment.  Consistent with its newly-set priorities, Carleton is now dramatically increasing need-based financial aid to both low- and moderate-income students, emphasizing post-graduation career planning and outcomes, and constructing new performing arts and interdisciplinary science facilities.

A scholar of higher education law, Poskanzer’s research focuses on issues of academic freedom and how colleges and universities seek to achieve educational goals in a complex legal and policy environment.  President Poskanzer received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 1980 and a law degree from Harvard University in 1983.

After practicing law briefly in Washington, D.C., his entire career has been spent in higher education, working in turn at the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University (as an American Council on Education Fellow), and the University of Chicago, where he served as Executive Assistant to the President.  In 1997, Poskanzer shifted from the private to the public sector, joining the State University of New York (SUNY).  Initially based in Albany at SUNY’s System Administration, he rose to the position of Vice Provost for the 64-campus System.  From 2001-2010, Poskanzer served as President of SUNY New Paltz.  

Elise Eslinger, Vice President and Chief of Staff

Ms. Eslinger has worked in a variety of posts at Carleton over the past twenty-five years, including roles in Development, Admissions, College Relations, and Residential Life, and for the past 12 years in the President’s Office.  As Vice President and Chief of Staff, Eslinger interfaces with offices and constituencies on and off campus to assist the President and the senior staff in furthering the mission of the College.  As a member of the senior leadership team, Eslinger coordinates the agendas of this group, serves as the advisor to the Community Equity and Diversity Initiative, and oversees the operations of the President’s Office and Institutional Research and Assessment.  She also handles research, job searches, and other special initiatives.

Eslinger earned her B.A. in History from Carleton and her M.B.A. in Non-profit Management from the University of St. Thomas.

The Position:

Reporting to the Vice President and Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, the AVP engages with the College’s senior leadership in providing systematic analysis of institutional and comparative metrics. Data is used to support and enhance strategic planning and evidence-based decision making, enrollment management, resource and fiscal management, institutional effectiveness, student success, learning outcomes assessment, and accreditation and department/program reviews. The AVP leads the unit’s collection, maintenance, and interpretation of the College’s Institutional Research data and ensures compliance with appropriate federal, state, and institutional statutes, policies, laws, and regulations.  S/he also oversees the College’s participation in consortial data-sharing agreements.

With a staff that includes two Associate Directors, each focused on research and assessment respectively, the AVP holds primary responsibility for internal and external data requests and reports, major assessment initiatives, the efficient and timely flow of institutional data across the College, and analysis of how the College fares in achieving its mission.  The AVP works closely with members of the President’s senior staff and a diverse set of other governance groups and individuals, as directed.

Key primary responsibilities and opportunities for the Assistant Vice President of Institutional Research include:

  • Effective, evidence-based planning for integration of the traditional functions of an institutional research office, with a strong commitment and interest in curricular and co-curricular assessment, and rigorous examination of the College’s performance in pursuit of its goals.
  • Deep appreciation for ways that the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment can support the College’s mission to provide an exceptional residential, liberal arts undergraduate education. The AVP will seek opportunities to develop and share relevant data and analyses, function as a respected collaborator, an enthusiastic and collegial partner, and an effective communicator, through written reports and verbal presentations with a variety of campus and external constituencies.
  • Handle the development, analysis, and interpretation of data with the highest care and integrity.
  • Work closely with the campus community, including Information Technology Services (ITS), to assist in the use of data effectively and broadly.
  • Lead effectively through the accreditation process for the College, keeping current with Higher Learning Commission requirements and assisting with the continuous data-gathering required of these processes.
  • Supervise the staff and student workers in the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment.

In coordination with the Associate Directors, the AVP will:

  • Organize and examine data related to short and long-range planning; prepare statistical reports, analyses, and recommendations; update data routinely; make oral presentations as requested;
  • Maintain the College’s Management Metrics (tables, graphs, and peer comparison indicators) for use by the senior staff and the Board of Trustees; refine these metrics as needed;
  • Play a primary role in the assessment and evaluation of student learning outcomes;
  • Provide data support to curricular initiatives including the Writing Program and other faculty-driven initiatives;
  • Assist with identifying processes that may impact institutional effectiveness and assessment (both positively and negatively);
  • Evaluate current higher education research and reform literature to identify implications for the College’s program planning;
  • Adeptly use the data warehouse and other College reporting tools to analyze data from the College’s admissions, student, faculty, staff, and alumni systems in responding to internal and external reporting requests;
  • Maintain a timely and accurate institutional census, document graduation/retention data, and provide enrollment projections;
  • Assess alumni outcomes;
  • Complete relevant surveys and produce and archive a variety of reports to support the College’s operations and educational mission, as well as reports required by state, federal, and accrediting agencies;
  • Represent the College in institutional effectiveness activities by serving on select internal committees;
  • Participate in professional and consortial institutional research and assessment groups;


The Assistant Vice President of Institutional Research will possess strong knowledge of procedures and techniques involved in the design, development, and implementation of projects, surveys, studies in institutional evaluation, planning, research, and decision making.  The ideal candidate has experience in statistical analysis, quantitative and qualitative research methodology, and proficiency in software applications related to research interpretation and analysis. S/he will be adept at assessing research needs, developing relevant research questions, and providing pragmatic analysis based on data. The best candidates will demonstrate evidence of many of the following qualities:

  • Experience with integrated databases and hold superior skills in spreadsheet and other database applications, including MS Excel, analytical statistical software, business intelligence reporting, and query tools;
  • The ability to lead with both a decisive and consultative style, foster open communications, and proactively build positive relationships across campus and with diverse constituencies;
  • Innovative thinker who can listen effectively to the questions being asked and provide relevant answers in an accurate, concise, and timely manner;
  • Skill in managing multiple projects and changing priorities while consistently meeting deadlines;
  • A track record of successfully hiring, developing, managing, and mentoring staff;
  • A team player who fosters collaboration within the organization, and has a strong commitment to excellent customer service;
  • Well-organized, enthusiastic, and self-directed individual who exhibits a high level of integrity that inspires trust and confidence;
  • An intelligent and articulate individual who can relate to people at all levels of an organization and who operates with transparency;
  • An advanced degree and five to seven years of directly-related experience; and
  • Preference will be given to those with experience in higher education.

Applicants should submit a resume and letter discussing their interest in the position as well as their accomplishments in relationship to the listed responsibilities and qualifications. Express interest here.

Background checks will be performed on all final candidates. Applications and nominations should be sent to:

Andy Evans, Mo Lashendock, Beth Schaefer
Koya Leadership Partners

Carleton College is an AA/EEO employer, committed to developing its staff to better reflect the diversity of its student body and American society. Members of underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with mission-driven organizations, educational institutions, and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit