A number of other factors should be considered as part of
• Technology. You may want a specific type of technical
support in your home or as you travel. Since many of us
must be available virtually 24/7, be sure that you have the
support you need to be in contact with your president,
staff, and students. The cost of computing support, cell
phones and pagers, personal digital assistants, or other
devices may be covered by your institution. Similarly,
resources for your travel, including international opportunities? Will the university support your involvement in
management institutes and other educational programs?
Will you be given flexibility in your budget to accommodate changes in your professional development? Some
institutions see active professional involvement as central
to administrative effectiveness while others may see it as
an impediment to your performance. These are important
issues to resolve as you assume a new role.
Remember, you are
also negotiating relationships with your
colleagues, and the
institution. You want
to approach these
negotiations thoughtfully, with solid
information in hand,
good questions, and
an open mind. You do
not want to be perceived as greedy, yet you want to maximize
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the types of things
that merit consideration as you negotiate your contract, but it
does provide a blueprint for navigating the challenges ahead.
Above all, you must determine what is most important to
you and realize that not everything you value has an expensive
price attached to it. It is important for you to know the
areas where there is room for compromise and the areas
where you feel you must draw the line. Your position will
be strengthened with a well-devised strategy that is fair to
both you and the university or college you will serve. You will
feel personally and professionally rewarded for negotiating a
Remember, you are also negotiating
relationships with your new supervisor,
colleagues, and the institution.
know the expectations for you to be in constant communication with your campus.
• Sabbatical. While the SSAO position is one of the most
satisfying imaginable, it is also one of the most challenging and stressful. Consider requesting some type of
sabbatical leave over an extended period of time, possibly
every five to seven years. This request indicates your willingness to make a long-term commitment to the campus
while recognizing that a period of renewal and reflection
away from the daily demands of your position can be a
significant advantage for you and your university. This
could be one of the low- to no-cost benefits that may be
afforded to you after putting your excellent staff in place.
• Dual-career Considerations. In this age when so many
individuals are part of dual-career relat ionships, it is not
unreasonable to consider spouse and partner benefits.
Some universities are willing to commit to helping with
job searches or to make commitments of employment,
either on or off campus, for a fixed period of time. The
community to which you are moving will often
dictate the type and level of employment opportunities available to a spouse or partner.
Institutions are increasingly sensitive about
accommodating dual careers, and they can be
quite creative in doing so.
• Continuing Professional Development.
Consider what you will expect and need
in terms of professional development as
a part of your new position. While you
will be focused on doing the best job
possible internally, what types of state,
regional, and national involvement
might you want and need as you grow
in your position? Is there a limit to fiscal
Barbara Snyder is vice president for student affairs at the University
Michael L. Jackson is vice president for student affairs at the University
of Southern California.