• "Thank you for all your work on this, and your good advice. It is clear to me now that our conversation on Monday led me to the right decision. I appreciate your listening ear, discretion and expertise."
  • "You have made this so easy for me, thanks."
  • "You “get it” [the understanding of the co-curricular nature of student affairs in a liberal arts institution]."
  • "You are extraordinarily gifted [at search] – you're warm, know the institution; [you make candidates] want the job!"
  • "You are the best consultant we've ever had, and we've had many."
  • "Thank you for taking on this project and for engaging it so thoughtfully and courageously."
  • "Thank you so much for everything that you have done for us. Not just with the VP search, but being there to listen as well."
  • "Your advice was incredibly helpful, and I left feeling clear about what I needed to say and do."

Our Experience

Sherra H. Babcock, Founder and Principal, has a 360° view of liberal arts higher education:
*Vice President and Dean of Students at a national liberal arts institution
*Adjunct faculty at a national research institution
*University Board of Trustees
*Chair of Board's student life committee
*Strategic planner
*President of an Alumni Association
*Senior consultant
*Accreditation team member

When it is necessary or practical to involve associates, specific introductions and experience is provided in advance.

Smucker Chair for Education Sherra Babcock to retire following 2017 season

Chautauqua Institution today announced that Sherra Babcock, longtime vice president and Emily and Richard Smucker Chair for Education, will retire from her post in October 2017.

Awarded 2006 Distinguished Alumnus Award from Southwestern University

Sherra Babcock received the 2006 Distinguished Alumnus Award from Southwestern University on Oct. 21, 2006. The Distinguished Alumna/us Award is the highest honor annually awarded by The Association of Southwestern University Alumni.

As Chief Student Affairs Officer: Team Leadership

Although no Chief Student Affairs professional is solely responsible for every achievement within the division, the senior officer's knowledge, input, goal-setting, and guidance inspires success. The Student Affairs division headed by Sherra Babcock realized the following achievements during her eleven-year leadership.

*Residence Life: Filled residence halls to at least 95% capacity with only a one-year requirement. Built three new residence centers (11 buildings, 429 beds).
*Career Services: Introduced new initiatives and obtained external funding to enhance graduates' and alumni career preparedness.
*Student Internships: Launched faculty-supported co-curricular internship program.
*Athletics: Moved from the NAIA (scholarship athletics) to NCAA Division III (non-scholarship). Joined and attained leadership in the Southern Collegiate Athletics Association. Added six new intercollegiate sports programs. Designed and built major athletics facilities.
*Outdoor Recreation: Created and funded a vital outdoor program that includes camping, caving, canoeing, hiking, and other weekend and break trips.
*Intramurals: Separated intramurals from varsity athletics in order to increase participation and oversight. Enhanced budgets and promotion. Monitored participation in physical wellness (almost 90% of students).
*Community Service: Established and funded an alternate spring break service program that filled trips to six-eight destinations each year.
*Student Spiritual Support: Revitalized weekly chapel and religious life offerings, broadening support to students of faiths additional to the institution's United Methodist heritage.
*Student Government Participation: Revamped student government, inspiring leadership from students and faculty.
*Academic Integrity: Energized and reorganized the student-run honor code and Student Judiciary. Coached a political science capstone group in revising process.
*Campus Safety: Added night lighting, telephones, and emergency procedures. Increased professionalism of campus police force. Improved collaboration between University police and other student support departments. Instituted FERPA reporting. Developed crisis management plans; led team during crisis management.
*Student Health: Invented self-care health room, giving students experience and responsibility for their wellbeing.
*Counseling and Mental Wellness: Increased counseling oppoprtunities for students in emotional crisis. Encouraged and implemented outreach programs that expand mental wellness. Developed in-house alcohol education programs. NASPA Excellence Award - Bronze - for "Alcohol Reality Check" programming.
*Student Social Opportunities: Working with students, instituted a number of new inclusive social programs that became imbedded in campus culture. Most encouraged collaboration among student organizations; many attracted faculty and staff participation with students. Designed and built new campus center.
*Assessment and Evaluation: Monitored participation, response to programs, record-keeping, and comparison to external data.

As Chief Student Affairs Officer: Personal Passions

*Staff Identification and Development: Assembled outstanding team of Student Affairs professionals, each of whom were hired or placed in appropriate positions. Combined traditional Student Affairs education and experience with complementary backgrounds. Pioneered innovative workplace initiatives (job sharing, unique search strategies, cohort connections).
*Diversity Enrichment: Infused diversity education throughout the division and its programming. Provided cultural consciousness training. Succeeded in helping institution go beyond counting and supporting persons of difference, toward building real bridges between dominant and marginalized groups. Assumed leadership role in diversity education in the Associated Colleges of the South consortium. NASPA Excellence Award - Silver - for "One Community, Many Voices" programming.
*Residential Program Development: Researched residential programs - visited 62 of the 176 ranked National Liberal Arts Colleges listed in U.S.News & World Report, as well as several leading universities. Provided a residential college plan.
*Assessment: Served on three Southern Association reaccreditation teams. My Student Affairs Division received no recommendations or suggestions in most recent Southern Association visit.
*Innovation: Learned from experiences that succeeded as well as those that fell short of goals.
*Collaboration: Built coalitions with trustees and faculty for student and Student Affairs support. Created collective efforts with other institutions.
*Legal Issues: Developed disciplinary and employment practices that limited institutional liability. No lawsuits filed in eleven years of leadership. Strengthened and reorganized the student-run honor code.

Strategic Planning, Marketing, and Branding Leadership: Significant Business and Nonprofit Leadership

*Chautauqua Institution: Led and repositioned themed literary and lecture programs, 60+ major programs each year since 2007, reorganized a department of seven full-year, 550+ seasonal employees, and 1000+ volunteers and friends.
*Southwest Airlines: Wrote company's first marketing plan; clarified organization positioning (high capacity intrastate travel); emphasized target market niche (business traveler); identified market-by-market opportunities; introduced SWA to first out-of-state destination.
*Maybelline Cosmetics: Identified teen market opportunity, and led teen "language" communication to introduce resultant new brand, Shine Free, which grew to over $60 million in sales.
*Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau: Repositioned tourism and convention business appeal.
*Six Flags Over Texas: Developed targeted promotions, resulting in attendance gains in four of five years. Introduced new rides and attractions each year. Named the Judge Roy Scream roller coaster.
*Dallas Chamber of Commerce: Developed economic development regional collaboration collateral.
*Zales Jewelers: Provided media analyses and marketing leadership which aided company growth from regional to national retail chain.
*Chase Bank: Managed the introduction of a regional banking chain that is now part of Chase Bank, with consideration to the needs of the acquirors, employees, business and retail customers, suppliers, and the FDIC.