William D. Schafer, Ph.D.
Bill Schafer is a nationally known and respected senior-level student affairs administrator. With over 35 years of experience in higher education, Schafer has been responsible for divisions ranging up to 500 staff and budgets ranging up to $90M. Bill has a passion for student success, for improving the student experience, and for creating multicultural campus environments that embrace and celebrate diversity. For 11 years, Schafer served as Vice President for Student Affairs at Georgia Tech (GT). GT graduates more African American and women engineers than any other university in the nation. Schafer was Associate Vice President and Dean of Students at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) for 6 years. UTEP ranks first nationally in the number of Hispanic graduates in Mathematics and Statistics, Engineering, and Education, and third among all U.S. colleges and universities in the total number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to Hispanics in all academic disciplines. Most recently, Bill served West Virginia University as Vice President for Student Life. In this role, he served as a change agent, refocusing his team on a path to develop a Division of Student Life that leads the profession by providing a student-centered learning environment and extraordinary and transformative experiences for students throughout their time at WVU.
Under Bill’s direction, the student affairs divisions at each of these universities have undergone substantial improvements, including organizational reviews and a new student services philosophy. His philosophy includes a commitment to ensuring that all students receive a comprehensive and high-quality experience. Schafer believes that one of the significant opportunities student affairs professionals have is the creation of a partnership with academic affairs to provide a highly integrated educational experience for all students.
Bill’s career accomplishments include:
- Led two divisions of Student Affairs through strategic planning processes to align them with the university strategic plan.
- Initiated new programs in assessment, fundraising, parent’s programs, multicultural competency, communication and marketing, and professional development.
- Successfully administered over 30 different Student Affairs departments at both public and private universities that resulted in major improvements to student life and a sense of community.
- Renovated/built student housing, recreation centers, and student centers.
- Implemented new student affairs programs in assessment (GT and WVU) and has been a contributing author to a recent publication in 2015 on assessment in student affairs, Leading Assessment for Student Success: Ten Tenets That Change Culture and Practice in Student Affairs. During his time at GT, Bill was asked by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to participate as the student affairs representative on both an on-site and an off-site accreditation review team.
- Implemented very successful living-learning communities in residence halls in collaboration with academic affairs.
- Reinvigorated Greek Life programs.
- Led the effort to restructure the student affairs office in a University System Office.
- Developed student affairs programs at campuses based in China and France.
- Presented both nationally and internationally on topics of key importance to the future of higher education.
Recent national leadership roles have included co-chair of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU)’s Chief Student Affairs Council for the 200 represented institutions for the 2013-14 year. During this key time, the Chief Student Affairs Council was asked by the President of APLU to provide input into the legislative discussions on Title IX. Schafer is also active in the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals (NASPA). Key roles include participation in a special task force on how NASPA can best provide direction on the future of Greek Life, as well as a newly-established Advisory Services Reviewer Pool that provides external reviews, self-assessments, and resources to divisions of student affairs nationally. Bill is also a NASPA Senior Fellow, and currently conducts research on key student affairs initiatives on behalf of NASPA.
Bill received his BS in Chemical Engineering, MA in Guidance and Counseling, and Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Colorado Boulder. The focus of his dissertation was an enrollment management study on how financial aid awards affect the enrollment of underrepresented minority students. Bill also completed the Management Development Program at Harvard University.
Bill and his wife Teresa live in Morgantown, WV and are the proud parents of twin daughters. One daughter is a recent graduate of CU Boulder and the other is a current student at WVU.