Internal Career Site

Filter your search

Retention Specialist

Apply now Job no: 525909
Work type: Staff
Location: San Luis Obispo
Categories: Unit 4 - APC - Academic Professionals of California, Probationary, Full Time, Education Support Professionals, Telecommute eligible (work onsite as scheduled and/or as requested and telecommute as scheduled)
Position Description

Job Summary

Under the general direction of the Assistant Vice Provost for University Advising, and direct supervision of the Assistant Director of University Advising Retention, the Retention Specialist will be responsible for the development, implementation and evaluation of comprehensive advising-based retention efforts within assigned colleges and through centralized measures based on identified risk-factors with the intention of increasing retention and graduation while eliminating graduation equity gaps. This position will serve on key campus committees in order to contribute to ongoing analysis of and removal of barriers posed by academic policies addressing Academic Probation/Disqualification, Change of Major, Expected Academic Progress and others. In collaboration with university colleges and divisions, the Retention Specialist will evaluate current Cal Poly retention efforts, track retention activities, assess efficacy, and recommend changes to administration. The Retention Specialist will utilize Dashboards and work with the Office of the Registrar, Institutional Research, and the Office of Data Management to track retention of student cohorts, identify potential barriers and to coordinate the University’s outreach to students who are planning to take time off or are at risk of discontinuing from the University. The Retention Specialist will have comprehensive working knowledge of college-specific and University policies, procedures, and graduation requirements. The Retention Specialist will provide academic advising to the undergraduate student population for their assigned colleges, focusing efforts on specific student groups (e.g., Cal Poly Scholars, active but not enrolled students, etc.) and utilize an advanced, developmental problem-solving approach, rather than a prescriptive application, to assist students in degree completion. The Retention Specialist will meet regularly with their assigned colleges’ advising centers to review college-specific retention data and provide insight, strategize opportunities for advising-based intervention, and provide general support in closing equity gaps. The Retention Specialist will serve as a liaison to faculty and staff to assist them with identifying and implementing equity-minded strategies to serve and retain Cal Poly students.

Telecommuting available up to 50% of the time.

Department Summary

University Advising (UA), a division of Academic Affairs, is responsible for integrating, facilitating, coordinating, synthesizing, enabling, and fostering outcomes driven efforts that support student success (e.g., retention, persistence, and graduation). Through its unique range of campus-wide programs and initiatives, UA provides leadership, services, and resources to support all Cal Poly students in reaching their academic goals. UA does this by delivering time-sensitive, inclusive academic advising and support; advocating for the academic needs of marginalized students; ensuring, through assessment and continuous review, that academic success policies and procedures are consistent and equitable; and removing institutional barriers to increase student retention and graduation. UA partners with peer, faculty and professional advisors and provides them with the training they need to empower every Cal Poly student with the confidence, knowledge and sense of belonging essential for academic success. 

Key Qualifications

Ability to independently carry out a variety of professionally complex assignments without detailed instructions.

Ability to evaluate and interpret complex problems, draw valid conclusions and project consequences of alternative courses of action

Demonstrated ability to collect, compile, analyze and evaluate data and ability to make verbal or written presentations based on this data.

Ability to use tact and diplomacy to effectively handle a broad range of high level and sensitive interpersonal situations with diverse personalities, and to respond appropriately to conflicts and problems.

Working knowledge of or ability to quickly learn University infrastructure, policies and procedures.

Ability to advise students individually and in groups on complex student related matters, including ability to be sensitive to individuals and groups where required.

Education and Experience

Equivalent to graduation from a four-year college or university in a related field, including or supplemented by upper division or graduate course work in counseling techniques, interviewing, and conflict resolution. Three years of progressively responsible professional student services work experience. A master’s degree in Counseling, Clinical Psychology, Social Work, or a directly related field may be substituted for one year of experience. A doctorate degree and the appropriate internship or clinical training in counseling or guidance may be substituted for the three years of experience for positions with a major responsibility for professional career or personal counseling.

Salary and Benefits:

Anticipated Hiring Range: $60,300 - $70,704 annually

Classification Range: $60,300 - $85,908 annually

Cal Poly offers a best-in-class benefits program, including health, dental and vision insurance, retirement participation in the Public Employees' Retirement System, and educational benefits for eligible employees. See our benefits website for additional information. 

Cal Poly

Known for its Learn by Doing pedagogy, Cal Poly is the flagship of the world-renowned California State University system. Annually recognized as one of the top public universities in the nation, Cal Poly continues to offer an academic curriculum based on learned experience gained through real-world practice. Located in San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly is nestled comfortably among the coastal foothills, minutes from the Pacific Ocean and equidistant to the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

Diversity Statement

At Cal Poly, we believe that cultivating an environment that embraces and promotes diversity is fundamental to the success of our students, our employees and our community. Bringing people together from different backgrounds, experiences and value systems fosters the innovative and creative thinking that exemplifies Cal Poly's values of free inquiry, cultural and intellectual diversity, mutual respect, civic engagement, and social and environmental responsibility.

Cal Poly's commitment to diversity informs our efforts in recruitment, hiring and retention. Cal Poly is an equal opportunity employer. 

Supplemental Information

CSU requires faculty, staff, and students who are accessing campus facilities to be immunized against COVID-19 or declare a medical or religious exemption from doing so.  Any candidates advanced in a currently open search process should be prepared to comply with this requirement. The systemwide policy can be found at and questions may be sent to

Following a conditional offer of employment, a background check (including a criminal records check) must be completed satisfactorily before any candidate may start work with Cal Poly. Failure to satisfactorily complete the background check may result in the withdrawal of the offer of employment. Current employees who are offered positions on campus will be required to undergo a background check for any position where a background check is required by law or that Cal Poly has designated as sensitive.

The person holding this position is considered a 'mandated reporter' under the California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act and is required to comply with the requirements set forth in CSU Executive Order 1083 as a condition of employment.

Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo is not a sponsoring agency for staff positions (i.e. H-1B visas).

Positions are posted for a minimum of 14 calendar days.

Advertised: Pacific Daylight Time
Applications close:

Back to search results Apply now Refer a friend