Retention Specialist/Academic Counselor (Student Services Professional III) - Division of Undergraduate Education and Academic P (505641)

  • Cal State University (CSU) San Francisco
  • San Francisco, California
  • Jan 01, 2022
Full Time Customer Service Education and Training Human and Social Services Legal Services

Job Description


Working Title

Retention Specialist/Academic Counselor

SF State University

San Francisco State is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate against persons on the basis of race, religion, color, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, gender, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, medical condition, National origin, sex, sexual orientation, covered veteran status, or any other protected status. Reasonable accommodations will be provided for qualified applicants with disabilities who self-disclose by contacting the Senior Human Resources Manager.

Applicants may visit for more information on SF State's policy prohibiting discrimination, and how to file an online report using the procedures under Executive Order 1096 Revised. Inquiries can be directed to the campus Title IX Coordinator and Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Administrator by calling (415) 338-2032 or emailing

San Francisco State is a 100% Smoke/Vapor-Free Campus. Smoking or Vaping of any tobacco/plant-based substance is not permitted on any University properties.

The person holding this position may be 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.

This position may be a "designated position" in the California State University's Conflict of Interest Code. The successful candidate accepting this position may be required to file Conflict of Interest forms subject to the regulations of the Fair Political Practices Commission.


Student Success Office, in the Division of Undergraduate Education & Academic Planning (DUEAP)

Appointment Type

This is a one-year probationary position.

Time Base

Full-Time (1.0)

Work Schedule

Monday through Friday; from 8:00 am to 5:00pm

Anticipated Hiring Range

$4,691 per month ($56,292 annually)

Salary is commensurate with experience.

Position Summary

The Retention Specialist supports the University's strategic plan, the Graduation Initiative 2025, and the Campus Student Success Plan by providing comprehensive academic counseling to help undergraduate students achieve their academic, personal and career goals. This position is a shared advising position working with the Division of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning and one of San Francisco State's colleges (College of Business, College of Ethnic Studies, College of Liberal and Creative Arts, College of Health and Social Sciences, College of Science and Engineering, and the Graduate College of Education). The incumbent collaborates with faculty, staff, and administrators to ensure student retention and success through graduation. The Retention Specialist also collaborates on delivering general advising services, advising at new student orientations, participating in student retention initiatives, and offering academic success workshops.

The Retention Specialist will assist students in exploring and declaring into a major, identifying strengths and interests, and overcoming academic and personal challenges. Additionally, the Retention Specialist will help students understand SF State's general education and graduation requirements as well as to understand college-based and university-wide policies and procedures. The Retention Specialist is responsible for providing consistent, accurate, complex, academic counseling services to undergraduate students. Working independently, the Retention Specialist will provide individual and group counseling that requires the use of advising and counseling techniques to evaluate students' academic interests and to facilitate major and career exploration. The Retention Specialist will assist students in setting goals to facilitate student success, persistence, and degree completion in a timely manner. In addition, the incumbent will independently lead, develop, plan, implement, and evaluate advising-related projects that support the retention of SF State students.

The Retention Specialist reports directly to the Director of Gator Smart Start. The Retention Specialist also works closely with the Association Dean and/or Advising Lead/Director of their assigned college. The position functions under general supervision, but with a high degree of autonomy. This position requires strong judgment, flexibility, persuasiveness, and imagination in order to develop and institute coordinated advising approaches across SF State's campus. The incumbent will need to apply careful administrative planning when cultivating and launching creative solutions to address specific advising problems and to implement new advising initiatives.

San Francisco State University has long-standing commitments to teaching, learning and social justice. Individuals interested in advancing the University's strategic plan are strongly encouraged to apply.

Position Information

Duties include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Academic Counseling
    • Advise students on academic probation, subject to disqualification, and who have been disqualified, providing follow-up guidance and support.
    • Create and implement messaging campaigns to identified populations of non-enrolled students, resolving academic issues and offering resource referrals to facilitate their re-enrollment.
    • Consult with students experiencing academic difficulty; assist them in identifying reasons for their academic difficulty and directing them to student support services.
    • Independently coordinate and deliver academic advising to targeted groups of students each year; develop action plan for success based on the unique needs of each student; monitor and assess student progress in achieving their path to success and make adjustments to their path based on the progress and changing needs of the student; identify current and potential challenges (e.g. adjustment to college, time-management) and counsel students through complex academic/personal challenges; make appropriate referrals to campus resources.
    • Resolve complex advising-related situations by applying in-depth knowledge of academic policy and recommending an appropriate course of action to students; serve as an advising expert for faculty and staff who need assistance resolving complicated advising issues.
    • Offer workshops on topics related to the retention of students (e.g. study skills, time management, choosing a major, etc.).
    • Provide academic counseling to undergraduate students on general education, graduation requirements, college-based policies, and other related policies and procedures (through individual appointments, walk-in advising, and group workshops).
    • Assist students with rectifying academic issues, providing multiple solutions, including resource referral.
  • Projects
    • Lead, develop, plan, implement and evaluate university advising initiatives and college-based advising projects as identified by the Division of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning, and their assigned college.
    • Coordinate and deliver strategic advising initiatives established by the campus as part of the Campus Student Success Plan, focusing on the academic support needs of students who are at-risk for retention. Make recommendations based on best practices identified and retention data.
    • Use EAB/Navigate to identify students who'd benefit from support and provide proactive advising outreach.
    • Partner with campus leadership to identify shared challenges and opportunities related to student success, especially as they relate to students from low-income, underrepresented minority and/or first-generation backgrounds.
    • Research successful college/university retention programs to identify best policies, practices, and procedures.
    • Maintain advising notes and data of students served.
    • Attend professional development trainings and staff meetings as determined by the Division of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning, and their assigned college.
  • Advising at Orientation
    • Collaborate as a team member with the assigned college to deliver advising at New Student Orientation.
    • Assist in the development and facilitation of advising-related workshops at New Student Orientation.
  • Other duties as assigned

Minimum Qualifications

Knowledge and Abilities :

Thorough knowledge of the principles of individual and group behavior. General knowledge of the principles, practices and trends of the Student Services field as well as general knowledge of the policies, procedures and practices of the program area to which assigned; general knowledge of individual counseling techniques; general knowledge, or the ability to rapidly acquire such knowledge, of the organizational procedures and activities of the specific campus to which the position is assigned. Working knowledge of student services programs outside the program to which immediately assigned.

Ability to analyze complex situations accurately and adopt effective courses of action; advise students individually and in groups on complex student-related matters; determine appropriate courses of action and proper techniques to utilize while engaged with individuals in personal interactions of an argumentative or sensitive nature; interpret and evaluate descriptions and explanations of problems brought forward by individuals or student organizations, analyze and define the problem, draw valid conclusions and project consequences of various alternative courses of action; carry out a variety of professionally complex assignments without detailed instructions; and establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with a variety of individuals.

Experience :

Possession of these knowledge and abilities is typically demonstrated through the equivalent of three years of progressively responsible professional student services work experience. One year in the program area to which assigned may be preferred but is not required.

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.

Education :

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 where such are job-related.

Preferred Qualifications

Education :

Master's degree from an accredited college or university in counseling, higher education, student affairs, or job related-field.

Experience :
  • advising underrepresented, low-income and first-generation college students, and working effectively with people from diverse backgrounds
  • developing programs to support a diverse population of students and providing effective academic counseling to university students from diverse cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic, academic, sexual orientation and disability backgrounds in one-to-one/group settings
  • assisting undergraduate students in exploring major options
  • providing information on Title V, California State University, and San Francisco State University policies and procedures
  • serving as a lead to develop, plan, implement and evaluate a project
  • conducting presentations in small and large group settings; facilitating workshops using effective public-speaking techniques
  • using PeopleSoft - Campus Solutions, Microsoft Office Suite, and Learning Management Systems as well as Educational Advisory Board's Navigate student success platform
  • applying counseling/student development theories in an academic advising setting
  • assisting students with academic, personal, and career planning/goal setting

Ability to :
  • apply problem-solving and conflict resolution strategies
  • use current software, technology, and online resources related to academic counseling
  • provide accurate, respectful and effective communication (oral and written) to students, staff, faculty and administrators
  • exercise confidentiality, discretion, and independent judgment, with awareness of diversity and inclusion
  • keep supervisor informed and demonstrate regular attendance and positive performance evaluations
  • use technology tools to manage and report on data
  • quickly learn and apply Title V, California State University, and San Francisco State University policies and procedures
  • master complex information and communicate changes in university policy, regulations and requirements to students, faculty and staff


Regular work hours are 8am - 5pm, Monday through Friday. Schedule to be determined by Director of Gator Smart Start and the Associate Dean and/or Advising Lead of the assigned college. Ability to work occasional weekend hours and evening hours to include both in-person and remote/Zoom advising appointments. Regular attendance is considered an essential job function; the inability to meet attendance requirement may preclude the employee from retaining employment.

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 Revised July 21, 2017 as a condition of employment.

Pre-Employment Requirements

This position requires the successful completion of a background check.

Eligibility to Work

Applicants must be able to provide proof of US Citizenship or authorization to work in the United States, within three business days from their date of hire.


Threaded through our Total Compensation package is a commitment to Bridging Life's Transitions. SF State is committed to providing our employees with a comprehensive program that rewards efforts that are appreciated by your colleagues, students and the customers we serve.

We offer a competitive compensation package that includes Medical, Dental, Vision, Pension, 401k, Healthcare Savings Account, Life Insurance, Disability Insurance, Vacation and Sick Leave as well as State Holidays and a dynamic Fee Waiver program, all geared towards the University's commitment to attract, motivate and retain our employee.

Employment Requirement

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

Additional Information


The Human Resources office is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and can be reached at (415) 338-1872.

Please note that this position, position requirements, application deadline and/or any other component of this position is subject to change or cancellation at any time.

Closing Date/Time: Open until filled

Job Address

San Francisco, California 94132 United States View Map