Dean, School of Film

The University of the Arts seeks an imaginative and collaborative leader who understands the persuasive power of the moving image and its ability to entertain, inspire, educate, connect and create social change to join its team as dean of the School of Film. With a knowledge of, and an appreciation for the practices of animation, filmmaking, game development and screenwriting, the dean will have the opportunity to lead a School of Film in the heart of Philadelphia – a thriving and proudly independent arts community that is inclusive of diverse ideas, perspectives and people. The faculty and staff are working artists and professionals from Philadelphia and the region, committed to preparing tomorrow’s moving picture artists to lead creative lives, build successful professional careers and produce relevant, impactful work. We particularly encourage applications from those who identify as members of groups which have been historically underrepresented within higher education institutions.

Reporting to the vice president of academic affairs, the dean serves as the School of Film’s chief academic, creative and administrative officer, and joins the Council of Deans, composed of the heads of the university’s academic units, with the charge to provide an interdisciplinary context for the study and advancement of creativity. The School of Film currently comprises undergraduate BFA study in Animation (2D, 3D and stop-motion/experimental), Game Art, Film (narrative, documentary, experimental), Film and Animation (a hybrid major that allows students to explore both disciplines), Film Design (focused on the creative areas of art direction, and production, costume, set, lighting and sound design) and Screenwriting. The School of Film recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Among our alums are renowned Hollywood directors, producers, animators, writers and executives, recipients of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, and creatives working in all aspects of the industry.

The dean will lead the School of Film in alignment with the University’s mission in the following ways:

  • Strategically develop and maintain innovative programs in the emerging media landscape to prepare our students to not only build sustainable and thriving careers, but also to cultivate and support their artistic practices.
  • Maintain and support best practices for the continual assessment of those academic programs and strategic initiatives to ensure their continued success and strength.
  • Foster a culture of collaboration within and across programs, supporting the interdisciplinary fabric of the University.
  • Build, support and explore resources and initiatives to connect students to the entertainment industry and professional world locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Strengthen a culture of inclusion among our students, as well as within the teaching practices and hiring of faculty>
  • Lead and oversee the recruitment, retention, growth, mentorship and continual evaluation of faculty.
  • Ensure transparency and openness within school procedures and communications.
  • Serve as a leader of the University, on President’s Council, Council of Deans and other committees.
  • Leverage existing resources through the strategic management of the school’s budget.
  • Develop an advancement strategy for the continued growth and support of the school, in coordination with the offices of Advancement, the Provost and the President.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by the incumbent; they do not purport to describe all functions. Incumbent may be assigned other duties, and the essential functions may change from time to time as necessary.


An active creative practice as a filmmaker, animator, game developer, producer, screenwriter, creative executive or festival programmer with demonstrated contributions to one’s field and access to a rich and diverse professional network is required. Prior experience as a faculty member, program chair or director of a major film or arts center is expected. Exceptional experience may be considered in lieu of a terminal degree.

The University is particularly interested in reviewing applications from candidates whose identities and/or professional work intersect with or address historically marginalized communities.


The next dean will possess many of the following qualifications and experiences, particularly exhibiting:

  • Extensive knowledge of how the disciplines of animation, film, games and screenwriting are interrelated and support one another in the art and entertainment world, with the possibility of teaching in one or more of these areas.
  • Passionate engagement, advocacy and a lifelong creative inquiry into the development of electronic media and motion pictures as an effective and transformative mode of expression and communication.
  • Demonstrated investment in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion • Proactive commitment to leadership that inspires others with compelling vision, cultivating an expanding community of respect and collaboration.
  • Direct and transparent communication style, capable of building trust and rapport with a broad array of faculty, students, staff and alumni.
  • Dynamic mentorship, constantly seeking ways to further enable others to excel while supporting innovative and alternative pedagogical methodologies.
  • Administrative prowess including a demonstrated capacity for garnering and managing resources through detailed budget oversight.


University of the Arts’ mission is simple: to advance human creativity. Established in 1876, UArts believes creativity is the most essential skill for success in today’s society and has educated generations of groundbreaking artists, performers, designers and creative leaders for more than 141 years. After being granted university status in 1987, University of the Arts became the largest institution of its kind in the nation, offering programs in media arts, design, fine arts, crafts, music, dance, theater and writing. It now features 30 undergraduate arts majors, 15 graduate programs and the nation’s first PhD program in Creativity.

University of the Arts is also home to several university-wide centers which inspire, challenge and offer opportunities to all UArts faculty and students. These include the Lightbox Film Center at UArts, which has presented repertory, nonfiction, experimental and international cinema in Philadelphia for more than 40 years and was acquired by UArts in 2020; the Center for Immersive Media, which is a 5,600 squarefoot facility dedicated to exploring the fields of virtual and mixed reality, performance motion-capture and human-computer interaction; the Albert M. Greenfield Makerspace, which is a 3,500 square-foot digital and traditional fabrication studio that opened in 2018; the Philadelphia Art Alliance at UArts, a historic exhibition space on Rittenhouse Square and one of the nation’s first multidisciplinary centers for the arts, acquired by UArts in 2018; and the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, which is the longstanding and acclaimed University exhibition program. Learn more about UArts.


Please send all nominations, inquiries, and applications, in confidence, to:

Susan VanGilder, Managing Director
DeMethra LaSha Bradley, Managing Associate
Holly Jackson, Managing Associate
Storbeck Search

In compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, The University of the Arts publishes its Annual Safety Report at the following link for your reference:


Title IX Statement: The University of the Arts prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in its programs and activities, including admission and employment, in accordance with Title IX of the Education The University of the Arts, Dean, School of Film Page 4 Amendments of 1972. The Director for Title IX, Equity and Compliance is responsible for overseeing compliance with Title IX and other civil rights laws and regulations. To contact the Director for Title IX, email, call 215-717-6362, or visit The University of the Arts, 320 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19102, Room 302. To learn more about the University's Title IX policy and response to sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence, please visit Inquiries may also be directed to the Federal agency responsible for enforcing Title IX, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.