Dean, School of Film


The University of the Arts (UArts) welcomes nominations and applications for the position of Dean of the School of Film. The new Dean will be an imaginative, collaborative, and skilled administrative leader who understands the power of the moving image and its status as an art form as well as a medium that can entertain, inspire, educate, connect and facilitate social change.

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 in the School of Film are working artists and professionals from around the region and the world. Faculty and staff are committed to preparing tomorrow’s moving picture artists to lead creative lives, build successful professional careers, and produce relevant, impactful work. The University is particularly interested in reviewing applications from candidates whose identities and/or professional work intersect with or address historically marginalized communities.

Reporting to the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Dean serves as the School of Film’s chief academic, creative, and administrative officer with the charge to provide a context for the study of film (broadly defined) that is necessarily collaborative in nature in the interdisciplinary and creative context of an arts university. The Dean will join the Council of Deans – composed of the heads of the other academic units (Art, Design, Music, Dance, Theater, Critical Studies, and Graduate and Professional Studies) in the shared academic leadership of the university.

The University of the Arts is unique, even amongst its peers, as it includes such a comprehensive range of disciplines and encourages students to collaborate across the various schools. The School of Film - which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary - 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 (a collaborative major that focuses on art direction, production, costume, set, lighting and sound design) and Screenwriting/

Current enrollment in the School of Film is 234 students across all majors and 47 minors. With its robust curricular offerings, the School of Film welcomes students from across the University. Alumni include renowned Hollywood directors and recipients of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, as well as producers, production designers, animators, writers and executives working in all aspects of the industry.



The Dean will build on the success of the existing program and enact a vision that is future focused and sustainable. The Dean will oversee a $1.35 million budget. The School has 8 full-time faculty and 34 part-time faculty.

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 in order to take advantage of opportunities within a university that houses the visual arts, fine arts, and performing arts under one roof;
  • Work with program directors to recruit, evaluate and yield applicants in partnership with Admissions;
  • Build, support and explore resources and initiatives to connect students to the professional worlds of film, creativity, and entertainment locally, nationally and internationally; strengthen a culture of inclusion and diversity among our students, as well as within the teaching practices and hiring of faculty in alignment with the UArts commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility.
  • 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 marketing and development strategies for the continued growth and support of the school, in coordination with the offices of Development, Marketing, 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.

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.


Candidates will have demonstrated experience and accomplishments within the creative practice of film and knowledge of the industry, with expertise as a filmmaker, animator, game developer, producer, screenwriter, creative executive or festival programmer (or multiple of such roles). They will have leadership and management experience and an ability to strategically translate that experience in creative and thoughtful ways. Demonstrated teaching capacity and experience is critical, and prior experience as a faculty member, program chair, dean, or director of a major film or arts center is preferred.



The next Dean will bring to the position a balance of creative vision, administrative capacity, and strategic thinking. The ideal candidate have an expansive professional network, and will possess many of the following qualifications and experiences, particularly exhibiting:

  • 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;
  • Administrative skill and creativity including a demonstrated capacity for problem-solving and managing resources through detailed budget oversight;
  • Direct and transparent communication style, capable of building trust and rapport with a broad array of faculty, students, staff and alumni;
  • Proactive commitment to leadership that inspires others with compelling and collaborative vision;
  • Dedication to excellence in teaching, and support of innovative and alternative pedagogical methodologies;
  • Demonstrated investment and engagement in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion;
  • Understanding of and commitment to mentorship and ways to further enable others to excel;
  • 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.



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 23 undergraduate arts majors, 14 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 square-foot 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.


The location of the University of the Arts in Center City Philadelphia expands the campus outward into the vibrant heart of the city. This walkable, affordable, and accessible city has a flourishing and tightknit art and creative scene with hundreds of performance venues, studios, museums, and galleries as well as 65 miles of bike trails and 150 parks. Philadelphia is also easily accessible to New York City and Washington DC.



Please send all nominations, inquiries, and applications (cv and letter of interest), in confidence, to:

Susan VanGilder, Managing Director

Lareese Hall, Senior Associate

Storbeck Search


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