Dean, School of Art

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JOB TITLE: Dean, School of Art
DEPARTMENT: School of Art
REPORTS TO: Vice President for Academic Affairs and Operations

University of the Arts seeks a visionary, imaginative, and collaborative leader to join its team as dean of the School of Art. Sensitive to the needs and horizons of creative practices, the dean will have the opportunity to lead and reimagine a School of Art in the heart of Philadelphia – one of the nation’s largest and thriving arts communities. The dean will strategically develop and deliver innovative programs within the field of art that are reflective of and relevant to the world in which we live and the students we serve. Partnering with the other school deans at UArts and senior leaders, they will continually seek to affirm the value of an arts-based education, and in turn, continually refine and transform our programs to advance human creativity.

Reporting to the vice president of academic affairs, the dean serves as the School of Art’s chief academic, creative, and administrative officer, and joins the council of deans team comprising the heads of the University’s six schools in art, dance, design, film, music, and theater; the division of graduate and professional studies; and the director of Critical Studies, the University’s general education unit. This interdisciplinary context for the study and advancement of creativity is a critical part of the fabric of UArts and the success of our students. The School of Art dean is a thought leader with a deep and abiding belief in the arts to initiate new movements, imaginative futures, and urgencies within our world.

With an enrollment of nearly 200, the School of Art currently comprises undergraduate study in Fine Arts, Photography, Craft + Material Studies, and Creative Writing. Related graduate programs include a Master of Arts in Teaching in Visual Arts (a five-year, BFA + MAT track and standalone MAT program) and an MFA in Book Arts + Printmaking. The 60-plus faculty and staff of the School of Art comprise working artists from Philadelphia and the region, committed to preparing tomorrow’s artists to lead creative lives.

In addition to the traditional visual arts studios and workshops that support the School of Art programs, University of the Arts is also home to several university-wide centers that inspire, challenge, and offer opportunities to all UArts faculty and students. These include the Albert M. Greenfield Makerspace, which is a 3,500-square-foot digital and traditional fabrication studio that opened in 2018; 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 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; the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, which is the longstanding and acclaimed University exhibition program; and 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 dean will lead the School of Art in alignment to the University’s mission in the following ways:

  • Advance the work of the School through building and maintaining academic programs of excellence that best serve our students and support the interdisciplinary fabric of the University.
  • Maintain and support best practices for the continual assessment of those academic programs and strategic initiatives to ensure their continued success and strength.
  • Inspire, challenge, and motivate students, faculty, and staff.
  • Ensure transparency and openness within School procedures and communications.
  • Foster a culture of collaboration within and across programs.
  • Lead the School in both creative and scholarly research relative to the field of art.
  • Serve as a thought leader of the University, serving on President’s Council, Council of Deans, and other committees.
  • Lead and oversee the recruitment, retention, growth, mentorship, and continual evaluation of faculty.
  • Build a culture of inclusion among our students, as well as within the teaching practices and hiring of faculty.
  • Leverage existing resources through the strategic management of the School’s budget.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of and interest in University academic programs outside of the School of Art, both undergraduate and graduate, as well as the activities of centers.
  • In coordination with the offices of Advancement, the Provost, and the President, develop an advancement strategy for the continued growth and support of the School.
  • Support program directors’ collaborations with constituents across campus, to continually work toward the University’s recruitment, retention, and alumni relations goals.

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.


Significant experience and successful accomplishment as a leader in higher education or of a major arts or cultural center is required. Prior experience as a faculty member, program chair, or director of a major center is expected. An active creative practice as a visual artist, writer, or creative scholar with demonstrated contributions to one’s field is expected. The next dean will be a tireless advocate for the arts, able to articulate compellingly the value and relevance of arts education to a wide range of audiences.

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

Exceptional experience may be considered in lieu of a terminal degree. 


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

  • Extensive knowledge of visual arts and emergent pedagogical practices in the field and demonstrated expertise in a creative practice.
  • Demonstrated investment in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Possession of an insatiable curiosity.
  • 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.
  • Record as devoted mentor, constantly seeking ways to further enable others to excel.


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 design, fine arts, media 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. UArts is also home to innovative centers across disciplines, including the Center for Immersive Media, Lightbox Film Center, Philadelphia Art Alliance, and Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery. Learn more about UArts.


For best consideration, 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 

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THE UNIVERSITY OF THE ARTS IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER 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 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.