Dean, School of Art
JOB TITLE: Dean, School of Art
DEPARTMENT: School of Art
REPORTS TO: Vice President for Academic Affairs and Operations
The 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.
The dean serves as the School of Arts’ chief academic, creative and administrative officer, and joins the council of deans team comprised of 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.
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 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 which 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:
• Advances the work of the school through building and maintaining academic programs of excellence that best serves our students, and supports the interdisciplinary fabric of the University
• Maintains and supports best practices for the continual assessment of those academic programs and strategic initiatives to ensure their continued success and strength
• Inspires, challenges and motivates students, faculty and staff
• Ensures transparency and openness within school procedures and communications
• Fosters a culture of collaboration within and across programs
• Leads the school in both creative and scholarly research relative to the field of art
• Serves as a thought leader of the University, serving on President’s Council, Council of Deans and other committees
• Leads and oversees the recruitment, retention, growth, mentorship and continual evaluation of faculty
• Builds a culture of inclusion among our students, as well as within the teaching practices and hiring of faculty
• Leverages existing resources through the strategic management of the school’s budget
• Demonstrates 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, develops an advancement strategy for the continued growth and support of the School
• Supports program directors’ collaborations with constituents across campus, to continually work towards the University’s recruitment, retention and alumni 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, with prior experience as a dean preferred but not required. An active creative practice as a visual artist, writer or creative scholar with demonstrated contributions to one’s field is expected.
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.
Competencies, Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:
• 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 alum
• Devoted mentor, constantly seeking ways to further enable others to excel
• Administrative prowess including effectively managing one’s own time and the time of others, as well as demonstrated capacity for managing resources through detailed budget oversight
• Adapts to changing work environments, work priorities and organizational needs
This position reports to vice presidents of academic affairs and operations, which together lead the Office of the Provost.
Review of applications will begin on January 4th and will continue until the position is filled. For full consideration, please have all materials submitted by this date.
To apply please submit your curriculum vitae, contact information for three professional references, portfolio of creative works or website link and a letter of application that addresses the responsibilities and requirements described in the leadership profile to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ensure job title is in the subject line.
About The University:
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.
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