Position: Dean, School of Design
Website: University of the Arts
Position Type: Full-Time Faculty
University of the Arts seeks a visionary, imaginative and collaborative leader to serve as the dean in the School of Design, and to join the University in forwarding its mission to advance human creativity. The unique mashup of applied, fine, and performing arts that is UArts prepares students to become critical and strategic thinkers who are socially and ethically responsible, and able to initiate, define and solve the challenges of a designed world. This is an opportunity to influence design education and impact fields in which our students will enter as design leaders of the future who can respond to and advance health and social issues through design. Innovative and flexible thinkers with an interest in initiating new movements, generating new solutions and crafting imaginative futures at the intersection of healthcare design, arts, sciences, design and technology are encouraged to apply.
Candidates with experience, passion and an active design practice at the intersection of the arts and health innovation are particularly encouraged to apply. The School of Design has a distinguished history and is reimagining itself for the future. Located on the Avenue of the Arts in the heart of Philadelphia, UArts reflects the city’s thriving culture, art and design communities, and its identity as an international hub for education. Because Philadelphia is a center for the arts and healthcare industries, we are also interested in exploring how those industries could intersect in our design offerings. The dean will strategically continue to develop innovative programs by leveraging the unique opportunities and partnerships Philadelphia affords as a city of innovation in health and communication. The dean also has the opportunity to collaborate with UArts’ Centers to build creative connections with community and industry partners.
The dean serves as the School of Design’s chief creative, academic 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 dean of the School of Design, along with the associate dean and program directors, work within this structure to continually affirm the value of an arts-based education, and in turn, refine, evolve and transform our programs in service of our mission to advance human creativity. The School of Design currently comprises undergraduate programs in Graphic Design and Illustration, with newly created programs in Interaction Design and Product Design anticipated to launch in fall 2022/fall 2023. Graduate programs include a Master of Design in Product Design and a Master of Fine Arts in Museum Exhibition Planning + Design. The faculty and staff of the School of Design are working designers and creative practitioners who provide direct industry experience and knowledge to our students. The School of Design first year core curriculum, the only program like it in the country, is a first-year program with collaborative courses encouraging experimentation and development of individual design vision. It prepares students for future cross-disciplinary collaboration across the University in other schools, disciplines, and the professional design community.
In addition to the traditional workshops, fabrication labs and studios that support the School of Design 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. Among the centers are the Albert M. Greenfield Makerspace, a 3,500 square-foot digital and traditional fabrication studio; and the Center for Immersive Media (CIM), a 5,600-square-foot facility dedicated to exploring the fields of virtual and mixed reality, performance motion-capture and human-computer interaction. Just this year, the CIM was awarded a joint grant with Jefferson University to leverage virtual reality to study the impact and contributions of the built environment on physician burnout in emergency medicine department settings.
The university enriches the city’s cultural landscape with the Philadelphia Art Alliance at University of the Arts, an historic exhibition space on Rittenhouse Square and one of the nation’s first multidisciplinary centers for the arts; the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, an acclaimed University exhibition space; and Lightbox Film Center at UArts, presenting repertory, nonfiction, experimental and international cinema in Philadelphia for more than 40 years.
The ideal candidate will lead the School of Design in alignment to the University’s mission in the following ways:
● Inspires, challenges and motivates students, faculty and staff
● Advances the work of the school through building and maintaining academic programs of excellence that best serve our students
● Supports the interdisciplinary fabric of the University with opportunities to collaborate across programs such as theater design, the fine arts, and beyond
● Fosters a culture of collaboration within and across programs
● Leads the School in innovation and research relative to the field of design ● Cultivates and maintains relationships with external constituencies, establishing partnerships and promoting the School and University
● Serves on President’s Council and Council of Deans as a thought leader of the University
● Maintains and supports best practices for the continual assessment of academic programs and strategic initiatives to ensure their continued success and strength
● Ensures transparency and openness within school procedures and communications
● Leads and oversees the recruitment, retention, development and growth, mentorship and continual evaluation of faculty
● Advances and supports a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion among our students, as well as within the teaching practices and hiring of faculty
● Oversees and leverages resources through the strategic management of the school’s budget
● Brings visibility and awareness to the School through marketing, activating the alumni base, developing strategic partnerships, and presentations at conferences and events
● 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
● Continually works towards the University’s student recruitment goals, retention and alumni cultivation 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.
Competencies, Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:
● Possession of an insatiable curiosity
● Devoted mentor, constantly seeking ways to further enable others to excel ● Extensive knowledge of multiple design disciplines
● Investment in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion
● Proactive commitment to leadership that inspires others and cultivates 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
● Administrative prowess including effectively managing one’s own time and the time of others, as well as capacity for managing resources through detailed budget oversight
● Adaptability to changing work environments, work priorities and organizational needs
Experience: Significant experience and successful accomplishment as a leader in design, higher education, or relevant combination required. Demonstrated experience working with teams and external constituencies in a leadership capacity preferred. An active creative practice as a nationally recognized designer, innovator or scholar with documented 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.