Dean, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Apply now Job no: 493300
Work type: Faculty Full-Time
Location: Denver, CO
Categories: Academic Administration, Faculty

The University of Denver (DU), a private institution dedicated to the public good, invites nominations and applications for the Dean, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. 

Please send all nominations, inquiries, and expressions of interest, in confidence and electronically, to:

Susan VanGilder, Partner  

Beth McCarthy, Senior Associate

Applications submitted through PioneerJobs will NOT be considered.

The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences: An Overview 

As the University’s largest and most varied academic community, the College is composed of artists, learners, performers, scholars, scientists, teachers—all agents for positive change. Essential to realizing DU’s mission, CAHSS is home to more than 2,100 undergraduate majors and minors and 270 graduate students. CAHSS courses equip undergraduate students with the fundamental skills to think critically, communicate strategically, solve problems, pursue passions, and make meaningful contributions to our local and global communities. Graduate students explore issues at the cutting edge for their fields through more than 20 graduate degree programs. Close collaboration with faculty and community organizations prepares graduate students to address challenges around the world. 

The College acts as a central hub where many of the University's disciplines intersect. CAHSS supports interdisciplinary programs, including Urban Studies, Women and Gender Studies, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, and Socio-Legal Studies. Within the College, the faculty, students, and staff create art and conduct research that address the world’s most significant challenges in creative and relevant ways. Across degree programs, departments, schools, and centers, there are near-endless opportunities for both focused study and collaboration across disciplines.

The College is guided by the Keystone Strategic Plan. The plan and its implementation exemplify the College’s commitment to the creative and liberal arts, while ensuring that undergraduates are offered a wide range of collaborative and experiential opportunities across disciplines that meet individual student needs for deep foundational knowledge and impactful experiences.

Transformative priorities of the plan include:

  • Revolutionizing liberal and creative arts education through the Keystone experience
  • Investing in the active cultivation of invention, discovery, imagination, creativity, teaching, and learning through the John Madden Center for Innovation in the Liberal and Creative Arts, which has received multiple national grants and philanthropic support

As evident in the Keystone Strategic Plan, CAHSS is committed to social justice, including addressing systemic racism and participating in the shared responsibility of fostering a community of excellence, innovation, engagement, integrity, and inclusiveness. For example, faculty-led initiatives include:

  • Casa de Paz Learning Community, which combines immigration-related, service-learning courses with student engagement in the work of local nonprofit Casa de Paz;
  • DU Prison Arts Initiative, which collaborates with the Colorado Department of Corrections to provide high-quality arts programs to and with incarcerated people across the state.
  • Center for Art Collection Ethics, which serves as a training center and clearinghouse of information on cultural property issues related to Holocaust-era art, antiquities, and indigenous objects

An intentional commitment to advance equity and inclusion is critical to CAHSS’s mission of providing a robust liberal and creative arts education in service to the larger public good. The educational, artistic, and scholarly benefits of creating and maintaining an accessible and equitable experience for all in the College are clear. Diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities strengthen our academic community of learners, knowledge makers, and creative artists. The College strives to comprise a student body and faculty and staff that represent diverse peoples and perspectives, and to offer curricula and skills that help prepare students for ethical and engaged citizenship in today’s global society.

CAHSS faculty and students bring to life the University’s vision to be a great private university dedicated to the public good through community-engaged teaching, research, and creative work. CAHSS faculty and student community-engaged work is supported by both college and university resources. For example, the University’s Center for Community Engagement to Advance Scholarship and Learning provides grants as well as skill-building and collaborative opportunities for CAHSS faculty and students seeking to work with communities to bridge learning and doing, advance discovery, galvanize tomorrow’s civic leaders, and tackle grand challenges.

CAHSS maintains an operating budget of $70M supported by a $40M endowment portfolio. The College is home to total personnel of 340, comprised of 250 faculty and 90 staff. In 2019 fundraising surpassed the $5.5M annual goal and in fiscal year 2020, CAHSS had $18.5M in total research and sponsored projects spanning 10 departments, with 58 total awards.

The University of Denver: An Overview 

Founded in 1864, the University of Denver is an independent, doctoral-granting university with high research activity and robust undergraduate and graduate education. DU has become increasingly known, nationally and internationally, for its creative, 21st-century approaches to problem-based scholarship, as well as its holistic, student-centered approach to learning and its dedication to the public good through local, national and international partnerships. The University plays an integral role in the cultural, social, economic, and educational vibrancy of the fast-growing city and region it calls home.

The University of Denver is located on a 125-acre campus less than 30 minutes from downtown. The neighborhood surrounding the University of Denver features many amenities, including parks, farmers’ markets, South Pearl restaurants, coffee shops, public transportation, convenient shopping and a multitude of recreational opportunities.

During the past 20 years, DU has invested more than $852 million in renovating, modernizing and growing its campus. Three new buildings represent the first phase of the Denver Advantage Campus Framework Plan, an ambitious and innovative vision for the physical future of DU. The Burwell Center for Career Achievement and the Dimond Family Residential Village opened in Fall 2020. A new Community Commons will open in early 2021. Through the Denver Advantage, the University aims to integrate the campus and its surrounding neighborhood, open the doors of campus to the city of Denver, and foster a great sense of belonging for the DU community. The beautiful campus, with sweeping views of the Denver skyline and the Rocky Mountains, includes an arboretum.

Other buildings constructed on campus in the past 20 years include the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science, the Anna & John J. Sie International Relations Complex, the Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness, the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, the Chambers Center for the Advancement of Women, Olin Hall, the Ricketson Law Building, Ruffatto Hall (Morgridge College of Education), the Daniels College of Business, the Joy Burns Center and the Anderson Academic Commons, as well as two new residence halls.

Both the city of Denver and the state of Colorado are attractive destinations for business and industry. Denver holds a top-five position for best places for business and careers (Forbes). Business Insider ranked Denver second in its “50 Best Places to Live in America Right Now,” and U.S. News and World Report rated Colorado as the nation’s top economy. Denver had the ninth-largest population growth in the U.S. between July 2017 and July 2018 and is a magnet for young professionals, with a median population age at just 34 years old (U.S. Census Bureau). Colorado ranks as the fifth-most educated state in America (WalletHub) and is the second-best state to find a job (U.S. News & World Report). U.S. News and World Report ’s 2019 Best Places to Live study ranked the city of Denver in the second spot, citing the city’s proximity to outdoor recreation, a progressive mindset, and its walkability.

The Strategic Plan: DU IMPACT 2025 

The University of Denver has a bold and courageous vision for higher education in the 21st century. DU champions innovation and reform that will have an enormous impact on our students, the research of our faculty, the community and beyond. DU continues to innovate around its strengths in teaching, learning, and discovery. The faculty accelerates the ways research can be used to address society’s most vexing problems. Currently, the Provost leads implementation of DU IMPACT 2025 with the strong support of Chancellor Haefner, who has introduced five strategic imperatives that will accelerate DU’s progress toward the goals of DU IMPACT 2025. These imperatives include: ensuring a sustainable future for the next generation; creating a unique global, 4D student experience, emphasizing a holistic approach to learning and student success; cultivating an exceptionally diverse, inclusive, equitable and welcoming community; defining and modelling a global, engaging research university; and ensuring a signature portfolio of academic programs.

Academic Profile 

The University enrolls approximately 13,000 students from all regions of the United States and 80 foreign countries in its distinguished undergraduate liberal arts and science and graduate and professional programs. The University’s academic programs are led by twelve academic deans. Each program features cutting-edge curricula, professor-led courses and access to the latest tools and technology. The 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio and small class sizes allow personalized instruction as well as multiple opportunities for research, exploration, and holistic student development. There are more than 700 full-time appointed faculty members, of which 90 percent have earned the highest degree in their fields. DU faculty often collaborate on scholarly inquiry and pedagogical reflection with faculty and students from other disciplines, divisions, schools, and colleges across campus, as well as with community partners. These efforts—and many others like them—deepen the University’s intellectual portfolio and expand the opportunities available for its faculty and students. U.S. News and World Report lists the University of Denver among the nation’s top 100 universities. The Carnegie Classifications identify DU as a “Doctoral University: High Research Activity.”

Student Life 

In fall 2019, there were 5,774 undergraduates and 7,157 graduate students. Six percent of students are international, 60 percent of students are female, and a quarter identify as a domestic minority. DU students display great ethnic, cultural, and spiritual diversity. What binds them together is a commitment to creativity and scholarly excellence, attention and access to professors and an insatiable curiosity and drive to make a difference in the world. Students work closely with faculty, staff, peers, members of the broader Denver/Rocky Mountain area, and international communities on projects, research and fieldwork. They cross disciplines to discover new perspectives and approaches to problem-solving. To prepare students for the challenges of productive citizenship, the University of Denver offers rigorous programs that emphasize critical thinking, innovative problem solving, ethical leadership and global engagement. When students leave DU, they are ready to make a difference in organizations and communities around the world.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

DU has a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The DEI Action Plan serves as a guide to DU’s abiding commitment to truly embody a forward-looking institution and community where all can belong, contribute, and thrive. Three senior administrators in the chancellor’s cabinet have direct accountability for DEI work: the vice chancellor for student life and inclusive excellence, the vice chancellor for human resources and inclusive community and the vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion, who provides overarching thought leadership for diversity, equity and inclusion work on campus.

DU is fully committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse community and promotes the full participation and prosperity of all of its members. The University embraces a distinctive philosophy that employs senior leadership as catalysts in a concerted effort to recruit all members of the University community—students, staff, faculty and administrators—in the implementation of comprehensive plans for diversity and inclusion. DU’s IRISE research incubator is just one example of that commitment.

Since 2010, DU has seen a 55 percent increase in domestic students of color, from 18 to 25 percent of the student body. An additional six percent are international students from over 80 countries around the globe.

The University has 4,583 employees, comprised of 1,599 appointed staff, 701 appointed faculty, 264 non-appointed hourly staff, 578 adjunct faculty and 1,441 student employees. Forty-eight percent of faculty are women, and 20 percent identify as persons of color and 2 percent as international. Sixty-four percent of staff are women, and 22 percent identify as persons of color. New hiring guidelines and retention efforts are designed to support an increasingly diverse set of faculty and staff members.

About the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor 

In Summer 2020, Mary Clark began her tenure as Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor at the University of Denver. With expertise in the areas of higher education law, women’s legal history, legal ethics, judicial politics, and property, Provost Clark also holds an appointment as professor in the Sturm College of Law. Prior to being named Provost at DU, Provost Clark served as interim provost, deputy provost, and dean of faculty at American University, associate dean for faculty & academic affairs at AU’s law school, director of its doctor of juridical science program, and acting director of its Law and Government Program. Before joining American University, Provost Clark was a visiting lecturer and research scholar at Yale Law School, a Supreme Court fellow with the Federal Judicial Center, a teaching fellow and adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, and an appellate attorney with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, D.C. She clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Montgomery, Alabama, following graduation from law school. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College (magna cum laude) and Harvard Law School and publishes in the fields of women’s legal history and judicial politics.

Role of the Dean 

The Dean will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Reporting directly to and closely collaborating with the Provost, the Dean will have responsibility for the strategic, programmatic, financial, management operations and external engagement that support the work of the College. In collaboration with the CAHSS leadership team and faculty, the Dean will work to shape the future of and articulate a compelling vision for the College. Internally, the Dean will create space for collaboration and continuous improvement, while removing barriers that impede progress. Additionally, the Dean will encourage and support a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment and be visible and accessible to the broad community of the College.

Key Responsibilities 

The next Dean will:

    • champion the arts, humanities, and social sciences at the University of Denver and promote them as central to a liberal education and to the mission of the University of Denver;
    • create initiatives and programs designed to capitalize on the benefits of diversity in teaching and learning, research, and service and help lead the campus-wide commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion;
    • lead the process of strategic planning and implementation for the college in the context of the University’s strategic positioning and the important roles of the fine and performing arts, and liberal arts and sciences in higher education;
    • expand the division’s resource base through fundraising, grant development, and strengthening relationships with alumni and other external constituencies; including the leadership and development of campaign fundraising priorities to support the College;
    • work with the faculty, chairs, and directors to assure open and impartial administration of standards and procedures in governance, faculty recruitment, development, promotion, tenure, and retention;
    • recruit, develop and retain faculty and staff from historically underrepresented groups;
    • manage fiscal and human resources strategically enabling the college to thrive, including supervising staff responsible for the operation of the dean’s office, and evaluating the performance of chairs and directors in the college, working for outstanding results;
    • interact with, support, and inspire students, foster excellence in student recruitment and retention, and build positive student communities, where graduates flourish as alumni;
    • collaborate with the Chancellor, Provost, and other Deans as a leader who can develop and coordinate academic programs, interdisciplinary initiatives, and cross- disciplinary scholarship;
    • lead faculty, chairs and directors in academic program development that strengthens the centrality of the liberal arts in the context of the growth of interdisciplinary, international, and dual degree programs, as well as change associated with high-quality and sensible application of academic technologies to enhance pedagogies and learning outcomes; and
    • support, promote, evaluate, assess, and reward excellence in research/scholarship/creative work, teaching, and service.

Experience and Qualifications 

The next Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences must have a distinguished academic record that merits appointment as a tenured full professor at DU in an appropriate discipline within CAHSS. Candidates should have a record of sustained excellence in research/scholarship/creative work, teaching, and service. In addition, this individual must have appropriate administrative experience in a comparably complex institution. Further, the ideal Dean candidate will possess many of the following preferred qualifications and experiences:

  • ability to think strategically and develop, articulate and advocate for a shared, innovative vision for the liberal arts;
  • exemplary record of advancing initiatives in support of diversity, equity and inclusion, and demonstrated appreciation for the value of diversity in all its forms among students, faculty, staff, and College leadership and within the curriculum;
  • demonstrated success in developing, mentoring and retaining talented faculty, staff and administrators;
  • record of supporting and rewarding faculty in their work as researchers, performers, practitioners, teachers, and mentors;
  • an unwavering commitment to students, their experiences and outcomes;
  • interdisciplinary perspective, able to identify and nurture curricular and research opportunities across disciplines, departments and units;
  • nuanced understanding of the evolving nature of higher education in the 21st century and success navigating strategic responses;
  • sound fiscal stewardship with exceptional budgetary and financial management skills;
  • demonstrated capacity to succeed in fundraising and external relations;
  • strong organizational, administrative, and interpersonal skills; and
  • excellent written and verbal communication skills.

To be most successful in the DU community, candidates will demonstrate the following qualities and characteristics:

  • an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit;
  • ability to articulate with passion the role and value of liberal arts;
  • intellectual curiosity and appreciation for the full range of disciplines represented by the College;
  • a global perspective;
  • an empathetic, agile and accessible leadership style;
  • commitment to and appreciation of collaboration and transparency;
  • a record of exemplary personal and professional integrity and accountability; and
  • appreciation of the values and culture of CAHSS and University of Denver.

Information for Candidates 

The start date is negotiable with the expectation that the Dean will begin summer 2021.

The University of Denver is committed to enhancing the diversity of its faculty and staff. We are an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment regardless of age, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, military/ veteran status or any other status protected by law.

All offers of employment are based upon satisfactory completion of a criminal history background check.

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