Dean, College of Arts and Letters

Harrisonburg, Virginia, United States

Job description

James Madison University (JMU) invites applications and nominations for Dean of the College of Arts and Letters (CAL) who champions the vital role of the liberal arts and social sciences, by advocating for the essential contributions of the CAL disciplines in promoting knowledge and skills that can be applied in response to the social, political, ethical and environmental challenges facing our region, our nation and our world.

The College offers high-quality programs of specialized study in the social sciences, humanities and communication including several pre-professional and cross-disciplinary areas. CAL has 260 full-time faculty, 46 staff, 3,200 undergraduate majors and 125 graduate students. In line with the university’s commitment to engaged learning and ethical reasoning practices, the College’s array of challenging courses promotes lifelong learning by sharpening analytical abilities, improving communications skills, cultivating facility with written expression, enhancing cultural awareness, intensifying moral and aesthetic sensitivity, and enriching understanding of the way historical contexts inform the production of knowledge. College academic units include Departments of English; Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures; History; Justice Studies; Philosophy and Religion; Political Science; Sociology and Anthropology; and Schools of Communication Studies; Media Arts and Design; and Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication. All academic units actively participate in the university’s General Education program. The College is committed to global engagement including a variety of faculty-led short-term and semester-long study abroad experiences for students. The faculty excels in teaching and values intellectual inquiry, scholarly and peer-reviewed research and creative endeavors. Faculty are committed to providing high impact learning experiences for students framed within a strong liberal arts tradition, creating environments for a rich exchange between faculty and students.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Reporting to the Provost, and serving on the senior academic leadership team, the Dean provides academic, intellectual, administrative and budgetary leadership for the College. In collaboration with academic unit heads, the Dean encourages a highly stimulating and creative learning environment for faculty and students, while supporting academic unit autonomy. The Dean champions recruitment, development, inclusion and retention of diverse and highly qualified faculty, students and staff. Working collaboratively with academic units, the Dean develops and leads strategic priorities for the College and its programs. The Dean raises the visibility of the College by representing all its disciplines to internal and external constituents and by advocating for faculty and student interests through advancement and development endeavors. The Dean advances academic unit efforts by supporting faculty research and creative endeavors, various teaching methods, curricular innovations, and other scholarly activities. As a transformative leader, the Dean facilitates innovation, communication and coordination of the College’s initiatives in fulfilling JMU’s vision to be the national model of the engaged university.


JMU seeks a dynamic and collaborative leader who possesses the following required qualifications:

1. Earned doctorate in a discipline relevant to the College;

2. Strong record of teaching, research, and university/professional service commensurate with an appointment as a tenured, full professor in one of the College’s departments or schools;

3. Strong record of supporting and mentoring faculty and students;

4. Demonstrated commitment to increasing and strengthening diversity and inclusion among students, faculty and staff;

5. Demonstrated record of success as an academic unit head, chair or a similar position in academic administration;

6. Demonstrated commitment to excellence in undergraduate education and research;

7. Commitment to collaborating with The Graduate School to support strong graduate programs;

8. Success in building relationships with external constituents to increase visibility and financial support for the College;

9. Evidence of strong communication and interpersonal skills, as well as a collaborative and transparent leadership style.

Additional factors that are of interest to the search committee include:

  • Ability to advance interdisciplinary initiatives, including digital initiatives that extend the accessibility of faculty research and creative endeavors;
  • Record of innovation, creativity, and advocacy;
  • Effective and collegial work with other leaders from a wide range of academic disciplines;
  • Evidence of fostering community engagement and outreach; and
  • Experience supporting faculty development.

The successful candidate must complete a Statement of Personal Economic Interests prior to their first day of employment.

Pay Rate: Commensurate with Experience

How to apply

Apply online

James Madison University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Equal Access Employer and especially encourages applications from minorities, women, and persons with disabilities.

Changing the world one person at a time It's not just a slogan. It is Madison—a living, evolving university where change is the status quo. Equipped with the power that knowledge gives, JMU students, faculty and alumni work toward a brighter future in nearly every sector of global society.