Dean, School of the Arts

Emerson College invites applications and nominations for the position of Dean of the  School of the Arts. Reporting to the provost and working closely with Emerson’s new president Dr. Jay M. Bernhardt, the Dean will be responsible for providing vision, leadership, and operational oversight of this distinguished part of Emerson’s unique academic enterprise.  Building on a heritage of innovation and an established reputation for excellence and equity, the School of the Arts’ new Dean will create and implement a plan to advance its impact and stature in the context of the college-wide strategic planning process currently underway to be completed by fall 2024.

The School of the Arts is the largest of Emerson’s three academic divisions. It comprises three departments – Writing, Literature & PublishingVisual & Media Arts; and Performing Arts – and the Center for Comedic Arts. These four units together manage the School’s 25 undergraduate majors. In AY2022-2023, the School had over 2,800 undergraduate students and approximately 580 graduate students, and over 120 full-time faculty (approximately 50/50 tenure-line and non-tenure-line) and 180 part-time faculty.

Serving on the provost’s leadership team, the Dean is the academic leader of the School with primary responsibility for:

  • Developing and bringing to life a vision and strategic goals for the School’s mission
  • Ensuring pervasive and authentic implementation of Emerson’s core values of student success and equity, access, and social justice across the academic enterprise and student experience
  • Leading the intellectual vitality and creative growth of programs in expanded modalities (onsite and online) at Emerson’s campuses and globally
  • Overseeing key aspects of faculty recruitment, hiring, development, tenure and promotion, and well-being, including continued efforts to maintain a diverse faculty body
  • Sustaining and strengthening the School’s and the College’s shared-governance values and practices
  • Identifying, prioritizing, and articulating the School’s interests and needs to internal and external audiences
  • Convening the faculty
  • Establishing, sustaining, and refreshing intellectual coherence and academic cooperation across schools and the Marlboro Institute
  • Managing personnel, budget, planning, and processes
  • Providing departments with guidance on creating, positioning, reimagining, and/or launching academic majors and programs and expanding the enrollment pipeline, especially of prospective students from minoritized groups
  • Fostering successful development and continuity of academic department leadership
  • Assisting in fundraising and development initiatives in coordination with the Provost, the President, and the College’s campaign

Key opportunities include:

  • Encouraging the development of trans-disciplinarity as a guiding value in program development
  • Continuing to sustain the collegial, innovative, and engaged culture that has characterized the School for faculty, staff, and students
  • Advancing the School’s presence at Emerson’s Los Angeles and Netherlands campuses and identifying compelling new domestic and international partnerships that can broaden the School’s reach
  • Collaborating with the new Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies to enhance the graduate-program offerings that are anchored in the School and contribute to the development of vibrant and distinctive non-degree offerings that draw on the School’s areas of expertise and interest


  • Capacity to develop and articulate a vision for arts education and creative activity that draws on, innovates, and differentiates the School of the Arts and Emerson College
  • Demonstrated academic leadership and administrative experience
  • Academic credentials, teaching experience, and research and/or creative record commensurate with appointment as a tenured full professor in one of the School of the Arts’ three departments
  • Demonstrated commitment to inclusive and academic excellence and shared governance
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively across disciplines and grow programs in strategic, data-driven, and innovative directions
  • The ability to develop and implement a vision for the excellence of the School that is both distinctive to the School and integrated with Emerson’s strengths and trajectory
  • Demonstrated success as a fundraiser (preferred but not required)

Equity, access, and social justice are core values for Emerson College. The successful candidate must have demonstrated success advancing equity, access, and social justice and engaging and working effectively with faculty, students, staff, administrators, and alumni from diverse backgrounds.


More information about the position can be found here.


To Apply

Emerson College has retained Opus Partners ( to support this recruitment. Craig Smith, Partner, and Abigail Maynard, Senior Associate are leading the search. Inquiries, applications, and nominations should be sent to The search process will unfold with the greatest possible attention to candidate confidentiality. Required application materials include a CV and letter of interest. The cover letter should reflect how a candidate’s qualifications and experience match those described in this leadership profile, including examples of a demonstrated commitment to advancing equity, access, and social justice. Application review will begin on March 1, 2024, and continue until the position is filled.

Emerson College strives to create an institutional culture that is inspiring and exuberant. Emerson believes in co-creating a learning and working environment that is equity-centered where people can find authentic community, engage in authentic growth, and be their authentic selves. As a community of storytellers, Emerson continually strives to cultivate a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent, fully embracing individuals from varied cultures, races, abilities, gender identities, sexual orientations, linguistic backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, life experiences, nationalities, perspectives, beliefs, and values. To that end, Emerson wants to retain talent that is prepared to operate effectively in a diverse institutional environment that holds these values.

Emerson College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sex (under Title IX), pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, including transgender identity, religion, disability, age, genetics, active military or veteran status and any other characteristics protected under applicable federal or Massachusetts law in the administration of its educational or employment practices, programs or activities.

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