Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Washington, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Nov 12, 2020
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

About the Institution:

Founded in 1891, Seattle Pacific University (SPU) has a long and distinguished history in Christian education. Located just minutes from downtown Seattle, SPU is a premier Christian university fully committed to engaging the culture and changing the world by graduating people of competence and character and modeling grace-filled community. SPU has a mission-centered commitment to becoming a more diverse community. The University welcomes students from around the globe to grow together and to serve in a community of thoughtful scholarship and outward-focused Christian faith. SPU continually strives to become a workplace of choice and to recruit, develop, and retain faculty and staff who can embrace, value, and engage differences with humility and care. Learn more at

SPU’s comprehensive academic programs serve over 3500 undergraduate and graduate students. With over 200 full-time faculty, and over 450 staff, SPU’s promise of value and difference lies in its commitment to its students, who learn to anticipate and shape the future; see the world with compassion; experience academic rigor; explore — or grow deeper in — Christian faith, as they study in the heart of a global community. SPU offers 71 undergraduate majors and 59 minors. There are 31 master’s degree programs, five doctoral degree programs, and eight graduate certificates offered by the School of Business, Government, and Economics; the School of Health Sciences; the School of Psychology, Family, and Community; the School of Education; Seattle Pacific Seminary; and the College of Arts and Sciences. These programs serve 574 master’s students and 204 doctoral students. Both undergraduate and graduate-level programs integrate internships and research throughout their curricula.

For the fourth year in a row, SPU was ranked a “Best National University” by U.S. News & World Report, reflecting the University’s emphasis on undergraduate teaching and research wherein students work alongside faculty, as well as its growing graduate programs in business, education, fine arts, psychology, nursing, and theology. SPU faculty and staff members provide students with a holistic, diverse, and multidisciplinary learning environment, fostering critical inquiry and preparing students to be lifelong learners, growing stronger in their intellect, and their relationship with Christ.

SPU enables faculty and staff to project their faith, multiplying God’s love and compassion through students who are being equipped for meaningful lives of service. The University values both discovery and instruction and encourages faculty to find their balance between research and teaching. Limited class sizes put faculty closer to students, allowing them to build rewarding relationships through personal mentoring and individual instruction. Faculty and staff focus on equipping students for their futures, using Seattle to guide engagement with technology, trade, urbanization, and more.


SPU is seeking a Dean who:

  • Embodies the role of leader, mentor, and visionary for the entire College of Arts and Sciences, with a demonstrated commitment to open, transparent, shared governance and to building upon the unit's diverse and inclusive environment for faculty, staff, and students. The Dean is a collaborative leader who can direct the development, enhancement, and operationalization of its programs to educate students across liberal arts disciplines and related programs in writing, honors, and general studies. The Dean works closely with the University's faculty and administration to define and articulate the vision for the College of Arts and Sciences and implement strategies that assure excellence and promote innovation.
  • Champions the College of the Arts and Sciences faculty, nurturing the development of a diverse faculty, many of whom are engaged in multi-dimensional teaching, rigorous scholarship, and humble service in equal regard. The Dean will play a key role in recruiting, mentoring, and retaining faculty. As a faculty advocate, the Dean will work with University leadership to provide faculty with opportunities and resources that foster their career development and support their work both inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Promotes, protects, and extends a vision for Christian higher education in the arts and sciences in the 21st century. The Dean will help assure that programs are relevant and future-focused. The Dean will articulate and advance a shared vision for the College that promotes interprofessional and interdisciplinary collaborations, a culture of innovation, and service to the community, all of which are rooted in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Dean will understand the organizational aspects of a College of Arts and Sciences and be able to effectively structure programs and processes.
  • Is an innovative leader for the College of Arts and Sciences, acting as a strategic visionary thinker, leading the College to prepare students for a changing world and working from a deep understanding of the value of a Christian liberal arts foundation to future career goals and personal aspirations. The Dean will expand and develop partnerships and innovative pathways for academic programs that connect students to community organizations and opportunities. Above all, the Dean will inspire the development of distinctive programs that maximize the reputation and resources of our existing programs. The Dean serves on the University's Academic Leadership Team and represents the College across a variety of settings, helping others to understand the distinctive value of the liberal arts and the College's commitments to exemplary accomplishment across teaching, scholarship, and performance activities.

Reporting directly to the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and serving on the Academic Leadership Team, the Dean will join other academic leaders in establishing policy and direction for academic initiatives of the University as a whole and advising the Vice Provost on decisions having campus-wide implications. The Dean will:

  • Create a shared purpose and vision (including the creation of the College's first strategic plan) that reflects and advances the mission and strategic direction of the College;
  • Develop structures, processes, and committees to advance the operations of the College;
  • Assist in the resourcing of the College's 17 departments and the empowering of department chairs and faculty as they ensure high-quality undergraduate and graduate programs and retention;
  • Develop and maintain strong external relations with the community;
  • Lead a program evaluation process and oversee the revision of the general education curriculum;
  • Recruit, develop, and evaluate faculty and staff;
  • Manage the College's budget, provide oversight to the College's curriculum development and assessment process, and support the maintenance of secondary accreditations held by the College programs.



The ideal candidate will have an earned terminal degree in a discipline relevant to the arts and sciences and will be:

  • An experienced, dynamic, entrepreneurial, and creative leader who understands the diverse challenges and opportunities facing arts and sciences programming and who is committed to programs that support student success.
  • An individual with mature Christian faith aligned with SPU's faith commitments, with high integrity and a sense of calling to Christian higher education.
  • An academic administrative leader with significant experience in teaching, scholarship, and service.
  • An experienced strategic planner with the capacity to engage faculty and staff in visioning, planning, and the pursuit of creative ideas.
  • An internal and external relationship builder who can work collaboratively in a larger university context.
  • An external relations manager with experience in overseeing grants, scholarship development, and other aspects of advancement and fundraising.
  • An experienced program developer with knowledge of curriculum development, assessment, and experiential education.
  • An internal advocate on behalf of the College, possessing negotiation and conflict management skills.
  • A supporter of faculty teaching, scholarship, and service within Christian higher education, as well as a promoter of professional development.
  • A budgeter and fiscal manager who understands cost and delivery challenges facing higher education and can creatively address such challenges.
  • A collaborator who supports the College's collegial culture and can build and maintain strong relationships with students, alumni, faculty, staff, University administration, and other academic and operational units.
  • An engager in multicultural, multiethnic, and global settings, who holds strong commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

About the College of Arts and Sciences:

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) offers undergraduate majors and minors—as well as a graduate program—in the disciplines of the humanities, arts, social sciences, and natural sciences. The CAS provides students—in majors and minors, and the General Education curriculum—a foundation of liberal learning and skills in reasoning, critical thinking, and communication. Central to the mission of the CAS is contributing to the formation of a mature Christian faith and the development of the whole person.

The College houses General Education, the University’s Honors Program, and the University Writing Programs. The depth of the College of Arts and Sciences’ major and minor curricula, the breadth of its General Education program, and its leadership for the University in challenging exceptional students and supporting those who are not fully prepared for post-secondary education, provide fertile opportunities for leadership by the new Dean. The College seeks a leader with a vision who is committed to preparing students not only for the global marketplace, but for a marketplace of ideas as they become critical thinkers, effective communicators, creators of beauty, and effective change agents concerning equity and diversity issues.

The College’s programs are foundational to the University’s educational offerings. Almost 50% of the University’s undergraduates major in academic programs offered by the College’s departments and taught by its 114 full-time faculty. Because the University’s extensive General Education curriculum is centered in the College, virtually every undergraduate enrolls in a CAS class each academic year.

Additional Information:

Position will remain open until filled.

Compensation: Salary and benefits are commensurate with qualifications and experience. Benefits include dependent tuition discount, health, dental, disability, and life insurance as well as retirement programs. A moving allowance will be provided.


Application Instructions:

To Apply:

Confidential review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled; parties who apply by January 3, 2021, will be given first consideration. Please submit your resume and cover letter outlining your interest in and suitability for this position. To apply online, go to

To make recommendations or for more information:

Stephanie Fowler

Senior Consultant

Summit Search Solutions, Inc.

Direct: 530-677-9945

It is the policy of Seattle Pacific University not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in its programs or activities, as required by applicable laws and regulations. As a religious educational institution affiliated with the Free Methodist Church of North America, Seattle Pacific University is permitted and reserves the right to prefer employees or prospective employees on the basis of religion.