Dean, University Honors College

University of Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Jan 07, 2021
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

The University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) invites applications and nominations for the position of Dean of the University Honors College. The dean also holds the Bernice L. and Morton S. Lerner Endowed Chair.



The University Honors College provides a variety of interdisciplinary academic and co-curricular engagement and enrichment opportunities to many of the most ambitious undergraduate students at Pitt’s campus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Honors College dean works closely with other deans and faculty from across the University, and a dedicated professional staff, to provide enhanced opportunities that broaden and deepen students’ academic and personal development.

The University Honors College serves as a connector and a catalyst to unite students and faculty to extend and escalate their academic experiences. The Honors College offers honors courses, research and creative fellowships, national scholarship advising, advising for the politics and philosophy major, the prestigious Bachelor of Philosophy degree in conjunction with Pitt’s undergraduate schools, multiple pathways for students to graduate from the Honors College, and numerous competitive awards.

Founded in the early 1980s as an entity open to all interested undergraduate students, the Honors College recently added membership designations through direct admission for first-year undergraduates and paths to membership for upper-class and transfer students. The Honors College aims to welcome approximately 600 first-year students annually. While it recently established a formal application and selection process, the Honors College has simultaneously maintained its open structure and welcomes all interested students to participate in its programs. This history of openness, balanced with recently added membership criteria, is a unique duality for the Honors College.

Students and alumni report that their experiences within Pitt’s Honors College shape and transform their academic interests, their personal passions, and their career trajectories. Small, innovative courses draw together diverse students and faculty to create undergraduate learning environments that are atypical for a large research institution. Honors research opportunities allow undergraduate students to delve into projects that are usually reserved for graduate-level study, as well as to engage deeply with faculty mentors. Honors Housing provides living-learning communities for students throughout their academic years.

Faculty also have opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration through the Honors College. They work with colleagues to develop innovative courses and with highly engaged and motivated students on a variety of projects and in classes. From Fall 2015 to Spring 2020, more than 320 honors courses were taught by 180 different faculty members. While all faculty have an academic home outside of the Honors College, a diverse and committed cadre of faculty engage with Honors College students and programs. These faculty—who span the University’s 14 schools—play leading roles in the formative experiences of Honors College students.

The Honors College plays a key role in recruiting exceptional students to Pitt through its new admissions processes, as well as its administration of the Chancellor’s Scholarship, the University’s most prestigious scholarship for incoming students. In addition, the Honors College mentors any interested undergraduate student—regardless of membership status—through the process of preparing for national and international scholarship competitions. Pitt students and alumni have been extraordinarily successful in winning competitive scholarships, fellowships, and grants. In 2019, 14 students and alumni received Fulbright Scholarships, and for the ninth time in 10 years Pitt was among the top 10 producers of Fulbright U.S. Student Programs awardees. Pitt students and alumni have also been awarded multiple Rhodes, Goldwater, Marshall, and Truman Scholarships.



From research achievements to the quality of its academic programs, the University of Pittsburgh ranks among the best in higher education. Faculty members have made notable advances in the humanities and sciences, earning such prestigious honors as the National Medal of Science, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, and election to the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. Alumni have pioneered in areas such as MRI and television, won Nobel and Pulitzer prizes, led corporations and universities, served in government and the military, conquered Hollywood and The New York Times best sellers list, won Super Bowls and NBA championships, and been inducted into Halls of Fame.

Founded in 1787, the University is one of the largest and oldest institutions of higher education in Pennsylvania and is a member of the Association of American Universities. With an undergraduate enrollment of more than 19,000 students on its main campus, Pitt is internationally respected as a center for learning and research that is consistently ranked by the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings as the top public university in the Northeast. More than 13,600 faculty, research associates, and staff members are employed on the Pittsburgh campus, and another 800 work at the University’s four regional campuses across Western Pennsylvania. Pitt offers generous benefits and values work-life balance.

The 132-acre main campus, in the vibrant and beautiful Oakland neighborhood, is co-located with the University’s health sciences schools and multiple hospitals. Pitt has served as an integral partner and key player in driving the growth of the education and health services supersector in the Pittsburgh metropolitan region. The University ranks in the top five in funded projects from the National Institutes of Health and in the top two in funding from the National Institute of Mental Health.

The University views the city as an extension of its campus. Pittsburgh is in the midst of a remarkable transformation from an industrial capital to a center of education, research, and innovation. Pitt actively engages with the surrounding community through its Community Engagement Centers, community-driven partnerships, and volunteer service. Since March 2020, more than 600 faculty, staff, and students have joined community efforts serving Pittsburgh area residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. The University was recently awarded the Carnegie Foundation’s Classification for Community Engagement in recognition of its institutional commitment to community engagement.

The city of Pittsburgh hosts a high concentration of diverse and influential nonprofits and, as an international center of emerging information technology, is home to companies such as Duolingo, one of Google’s national offices, a Facebook Reality Lab, and multiple autonomous vehicle development efforts. The city also has a long history in banking and manufacturing and is becoming a leader in advanced manufacturing technologies and nanotechnology.

While still a work in progress, the city’s reinvention since its days as a smoky steel town has received national acclaim. LinkedIn named Pittsburgh a top city to launch a career, and U.S. News & World Report lists it as a top place to retire. With an extensive network of urban parks as well as world-class arts and cultural intuitions, in 2019 The Economist named Pittsburgh the third “most livable city” in the United States. Pittsburgh has all of the advantages of a large city in combination with the friendliness of the Midwest and the cultural sophistication of the East Coast.


Reporting to Ann E. Cudd, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor, the dean of the University Honors College is a prominent representative of the institution to the broader community. The dean leads a staff of motivated, dedicated individuals who are committed to the success of the University Honors College. At present, the Honors College has 15 staff members with four reporting directly to the dean. As an academic administrative leader on the campus, the Dean of the Honors College oversees an annual budget of $1.1M and is a member of the Council of Deans.

The dean develops and enhances programs, relationships, and partnerships that contribute to the success of Honors College students. There is wide latitude for creativity in implementing activities and opportunities and developing new programs. The dean must work inclusively and collaboratively with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends—many of whom feel a strong personal connection with the Honors College—to establish and implement a shared vision and to champion initiatives.

The successful dean must be unwaveringly committed to academic excellence and scholastic achievement, and must be able to collaborate successfully with a wide range of faculty and staff partners across campus. They must also have a strong commitment to the development of undergraduate students, a deep appreciation for research and scholarship across disciplines, and an openness to diverse methodological approaches and innovative pedagogies. Students will be best served if the Honors College is a hub for interactions across the campus, the city, and beyond. The incumbent should relish the opportunity to develop synergistic relationships and programs that enhance students’ educational experiences by cutting across traditional boundaries.



The next dean should be prepared to address the following opportunities and challenges in their leadership of the University Honors College:

Attract diverse students and faculty and support an inclusive environment

As Pitt strategically and intentionally aims to diversify its students and faculty, the Honors College must welcome and support an ever-broader set of constituents and their varied interests. The dean should be genuinely excited about interacting with and provoking the intellectual curiosity of motivated students and faculty from a variety of backgrounds who are driven in diverse ways. The dean must be committed to inclusive excellence and to advancing policies and structural initiatives that increase the diversity of the Honors College. In addition, the dean should be dedicated to the idea that greater diversity leads to greater excellence.

Foster a strong community

An unquestionable strength of the Honors College is its ability to harness the academic energy of ambitious people to create a vibrant community within the larger institution. The next dean should nurture the Honors College’s pathways to membership while retaining the most appealing aspects of the open model to create a strong, diverse, and inclusive community. Success will require the next dean to foster a welcoming environment where students and faculty are encouraged to explore their unique interests and discover their intellectual and creative passions. Active outreach to continually build and strengthen the Honors College community will be required.

Build support for continued advancement

The Honors College enjoys a passionate and committed corps of alumni and friends. The next dean must help translate this spirited enthusiasm into a robust network of supporters who are willing to dedicate their time, talent, and treasure to the continued growth of the Honors College. The Honors College’s current gift and endowment income is just over $0.9M annually. Like all deans at Pitt, the Honors College dean works with the Division of Philanthropic and Alumni Engagement to meet or exceed annual fundraising goals.

Communicate effectively with a variety of constituents

The Honors College dean must be a diligent cheerleader for the Honors College within and beyond Pitt. The dean must be able to communicate effectively and persuasively with prospective students and families, current students and faculty, fellow academic administrators, and alumni and friends. The dean must be a constant advocate for the value of the holistic academic experience that results from engagement with the Honors College and must be able to convincingly articulate that benefit to diverse audiences.

Provide visionary, collaborative leadership and sound management

Since Honors College faculty and students all have an academic home outside of the Honors College, the next dean must work cohesively with other leaders to develop and implement a shared vision that advances the entire University. The dean must be enthusiastic about fostering a collegial, collaborative environment and culture among all parties involved with the Honors College and must maintain effective and efficient day-to-day operations.



Candidates to be the next Dean of the University Honors College should have the experience and academic credentials that will allow them to successfully lead the college. A terminal degree is required, and candidates should be qualified to hold a position as a tenured faculty member in one of the University’s 14 schools. Ideal candidates will also exhibit these personal and professional characteristics:

  • A clear ability to develop a shared vision for the Honors College and the creativity, personal presence, and enthusiasm to lead the execution of that vision;
  • A strong record of academic accomplishment and broad, diverse perspectives and interests;
  • An enthusiasm for pushing academic boundaries and embracing cross-disciplinary partnerships;
  • A record of curricular or programmatic development and a true dedication to high-quality undergraduate teaching, research, and mentoring;
  • A demonstrated capacity to recruit students, faculty, and staff to the Honors College;
  • An interest in undergraduate student development and a passion for fostering students’ research and creative endeavors;
  • A history of championing holistic academic experiences as a method to enrich students’ undergraduate education;
  • An enthusiasm for encouraging and developing students’ academic passions;
  • A proven ability to communicate and work with internal and external constituents;
  • An ability to manage budgets efficiently, creatively, and with fiscal integrity;
  • A demonstrated competency in managing and inspiring staff to work collaboratively toward a common vision;
  • A record of inclusive leadership and a demonstrated history of valuing and cultivating diverse individuals, opinions, and perspectives; and
  • An unequivocal commitment to increasing diversity and strengthening inclusion among underrepresented or marginalized members of the University community.



Applications received by February 12, 2021, will receive full consideration, although the search committee may, at its discretion, review applications received after that date. Applications should be submitted electronically via Pitt’s Talent Center platform (position number 20006602). Applications should include a curriculum vitae and a cover letter that describes relevant experience and interest in the position, sharing how these address the opportunities and qualifications and characteristics outlined above. Supplemental materials that are specifically germane to the opportunities or the qualifications and characteristics will be accepted and considered. Nominations or requests for information should be submitted electronically to the search committee at

The expected date of appointment is July 1, 2021.

Additional information about the University Honors College is available at


The University of Pittsburgh is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and values equality of opportunity, human dignity and diversity. EEO, including disability/vets.