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Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Washburn University
Topeka, Kansas (US)
Not Specified
Date posted
Mar 12, 2024

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Position Type
Administrative, Deans
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Job Details

Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

Washburn University seeks a learner-centered, collaborative, and innovative leader to join its campus and serve its learners and community as its next Dean of the Washburn University College of Arts and Sciences.  The Dean reports to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and serves as a senior leader at the institution. The Dean provides academic, intellectual, strategic, and administrative leadership for the College and is responsible for its effective administration. The Dean works with key stakeholders, both inside and outside of the College, to advocate for the College’s mission of providing meaningful coursework and enriching experiences using innovative and individualized teaching approaches in a connected and collaborative environment.

Located in Topeka, Kansas, Washburn University was founded in 1865 and educates nearly 7,000 learners enrolled in more than 236 academic programs. With approximately 1,200 highly committed faculty and staff members, Washburn matriculates learners through certification, associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctorate programs that have a meaningful and lasting impact on its graduates, as well as the region and beyond. Its programs are offered through the College of Arts and Sciences, Washburn Institute of Technology, and the Schools of Applied Studies, Business, Law, and Nursing on a 160-acre traditional residential campus, on two technical education campuses, and through distance learning. As a public, municipal, open-access institution, Washburn is proud to offer an affordable, quality education that helps all types of learners improve their quality of life while having a positive impact on society.

The Washburn University College of Arts and Sciences was founded with the institution in 1865. Offering both undergraduate and graduate degrees, the College includes the Mulvane Art Museum and 17 academic departments representing disciplines in the creative and performing arts, mathematics and natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. The College also coordinates several integrated and interdisciplinary programs. Among those are a Bachelor of Integrated Studies, the Great TEXTS (Transformative, Experiential, and Team-Taught Studies) Certificate, and LEAP (Law Early Admission Program) in coordination with the Washburn School of Law.

Most courses in the College are small, ensuring faculty can connect with their learners in ways that benefit their success. Several efforts, including travel courses, internships for credit, learner research with faculty mentors, and capstone projects ensure our learners are prepared for the workforce and the world beyond campus. 

General education requirements mean all learners, regardless of major, interact with the College during their time as a Washburn undergraduate. The College of Arts and Sciences implemented a math pathways program that led to a significant improvement in first-time pass rates for learners. An English pathway program was developed because of that success. Both programs embody commitment to our open access mission as an institution. 

The Dean facilitates an environment that supports and promotes the faculty’s commitment to learning and engagement. The Dean champions excellence in teaching, faculty scholarship and service to the university and the community. The Dean, in partnership with the faculty, is responsible for academic program evaluation and review; accreditation of select programs; faculty recruitment and development; evaluation of faculty members and staff; and learner relations.

The Dean is responsible, in cooperation with the Provost, for academic and administrative planning; budgeting; administration and implementation of school and university policies; external relations; and fundraising in partnership with the University Foundation. The Dean works collaboratively with the administration, and with other deans and leaders to set and accomplish strategic goals for the Washburn University College of Arts and Sciences in alignment with Washburn’s academic identity and its strategic framework and process.

The incoming Dean will have the opportunity to build on the excellence within the College of Arts and Sciences. Enhancing access and opportunity for learners, faculty, and staff will be essential. Developing programs to best serve the region and the state will also be crucial to the success of the new Dean.

Other major responsibilities include:

  • Serving as the chief academic officer of the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Collaboratively developing and implementing a strategic vision for the College.
  • Ensuring the integrity, accountability, and continuous improvement of new and current academic programs and services.
  • Creating an inclusive campus climate that encourages a sense of belonging for the entire Washburn community.
  • Promoting high-quality academic programs.
  • Promoting the cultural and extracurricular activities of the college.
  • Leading, developing, and supporting excellence in teaching.
  • Attracting, recruiting, and retaining a highly qualified faculty and staff.
  • Fostering collaborative academic planning and innovative curricular development through close work with faculty and members of the community.
  • Supporting faculty scholarship.
  • Fostering the growth and development of the heads of departments within the College.
  • Actively contributing as a member of the Deans’ Council and the University’s senior leadership team with an ability to effectively collaborate with the Provost’s Office, deans, and other campus leaders.
  • Maintaining all aspects of the budget of the College and operating within its framework.
  • Building relationships across the campus and within the faculty and staff that engender trust through open communication.
  • Building shared governance within the College.
  • Representing Washburn and the College to public stakeholders.

Qualifications and Key Attributes include:

  • Terminal degree from an accredited institution with eligibility for appointment at the rank of professor.
  • Residence in Shawnee County (required).
  • Academic record of teaching excellence, scholarship, and service.
  • Learner centered approach with demonstrated commitment to teaching excellence.
  • Commitment to learner success and serving the educational needs of an economically and demographically diverse population.
  • Experience and ability to manage financial resources, complex budgets, and personnel.
  • Experience and ability to successfully lead a faculty and staff through times of change.
  • Commitment to shared governance and constructive interactions through transparent and collaborative leadership.
  • Spirit of collaboration and innovation.
  • Commitment to participating in development and other external activities, including strengthening alumni relations, and building strategic partnerships.
  • Commitment to participating in the community and profession.
  • Proven track record of enhancing their ability to be successful while developing meaningful relationships.
  • Knowledge of critical issues in higher education.
  • Ability to thrive in a dynamic team environment.
  • Open and transparent communication style with excellent interpersonal communication skills.
  • Service-oriented personality and leadership style with high emotional intelligence.
  • Visible and accessible approach to leadership.
  • Strong moral compass with personal and professional integrity beyond reproach.
  • Political astuteness with ability to communicate a position in a non-polarizing manner.
  • Critical strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.

The Search Committee invites letters of interest and nominations to be submitted directly to the search firm, Anthem Executive. Correspondence should include a curriculum vitae and a letter of interest describing relevant experience and interest in the position. Submit materials to Michael Ballew, Scott Watson, JR Wheless, or Florene Stawowy at:

While applications and nominations may be accepted until the position is filled, interested parties are strongly encouraged to submit their materials as soon as possible to assure consideration. The deadline for applications is April 5, 2024; however, Anthem and Washburn reserve the right to end or extend the application and nomination process

following this date. Expressing interest is the first step in receiving consideration and does not make one an applicant for the position.

Washburn University is committed to providing a place of work and learning free of discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability (whether actual or perceived by others), religion, age, sex/gender (including pregnancy related conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, or veteran status (military status or military obligations) in the programs or activities which it operates. 




Washburn University

Washburn is a top-notch university in an urban setting where students are becoming their best selves.

Nestled in the heart of Topeka - the capital city with about 127 thousand residents - Washburn offers students from small towns a big-city feel, while providing students from major metropolitan areas a more manageable environment.

Washburn's beautiful campus - on 160 acres - is easy to navigate with state-of-the art facilities. Our Tech campus on Huntoon offers industry-standard programs leading to in-demand jobs. And with our low student/faculty ratio and small classes, you're going to get to know your professors. 

Internally, we're organized into five schools, the College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Applied Studies, the Business School, the School of Nursing, the School of Law and the Washburn Institute of Technology (Washburn Tech.)

Our mission is to provide opportunities for our students to realize their full potential; we can't do it without our dedicated faculty and staff. 

Washburn University employs more than one thousand faculty and staff on our campuses throughout Topeka. We strive to offer competitive wages, an excellent benefits program, supportive culture and healthy work/life balance. Washburn seeks to create an environment that reflects our core values: integrity, excellence, inclusion, accountability, respect, collaboration and innovation.

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