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President of Philander Smith University

Philander Smith College
Little Rock, Arkansas (US)
Competitive Salary
Date posted
May 10, 2024

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Job Details






The Board of Trustees and the Presidential Advisory Search Committee of Philander Smith University invite nominations and application for the position of 15th President of Philander Smith University.

Reporting to the University Board of Trustees, the president serves as the chief executive officer of the University with responsibility and final authority for the operations of the campus, including, but not exclusive to, policies, priorities, and all official standards and practices. In all aspects of the position, the president represents the university’s mission, public relations, ethical leadership, cultural and professional competence, and community engagement.

The president sets the tone for an environment that values original and progressive thought, continuous assessment and accountability; promotes a standard of excellence in instruction, academic research, faculty growth and development; and guarantees students’ academic achievement and total welfare and well-being.

The president maintains a productive working relationship with the Board of Trustees and assures that the Board is informed in a timely process of matters of operational and political significance. The president ensures that the university facilitates an effective working relationship with federal, state and community legislative bodies and serves as an advocate for the university in all areas of society.

The president manages the university’s finances effectively and efficiently in support of the university’s mission, vision, and strategic goals and objectives. The president pursues and cultivates a continuous plan of action with the expectation of garnering both private and corporate financial support for the university, building positive relations throughout the state and the region, and establishing strategic partnerships that further the university’s growth and sustainability.




Philander Smith University is a privately supported, four year liberal arts, career- orientated historically black college/university (HBCU with ties to the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church. Officially founded in 1877, the University is the result of one of the early attempts to make education available to former African American Slaves, west of the Mississippi River. The University perpetuates, promotes, and maintains an academic environment that fosters a love of learning, a spirit of independent inquiry, the free exchange of ideas, a broad and active Christian life, and a commitment to social justice.

The campus is located in the heart of downtown Little Rock, in the Quapaw Quarter historic residential district. The twenty-five (25) acre campus is bounded by Interstate 630 and West Daisy Gaston Bates Drive on the north and south, respectively, and by Gaines and Chester on the east and west, respectively. The University, which transitioned from College to University status in 2023, currently offers five degrees: a Bachelor of Arts Degree, a Bachelor of Science Degree, a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree, a Bachelor of Social Work Degree, and a Master of Business Administration Degree.




The institution is seeking a transformational Visionary to accelerate the University’s forward-focused trajectory promoting academic excellence and institutional advancement grounded in social justice principles.

  • A skilled Administrator with a record of agility and courage in making difficult decisions proactively in a rapidly evolving higher education environment.
  • An insightful Strategist with ability to shape the forward-focused vision of the University and guide execution of impactful strategies and initiatives to ensure long-term success.
  • Dynamic operational and management skills that promote a culture of innovation and continuous improvement in University operations, functions and processes
  • Astute financial acumen to expand the University’s resources, optimize fiscal management, facilitate effective budgetary planning and ensure future financial stability.
  • Demonstrated success in securing transformational gifts that support enhancements to academic offerings, scholarship aid, faculty resources and capital projects.
  • Excellent Collaborator and Consensus-Builder with a track record of working with various internal and external stakeholders including faculty, students, alumni, boards, governmental, business, religious, higher education and community groups.
  • A compelling and authentic Communicator with mastery of public speaking, writing and use of information technology to communicate; approachable, active listener that invites multiple perspectives across settings.
  • Evidence of fostering excellence in teaching, scholarship and leadership development; demonstrated record of success in promoting and sustaining efforts to attract and retain a highly qualified and diverse faculty and staff.
  • Driven to recognize and respond to the unique challenges of today’s contemporary students; promotes an inclusive campus environment that fosters well-being, achievement, and success in equip students to change the world for the better.
  • Experience leveraging technology as a differentiator in leading institutional change resulting in improved access, increased quality, reduced costs and sequential growth.



  • An earned doctorate or equivalent terminal degree is preferred.
  • A minimum of five years of administrative responsibility including successful senior-level experience highlighting the ability to plan and manage the academic and financial affairs in a college or university setting.
  • Demonstrated success in effective organizational/institutional fundraising through engagement with alumni, donors, or other constituent based initiatives.
  • Ability to work constructively with the Board of Trustees to ensure the mission of elevating Philander Smith University is advanced and the future is secure.
  • A deep understanding of how the University’s legacy as a Historically Black College/University and as a United Methodist-affiliated institution has richly shaped the past and will positively influence the future.
  • A servant Leader that is a role model for ethical, transparent, accountable behavior, thus setting high standards for staff, faculty, students and the community; displays strength and tenacity in the face of adversity.




  • This is a confidential search process being carried out by the Board of Trustees of Philander Smith University. To ensure full consideration, application materials should be received no later than Friday, May 17, 2024.
  • To apply, please submit application materials via the application portal at For Candidates | The Silvermane Group. 
  • For additional information, please visit the PSU Presidential Search Webpage at Presidential Search - Philander Smith University.


Philander Smith University

Founded in 1877, Philander Smith University is a small, privately supported, historically Black, four-year liberal arts institution related to the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church.

The University offers four degrees: the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Science, the Bachelor of Business Administration, and the Bachelor of Social Work.

"The University's mission is to graduate academically accomplished students, grounded as advocates for social justice, determined to change the world for the better."

Philander Smith University, the only United Negro College Fund member institution in Arkansas, strives to provide a quality education for all regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin or ethnic background.

We are seeking qualified and serious professionals who are committed to the special mission of Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs).

With our student-centered and mission-focused approach, we are "Still Moving Philander Forward." Consider one of these exciting opportunities to join our Philander Forward Team as we elevate and grow! 

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