Houghton P. Metcalf Professor in Sustainability

Rhode Island School of Design
Rhode Island, United States
Salary Not Specified
Posted Date
Nov 5, 2021

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Position Type
Faculty Positions, Arts, Art, Other Arts, Humanities, Ethnic & Multicultural Studies, Other Humanities, Science, Technology & Mathematics, Geology & Earth Sciences
Employment Type
Full Time

Posting Details

Position Information


Houghton P. Metcalf Professor in Sustainability


Provost's Office


Provost's Office

Employment Type


Critical Review Track (similar to tenure track)


Position Description

The Houghton P. Metcalf Professor will serve as a faculty leader in advancing sustainability studies at RISD on multiple academic fronts. The Houghton P. Metcalf Professor is open to scholars, designers, and fine artists in any of RISD’s disciplines, for it is a core tenet of the institution that sustainability, as it intersects with climate change and environmental justice, is equally relevant in the fine arts, liberal arts, and design.

RISD recognizes diversity and inclusion as fundamental to its learning community and integral to an art and design education. We welcome candidates whose experience in teaching, scholarship, professional practice, or service has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to diversity and excellence.

As a faculty member, the Houghton P. Metcalf Professor will teach undergraduate and graduate-level courses centered on sustainability in art and design – capaciously defined in its social, cultural, political, economic, aesthetic, and environmental impacts. Given the centrality of studies in sustainability to RISD’s strategic plan, it is expected that the Houghton P. Metcalf Professor will offer innovative courses that attract students from across the disciplinary spectrum, and work collaboratively with faculty in the four divisions to forge synergies across the curricula.

The Houghton P. Metcalf Professor will also be a leader in advancing RISD’s strategic goal to establish an academic hub dedicated to inquiry and practice in sustainability and environmental justice. Such a hub will: initiate, develop, support, and amplify faculty and student work in the area of sustainability; coordinate RISD’s scientific, material, and computational resources and expertise with existing creative and scholarly efforts underway in many departments and programs; and position RISD to secure external support to establish and sustain a vibrant academic hub dedicated to sustainability and environmental justice. In this administrative capacity, the Houghton P. Metcalf Professor will work closely with departmental and divisional academic leadership in conceptualizing and developing a center to support faculty and student activities in sustainability; will leverage the resources of the Edna W. Lawrence Nature Lab, a unique node of science-based expertise and equipment; and will collaborate with several units focused on the impact of environmental degredation on disadvantaged communities, including the RISD Museum, Project Open Door, the Nature, Culture, Sustainability Studies programs, and the Center for Social Equity and Inclusion. In collaboration with the Research Office and Institutional Advancement, the Houghton P. Metcalf Professor will help identify, engage, and solicit the financial support of external partners, agencies, corporations and foundations whose missions are aligned with our strategic vision in the area of sustainability. To advance this agenda, the Houghton P. Metcalf Professor will be granted reduced teaching responsibilities of up to half the regular full-faculty course load.

The Houghton P. Metcalf Professor will be an accomplished academic, at the rank of associate or full professor, in the area of sustainability, environmental justice, and climate change in either the fine arts, liberal arts, or design. The successful candidate will have a demonstrated record of effectively managing an academic program, lab, institute, or similar unit, and/or demonstrate experience in relevant professional practice.

The Houghton P. Metcalf Professor reports to the provost. However, for the instructional component of the position, the provost will delegate reporting responsibility to the cognizant dean of the academic program most closely aligned with the professor’s academic credentials.

Required Qualifications
  • Terminal degree and demonstrated expertise in sustainability studies, including environmental justice, climate change, extraction studies, etc. or related fields.
  • Evidence of a high level of research, scholarly and creative practice demonstrated by all or some of the following: a record of publication and/or exhibitions; receipt of grants, fellowships, prizes or residencies; service on professional organizations and prize selection committees; coverage in relevant media; lectures and other presentations.
  • Demonstrated record of interdisciplinary collaboration
  • Demonstrated record of involvement in innovative program or curriculum development including partnered and sponsored studios; experimental and/or collaborative teaching.
  • 5+ years of experience teaching at the college or university level
  • 3+ years of experience directing an academic unit or center
  • Experience in grant writing and/or grant-funded programming
  • Confident leadership and communication skills, with proven ability to work collaboratively as part of a team.
Preferred Qualifications

Department /RISD Description

Rhode Island School of Design is an undergraduate and graduate college of art and design with approximately 2,400 graduate and undergraduate students. RISD supports faculty professional practice with sabbaticals, pre-critical review leave, conference funds, and professional development grants. RISD has a critical review process, which is very similar to the tenure process. For more information about RISD, please visit www.risd.edu.

Faculty Responsibilities

All full-time faculty are required to teach 18 credits each year, usually configured as 6 courses. Faculty assuming department headships or directorships are provided with teaching release to accommodate administrative responsibilities. In addition to teaching commitments, full-time faculty are expected to maintain a professional practice, serve on college committees, advise students, participate in curriculum development and other departmental/divisional activities and projects, and contribute to the vibrancy of the intellectual life of the college. RISD supports faculty professional practice with sabbaticals, pre-critical review leave, conference funding, and professional development grants.



Pre-employment Requirement

The successful candidate will be required to meet our pre-employment background screening requirements.

Special Instructions to Applicants

Please attach the following to the appropriate links and the section labeled “Documents Needed to Apply”:
  1. Letter of Intent – Description of qualifications, areas of specialization, and reasons for applying to RISD .
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. Teaching Philosophy – Discussion of teaching approach and experience, including how you attend to diversity and inclusion in your classroom environment.
  4. Research Agenda – Summary of research goals, collaborations, outcomes, and future plans.
  5. Digital Portfolio with images of professional work (20 pages maximum).
  6. 2-3 Sample syllabi for courses that you might be interested in teaching at RISD

Names and contact information of three references. If you are selected as a semi-finalist, we will request letters of recommendation from your three references.

Rank will be determined by professional status and teaching experience.

Review of applications begins immediately and continues until the position is filled. Candidates who submit their materials by January 31, 2022, are assured full consideration.

EEO Statement

RISD is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetics, or any other protected characteristic as established by law.

Posting Detail Information

Posting Number


Open Date

Close Date

Open Until Filled

Supplemental Questions

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

Documents Needed To Apply
Required Documents
  1. Cover Letter
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. Portfolio of Professional Work
  4. Teaching Philosophy
  5. Sample Syllabi
  6. Other 1
Optional Documents

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