University of California, Merced — Vice Provost and Dean for Graduate Education

Salary range: Salary will be competitive and commensurate with experience
Next review date: Thursday, Mar 31, 2022 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Wednesday, Aug 31, 2022 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

The University of California, Merced invites nominations and applications for the position of Vice Provost and Dean for Graduate Education (VPDGE). This is a senior administrative position that reports to the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. The next VPDGE will join the campus at a transformational moment for Merced and its community.

UC Merced
UC Merced (UC Merced) is a start-up, the tenth, and newest campus within the University of California system and has been on a remarkable trajectory since its founding in the San Joaquin Valley in 2005. UC Merced is a public land-grant research university and was established purposefully to uplift educational, health, societal, environmental, and economic outcomes, and to build civic capacity. Drawing from the community and cultural wealth of its diverse, predominantly first-generation students, UC Merced seeks to promote excellence through equity and justice and honors a broad representation of backgrounds on the campus. In a short time, UC Merced has become a top-100 institution and an R2 research enterprise. Recently, UC Merced has doubled the size of their physical campus with the nation’s largest higher education public-private partnership, substantially increased research grants awards, enrolled successive record first-year classes, and achieved record philanthropic support, including the university’s largest gift. The value of a research university stems from its ability to promote unbounded inquiry and enable its campus community and people to pursue answers to questions great and small to deepen understanding. UC Merced seeks to convene coalitions of students, staff, faculty, and community to ensure that the issues they collectively investigate and the new knowledge they create are truly appropriate to and derived from the values of all constituents.

Strategic Plan & Goals
Together with its leadership and community, UC Merced is uniquely poised to impact a rapidly changing world. To this end, Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz and Provost Gregg Camfield have led an inaugural long-range comprehensive strategic planning process over a year of thoughtful engagement and refinement by faculty, staff, students, and external community and partners. This strategic plan is shaped as much by UC Merced’s need to expand and sustain a community of inquiry as it is by the outcomes the work will achieve. The strategic plan reflects UC Merced’s ever-deepening commitment to continuous and iterative transformation toward a socially just, equitable, and sustainable campus and society and to expand and enrich the nature of the campus’s educational offerings and research portfolio. UC Merced will create new and diverse opportunities, empowering experiences for its students who will in turn deepen and diversify leadership across all fields and the nation. The plan includes the ambitious goal of being the youngest university ever to achieve a very high research (R1) designation, which will acknowledge UC Merced’s increasing research prowess and its impact but also support the acceleration and sustain its rise. The strategic plan also elevates the importance of an inclusive workforce and flexible and sustainable infrastructure that evolves with the research and learning enterprise.

The Vice Provost and Dean for Graduate Education (VPDGE) serves as the academic leader in charge of all graduate programs and academic operations on campus, comprising over 750 graduate students in 17 disciplinary and interdisciplinary Ph.D. programs and one professional master’s degree program. The VPDGE is responsible for promoting the academic success of all graduate students and postdoctoral researchers; advocating for excellence in graduate research and education; championing equity, diversity, and inclusion for the graduate and postdoctoral communities; recruiting scholars from the state, nation, and world who will thrive in the graduate community at UC Merced and help fulfill our research and educational missions; and supporting graduate students and postdocs in their mentorship and professional development as scholars and in preparation for a wide range of academic and non-academic careers.

The VPDGE appoints and oversees the faculty chairs of graduate groups and works closely with them and the department chairs to support faculty in their roles as graduate instructors, advisors, and mentors. The VPDGE also works closely with the Faculty Senate, guided by shared governance, to jointly oversee graduate academic policies, procedures, and campus funding, and the VPDGE works with the Graduate Student Association to advocate for the voice of graduate students.

Regarding administrative leadership, the VPDGE works with the Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education to coordinate academic support for undergraduate and graduate students, and with the three School Deans to support their constituent graduate groups and coordinate recruitment, admissions, and funding of graduate students in their schools. The VPDGE also coordinates with the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs to provide graduate students with resources and services in support of their success and well-being as scholars, and with External Relations to cultivate donor support for graduate education on campus. At the systemwide level, the VPDGE is a member of the UC Council of Graduate Deans, who work with UC Senate leadership to advocate for graduate research and education, and to oversee systemwide policies and procedures.

The VPDGE leads the Graduate Division which provides campus-wide academic administrative and financial services for all graduate students, including recruitment, admissions, academic counseling, retention, degree progression, and graduation. The unit currently has 17 staff positions and works closely with the Division of Finance and Administration to manage operational and campus fellowship funds for all graduate groups and their respective schools, plus all campus fellowship competitions.

Finally, the VPDGE works with senior leadership and campus stakeholders on academic and strategic planning as they relate to graduate and postdoctoral research and education at UC Merced.

Key Opportunities, and Challenges
The campus has grown quickly as a research university to achieve “R2” designation within the Carnegie Classification of institutions of higher education in only ten years. Rapid growth in doctoral programs and research has played an essential role in this achievement, and continued growth will be critical as the campus heads towards “R1” designation. UC Merced also boasts the most diverse graduate student population in the UC system in terms of underrepresented minorities and first-generation scholars, and the VPDGE works with the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost and Chancellor to develop partnerships with other minority-serving institutions that enhance recruitment efforts with the goal of further diversifying the graduate population at UC Merced as well as graduate and professoriate communities throughout California. The VPGDE also works with the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, along with faculty and graduate student representatives, to uphold EDI values in graduate research and education.

As a condition of employment, you will be required to comply with the University of California SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Policy: All Covered Individuals under the policy must provide proof of Full Vaccination or, if applicable, submit a request for Exception (based on Medical Exemption, Disability, and/or Religious Objection) or Deferral (based on pregnancy) no later than the applicable deadline. For new University of California employees, the applicable deadline is 14 days after their first date of employment.

Basic qualifications
Required Skills, Knowledge, Abilities, and Competencies

  • Ability to envision, design and implement major initiatives that encourage faculty innovation in graduate education and research, lead to staff improvements in student services, and otherwise enhance student success.
  • An academic record meriting appointment at the level of Professor or Teaching Professor at the University of California, Merced
  • Relevant leadership experience (e.g. as a dean, associate dean, department chair, or center director).
  • Exceptional organizational, written, and oral communication skills.
  • Demonstrated acumen in budgetary and financial affairs.
  • Experience in garnering extramural funding for research and graduate and postdoctoral training.
  • Ability to work across units and disciplines to bring stakeholders together in pursuit of campus-wide goals, including extramural funding opportunities from federal and state agencies, foundations and donors.
  • Ability to continuously measure the effectiveness of programs designed to enhance graduate student success.
  • Ability to work effectively as a member of a leadership team.
  • Ability to proactively identify and resolve organizational problems.
  • Ability to lead an equitable and inclusive workplace and foster the success of a diverse graduate student body.
  • Experience working with the Academic Senate, preferably in a leadership role.

Additional qualifications
Qualifications and Characteristics
The ideal candidate for VPGDE is a talented leader and scholar with a keen understanding of trends in graduate education today, as well as experience in working with students, postdocs and faculty across a wide range of scholarly disciplines. The VPGDE should have significant organizational leadership and administrative expertise; experience in engaging in external relations and successes in obtaining extramural funds; substantive contributions to diversity and inclusion; and an academic record meriting appointment at the level of Professor or Teaching Professor at the University of California, Merced

Building on current efforts, the next VPDGE will have the qualifications and vision needed to continue the current growth trajectory in graduate research and education on campus, continue to collaborate across institutions in the service of graduate education and the professoriate, and continue to establish and expand holistic graduate and postdoctoral support on campus. The ideal candidate will also have a track record of scholarship and leadership that demonstrates standards of excellence for all graduate programs.

The VPDGE will:

  • Develop and articulate a bold and forward-looking shared vision for graduate education at UC Merced.
  • Provide support and ensure excellence across a wide range of graduate education and postdoctoral research programs.
  • Foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community for graduate students and postdocs.
  • Advocate for the wellbeing and success of graduate students and postdocs.
  • Expand and allocate resources in support of the Graduate Division’s mission.
  • Advise the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost on a wide range of issues related to graduate education and postdoctoral research.
  • Anticipate needs, identify critical issues, and promote best practices.
  • Handle sensitive issues with diplomacy, tact, and confidentiality.
  • Collaborate with deans, vice provosts, Academic Senate, and other campus leaders to implement curricular and organizational innovations that enhance the quality and reputation of the graduate student experience and promote student success and satisfaction.
  • Envision, design, and implement major initiatives that encourage faculty innovation in graduate education, engagement, and participation in graduate predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships and internships, staff improvements in student services, and other programs that enhance graduate student success.
  • Continuously measure the effectiveness of programs and policies designed to support graduate student success and engage with other institutions to further the development and implementation of best practices in these areas.
  • Ensure compliance with all administrative policies and procedures.
  • Effectively allocate and manage resources for the Graduate Division, including staff/personnel, space, and finances.

Document requirements

  • Curriculum Vitae – Your most recently updated C.V.
  • Cover Letter
  • Statement on Contributions to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion – Statement on your contributions to equity, diversity, and inclusion, including information about your understanding of these topics, your record of activities to date, and your specific plans and goals for advancing equity and inclusion. Please review the UC Merced Diversity Statement Guidelines and UC’s Commitment to Diversity
  • Statement of Teaching (Optional)
  • Statement of Research (Optional)

Reference requirements

  • 3-5 required (contact information only)

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The University of California is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and invites applications from all qualified applicants, including women, minorities, veterans, and individual with disabilities, who will enrich the teaching, research and public service missions of the university. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status.