University of Massachusetts Amherst — Dean of the College of Natural Sciences

THE SEARCH

The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) seeks a collaborative, forward-thinking, and strategic leader to serve as its next Dean of the College of Natural Sciences (CNS), the University’s largest academic unit. This is an opportunity with the platform, power, and scale to make an impact. The Dean will lead a College with tremendous intellectual breadth and vitality, a congenial culture that values equity and diversity, and a proud tradition of excellence in teaching, in basic, translational, and interdisciplinary research, and in a broad array of extension programs.

The College of Natural Sciences is home to over 500 tenure stream, research, and extension faculty and lecturers, over 450 staff, and about 7,000 undergraduate students and 1,000 graduate students. CNS accounts for about one-third of the teaching and research activity of UMass Amherst and is the University’s largest recipient of grant funding ($85 million in sponsored research in fiscal year 2022). College faculty are drivers of collaborative activities across campus, including in the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS), a $150 million interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial research center focused on developing new products to benefit health and medicine, and in the School of Earth and Sustainability, a growing hub for innovation, research, education, and outreach related to earth, sustainability, and environmental sciences. 

The next Dean will join the University of Massachusetts Amherst at a consequential time. Over the last decade the institution has grown in ambition and stature, elevated its research profile, adopted a campus diversity strategic plan, and made significant investments in facilities. UMass Amherst is now ranked 26th among public institutions of higher education and poised for even greater impact. A new provost is leading a dynamic and collegial team of deans, and the institution is preparing for a comprehensive fundraising campaign. CNS is central to the University’s ambitions—and to its mission as a land grant university.

UMass Amherst welcomes an energetic and innovative Dean who will seize the opportunities of the moment and whose vision will help extend the College’s record of achievement. The Dean will join a service-minded community with a strong ethos of cooperation and a healthy financial foundation. The Dean must be committed to the full range of disciplines found in CNS and focused on their success; naturally inclined to teamwork and communication; dedicated to faculty, staff, and students; intent on strengthening social justice and diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility; and devoted to the mission of CNS to transform opportunity into impact. Working with colleagues in the College and across the University, and with stakeholders and supporters both on and off campus, the Dean will ensure that the College has the human, structural, and financial resources to thrive. 

KEY QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS

The successful candidate will possess many of the following professional qualifications, experiences, and characteristics:

A track record of innovative, entrepreneurial, and collaborative intellectual leadership: Effectiveness in complex academic settings, with evidence of capacity to lead and manage at a scale comparable to the College of Natural Sciences. Demonstrated strength conceptualizing, advocating for, communicating, and implementing new and bold ideas. Commitment to shared governance and transparency at all levels. Orientation to partner with others across campus, and to act and think simultaneously on behalf of the University and the College.

Commitment to academic excellence: Passion for exploration, inquiry, and discovery. Engagement with the full range of disciplines, pursuits, and activities in the College. Understanding of what it takes to build and sustain a robust research enterprise. A record of attending to and strengthening student success and faculty excellence, on both individual and enterprise levels. A history of facilitating collaborative interdisciplinary projects. 

Demonstrated record of commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility: Visible effort driving toward a more inclusive and just community of faculty, researchers, staff, and students. Consistent and persistent commitment to equity, social justice, and antiracist work. Accountability, and ability to hold others accountable. Effectiveness in building and sustaining a more representative and diverse corps of personnel. 

Excellent leadership and management skills: Ability to lead and operate productively in a complex and dynamic environment. Systematic thinking, communicativeness, a team-oriented leadership style, and a data-informed approach that promotes shared clarity and shared purpose. Attention to detail. Appreciation for the efforts of others; appropriate engagement with their work. Financial and budgetary sophistication, an understanding of the resource demands present in CNS, and ability to secure support.

Excellent communication skills, both oral and written; outstanding listening skills: Talent for inspiring enthusiasm, energizing supporters, and influencing and motivating others. A facilitative leadership style that fosters and reinforces collegiality across the College. Strong listening and synthesizing skills. 

Professional and personal qualities: Commitment to the mission, values, ideals, and purpose of the University of Massachusetts. Integrity, trustworthiness, candor. Willingness to engage, reflect, and learn. Humility, resilience, optimism, grit. 

An earned doctorate (or terminal degree). A record of scholarship befitting the leader of a distinguished college of a major research university with an appointment as tenured full professor.

FOR CONSIDERATION

Confidential questions, nominations, and applications should be submitted electronically to:

Anita Tien, Partner
Andy Marshall, Senior Associate
Courtney Cabansag, Associate
Isaacson, Miller
https://www.imsearch.com/search-detail/S8-780

UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University. To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans. It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

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