DePauw University — Dean, Creative School

DePauw University seeks an inaugural dean to launch The Creative School, which emerged from DePauw’s Bold & Gold strategic planning process. The Creative School will center on interdisciplinary studies, scholarship and helping students develop 21st century careers in creativity, music, media, and the performing arts.

This new academic enterprise will bring together the majors and minors currently represented in the university’s School of Music as well as majors in Design Studies (Art and Art History Department), Creative Writing (English Department), Film and Media Arts (Film and Media Arts Interdisciplinary Program), Studio Art (Art and Art History Department), Theatre (Communication and Theatre Department) and possibly others. This alignment will better serve students by facilitating a more interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary education, preparing them for real-world multidisciplinary artistic careers of the 21st century. 

An important component of DePauw’s strategic plan calls for renewed academic programs, which includes the introduction of a groundbreaking three-school model. DePauw will center and strengthen the liberal arts and sciences as the foundation for academic innovation, interdisciplinary teaching and learning, and the elevation of each student’s potential; every DePauw student, regardless of school or major, will be broadly educated in the liberal arts and sciences. The faculty will remain affiliated with their home department or program, allowing each to work with one or more of the three schools – the Creative School, School of Business, and Leadership, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Each school will be championed by a dedicated dean.

DePauw University has educated some of the country’s finest musicians, music educators, arts administrators, thespians, directors, filmmakers, and more. Students learn through hands-on experience and have access to performances, exhibitions, and thought-provoking films from critically acclaimed artists, performers, and producers around the world. Students and faculty are immersed in an environment of rich dialogue and discovery grounded in DePauw’s liberal arts and sciences core curriculum. DePauw’s students benefit from a close relationship with committed, nationally recognized professors. A low student-faculty ratio and a community-engaged faculty foster strong student engagement. Students gain expertise through private instruction, focused mentoring, active pedagogical practices and a wide range of performance, exhibition and internship experiences on and off campus, and virtually.

The Creative School Dean serves as the administrative leader of the school as well as the chief advocate for its mission and purpose. The primary responsibility of the dean will be to ensure the execution of the school’s ambition, goals, and operation as both an internal leader and consensus builder, as well as an external advocate and relationship builder. The dean will collaborate with the Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement to advance fundraising priorities related to the Creative School and will support university-wide fundraising priorities as seen through the lens of the school. As a strategic partner committed to the university’s success, the dean will work in a dynamic, nimble, and courageous environment and engage with faculty, staff, prospective students, alumni, and community stakeholders in a culture that fully embraces and encourages transparent and inclusive dialogue.

The dean will report to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dave Berque, and also serve as a member of President Lori White’s University Leadership Team, which provides the president and cabinet with input on matters of importance to the university. The dean will be an inspiring, strategic, and creative leader with an unwavering commitment to DePauw University and its legacy. The dean will spend the 2023 – 2024 academic year working closely with the faculty to support innovative curriculum design, encourage new disciplinary collaborations, and identify mentorship and internship opportunities for students interested in a career in today’s creative working world. The dean will work with the Office of Enrollment Management to attract, retain, and graduate students whose success will be measured by their engagement as leaders and thinkers, their creativity and imagination, and their readiness for rewarding careers. The dean will also work collaboratively with the other deans, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Vice President for Enrollment Management on a strategic enrollment management plan to ensure a balanced cohort across each of the schools and planned distribution of resources. The Creative School will launch in the summer of 2024. 

The dean will be a champion for the strength, rigor, vibrancy, and scope of the arts experience at DePauw. The dean will remove barriers to cross-divisional collaborations, identify operational efficiencies, and work to eliminate obstacles that prevent students from participating in the full breath of the school’s offerings.

The dean will be a champion and advocate for the holistic well-being of students inside and outside of the classroom. The dean will support the school’s faculty in the development of high-quality teaching, creative activity, scholarship, and bold curriculum as critical components of excellence. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values of the university, and it is expected that the new dean will have a proven record of working with and creating equity amongst diverse groups. The next dean will embrace a community that is rich in opportunity and committed to innovation and exploration. The dean will be a visible and compelling advocate for the arts—internally and externally—with a strong capacity for fundraising. The dean will demonstrate significant intellectual curiosity, characterized by the ability to represent the work of the students, faculty, and academic programs. In addition, the dean will provide leadership and strategic vision; work well in a collaborative decision-making environment; be passionately interested in students and their development; and demonstrate strong organizational and management skills. 

Candidates will possess the academic credentials and a distinguished record of scholarly accomplishments, or comparable achievements, sufficient to qualify for a faculty appointment. A terminal degree and a proven record of broad and progressive administrative and leadership experience, including leadership that centers issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, is required. Candidates with significant arts administration leadership experience outside of academia will also be considered if they demonstrate significant knowledge, experience, and/or support of teaching, and scholarly achievement that will garner the respect of the Creative School community.

All applications, nominations and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as two separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest addressing the themes in the leadership profile. Professional references are not requested at this time.

WittKieffer is assisting DePauw University with this search. For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by Monday, February 20th. Application materials should be submitted using WittKieffer’s candidate portal.

Nominations and inquiries can be directed to Melissa Fincher and Lauren Bruce-Stets at DePauwDeanCreativeSchool@wittkieffer.com. 

DePauw University is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer: Women, members of underrepresented groups, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

In affirmation of its commitment to excellence, DePauw University, endeavors to provide equal opportunity for all individuals in its hiring, promotion, compensation and admission procedures. Institutional decisions regarding hiring, promotion, compensation and admission will be based upon a person’s qualifications and/or performance without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, age, gender, gender identity or gender expression, except where religion, gender, or national origin is a bona fide occupational qualification.

DePauw University’s goals and commitments are best served if the institution reflects the diversity of our society; hence, DePauw seeks diversity in all areas and levels of employment and abides by all local, state and federal regulations concerning equal employment opportunities. The university admits, hires and promotes individuals upon their qualities and merits.

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