University of Puget Sound — Provost

The University of Puget Sound (Puget Sound), one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges and among a select few “Colleges that Change Lives,” located in Tacoma, Washington, seeks an innovative and strategic academic leader to be its next Provost. This is a pivotal time in its 130-year history as the university has recently launched A Sound Future, which builds upon an 18-month strategic review of all academic, administrative, and auxiliary programs that will better position the university to execute on its strategic plan, Leadership for a Changing World. The strategic plan challenges the university to be bold and forward-looking in the delivery of education and in meeting the needs of current and future generations of students. The Provost will play a critical role in advancing both A Sound Future and the Leadership for a Changing World strategic plan as both plans create significant opportunities to highlight current and new priorities of the university as it executes its academic mission and fulfills its promise to provide an excellent education to its students. 

As the Chief Academic Officer, the Provost will ensure the university adheres to its mission to develop students’ capacities for critical analysis, aesthetic appreciation, sound judgment, and apt expression that will sustain a lifetime of intellectual curiosity, active inquiry, and reasoned independence. Working closely with the Puget Sound community, the Provost will promote innovation and collaboration among faculty and staff to find new ways to prepare the campus for an ever-changing higher education landscape and will foster a vibrant co-curricular and curricular experience for all students. In close collaboration with the President, other members of the President’s leadership team, faculty, staff, students, and trustees, the Provost will assist in positioning the university to be an institution of choice for students seeking a dynamic liberal arts education where graduates become engaged and well-prepared citizens of the world.

Over the past 40 years, Puget Sound has deliberately refocused its mission as a national liberal arts college, attracting an academically excellent student body, and committed to increasing its socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity to meet the needs of a rapidly changing population of college students. Today, the university enrolls approximately 1,650 undergraduate students and over 300 graduate students on the 97-acre campus in Tacoma’s residential North End. Over 200 distinguished faculty members who share a deep commitment to teaching offer 1,200 undergraduate courses in 50 traditional and distinctively interdisciplinary areas. Puget Sound also offers graduate programs in the School of Education, School of Occupational Therapy, and School of Physical Therapy, and is in its second year of a Master of Public Health program. Puget Sound ranks among the top 100 National Liberal Arts Colleges in the US News & World Report 2023 edition of America’s Best Colleges, and is in the distinctive position of being the sole independent liberal arts college in Western Washington and one of only five in the Pacific Northwest to have a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. Graduates include Rhodes and Fulbright scholars, notables in the arts and culture, entrepreneurs and elected officials, and leaders in business and finance locally, regionally and internationally. 

President Isiaah Crawford joined the university in 2016 with a platform of bringing innovation to the campus and has been thoughtfully cultivating his team and the campus around its many aspirations. The Office of the Provost includes a broad portfolio encompassing academic affairs, experiential learning, faculty affairs, student success, and career and employment efforts. The Provost will lead strategic implementation, including the results of program reviews and curricular reform, expanding and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, and assisting in enrollment growth, retention, and student success efforts. The Provost will be supported by a team of highly capable leaders in the division and will work closely with their colleagues on the President’s Cabinet. Together, the campus will continue to have thoughtful conversations on how to adapt and address the needs of all students, especially as student demographics and expectations continue to evolve. The Provost will seek ways to engage, educate, and support faculty, staff, and students while ensuring an innovative and inclusive environment for the entire campus community. To this end, the Provost will be expected to address a key set of opportunities and challenges upon joining Puget Sound:

  • Provide inspirational leadership into the next chapter of Puget Sound;
  • Ensure a transformational curricular and co-curricular experience for all students;
  • Foster diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts across the institution;
  • Develop a shared vision for academic excellence that integrates all pieces of the academic experience;
  • Create and define processes and organizational structures that facilitate collaboration, innovation, and execution;
  • Create a higher profile for Puget Sound and its academic distinctiveness within higher education locally, nationally, and internationally.

Qualifications and Characteristics

The Provost will bring most, if not all, of the following professional qualifications, skills, experiences, and personal qualities: 

  • An earned doctorate or equivalent terminal degree and a record of distinguished creative work/scholarship and teaching requisite for an appointment as a tenured full professor; 
  • Proven ability to serve as an executive and provide visionary strategic leadership, an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit willing to take calculated risks; 
  • A deep respect for and understanding of the work of faculty;
  • An understanding of and commitment to the liberal arts;
  • An enthusiasm for students and an understanding of their needs and what it takes to inspire success;
  • Substantial and successful experience in the development, leadership, and management of academic programs, projects, committees, or departments;
  • Strong management, planning, and financial skills, including setting financial and programmatic priorities that balance near-term and long-term objectives; 
  • Exceptional academic judgment and high standards, including a history of recruiting, developing, and retaining outstanding faculty;
  • A track record of advancing diversity and fostering an inclusive environment. Sensitivity and broad experience with diverse students, faculty, and communities;
  • An ability to lead student success initiatives (particularly for retention and graduation); 
  • A strong awareness of the changing higher education landscape and a record of success responding to it through the development of new programs, curricular reform, student success initiatives, etc.; 
  • The capacity to listen thoughtfully, consult with others, build consensus, and develop an overarching vision and strategy for moving forward; 
  • A commitment to transparency in policy, strategy, and financial management, with an appreciation of and support for shared governance;
  • The ability to make difficult decisions and effectively implement those decisions in a collaborative setting; 
  • A record as a global and interdisciplinary thinker, able to think creatively across units, and a commitment to harnessing and facilitating the potential for collaboration.

Applications, Inquiries, and Nominations

The University of Puget Sound has partnered with Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, in this important search. Screening of complete applications will begin immediately and continue until the completion of the search process. Inquiries, nominations, referrals, and CVs with cover letters should be sent via the Isaacson, Miller website for the search: www.imsearch.com/8793. Electronic submission of materials is strongly encouraged.

Julie Filizetti, Andy Marshall, and Katie Pusecker-Kilcawley
Isaacson, Miller
1000 Sansome Street, Suite 300
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: 415.655.4900

University of Puget Sound is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to recruiting, hiring, and retaining the most qualified persons based on job-related criteria. The University will not engage in or tolerate any discrimination or harassment in the workplace as prohibited by local, state, or federal law. More specifically, no applicant or staff member will be discriminated against or harassed on the basis of their sex, race, color, nation of origin, religion, creed, age, disability, marital or familial status, sexual orientation, veteran or military status, gender identity, political affiliation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local law.

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