National Institute on Aging

Van Andel Institute — Dean and Chief Academic Officer

Dean and Chief Academic Officer

The Van Andel Institute Graduate School seeks an accomplished science professional with strong administration experience and demonstrated teaching excellence to build the next generation of biomedical and scientific leaders. The Dean and Chief Academic Officer is responsible for all programmatic, academic, managerial, and fiscal responsibilities for the Graduate School, and will closely collaborate with the Chief Scientific Officer and Department Chairs of the Van Andel Institute for Research in pursuit of the strategic goals of the Graduate School.

The Van Andel Institute Graduate School's mission is to transform students into independent scientists through an intense, problem-focused Ph.D. degree in molecular and cellular biology. By combining rigorous problem-based learning with extensive experience in laboratories led by the Institute's 36 Principal Investigators, the Graduate School prepares students as future biomedical research leaders in academia, industry, government, and advocacy roles. The Graduate School is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The Graduate School headquarters is in a newly renovated building adjacent to the Institute. It currently has 50 students with 40% enrolled from diverse countries (the anticipated student body size is set by a metric of an average of two students per basic science laboratory). The Graduate School has an annual operating budget of approximately $3.6M and eight staff members including the Dean and Chief Academic Officer.

This leadership position will require an individual who is well informed about innovative problem-based learning in graduate education. The successful candidate will provide leadership and oversight for the development, expansion, and revision of graduate programs and curriculum, for consideration by appropriate faculty committees. The position will work collaboratively with faculty to develop programs, curriculum, and faculty orientation. The Dean and Chief Academic Officer will evaluate the academic program, ensure continuous accreditation, and oversee assessment and professional development of graduate education for both students and faculty.

The role of the Dean and Chief Academic Office includes:

• Navigating fluidly among the scientific community, the higher education landscape, and the student experience
• Articulating a vision of excellence for the graduate community
• Emphasizing the importance of training future scientists and faculty as well as supporting multiple career trajectories,
• Focusing on student outcomes (including graduation rate, time to degree, and productivity in terms of publications) to continue exceeding national averages in the field of biological and biomedical doctoral programs
• Leveraging emerging research-based educational practices, and learner-centered methods
• Offering integrated courses designed and taught by biomedical researchers and education leaders
• Aspiring to develop a community where historically underrepresented peoples in science thrive educationally, professionally, and personally
• Continually evolve and improve, anticipating the needs of our students and biomedical community in the next 5, 10, and 15+ years
• Participating in faculty recruitment and evaluation, and
• Serving as a member of the Institute's Research Advisory Council.

Desired attributes include:

• Accomplished science professional with graduate school administration experience and demonstrated teaching excellence to build the next generation of biomedical and scientific leaders.
• Knowledge of cutting-edge best practices in higher learning with a strong, unwavering commitment to excellence in graduate education
• Proactive vision and leadership skills that will take graduate education to the next level
• True commitment to teaching and research
• Experience and commitment to problem-based learning at the graduate level and interest in continuing to develop and innovate within this model
• Promote continuous development and growth of students, staff, faculty, structures, program, and Institute
• Inclusive, approachable, flexible, and collaborative with students, faculty, and staff
• Strong instinct for collaboration, team member to all units of the Institute and the ability to navigate various research, education, and operations environments
• Intellectual curiosity, innovative spirit, bold thinking, and willingness to take calculated risk
• Appreciation for the Institute's mission and commitment to ensure the advancement of Graduate School Education and Research

Applications, Inquiries, and Nominations

Effective Date of Appointment: Summer 2023.

How to Apply: Van Andel Research Institute is being assisted by Academic Search, Inc. Applications should consist of a substantive cover letter, a curriculum vitae, and a list of five professional references with full contact information. No references will be contacted without the explicit permission of the candidate. Applications, nominations, and expressions of interest can be submitted electronically, and in confidence, to:

The position is open until filled but only applications received by May 12, 2023, can be assured full consideration. Additional information can be found in the position profile available at Open Searches-Academic Search. Confidential discussions about this opportunity may be arranged by contacting Jerry Israel at or Anne Briggs at Further information about Van Andel Institute can be found at

The Van Andel Institute and its affiliated organizations (collectively the “Institute”) support and comply with applicable laws prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, pregnancy, height, weight, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or other personal characteristics covered by applicable law. The Institute also makes reasonable accommodations required by law. The Institute's policy in this regard covers all aspects of the employment relationship, including recruiting, hiring, training, and promotion, and, if applicable, the student relationship.

Eric Miller, Director – Talent Acquisition and Employee Engagement, is the Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Advisor and is responsible for compliance with the provisions of E.O. 11246. Van Andel Institute's Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy can be accessed here.