Dean, College of the Environment, Forestry and Natural Sciences

Northern Arizona University (NAU) invites nominations and applications for the position of Dean of the College of the Environment, Forestry and Natural Sciences (CEFNS). We seek a strategic, visionary leader to shepherd a variety of highly-ranked science, mathematics, and forestry degree programs, and to grow our globally recognized research enterprise.

The Dean of the College of the Environment, Forestry and Natural Sciences is the chief academic and administrative officer of the College and reports to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Dean will develop productive working relationships with institutional administration, faculty, and students, as well as alumni, industry, and community partners.

The Dean will be responsible for:

  • Vision and Planning: create a vision and strategic plan for the college that aligns with the institutional goals and strategic plan.
  • Fiduciary Decisions: manage the budget and other resources.
  • College Administration: appoint department chairs, school directors, and college administrators, and periodically review the performance of chairs, directors, and administrators in concert with the Provost.
  • Personnel: oversee hiring; establish job titles and salaries; make decisions and review policies regarding renewal, tenure, promotion, and dismissal; authorize faculty leave; review faculty annual evaluations; promote departmental mentoring and development opportunities; and support professional development of faculty and staff.
  • Educational Leadership: provide leadership and vision for new and continuing academic programs, considering innovation, cost effectiveness, market demand, fidelity to standards and accreditation; establish and maintain high academic standards; ensure effective student quality, recruitment and retention.
  • Development: contribute to development and fulfillment of fundraising priorities; participate in comprehensive capital campaign initiatives.
  • College Governance:  create ad hoc committees of the collegiate faculty; hear faculty grievances; promote academic freedom and responsibility; ensure that the college provides a diverse, opportunity- and perspective-rich environment; promote and support shared governance.
  • Diversity and Inclusion: foster diversity and inclusivity among students, faculty and staff.
  • Outreach: participate in various councils, commissions, and committees as set forth in university policy; represent the college within state and national boards and organizations, and other appropriate groups; effectively demonstrate a commitment to Northern Arizona University core values and engage the college in the campus, state and national communities.

College Resources

CEFNS is one of seven academic colleges at NAU, with approximately 314 faculty and staff who serve over 4,800 students. CEFNS is home to the departments of Astronomy and Planetary Science, Biological Sciences, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Mathematics & Statistics, the School of Earth & Sustainability, the School of Forestry, and the Center for Science, Teaching and Learning. Our faculty members are deeply engaged in impactful research, and the College currently supports ~$12M in annual research expenditures. CEFNS is a prominent leader in the study of infectious disease, ecosystem science, earth and planetary sciences, and the development of innovative strategies for STEM education. Our cutting-edge research initiatives have made a difference in areas such as forest restoration, global climate change, and the study of pathogens and microbial genomes. Surrounded by one of the most ecologically diverse natural labs in the world, our faculty and students produce revolutionary research in 30 high-tech labs and institutes. The college supports 13 undergraduate majors, 13 master’s programs and four Ph.D. programs. 

Minimum Qualifications

  • Possess an earned doctorate from an accredited institution in one of the disciplines of the College, or in a closely related field.
  • Have a distinguished record of teaching, scholarship, and leadership that warrants a tenured faculty appointment at the rank of Full Professor.
  • Have demonstrated successful administrative leadership experience in higher education as a dean, associate dean, center or institute leader, or comparable position with responsibilities that included budgets, strategic planning, personnel management, performance reviews, and promotion and tenure decisions. 

Preferred Qualifications

  • Demonstrated success in leadership and administration of complex and interdisciplinary academic units of relevant size and structure to the College, and in management of diverse types of faculty and staff.
  • Successful record of educational leadership and vision in academic programing; experience developing and sustaining high quality, student-centered coursework and curricula at both the undergraduate and graduate levels; practiced consideration of innovation, cost effectiveness, and high academic standards; oversight of effective student quality, recruitment, enrollment growth and retention initiatives; and experience with accreditation and program review.
  • Established record of competitive scholarship and the acquisition and management of extramural funding.
  • Proven record of accomplishment in donor development, alumni engagement, and fundraising activities.
  • Demonstrated strengths in effective communication, mentoring, consensus building, shared governance, and supporting an environment of diversity and inclusion.

General Information

Located in Flagstaff, a scenic town of 70,000 nestled at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, NAU has seen tremendous growth in its student population and its research and creative scholarship agenda. Today, NAU serves more than 31,000 students across 20 statewide locations and online. Almost 23,000 students attend the Flagstaff Mountain campus, recognized as the “3rd Best College Town in the U.S.” by the American Institute for Economic Research’s 2017 College Destinations Index. NAU is one of the top 200 institutions ranked by NSF for non-medical school research expenditures, with institutional research expenditures of over $46M reported for FY17. NAU is also committed to diversity, as seen through its historical strength in supporting first generation and Native American students, as well as its designation as an emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI).

How to Apply

To apply for this position, please click on the "Apply" button at the end of the job description if viewing this position through the NAU HR website. Otherwise, to view the original post and to apply, proceed to, follow the 'Faculty and Administrator Openings' link, locate vacancy 604599, and then "Apply" at the bottom of the page.

Application must include: (1) letter of interest addressing the minimum and preferred qualifications; (2) a curriculum vitae; and (3) names and contact information for five references.  References will not be contacted without prior knoweldge and approval of candidates. Save all items as PDF and/or Word documents.

If you have questions regarding the position, please contact the chair of the search committee by email at

If you need assistance completing your application there are instructions available on the HR website  or in person in the Human Resources Department located in Building 91 on the NAU Campus - on the corner of Beaver and DuPont Streets.

If you are an individual with a disability and need reasonable accommodation to participate in the hiring process please contact the Office of Equity and Access at: 928-523-3312/TDD - 928-523-1006 or PO Box 4083, Flagstaff AZ 86011.