Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College


Grinnell, Iowa


Grinnell College (Grinnell), one of the top liberal arts colleges in the nation, seeks a vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college (VPAA) to lead its distinctive academic program. As a developer of the individually advised curriculum, Grinnell has long been an innovator in teaching and learning, providing students access to rigorous and diverse courses of study that allow them to follow their passions with the guidance of dedicated faculty and staff, with the goal of moving knowledge into action for the common good. As the world emerges from the structural, existential, and operational challenges of COVID, the next VPAA will further enhance Grinnell’s holistic academic program that creates well-rounded students who are fully prepared to thrive in an ever-changing world. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work in a financially sustainable environment, partner with a new and dynamic president, and collaborate with an outstanding faculty and staff to shape Grinnell’s next chapter and secure its place as a global leader in liberal arts education. 


Grinnell College is a highly selective, private, residential liberal arts college recognized for its rigorous curriculum and strong tradition of social responsibility. Founded in 1846, Grinnell enrolls approximately 1,700 students, generally from all states and about 50 countries, in 27 major fields and 19 concentrations. Among the nation’s small liberal arts colleges, Grinnell is widely viewed as an institution of the first rank, with an excellent faculty, a skilled staff, a consistently strong and diverse student body, and a well-equipped and beautiful campus.


In July 2020, Grinnell appointed Anne F. Harris as its 14th president. President Harris joined the college in 2019 as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college. During her tenure at Grinnell, President Harris has quickly become a trusted and admired member of the college community. In close partnership with President Harris, and in collaboration with a team of talented associate deans of the college, the next VPAA will build on Grinnell’s strong foundation and provide visionary and strategic leadership for academic affairs following a period of leadership transitions and a global pandemic. As the college begins to create the framework for the next chapter of its history and embark on a strategic planning process, the VPAA will be charged with listening to, collaborating with, and inspiring faculty, staff, and students around a common set of priorities. The VPAA will share innovative new approaches in pedagogy and scholarship with faculty and staff across the Academic Affairs division and demonstrate dedication to continual improvement of the learning experience at Grinnell. 


The successful candidate will be an outstanding academic leader who has significant experience supporting talented and committed teachers and scholars, fostering relationships with faculty and staff, and engendering excitement about the importance of the liberal arts in today’s complex landscape of higher education and social change on campus, across Iowa and beyond. The VPAA must have demonstrable experience in creating spaces that are diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist, and be prepared to champion a dynamic set of academic programs and functions in an institution with a strong culture of shared governance amongst faculty, students, staff, and trustees.


Grinnell College has retained the services of Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist in conducting this important search. All inquiries, applications, and nominations should be directed to the search firm electronically at:

Jeff Kessner, Partner

Claire Hennessey, Senior Associate 

Isaacson, Miller


Grinnell College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer committed to attracting and retaining highly qualified individuals who collectively reflect the diversity of the nation. No applicant shall be discriminated against on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, marital status, religion, creed, or disability.