Director, The Design School


Director, The Design School

Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona


The Search

The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and Arizona State University (ASU) seek a Director of The Design School. The director will provide innovative, aspirational leadership for the school’s vital participation in ASU’s vision for a New American University: a reinvention of higher education in which design practices are a core value for the nation’s largest public university and global research institution. The director will lead a dynamic school that is positioned to prepare a new generation of designers and architects from diverse backgrounds to succeed in the 21st century.


The Director

ASU, the Herberger Institute, and The Design School seek a visionary director with a broad perspective and record of innovative thought and accomplishment. The successful candidate will act as a catalyst for change and lead design thinking across the university and with community partners. The new director will help the school continue to realize and develop its mission to shape the future of design thinking while building inventive curricula, field-defining research, and programs that are renowned globally. We seek an individual with a clear strategy relative to the role of design within contemporary society and academia; a leader who will give voice to the school as it participates in the emergence of the New American University; and an advocate for the school within local, national and international communities. This inspirational leader will have demonstrated success in mentorship and professional development of emerging designers and scholars and a zest for promoting research, creative work, and collaboration.  


The director reports directly to the dean of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and is one of six directors in the Herberger Institute leadership team. This position is a full-time, 12-month academic administrative appointment with a preferred starting date of July 1, 2017.



•     Advanced degree in an appropriate discipline; or equal or equivalent distinguished academic or professional experience;

•     Demonstrated scholarly, design, or professional accomplishment with a record of innovation;

•     Demonstrated administrative ability coupled with the ability to delegate, prioritize and make timely, transparent and well-considered decisions;



•     Significant administrative experience in a complex organizational setting;

•     Experience as a leader with skill in collaborative practice;

•     Appreciation of and ability to articulate the nature of creative freedom in design, and zest for catalyzing research;

•     Experience in faculty and staff recruitment and development, and sensitivity to the unique needs of a diverse community of practicing professionals.

•     Demonstrated ability for mentorship and professional development of emerging designers and/or scholars, including undergraduate and graduate students;

•     Experience in fiscal planning and development activities;

•     Excellent oral and written communication skills;

•     Willingness to circulate widely, communicate openly, listen well, and learn from others;

•     Creativity, flexibility, tenacity, optimism, and high energy level;

•     Experience in the creation and evaluation of design curricula.



The national executive search firm, Isaacson, Miller has been hired to assist with this search. All inquiries and nominations should be directed to them. Review of applications will begin immediately and the position will remain open until filled. For best consideration, please submit materials by December 10, 2016. Confidential inquiries, nominations or applications (a curriculum vitae and a letter of interest that is responsive to the challenges above), should be submitted electronically to:



Sheryl Ash, Ben Tobin, or Julie Yermack

Isaacson, Miller

263 Summer Street

Boston, MA 02210



Arizona State University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.

ASU conducts pre-employment screening for all positions, which includes a criminal background check, verification of work history, academic credentials, licenses, and certifications.

Arizona State University is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor and an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will be considered without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. See ASU's complete non-discrimination statement at See ASU’s Title IX policy at