Dean of the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences

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Northern Arizona University seeks a Dean of the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
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Location: Flagstaff, Arizona

The Position:
Northern Arizona University invites nominations and applications for the position of Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS). The dean will collaborate with the University academic leadership team in pursuit of a strategic agenda to build high value programming that serves diverse students through inclusive academic excellence. The dean will be a tenured professor serving as the College’s chief academic and administrative officer. Duties include overseeing academic programs, fundraising, and recruiting/retaining outstanding and diverse faculty, staff, and students. As the College’s leader, the dean is expected to collaborate across the campus and champion the College’s vision, goals, and achievements within the University and to the community at large.

Northern Arizona University seeks a dynamic administrator with proven ability to lead academic departments who embodies a philosophy that embraces the promotion of equity, diversity, and inclusion. The successful candidate will support students of all backgrounds in the rapidly changing world of higher education, supporting NAU’s commitment to becoming the nation’s leading university serving Native Americans while maintaining a focus on the University’s Hispanic Serving Institute (HSI) status. The dean will be approachable, compassionate, supportive of the SBS team, and an inclusive decision-maker. They will be a person of integrity who listens well and communicates transparently.

The dean reports to the Executive Vice President & University Provost. The dean supervises the College leadership team of two associate deans, one assistant dean, thirteen directors and department chairs, as well as six collegewide staff.


  • Serve as chief academic officer of the College;
  • Provide leadership for strategic planning, including developing and enhancing the College’s academic programs;
  • Guide college advancement, including development, marketing and communications, donor cultivation and fundraising, and alumni relations;
  • Recruit outstanding, inquisitive, and diverse students, facilitating equitable and just access to degree programs for all students, promoting balanced growth in enrollments and interest in the College’s majors and programs;
  • Lead recruitment, supervision, professional development, and retention of strong and diverse faculty and staff;
  • Promote an environment where equity, diversity, inclusion, and justice are fostered accountably throughout the teaching, research, and service activities of the College;
  • Ensure continued accreditation and state approvals;
  • Support faculty research and the related development required to ensure continued, strong contributions in this area;
  • Promote and facilitate interdisciplinary programming and collaboration within the College and between the College and the broader university;
  • Work within the University and with external partners to advance the College programs, support faculty, and foster student success;
  • Manage College budget, course scheduling, and staff;
  • Participate in university governance, including serving on standing and ad hoc committees, and representing the College to external constituencies.

Candidates for consideration must possess:

  • A doctoral degree in a discipline related to one of the College’s programs;
  • Academic/scholarly experience that qualifies you for tenure in one of the College’s departments;
  • A minimum of five years of leadership in an academic setting with responsibilities that included budgets, strategic planning, personnel management, performance reviews, promotion and tenure decisions, and experience with accreditation processes;
  • A philosophy, vision, and experience that reflect a commitment to innovative and effective education, and teaching/learning in multiple contexts.

The desired candidate will also exhibit some combination of the following qualifications:
Leadership experience and qualities:

  • Support for shared governance and academic freedom;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills (e.g., listening well, treating others with respect, collaborative, and collegial);
  • Knowledge of current trends in higher education, demographic trends, and the ability to incorporate relevant issues and innovative thinking into strategic planning for the College;
  • Demonstration of visionary, future-focused leadership that encompasses creative, innovative, inclusive strategic planning reflecting a growth mindset and encompassing a commitment to excellence;
  • A focus on interdisciplinary opportunities and recognition that complex challenges require collaborative responses.

Administrative/management experience and skillset:

  • Experience recruiting, supervising, retaining, and managing professional development for strong and diverse faculty and staff;
  • Evidence of success in leadership roles such as department chair, director of programs, associate dean, or dean;
  • Experience and skill in developing and implementing a coordinated strategic plan;
  • Skill in building/facilitating collaborative efforts among diverse units;
  • Demonstrated budget development and management skills with a focus on fiscal responsibility and attention to equity issues;
  • Experience with broad student populations, including underserved and marginalized groups.

Academic experience:

  • Significant classroom teaching experience, including an understanding of the value and role of technology in teaching and program delivery;
  • A record of excellence in research/scholarly pursuits and a demonstrated commitment to interdisciplinary academic and professional programs;
  • Experience teaching and/or conducting service in diversity areas;
  • Experience with broad student populations including underserved and marginalized groups;
  • An understanding of the SBS disciplines – a willingness to learn and embrace new areas, as needed.

Fundraising experience:

  • Evidence of encouraging individuals and units to obtain external support for research;
  • Experience soliciting philanthropic gifts from individuals, foundations, and communities;
  • Experience preparing, submitting, and managing federal, state, local, and foundation grants and contracts.

Commitment to diversity:

  • Experience recruiting and/or supporting diverse students, faculty, and staff;
  • Experience designing or supporting programs with a diversity focus;
  • Scholarly and/or creative pursuits in support of diversity;
  • Broad community engagement.

About the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences:
The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) includes diverse academic programs living under one umbrella, each threaded together by a shared mission. This unique configuration of programs supports innovative, interdisciplinary research and provides distinctive experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. SBS engages students and faculty in educational programs, scholarship, service, and professional endeavors that promote equity, sustainability, and human well-being. Graduates are prepared with critical capacities for citizenship, leadership, and creative problem-solving to transform lives and communities.

SBS consists of the School of Communication, which houses the Communication Studies, Strategic Communication, Journalism, Visual Communication, Photography, and Creative Media and Film programs, supported by the Media Innovation Center, Visual Design Lab, and Advanced Media Lab. The College is also home to the departments of Anthropology; Applied Indigenous Studies; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Geography, Planning, and Recreation; Politics and International Affairs; Psychological Sciences; Social Work; Sociology; the Ethnic Studies Program; and the Women's and Gender Studies Program.

The College also houses two institutes, the Center for Service and Volunteerism and The Institute for Human Development, which link the University to the community with public service programs throughout Arizona, community engagement opportunities, workshops, and community-based research.

More than 200 full-time faculty members serve over 5,600 undergraduate majors plus nearly 4,000 students pursuing second majors and/or minors/certificates along with 500 graduate students through the College’s academic programs. SBS participates significantly in serving all students through NAU’s General Studies Program and interdisciplinary programs and degrees. The College also offers a PhD in Politics and International Affairs and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Health (shared with the College of Health and Human Services); 12 degrees at the master’s level, more than 30 BA, BS and BFA degrees, and numerous certificates at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. SBS is a leader at NAU in many areas, including the acquisition of external funding, and a strong commitment to online and statewide delivery of programming to rural and under-served communities, including Native American communities.

The College’s unique configuration of programs supports innovative, boundary-crossing research and hands-on experience through the Media Innovation Center, Model UN, Forensics Team, GeoDesign Studio, Speech and Debate, the Advanced Media Lab, as well as with the Child Welfare Training Project, Archaeology Field Program, and undergraduate and graduate research and internships, including Community-University Public Inquiry (CUPI). SBS faculty are dedicated to personal mentoring for students and scholarship that has a significant and positive impact on local and global communities.

Learn more about the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

About the Institution:
Founded in 1899, Northern Arizona University (NAU) began as a teachers college, and its commitment to building a better tomorrow through education remains a high priority. Students, mentored by faculty members renowned in their fields, are at the center of all institutional efforts. In the classroom and online, through hands-on experiences in an unparalleled learning environment, and with the NAU community cheering them on, students discover and hone their ambitions. NAU’s academic programs, research, public service, and creative endeavors enrich lives and create opportunities in Arizona and beyond. The institution’s mission is to develop solutions to today’s challenges and drive innovation in a supportive, inclusive, and diverse environment.

NAU has maintained boundless growth in its student population, research, and creative scholarship agenda since its inception. Today, the institution serves almost 29,000 students through multiple offerings: the traditional college campus experience set against a remarkable landscape at the base of Flagstaff’s San Francisco Peaks; the convenience of attending classes at one of over 20 locations across the state; and an award-winning online experience with over 125 virtual programs. NAU is dedicated to upholding the same high standards of education across all locations and delivery options.

With more than 180 undergraduate,125 graduate, and 90 certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines—the arts, education, engineering, forestry, social sciences, business, and more - NAU comprises seven academic colleges plus the Honors and Graduate colleges. The institution also houses 15 Division I sports teams and consistently earns a top ten spot on the national Military Times Best for Vets list, ranking #1 in Arizona.

Additional NAU acknowledgments include:

The institution has a long history of increasing diversity and inclusion. Diversity commissions, individuals, and departments have dedicated countless hours to related education, programming, and initiatives. The formal long-term diversity strategic planning process, through which the current Diversity Strategic Plan (DSP) evolved, began in early 2016. The current DSP provides for immediate action and lays a strong foundation for continuing improvement and implementation over the long term. NAU is focused on a vision of becoming a True Diversity University, devoting the university’s attention and resources to initiatives for diversity, inclusion, and a culturally competent environment for all, with particular attention to underrepresented, marginalized, and underserved groups in higher education. The DSP aligns with the University Strategic Plan that, in turn, aligns with the Arizona Board of Regents Strategic Plan, “Impact Arizona.” It is intended to be a living, evolving document.

In March 2021, the institution appointed its 17th president following a national search. Dr. José Luis Cruz Rivera is dedicated to expanding access to education and improving educational outcomes for all students—especially those who have historically been underserved. NAU has received external recognition for its diversity initiatives, and the composition of NAU’s student body reflects the university’s support for historically underserved students:

  • 46% of NAU students are the first in their family to attend college
  • 25% of NAU undergraduates identify as Hispanic
  • The university meets US Department of Education Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) criteria and has earned recognition from the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
  • NAU is among the top 10 producers of bachelor’s degrees for Native American students nationwide
  • Members of 113 Native American tribes are among the NAU student body

Under the leadership of President Cruz Rivera, NAU recently developed a new Strategic Roadmap grounded in and informed by the principles of equitable postsecondary value.

Northern Arizona University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission through 2027-2028. Some academic programs meet additional accreditation and licensure requirements for specific fields. Learn more about the NAU workplace.

To Apply:
A review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled; parties who apply by September 20, 2022 will be given first consideration.

  1. Click here to access the NAU Careers Application Site.
  2. Enter 606519 into the search bar at the top of the page.
  3. Click on the search results: Dean, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Apply.
  5. Sign In to access your account or if you are not an existing user select the New User link to create one. 
  6. Proceed as instructed to complete application.

As part of your application, please submit 1) a PDF version of your CV/resume; 2) a cover letter that describes both your motivation for application and how your leadership experience aligns with the key qualifications of the role; and, 3) a diversity statement (maximum two pages) that addresses the ways in which your personal and professional philosophy and related record as a leader in higher education align with the institution’s vision to become a True Diversity University: A university environment exhibiting true diversity and inclusion where there exists a wealth of individuals whose unique experiences of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual and gender identities, disability, and other perspectives are valued and woven into the fabric of the institution.

To make recommendations or for more information, please contact:
Tammarah Townes

Senior Consultant
Summit Search Solutions, Inc.
Direct: 302-388-9480

NAU is an Employer of National Service. AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and other National Service alumni are encouraged to apply.

If you are an individual with a disability and need reasonable accommodations 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.

Northern Arizona University is a committed Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution. Women, minorities, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. NAU is responsive to the needs of dual career couples.

EEO is the Law Poster and Supplements