The Rhoda Thalhimer Endowed Chair in Art History – Contemporary Art

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This full-time, 9-month position is at the rank of either Associate Professor or full Professor, is tenure-eligible, and begins August 16, 2023.

Application Deadline: For best consideration, applications are due Monday, January 23, 2023.

The Opportunity:

The Department of Art History, Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts (VCUarts), invites applications from distinguished, collaborative, interdisciplinary scholars of Contemporary Art for the Rhoda Thalhimer Endowed Chair in Art History.

The Rhoda Thalhimer Endowed Chair is a 9-month, tenure-eligible position with dedicated research support.
We seek applications from scholars who are either rigorously engaged, established mid-career art historians with notable professional prominence, or established, renowned faculty with extensive research portfolios in Contemporary Art. Applicants should have demonstrated excellence in teaching and student mentorship. Applicants’ area(s) of geographic or cultural focus should complement and extend current faculty expertise and support the Department’s commitment to providing a diverse, inclusive curriculum.

The position of Endowed Chair offers the opportunity to pursue innovative, cross-disciplinary research and teaching in a top-ranked public art school with robust graduate and undergraduate programs in the visual and performing arts and design. The holder of the Endowed Chair will engage with current trends and issues in contemporary art and art historical pedagogy and contribute to positioning VCUarts at the forefront of graduate and undergraduate arts education. The wealth of museums and arts organizations in Richmond, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) offers rich potential for a range of professional and student-focused research as well as enhanced, engaged learning experiences in and beyond the classroom. 

The Department of Art History:
The VCUarts Department of Art History—a community of faculty, students, artists, curators, and museum professionals—embraces the fact that art history is one of the most interdisciplinary of disciplines, drawing from studies of history, religion, culture, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and literature. We prepare undergraduate and graduate students for careers that contribute to this dynamic field of study, grounded in rigorous methodologies for creating historically oriented interpretations of artworks; making reasoned statements about ways in which visual art enhances our lives; and connecting artworks to the complexity of life, of civilizations, of daily experiences across time and around the world.

The Department offers degrees in art history at the BA and MA levels, including a 4+1 combined BA/MA degree. The MA program offers concentrations in Historical Studies and Museum Studies. At the graduate level, museum studies is central to the curriculum, and many students go on to careers in the museum field.

Through its network of affiliate faculty and alumni, the Department of Art History maintains close working relationships with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Institute of Contemporary Art at VCU, among many other arts and cultural institutions within the region.


Teaching: Instructional responsibilities of the Thalhimer Chair will include developing and teaching undergraduate courses and graduate seminars in the faculty member’s area(s) of expertise. The expected teaching load for the Thalhimer Chair is typically three to four courses per academic year. Course assignments could change based on student needs and will be determined in consultation with the Department Chair.

The faculty member is expected to be a passionate teacher who demonstrates the ability to engage, inspire, and mentor students; integrate innovative pedagogical approaches and multicultural perspectives into instructional methods; foster collaborative teaching and educational opportunities through diverse and innovative course assignments, curricula, and experiences; and promote the efforts of the department in the university and throughout the community. In support of the department’s strong commitment to diversity, the faculty member is expected to foster a welcoming, equitable, and accessible learning environment for all students.

Research: The faculty member’s research activity should make a significant contribution to a body of knowledge within contemporary art and reflect a high standard of quality. The faculty member will be expected to seek external funding, as appropriate, to advance their scholarship. The faculty member must demonstrate an active research agenda with scholarly activities related to the program’s curriculum, and be consistent with and support the broader mission and initiatives of the department, School, and University. Candidates who can demonstrate established scholarship that advances the field are strongly encouraged to apply.

Service: As a member of a community-oriented, tight-knit department and School, the faculty member will provide service such as assisting with student, department, and school-wide initiatives; contributing to discussions that support the student community and the administration at each level; support recruitment initiatives for undergraduate and graduate programs; foster community engagement opportunities; and serve on department/School/University committees. In addition, the faculty member is expected to provide service to the profession (such as leadership in professional organizations, review of manuscripts for journals and presses, writing book reviews, or organizing scholarly events). Other responsibilities may be assigned by the Department Chair or university administration.

Required Qualifications:
● PhD in art history or a related field
● University teaching experience
● A well-developed research portfolio in the scholarship of contemporary art that complements and expands existing expertise in the department
● Demonstrated experience working in and fostering a diverse and inclusive faculty, staff, and student environment or commitment to do so as a faculty member at VCU
● Strong collaboration skills and demonstrated enthusiasm toward teaching and working with faculty, staff and students within the university; and toward building and maintaining professional relationships outside of the university on the program’s behalf

Application Instructions:
Virginia Commonwealth University is committed to organizational diversity, equity and inclusion – an environment where all can thrive in their pursuit of excellence. VCUarts strongly encourages applications from all racial, ethnic, gender, and social identities.

Applicants are requested to submit a Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (typically between 150-300 words) providing your career aspirations and contributions toward promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Through this statement, you can share how your lived experiences, and academic and professional activities will impact your contribution to VCU’s mission of promoting equity and inclusion.

Note: Examples include working with others to further the goals of equity and inclusion; leading in any capacity that tangibly promotes an environment where diversity is welcomed, fostered, and celebrated; creative activity, research and scholarship that promotes equity and parity; teaching and mentoring students, and/or engaging with faculty and/or staff from traditionally underrepresented groups to create a positive and successful organizational experience. For additional guidance on writing a Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

Questions about the position can be directed to the attention of Dr. Kathleen Chapman, Search Committee Chair. at Questions about the VCU Jobs Website can be directed to Tasia Robinson, Assistant Director of Human Resources, at

The following documents should be submitted online via the VCU Jobs Website:
● Cover Letter that includes an overview of professional experience and research interests
● Current Curriculum Vitae
● Writing sample (published or under-review article or chapter)
● Teaching statement that addresses philosophy of teaching and approach to student mentorship; if applicable, please discuss experience teaching non-major students and/or mentorship of first-generation and underrepresented minority students
● Sample syllabus for a course in area of specialization
● List of three professional references including names with titles and contact information (references will not be contacted prior to a candidate’s approval).

Only electronic applications submitted via the VCU Jobs Website will be accepted. For best consideration, completed applications are due by Monday, January 23, 2023.

Ranked by US News & World Report as a top-five arts and design school, VCUarts ( includes over 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students with nationally recognized programs in design, visual and performing arts, and has an annual budget of $38 million and an endowment of more than $13.5 million. Students are taught by over 175 full-time teaching and research faculty members and the school is supported by over 60 staff members that assist in daily processes. The School includes two campuses; one in Richmond and one in Doha, Qatar. The Richmond campus is located on the university’s 75-acre Monroe Park campus situated in the city’s historic Fan District. Ultimately, the work of the School of the Arts extends globally with partnerships throughout the world and across fields as diverse as the humanities, health care and business.

Virginia Commonwealth University is committed to providing accessible and equitable living, learning and working environments free from discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex (including pregnancy), political affiliation, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or disability.