Chair of MFA Illustration as Visual Essay

The Opportunity

SVA invites nominations and applications for the position of full-time department chair of the Master in Fine Arts (MFA) Illustration as Visual Essay program. The Chair is responsible for the overall management and future direction of the department's academic and co-curricular programming, in support of SVA's mission and in support of the institution's strategic plan. The successful candidate will be expected to begin on or about August 1, 2023.


Program Description

Founded in 1984 by the renowned illustrator Marshall Arisman, the MFA in Illustration is a 60-credit program designed to be completed in two years of full-time study. The program accepts approximately 35 percent of applicants. Students hail from across the US and scores of foreign countries. Each of the program's 40 students has a private workspace.


We believe this program is as unique as it is revolutionary. It redefines how figurative artists see their work and how that art finds its way into the world of commerce-fine art, illustration, and publication. It begins with developing a personal vision. Vision is not style. Whether the work is tightly rendered, loose, more or less expressive or Photoshopped, we help you to achieve personal content in your work-to tell your story as only you can. When your "style" is personal content, the images you make can only be original.


Each class becomes a community of figurative artists whose interest in storytelling encompasses all 21st-century media: graphic and illustrated novels, children's books, comic books, and painting series for gallery walls. But, when you tap into your personal vision and find your own stories, the applications for the work flows naturally.


We focus on teaching how to combine words with images, continually refining and re-defining your personal vision. Our faculty is made up of illustrators, fine artists, computer artists, writers, art historians and art directors. The contact with faculty is personal, constant, and intense. We accept only 20 students per year in the two-year program. It is a classroom-based curriculum, unlike many graduate programs where students work independently with scheduled faculty oversight. Close interaction between faculty and students, as well as with other classmates, is an essential part of the creative process that defines our program.


To learn more about the program and SVA, and to view student and faculty work, please visit




  • Define and maintain a vision for the program's future direction, consistent with the

College's mission.

  • Manage a faculty of 15 and departmental staff. Assist in identifying and assembling resources to support the recruitment of a diverse faculty and staff.
  • Assist in identifying and assembling resources to support faculty/staff diversity hiring.
  • Hands-on involvement with student artistic and professional growth.
  • Responsible for the design and application of the Department's teaching plan, which incorporates an inclusive and culturally relevant curriculum.
  • Provide support for planning related to faculty/staff DEI workshops and training initiatives
  • Organize events and on-campus resources to advance the goals of the College's strategic plan.
  • Foster an environment of professionalism and collegiality.
  • Curate student and alumni work in one of SVA's three main gallery spaces.
  • Uphold and refine the creative, inclusive, equitable, intellectual, and professional

standards of the program.

  • Remain professionally active in the discipline and profession of illustration.
  • Actively engage with external partners, colleagues, alumni, and industry professionals to

continuously raise the profile of the program and facilitate professional opportunities for

students and graduates.

  • Work with departmental staff to prepare course schedules, catalog descriptions, and

make teaching assignments.

  • Oversee the department's annual budget and monitor ongoing expenditures within

approved categories and limits.

  • Represent the program in recruitment, alumni, and professional activities.
  • Perform the duties of a full-time faculty member, including teaching six credits per

academic year, and participate in other activities in support of the Department and the

College, as requested.




  • Substantial professional practice in illustration and or closely related discipline, with a

record of publication.

  • A graduate degree (preferably the MFA in Fine Arts, Illustration, or
  • closely related discipline). Applicants with only an undergraduate degree and

an exceptional record of publication will be considered.

  • Five to ten years of progressively responsible experience in academic leadership at the

college level, preferably as a chair or assistant dean, with a record of maintaining the

highest levels of academic and creative integrity, for students, faculty and staff..

  • A demonstrated commitment to the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Two or more years of experience in diversity-related curriculum development and pedagogy preferred.
  • Foster an inclusive working and learning environment. Maintain the highest levels of academic and creative integrity, for students, faculty and staff.
  • Extensive knowledge of illustration as an artistic form and the industries it supports
  • Demonstrated excellence in teaching graduate courses in illustration or closely related


  • An unflagging commitment to the artistic and professional growth of individual students.
  • A collegial management style and record of collaboration with peers.
  • Experience with student recruitment.
  • A considerable network of professional contacts upon which the candidate could draw

for prospective faculty members, student mentors, guest speakers, program advisors, and

post-graduate employment.

  • A demonstrable commitment to the principles and practice of diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Two years or more of experience in diversity related curriculum and/or pedagogy development and implementation strongly preferred.
  • A demonstrable commitment to the mission and core values of the School of Visual Arts.


SVA Mission Statement and Core Values


To educate future generations of creative citizens to foster cultural and social

change that promotes our core values through the pursuit and achievement of

their professional goals.



  • Citizenship
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Freedom of Expression
  • Professionalism and Integrity


Application Procedure

For full consideration, please send (1) a letter of interest that describes how your experience and interests fulfill the requirements of this position, (2) a current curriculum vitae, (3) a statement of teaching philosophy that incorporates the tenets and practices of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)), and (4) a list of names and the full contact information for three professional references.


Application review will begin immediately and continue until an appointment is made. To be assured of full consideration, please submit all materials by February 15, 2023, as separate PDF documents, to

School of Visual Arts has been a leader in the education of artists, designers and creative professionals for nearly seven decades. With a faculty of distinguished working professionals, dynamic curriculum and an emphasis on critical thinking, SVA is a catalyst for innovation and social responsibility. Comprised of more than 6,000 students at its Manhattan campus and 35,000 alumni in 100 countries, SVA also represents one of the most influential artistic communities in the world.

No walk-ins or phone calls, please.

The School of Visual Arts is an equal-opportunity employer. Diversity and inclusion is a core principle of the College. SVA enjoys a community that represents a significant number of historically underrepresented communities, ethnic and religious backgrounds, gender identities, diverse abilities, and foreign countries, and all are encouraged to apply.