Head of the School of Design

Head of the School of Design

Carnegie Mellon School of Design seeks an intellectually curious, collaborative, experienced, and dynamic leader to join the School of Design. Working collaboratively and strategically with faculty, staff, students, and alumni, the Head will lead the further development and enactment of a forward-thinking vision for the school. The Head serves as a critical leader within the College of Fine Arts, advocating for the School of Design, and reporting to the Dean of the College.

The School of Design at Carnegie Mellon is among the oldest and most respected programs worldwide. The School has a rich history and is one of the only design programs to offer degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels within a top-ranked multidisciplinary research university. The School enrolls approximately 240 undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of backgrounds, inspired by a wide range of motivations and career ambitions, and employs 20.5 full time faculty, 3 special faculty, 8 adjuncts, 7 PhD teaching fellows, and 11 staff. Valuing collective strength and difference, its members strive to embrace other ways of knowing, doing, and being that benefit the School and the discipline.

Throughout its history the School of Design has led the evolution of design craft, pedagogy, research, practice, and ultimately the discipline. It aspires to continue its impact on the field of design moving forward.

Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), is a global, research-intensive university with more than 14,000 students, more than 120,000 alumni, and approximately 5,000 faculty and staff. In 2022–2023, U.S. News & World Report ranked CMU #22 among national universities, #3 in terms of Most Innovative Schools, and many of its programs are among the top-ranked in the world. CMU is home to the country’s #1 ranked programs in computer science, computer engineering, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence, among others.

Carnegie Mellon is a unique place where design, arts, sciences, and humanities converge. The School promotes an integrated design process that incorporates perspectives from each of these disciplines. To identify and address new problems as they emerge, the School builds on the humanistic, artistic, and scientific strengths of Carnegie Mellon as a leading research university. At the School there is a belief that design can enact positive change in the world—a world that values the quality of people’s lives in balance with a healthy and sustainable planet.

Reporting to the Dean of the College of Fine Arts, The Head of the School of Design will provide creative leadership for the faculty, staff, and students at the School. In this role, the Head will manage 8 direct reports as well as work collaboratively with the entire faculty and staff of the School. They will represent and be an advocate for the School within the university and to the outside world— demonstrating an understanding of, and appreciation for, design research, practice, and teaching now and into the future.

This is a unique administrative role with fiduciary and administrative responsibilities as well as responsibility at the faculty leadership level. The next Head of the School will be an active member of a strong leadership team within the College of Fine Arts.

The ideal candidate will bring to the position a strong professional background, excellent management skills, the proven ability to expand and manage resources, and a record of successful leadership. Evidence of creative management, visionary and collaborative leadership, fiscal responsibility, and design excellence are essential. Excellence in design may be demonstrated through the proven track record of an inspired practitioner, teacher, researcher, and/or administrator. The individual should have potential for teaching, research, and professional activities at the rank of tenured full professor. The ideal candidate must be able to work effectively with a wide range of people: faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors, university leaders, parents, and friends of the university. The position requires exceptional communication, effective decision-making, consultative problem solving, creative management, an embrace of new technology, and a high level of energy, dedication, and passion for the future of design.

This is a full-time position that will be performed on-site in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Salary will be commensurate with experience and includes a generous benefits package.

Position Profile
To view the full position profile, please visit Storbeck Search’s website: https://diversifiedsearchgroup.com/search/19966-cmu-head-school-of-design/

Application Process
Applications, nominations, and inquiries should be sent in confidence via email to:

Matthew Bunting, Managing Director
Lareese Hall, Senior Associate
Storbeck Search


Carnegie Mellon University shall abide by the requirements 41 CFR 60-1.4(a), 60-300.5(a), and 60-741.5(a). These regulations prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals based on their status as protected veterans or individuals with disabilities, and prohibit discrimination against all individuals based on their race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Moreover, these regulations require that covered prime contractors and subcontractors take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, protected veteran status, or disability.