Inaugural D.J.A. Spencer Dean of the School of Climate, Environment, and Society



Worcester, MA




Clark University, a nationally ranked, private liberal arts-based research university, seeks a visionary leader to serve as the inaugural D.J.A. Spencer Dean of the new School for Climate, Environment, and Society. In March of 2024, Clark received a founding gift of $10 million to launch plans for the school, which is expected to open in the fall of 2025. The incoming dean will play a pivotal role in establishing a unique school that is positioned to be a leader in developing graduates, groundbreaking research, and outward engagement to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. The dean will forge partnerships across the university, inspiring a dedicated community of scholars to unite to magnify Clark’s visibility, profile, and impact in addressing the causes and devastating impacts of climate change, the distress that environmental transformation places on society, and human-environment relationships. Clark is known for its profound engagement in the community, in Worcester and beyond, and the inaugural dean will be an external champion to advance Clark’s contributions to practice and to communicate Clark’s distinctive value proposition and impact to a broad external audience. The dean will position Clark as a leading and critical voice in helping to resolve the climate crisis and transform the ways that humans live within their surrounding environments.


Clark’s size allows it to be innovative and nimble, and the tight-knit campus community provides the foundation for meaningful interdisciplinary collaborations. At the same time, Clark’s distinctive educational mission of inquiry-meeting-action is particularly well suited to help students address the social, economic, and environmental challenges facing the world. The new school initially will comprise three academic departments: Economics, Geography, and Sustainability and Social Justice. The department of Biology will also hold a special relationship to the school as a founding department, in which faculty with climate and environmental interests will be actively involved. In addition, faculty across Clark will be invited to participate in its programs and activities, and it is expected that most departments, such as those in the environmental humanities, will build strong connections given the breadth of issues involved. The school will also house the George Perkins Marsh Institute and the Center for Geospatial Analytics (formerly Clark Labs), providing further opportunities for coordinated research activities. The school will create a structure that enables Clark to innovate novel education and research programs that are responsive to global needs.


The inaugural dean will be a key member of university leadership, working collaboratively with the president and provost to advance a bold and ambitious vision for Clark. This launch of the School for Climate, Environment, and Society is a major component of Clark’s strategic framework Clark Inspired and is a featured aspect of the capital campaign. The university is also investing in growing its research and innovation enterprise, which complements goals for the new school. The inaugural dean will be responsible for raising additional philanthropy for the school and ensuring its relevance by establishing connections with relevant state and federal agencies, community partners, NGOs, and industry in ways that directly address climate and sustainability issues that impact our changing world.




All inquiries, nominations, and applications (including resumes/CVs and letters of interest responding to the opportunities and challenges outlined above) should be directed to the search firm in confidence:


John Muckle, Carrie Alexander, Ivy Couch, and Kira Hamilton

Isaacson, Miller


Clark University embraces equal opportunity and affirmative action as core values: The university believes that cultivating an environment that embraces and promotes diversity is fundamental to the success of our students, its employees, and its community. This commitment applies to every aspect of education, services, and employment policies and practices at Clark. Clark’s commitment to diversity informs its efforts in recruitment, hiring, and retention. All positions at Clark share in the responsibility for building a community that values diversity and the uniqueness of others by exhibiting integrity and respect in interacting with all members of the Clark community to create an atmosphere of fairness and belonging. Clark strongly encourages members from historically underrepresented communities, inclusive of all women, to apply.