Ohio University – Dean of Fine Arts


Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, seeks an inspirational, dynamic, and passionately committed leader to continue the College’s seventy-nine year history and mission of excellence for innovative creativity and scholarship, and engagement of students through a challenging and supportive learning environment. The Dean will enable the College to reach its full potential and aspirations to be an internationally significant center of creative practice and scholarship by launching arts initiatives that reflect a diversity of ideas and cultures. The College is proud of its presence and influence in infusing the arts into the university, the region, and the world by embracing a broad spectrum of traditions and emerging practices and through the many events, performances, festivals, and exhibitions available throughout the year.

The Dean reports to the Executive Vice President and Provost and is the chief academic and administrative officer of the College providing visionary leadership, planning, coordination, and management for all academic, fiscal, and personnel matters in the College.

The Dean will lead a dynamic college that is positioned to prepare a new generation of professional artists from diverse backgrounds to succeed and flourish in ways that have transformative power on society and on individual lives.

About the College of Fine Arts (COFA)

Ohio University’s College of Fine Arts (COFA) is a vibrant community of artists, art educators, actors, designers, dancers, musicians, playwrights, and scholars. Many of the faculty have performed and designed on the world’s greatest stages, exhibited at prestigious museums and galleries, published creative and scholarly research, and served as leaders with international arts organizations. The College of Fine Arts has over 100 full-time faculty, among them is the 2016 winner (Rajko Grlic) of the Montreal World Film Festival’s prestigious Grand Prize of the Americas. Ohio University recently named five professors as University Presidential Research Scholars and two of the five hail from COFA (Michele Fiala and Arthur Werger). Additionally, the 2016 Ohio University Presidential Teacher Award went to a COFA Professor (Roger Braun). The college’s School of Art + Design is noted by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top Fine Arts Schools (#33) nationally; the college is also recognized for several highly ranked programs in ceramics (#3), and in printmaking (#10).

The College of Fine Arts comprises four schools: Art + Design; Dance, Film, and Theater; Interdisciplinary Arts; and Music. The College also houses the CREATE_space, the Kennedy Museum of Art, and the Athena Cinema. Arts for Ohio, a university-funded program, enables the College to more fully integrate the arts into the culture and fabric of Ohio University by offering students free admission to college arts events while expanding and enhancing these offerings for the entire Athens community. Opened for summer season 2016, Tantrum Theater, a professional theater company developed in partnership with the Dublin Arts Council and the City of Dublin, OH provides new opportunities for student internships and outreach across the region.

Information about facilities is included here: https://www.ohio.edu/finearts/about/facilities-resources/index.cfm

There are approximately 730 undergraduate and 230 graduate students pursuing BFA, BM, MM, MFA, and PhD degrees. Current Music student Julian Howard acts alongside Don Cheadle in the recently released Miles Davis biopic, Miles Ahead, and the Marching 110 will perform for the third time in the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. COFA alumni, numbering more than 14,000 worldwide, are among the most successful professional artists, educators, and scholars in their fields. Brian Harnetty, a sound artist, composer, and scholar was selected from more than 2,500 national submissions for a 2016 Creative Capital Award, Brianna Bennet was named as one of 35 “Up-and-Coming Executives Under 35” in Hollywood, and multiple COFA alumni won awards last year from the University Film and Video Association.

For more information about the College of Fine Arts and about this search please visit, http://ohiofinearts.org.

About Ohio University (OHIO)

Academic excellence and innovation have been the major engines of Ohio University’s vision since its congressional charter in 1804. As the first public institution of higher learning in Ohio and the entire Northwest Territory, Ohio University shaped its early mission around providing a transformative education for citizens living west of the Appalachian Mountains. Now into its third century, OHIO has become one of the nation’s premiere regional universities, educating nearly 40,000 students annually within 11 colleges on eight campuses, including a thriving eCampus. The University offers more than 250 undergraduate, 188 masters, and 58 doctoral programs, and was ranked as the 18th fastest growing college in the nation between 2003 and 2013.

As a pioneer in forming academic relationships with international institutions, Ohio University offers its students an education that emphasizes producing citizen-scholars prepared to enter an interconnected, global community. This vision is also tied to a strong tradition of engaging students in research, creative activity, and professional projects, starting with undergraduates. On an annual basis, OHIO students win 40 to 50 of the country’s most competitive and prestigious national academic awards, paving the way for the University to be recognized as a top producer of 2014-15 Fulbright U.S. Students. Ohio’s governor named the University a “center for excellence” in Energy and the Environment (2009), Cultural and Societal Transformation (2010), and Health and Wellness (2010), and three online graduate programs were recently named among the best in the nation.

OHIO’s record of academic excellence and innovation has inspired the establishment of several named professorships and the endowment of four colleges by alumni or foundations. These include the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (2011), the Patton College of Education and Human Services (2010), the Russ College of Engineering and Technology (1994), and the Scripps College of Communication (2006). The gifts received by Heritage, Patton, and Russ are among the largest ever given for the purposes of endowing a college within a public university to support the disciplines of medicine, education, and engineering, respectively.

OHIO is a member of National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division I (FBS), competing as a charter member in the Mid-American Conference. The Marching 110 (the University’s celebrated marching band) has performed around the world and was ranked the #1 college band in the country by CollegeSports-fans.com in 2007 and again in 2014.

As the University and its vision evolve, mixed-use campuses and smart growth techniques continue to drive cutting-edge campus planning. Through its role as education and workforce training provider, employer, research institution, and regional steward for community and economic development, Ohio University also continues to grow its reputation as a leader of innovation in its community, the region, and the state.

Ohio University has seen unprecedented innovation and growth in the last decade, working with public and private sector partners to position itself as a state and national leader in the mixed-use campus model, one that attracts and recruits high quality students, preeminent faculty, and expert staff while building bridges between industry, government, and academia.

The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities recently designated OHIO as one of 18 institutions in the U.S. to be named an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University in recognition of its strong commitment to economic engagement. However, compelling external forces have been identified that have—and will have—a profound influence on OHIO’s business model and evolving Innovation Strategy in the coming years. Ohio University’s Innovation Strategy broadly defines innovation as internal and external modes and areas in which the University applies creative thinking to achieve improved outcomes and effective programmatic solutions.

OHIO’s main campus is located in Athens, Ohio, a quintessential college town that features a lively uptown thoroughfare, brick streets, a growing international community, and celebrated Georgian architecture. The Princeton Review acknowledges the Athens campus as one of the most attractive in the nation. The University has also taken top honors in recent years for its campus-wide efforts in the regional and national RecycleMania competition and in 2015, the Sierra Club added OHIO to its list of greenest American universities.

OHIO’s operating budget for fiscal year 2016 totals $716.3M and includes the Athens Campus, E-Campus, regional and extension campuses, and auxiliary operations. Within the FY16 budgeted operating revenue, net tuition and fees account for 43%; state appropriations for 23%; room and board for 12%; grants for 8%; and private support/external sales provide the remaining 14%.

Current tuition and fees are $10,536 for full-time, in-state undergraduate students and $19,500 for out-of-state undergraduates per year. Financial assistance to students is available through federal student aid programs and a number of scholarship, loan, and work-study programs. Other sources of support that the University receives include private gifts and contributions and grants.

Approximately 84% of the University’s students receive financial aid. During fiscal year 2014, students received total assistance amounting to approximately $429 million. Primary sources of aid included the Federal Stafford Student Loans, Federal Pell Grant Program, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Work Study, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Ohio College Opportunity Grant, and University grants, scholarships, loans, employment, and fee waivers.

Starting in in the fall of 2015, Ohio University’s groundbreaking OHIO Guarantee set a new standard among Ohio’s public institutions of higher education. The cohort-based, level-rate fee model assures students and their families a set of comprehensive rates for the pursuit of an undergraduate degree. This means that tuition, housing, dining, and fee rates established at enrollment remain unchanged for 12 consecutive semesters.

About the Athens Community

Athens, Ohio, has earned a strong reputation as an arts community with nationally and internationally influential faculty artists and student artists fusing with the rich history of local and Appalachian art and performance. COFA offers over 300 performances and events annually that are free and open to the community. Annual local events like the Pawpaw Festival and the Nelsonville Music Festival celebrate the area’s natural beauty make it a growing tourist destination and have helped Athens earn itself a place in the Top 100 Art Communities in America. Click here to check out the Calendar of Events.

What strikes most newcomers to Athens is the area’s dedication to cultivating community. Founded in 1797, Athens was an important stop on the Underground Railroad, and the United Mine Workers of America started as a gathering of coal miners in the area. A nationally recognized local food scene, a location near some of the state’s best hiking trails and parks, and a long history of campus and city activism related to sustainability and social justice have all helped to establish Athens as one of today’s “50 Best College Towns to Live in Forever.”

More information on Athens and its surrounding area can be found at http://www.athensohio.com/ or through the annual, student-produced photojournalism project Soul of Athens.

The Opportunity as Dean

In connecting with the overall mission to build an innovative university, Ohio University academic leaders need to think entrepreneurially and act collaboratively to build for growth. The Dean of the College of Fine Arts will provide strategic and financial leadership to the college while supporting and promoting the vital role that the arts and COFA faculty play in the university. The Dean will lead and be a catalyst in proactively addressing the following key challenges and opportunities:

Shaping the vision and the future of the College – The Dean will be part of creating a strategic framework and vision to energize, develop, integrate, facilitate, and promote the College and Departmental goals, in alignment with the mission of the University and in collaboration with the Associate and Assistant Deans, School Directors, Department Chairs and Faculty. Central to the future success of COFA will be progress in two key areas, increase undergraduate student enrollment, new program development and collaborations, and facilities improvements. The Dean, along with COFA faculty, will work with closely with the Senior Vice Provost of Strategic Enrollment Planning and the Assistant Dean of Student Services to continue refining and implementing recruitment and retention strategies that will leverage the faculty’s ability to draw students to OU.

Advocate for the Arts across the OU community, regionally, and nationally – The Dean will be an advocate for the arts throughout the university, recognizing that the knowledge that arises from the study and creation of art is central to the intellectual enterprise. The Dean will be expected to be a leader in local, regional, and national fine arts communities. The Dean will develop, nurture, and promote an environment that coalesces and supports the vibrancy of the arts, the community, faculty, alumni, and students. The Dean will work closely with the Director of External Relations to continue ongoing marketing and branding efforts and should be a willing partner to University Advancement as they seek financial support for COFA. The Dean will be able to communicate the value of art in both philosophical and practical terms to influence strategy and investments of the greater university. The Dean will find that the Ohio University leadership is supportive of the arts and should be an enthusiastic and compelling presenter to this group on COFA successes and how the College is helping to advance university objectives.

Collaborations within Ohio University – The Dean will seek to raise the level of collaboration and interdepartmental communication and programming. The College of Fine Arts and the Scripps College of Communication already have several successful partnerships and the Dean will actively seek out new collaborations with fellow Deans to incent interdisciplinary programming with the goal of developing and nurturing innovation and transformative learning.

Effective Stewardship and Communication around Budget and Finances – The Dean will understand the concepts and practices of the Responsibility Centered Management (RCM) budget model and be an effective educator and communicator related to the finances of COFA. The Dean will be a change agent and driver of new ideas and support faculty in new program development to enhance the college’s academic mission and attract students that will build revenue streams for the college.

Qualifications and Experiences

The successful candidate should understand and value both established and emerging scholarship and creative work in the wide range of fields represented at COFA. He/she should be able to speak as an artist and also as an academic administrator. The Dean should be a dynamic and knowledgeable advocate of the fine arts within the university, and in various communities, large and small. Successful academic leadership experience in a research university will benefit a candidate, however, candidates with professional backgrounds outside of higher education who have demonstrated great leadership and the potential to excel will be considered. The successful candidate will have many of the following qualifications, professional experiences, and personal qualities:

  • An earned doctorate or M.F.A. in an arts-related field, or equivalent professional experience;
  • Demonstrated academic accomplishments appropriate for a tenured appointment at the highest faculty rank of professor in one of the schools within the College of Fine Arts;
  • Academic administrative experience at the level of department chair, center director, dean, associate/assistant dean, or the equivalent;
  • Notable record of teaching and creative/scholarly activity;
  • Demonstrated record of experience managing complex budgets and resources, including knowledge of responsibility-centered management;
  • Experience with strategic planning and a record of visionary, courageous, and innovative leadership;
  • Established ability, or interest and capacity, for external fundraising and developing and managing alumni relationships;
  • Appreciation for the broad spectrum of academic scholarship and creative activity produced in the College of Fine Arts;
  • Demonstrated commitment to excellence and professional development for faculty, staff, and students; ability and appreciation for the nature of creative freedom in the arts;
  • Experience in developing and supporting programs for multicultural, international, and interdisciplinary artistic and scholarly practices;
  • Commitment to recruiting and retaining a culturally diverse faculty, staff, and student body;
  • Appreciation for the role the College plays in creating a lively local artistic culture in regional communities, as well as within the academy; sensitivity to the unique needs of a diverse community of practicing professionals;
  • Intellectual openness and transparency in building productive relationships within the college, across the university, and beyond;
  • Record of encouraging and facilitating innovation and collaboration across disciplines;
  • Ability to effectively represent for the College and the Arts, and to promote high visibility nationally and internationally for the College’s creative activity and scholarship;
  • Capacity for university leadership, ability to earn the respect, confidence, and trust of colleagues across the university.

Interested candidates are invited to submit a CV and a letter of interest discussing their background and qualifications for the position. Confidential review of materials and screening of materials will be done until the position is filled. Final candidates will be required to complete a background check successfully.

Please send materials to: DeanCOFA@neumannsearch.com

The Neumann Executive Search Partners team assisting Ohio University with this search includes:

Liz Neumann, Principal
Beth Schaefer, Principal
Tom Phillips, Vice President and Consultant.

Ohio University is committed to creating a respectful and inclusive educational and workplace environment. Ohio University is an equal access/equal opportunity and affirmative action employer with a strong commitment to building and maintaining a diverse workforce. Women, persons of color, persons with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply.


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