Founding Director of the Arts

Waterville, Maine
Jul 31, 2019
Faculty Jobs
Arts & Humanities
Executive Administration Jobs
Other Executive Administration
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Colby College seeks an energetic and talented arts leader to serve as the Founding Director of the Arts


Founded in 1813, Colby is the 12th-oldest independent liberal arts college in the nation and one of America’s most selective. The College is known for its intellectual rigor, its supportive and inclusive campus community, and its global reach. A residential, four-year institution serving only undergraduates, Colby offers an academic program rooted in the deep exploration of ideas and enriched by partnerships with world-class faculty scholars. Colby prepares its students to be intellectually curious, critical, and imaginative thinkers, proficient communicators, and responsible and active global citizens who are prepared to respond flexibly to changing demands and paradigms.

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Reporting to the Provost, the Founding Director of the Arts will be charged with animating and coordinating a vibrant arts culture at Colby and in Waterville.   The responsibilities include coordinating and facilitating Colby’s institutional arts strategy,  as well as developing and executing the larger local and regional arts strategy and serving as a key member of the teams developing the Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts and the Paul J. Schupf Art Center.   The Director will develop and promote a robust program of arts events and opportunities, collaborate with faculty and staff to foster synergies between curricular and co-curricular arts events, and promote the development of a culture of arts and innovation across the campus.  This leader will build a program to communicate effectively about arts activities and partner with College Advancement to develop the resources necessary to sustain arts programs of acknowledged excellence.

The Director will have deep experience with all mediums of the arts, especially of the performing arts. Well versed in the best practices of arts management, this leader will possess credibility to all types of artists.  The Founding Director will tap into a network of professional artists and arts presenters to foster mutually-productive relationships while also creating strong bonds with a diverse local group of faculty, staff, and community leaders.  Deeply committed to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion as central to institutional excellence, the person must have a demonstrated ability to build community, plan and operate strategically, work effectively with varied stakeholders, and build internal and external support. The individual will be a passionate and sophisticated advocate for the arts, and will bring people together to ensure that Colby‘s arts programs are truly central to the student experience, the academic curriculum, and a growing and vibrant arts ecosystem in Waterville and Maine. 


The person must exhibit a myriad of qualities and characteristics to emerge as a compelling candidate:

  • A big and strategic thinker who has imagination and moxie. Evidence of visualizing the future, animating human capital and resources toward that vision, and connecting disparate groups and individuals while building the programs and structures that will achieve the vision.
  • Excellent interpersonal, relationship building, and communications skills with a compelling public presence. An ease and comfort connecting with a wide variety of stakeholders in an authentic manner.  
  • A naturally transparent, consultative, participative, and accessible leadership style with the highest standards of honesty and integrity, coupled with the willingness to make decisions when consensus is elusive;
  • An established record of completing projects and events in a timely manner, in ways that are respectful of the humanity of operational partners; an inclination and attention to operational details as well as to larger goals; 
  • An institutional and collaborative team player who will serve as an influential voice within a diverse community of faculty, staff, students, and community partners; and
  • Passionate commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as both personal and institutional values;
  • Regarded as a great listener who can harvest and synthesize the ideas of others and articulate shared values and goals; and
  • Pleasant, affable, and down-to-earth.

Colby College has retained the services of Diversified Search to assist in this search.  Applications should include a résumé and cover letter. The cover letter should address why an applicant is interested in the position and how his/her experiences fit with the needs of this position. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until an appointment is made. All inquiries, nominations, and expressions of interest will be held in strict confidence. Applications, inquiries, and nominations should be submitted electronically to: [email protected].

Colby College does not discriminate in its educational programs or employment on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion, national origin, age, marital status, genetic information, or military or veteran’s status. Colby is an equal opportunity employer and operates in accordance with federal and state laws regarding non-discrimination.