Dean of the College of Professional Studies

National University
San Diego, California
Dec 07, 2020
Executive Administration Jobs
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

National University

San Diego, CA


Dean of the College of Professional Studies


National University (“NU”), a private nonprofit leader in adult education, seeks a new Dean of the College of Professional Studies (which includes programs in Engineering, Business, Health & Human Services and Professional Studies), with a target appointment date of July 1, 2021.  Founded in 1971 as an institution to serve veterans and other independent, post-traditional adult learners, NU today is a well-resourced innovator and pioneer in hybrid, on-line and on-site learning and among the largest open-access private institutions of higher education in California, enrolling over 25,000 students.   Many of its 175,000 alumni worldwide serve in helping sectors such as education, health care, cybersecurity, law and criminal justice.  NU is a leading educator for U.S. military personnel, providing tuition discounts to active duty servicemembers and their dependents.  As the top educator of educators in California, NU has recommended more candidates for California teaching credentials than any other university in the state.  NU’s 2023 strategic plan calls for the University to increase access to adult learners nationwide by offering a variety of programs asynchronously online; to reduce tuition until its most deserving students receive an education with no out-of-pocket costs; to implement “precision education” as an operational strategy to improve student success; to build an infrastructure to support innovative instruction; and to create a culture that attracts and retains top talent, including transparent communication and inclusion. 


As part of its commitment to student success, NU launched a $20 million Precision Learning Initiative in 2017, drawing on adaptive learning, competency-based learning and predictive analytics for student retention to develop a scalable “precision education” platform, recognizing that each student will require a unique path to success (including retention, completion and career readiness).  Always a student-centric institution, NU is now moving aggressively to assure that the goals of every student are achieved, supported by assessment-led, adaptive instruction; holistic student support; competency-based credentialing; career and academic goal-setting; and individualized course navigation.  Following a transformational gift of $350 million in 2019 and with cash reserves of more than $1 billion, NU is in a confident position to educate a higher number of underserved students, at a lower cost, with a framework of appropriate student support that is providing a model for other U.S. universities.


NU offers degree, certificate and credential programs on a flexible, four-week class schedule designed to help students reach their educational goals while balancing busy lives.  NU has offered online classes for more than 20 years; it also offers in-person instruction on campuses in California and on military bases nationwide.  Pre-COVID-19, more than 70% of NU courses were conducted entirely on-line.  Faculty members at NU are part of a dynamic, innovative and continually evolving educational enterprise, with the flexibility to initiate rapid change to stay current and relevant in an ever-changing adult-education space.  While NU does not confer tenure, most faculty members work on rolling, multi-year contracts.  NU maintains an average class size of 17 online and 14 on-site.  Graduate classes are slightly smaller than undergraduate classes (16 versus 17).   A designated Hispanic-serving institution, NU attracts and serves a diverse adult-student population, including students of color (68.4 percent at the associate level, 64.4 percent at the undergraduate level, and 61.3 percent at the graduate level); and those with military service (65.5 percent at the associate level, 36.8 percent at the undergraduate level, and 15.1 percent at the graduate level).


In 2019, NU consolidated four schools—business, engineering, health & human services and professional studies—into a new College of Professional Studies (“COPS”), with the stated mission of providing workforce-relevant education.  COPS is now one of four academic units at the University.  COPS currently offers 45 programs and enrolls 11,175 students, with 91 full-time and 830 adjunct faculty.  Programs and faculty belong to one of the following departments: Accounting, Finance and Economics; Community Health; Engineering and Computing; Health Sciences; Leadership and Human Resources Management; Marketing and Management; Nursing; and Professional Studies.  Each department is led by a Chair, and a Program Lead directs each program (for a complete list of programs, please visit:


As the primary strategic leader of COPS, the Dean provides support for faculty, staff and students by creating an inclusive environment for instructional excellence, scholarship, research and professional engagement, as well as service to the University and community.  The Dean is responsible for delivering exceptionally high-value academic programs, with the implementation of precision education as an operational strategy.  The Dean manages the fiscal and human resources of the College.  The Dean is responsible for building and stewarding relationships with alumni and the community, including external industry partnerships, and for seeking supplemental philanthropic support for both new and existing programs and professional development.  The Dean will build on the success of each department by further strengthening the individual programs and by enhancing interdisciplinary collaboration and integration among appropriate disciplines inside and outside the College.  The Dean participates in the development of university-wide initiatives as a member of the Provost’s Council.  Appointed by the President, the Dean reports directly to the Provost and Executive Vice President and directly supervises an Associate Dean and eight Department Chairs.  The Dean will oversee a $35M budget and have access to an endowment with a yearly payout.


Qualifications.  The Dean must have the ability to design and implement a strategic vision and precision education as an operational strategy.   The position requires commitment to the ideals of open access, lower cost of education, innovation, market relevance and student success.  The Dean must be able to work creatively with others to discover the best response to the opportunities and challenges facing the University and must promote respect for all members of the NU community.  An ideal candidate will demonstrate evidence of the following:

  • 15 years of relevant academic and administrative experience
  • An earned doctorate or another terminal degree
  • A demonstrated capacity for leadership of a multi-disciplinary unit
  • A capacity of leading and supporting a diverse faculty and staff by facilitating a collegial culture
  • Evidence of a strong commitment to growth
  • A commitment to technology to enhance student learning
  • A demonstrated commitment to innovations in supporting student success
  • A proven record in building partnerships with alumni and the community
  • Experience in the design and continuous implementation of the strategic planning process
  • Experience and commitment to building a comprehensive program of advancement activities
  • Ability to work effectively with a diverse campus community and commitment to support and expand inclusive excellence
  • A command of significant business, health, professional, and technological issues to help build educational solutions


Review of candidate materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment.  A complete application will include a letter of interest, a curriculum vitae and contact information for five professional references who can speak about the candidate’s qualifications for this position.  (Named referees will not be contacted without the candidate’s prior consent.)  The letter of interest should address the candidate’s readiness to meet the expectations for this appointment: leading the development and implementation of the strategic plan, retaining and developing faculty and staff, driving student success in a diverse environment and increasing external industry partnerships and fundraising.  Further information about NU, a detailed internal job description and a portal for submitting application materials may be found at:  Salary will be commensurate with background and experience.  Nominations and inquiries should be directed to NU’s search consultant, Mr. Chuck O’Boyle of C. V. O’Boyle, Jr., LLC, at [email protected].


NU embraces the philosophy that diversity is fundamental to the success of our students, our employees, and our community.  NU’s commitment to diversity informs our efforts in recruitment, hiring and retention.  National University is the flagship institution of the National University System, which was established in 2001 to meet the emerging demands for education in the 21st century.  Other affiliates of the National University System are Northcentral UniversityCity University of SeattleNational University Virtual High School, part of our Division of Pre-College Programs; and Sanford Education Programs at National University, designed to develop nonprofit professionals and educators.


Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Statement:

The system is an equal opportunity employer and prohibits discrimination or harassment based on race, color, religion, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, veteran and/or military status, family care status, domestic violence victim status, political affiliation, and any other status protected by federal, state or local law.

Similar jobs

Similar jobs