Dean, College of Liberal Arts
Job no: 507671
Position Type: Staff Full Time
Campus: UMass Boston
Department: CLA - Dean's Office
Pay Grade: No Pay Grade
Date opened: 23 Mar 2021 Eastern Daylight Time
The University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston) is a recognized model of excellence for urban public research universities. The scenic waterfront campus, with easy access to downtown Boston, is located next to the John F. Kennedy Library and Presidential Museum, the Commonwealth Museum and Massachusetts State Archives, and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.
One of the five campuses of the UMass system, UMass Boston is a research university with a teaching soul. It combines the rigorous focus on generation of knowledge that characterizes a major research university with a dedication to teaching that places its top scholars in undergraduate and graduate classrooms where a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio fosters easy student-faculty interaction. Eighty-seven percent of full-time faculty hold the highest degree in their fields. UMass Boston has a growing reputation for innovation and a particular focus on research addressing complex urban issues. As metropolitan Boston’s only public research university, UMass Boston offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. The University maintains a strong commitment to all aspects of diversity and inclusion, including anti-racist and health promoting initiatives.
Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco assumed the role of chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston on August 1, 2020. Prior to coming to UMass Boston Suárez-Orozco served as the inaugural UCLA Wasserman Dean, leading two academic departments, 16 nationally renowned research institutes, and two innovative demonstration schools at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. His research focuses on cultural psychology and psychological anthropology, with an emphasis on education, globalization, and migration. His award-winning books and edited volumes have been published by Harvard University Press, Stanford University Press, University of California Press, Cambridge University Press, New York University Press, and others.
A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (currently serving in the Governance and Trust Board), the National Academy of Education, Trustee of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, member of the Board of Advisors of the Thomas Mann House, and recipient of Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle, Dr. Suárez-Orozco has served as Special Advisor to the Chief Prosecutor, The International Criminal Court, The Hague, The Netherlands.
During his tenure as the UCLA Wasserman Dean, Dr. Suárez-Orozco raised over $120 million toward the UCLA Campaign (or approximately 170% of the Chancellor's Goal for GSE&IS a year ahead of schedule.)
At Harvard, he served as the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Education, co-founder and co-director of the Harvard Immigration Project, and founding member of the Executive Committee of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. At NYU he served as the inaugural Courtney Sale Ross University Professor of Globalization and Education. He has held fellowships at Stanford's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study.
In January of 2018 His Holiness Pope Francis appointed Suárez-Orozco to the Executive Committee of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and on July 4, 2018 the Carnegie Corporation of New York named him a “Great Immigrant / Great American.” An immigrant from Argentina, Dr. Suárez-Orozco is a product of the California master plan having studied in community college and at the University of California Berkeley, where he received his AB, MA, and PhD (anthropology, 1986).
Provost Joseph B. Berger is a renowned and award-winning scholar whose work focuses on higher education policy, organization and leadership, the impact of higher education on key stakeholders, and the development of higher education in various national contexts. He has authored dozens of journal articles, book chapters, and research reports and has served on the editorial boards for several top journals. He has received more than $62 million in funding for his work from agencies and foundations such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Trefler Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. Internationally, he has provided leadership for projects in countries such as Malawi, China, Russia, Palestine, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Dr. Berger also served as the chair of the Global Higher Education and Research (GHEAR) Initiative for the Worldwide Universities Network. He has been honored with several national awards for his scholarship from associations such as the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), American College Personnel Association (ACPA), National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), and the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society.
Dr. Berger has nearly 20 years of strategic academic leadership experience in which he has been instrumental in developing innovative academic programs, enhancing faculty development, improving opportunities for inclusive student success, building improved administrative infrastructure, promoting sponsored research, cultivating mission-driven fundraising, engaging community partners, promoting international collaboration, and championing social justice.
Provost Berger has been a member of the UMass Boston community since 2017 when he was appointed the dean of the College of Education and Human Development, where he also holds an appointment as professor of education. He previously served as the senior associate dean in the College of Education at UMass Amherst, where he was also the director of the Center for International Education. Before his more than two decades of experience in the UMass system, he was a member of the faculty at the University of New Orleans. He earned a BA in Anthropology and Sociology from Lawrence University, Appleton, Wis.; an MA in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University; and a PhD in Education and Human Development, Higher Education Administration, from Vanderbilt University.
The College of Liberal Arts
The College of Liberal Arts offers students the opportunity to study a variety of disciplines and interdisciplinary fields in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Fine Arts. An undergraduate liberal arts education helps develop the foundations for a life of meaning and the skills essential for a career or for graduate study. These include but are not limited to critical and creative thinking, written and oral communication, inquiry and analysis, intercultural knowledge and competence, skills for lifelong learning and the ability to adapt to new situations quickly.
More than 5,000 students—close to 50% of UMass Boston’s undergraduates—are currently working toward undergraduate degrees in the 27 majors offered by the college’s 19 departments. At the graduate level, the College of Liberal Arts currently offers masters programs (in English, American Studies, Applied Economics, Applied Linguistics, Critical Ethnic and Community Studies, Historical Archaeology, History, Latin and Classical Humanities, and Applied Sociology), PhD programs in in Clinical Psychology, Sociology and Developmental and Brain Sciences, and an MFA in Creative Writing. CLA faculty are very active researchers and generated $3.9 million in research expenditures in 2020. The Mellon Foundation funds CLA’s High-Impact Humanities initiative, which is an example of how creative thinking and hard work by CLA faculty and staff bring engaging new approaches to student learning. The College of Liberal Arts has an annual budget of $55 million.
Faculty in the College are strongly committed to facilitating their students’ learning. They mentor students in honors work, independent study projects, and internships. Faculty in the college produce research at the cutting edge of their disciplines, as well as participate in 15 university research centers and institutes that bring research and creative achievements to audiences that span local communities to the global society.
Departments within the CLA include:
- Africana Studies Department
- American Studies Department
- Anthropology Department
- Applied Linguistics
- Art Department
- Asian Studies Department
- Classics & Religious Studies Department
- Communication Department
- Economics Department
- English Department
- History Department
- Latin American & Iberian Studies Department
- Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures Department
- Performing Arts Department
- Philosophy Department
- Political Science
- Psychology Department
- Sociology Department
- Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department
CLA is home to the following Centers and Institutes:
- Applied Ethics Center
- Catherine Frisone Scott Center for Italian Cultural Studies
- Center for Evidence Based Mentoring
- Center for Portuguese Language - Instituto Camões
- Center for the Study of Humanities, Culture, and Society
- Consortium on Gender, Security, and Human Rights
- Fiske Center for Archeological Research
- Labor Resource Center
- The Spanish Resource Center
Role of the Dean
Reporting to the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the Dean will be responsible for the strategic, programmatic, and financial operations of the College. In collaboration with CLA leadership and faculty, the Dean will shape the College’s future and articulate a compelling vision for the liberal arts that will inspire engagement and financial support from external audiences. Internally, the Dean will encourage collaboration and continuous improvement, with a focus on undergraduate and graduate student success and support of faculty in research, scholarship and creative activity. Additionally, the Dean will encourage and support a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment. The Dean will be visible and accessible to all faculty, staff, and students in the College of Liberal Arts.
Opportunities and Challenges
The next Dean will bring enthusiasm and innovation to the College of Liberal Arts with a commitment to advancing the priorities of the College. Building on a solid foundation and working collaboratively with CLA’s devoted faculty and staff, the Dean will develop a strategic vision to advance the College. In close partnership with the Provost, Chancellor, and fellow Deans, the next Dean will forge the path forward for the College. Priorities for the next Dean include:
Lead Budget Management and Resource Allocation
As the University moves toward a new budget model, the Dean will play a pivotal role for the College in constructing a budget geared toward the larger campus strategy. The Dean will lead the forecasting, budgeting, and fund distribution in close partnership with CLA Department Chairs and Program Directors, seeking input from a wide variety of constituents and creating fair and equitable processes. They will provide leadership in a budgeting model that drives both strategic initiatives and day-to-day operations. This will require focus on revenue generation to support the priorities and initiatives of the CLA. The Dean will bring a strategic mind and creative eye to resource allocation and offer transparent, decisive leadership in fund distribution. In this effort, the Dean will work within a largely unionized environment and demonstrate respect for the positions of faculty and staff. the Dean will be a tireless advocate in garnering institutional and external resources to support the work of the College. Even as the College will be the primary aperture for the Dean, close collaboration with the Executive Leadership of the University will be essential for the strategic goals and mission of UMass Boston to be achieved.
Prioritize Community Engagement
UMass Boston is an engaged campus where students, staff and faculty are working with the Boston community and the larger Commonwealth of Massachusetts to benefit the public good. Like many UMass Boston students, the CLA students, both undergraduates and graduate students, disproportionately identify as first-generation and Pell-eligible. A multitude of cultures from around the world are represented in CLA classes each day of the year. The College of Liberal Arts has attracted faculty and staff who are passionate about serving traditionally underserved communities and leveraging the robust diversity in each course section for greater student learning and mutual benefit.
The College incorporates community engaged opportunities into its curriculum, scholarship, and service activities. The Dean should be an engaged community member and leader who will seek additional opportunities to further build upon the University’s civic engagement.
Advance an Anti-Racist and Health Promoting Culture
UMass Boston has committed to stepping forward and putting in the work to dismantle oppressive systems and structures that unequivocally and disproportionately impact not only UMass Boston students, but also the local communities in and around Boston. The Dean will work to ensure that difficult conversations continue, and more importantly, the work associated with them. UMass Boston faculty, staff, and students have done much to forward this tiring but important work, the faculty and staff of the College of Liberal Arts can do more to support them and this work. The Dean will lead with an unrelenting commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity within the College and advance the anti-racism work that has begun.
Advocate for the Liberal Arts
The Dean will drive excellence and innovation in curricular offerings in the liberal arts that appeal to and attract students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. They will be a relentless advocate for the College of Liberal Arts and its contributions to the larger University mission and establish CLA as a leading partner across the University in scholarship, teaching, and service activities. Beyond the campus borders, the Dean will inspire potential partners from businesses, non-profits, and foundations to redefine dominant narrative around the value of the liberal arts. Finally, the Dean will ensure that students understand, without equivocation, that a liberal arts education opens doors to many attractive and fulfilling career paths.
The Dean will prioritize the growth of research, scholarship, and creative activity within the College of Liberal Arts. In close partnership with faculty, the Dean will work to identify multiple sources of funding and support personnel to help build the research capacity of the College. The Dean will undertake sustained effort to ensure growth in scholarly activity across all disciplines and interdisciplinary pursuits within the College.
Representative Duties of the Dean:
- Provides leadership and oversight for all academic and student service personnel and programs for both undergraduate and graduate programs within the College;
- Works with and coordinates the team of Dean’s office staff, Associate Deans and CLA Department Chairs who are responsible for achieving goals in support of the College;
- Establishes and maintains an effective plan that supports student success including the recruitment and retention of highly qualified and diverse faculty to serve in the College;
- Sets quality standards for academic program assessments, curriculum, teaching, and student learning outcomes within the College of Liberal Arts;
- Manages faculty personnel processes, including hiring, tenure and promotional decisions, in an orderly and equitable fashion;
- Collaborates closely with the Executive Leadership of the University to further the strategic goals and mission of UMass Boston;
- Coordinates and strategically manages the budget development and resource allocation of the College; and,
- Engages diverse funding sources for innovative programs, curricula, and scholarship opportunities, including fundraising initiatives and partnerships.
Desired Qualifications and Characteristics:
The successful candidate will have an earned doctorate from an accredited institution, in an academic discipline within the College of Liberal Arts, a record of distinguished research/scholarship and teaching that would support appointment as a tenured full professor, experience in an administrative leadership position in the academy, and many of the following professional qualifications and personal characteristics:
- A collaborative and authentic approach to shared governance;
- High motivation and ability to function effectively in a fast-paced environment, with strong interpersonal skills;
- A record of successful management of large and complex academic units;
- A strong record of commitment to diversity, equity, social justice and inclusion;
- A demonstrated commitment to affirmative action and equal opportunity in academic admissions, personnel actions and other relevant arenas;
- An established history of contribution to student success efforts and demonstrated record of seeking student input and fostering student engagement;
- A substantial and successful fiscal management and budgeting experience, particularly in an environment of constrained resources;
- Extensive experience in securing, managing and increasing external funding through sponsored research, fundraising, and innovative external partnerships that support the academic enterprise;
- A demonstrated support of faculty research in the liberal arts
- A proven ability to make difficult decisions in a transparent manner;
- An understanding of the unique culture of an urban university with diverse commuting and residential student populations, including an appreciation of the unique needs of first-generation students, students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, students of color, women and students with disabilities;
- A working knowledge and appreciation of a broad range of academic scholarship, student services and administration practices;
- A demonstrated ability to exercise inclusive and decisive leadership;
- Excellent communication skills, both oral and written;
- A proven track record of building financially sustainable academic systems and infrastructure;
- Knowledge of the multiple communities served by the Institution, as well as an understanding and appreciation of the University’s unique urban mission;
- Successful experience leading strategic planning, academic program evaluation, learning outcomes assessment and accreditation, and developing interdisciplinary programs;
- Experience in an institution with unionized faculty and staff and respect of Tenure Track, Tenured and Non-Tenure Track faculty;
- Ability to function effectively in external and internal environments with sound judgment in the context of politics, public relations, and academe;
- Strong commitment to a collaborative and consensus-building environment; and,
- Demonstrated achievements in supporting and expanding the development of mutually beneficial industry partnerships and innovative curricular changes that support student success and economic development.
To make a nomination, request additional more information, please contact:
Jim Sirianni, Partner and Beth McCarthy, Senior Associate of Storbeck Search by emailing
Please apply online with your resume, cover letter and list of three references.
This is a non-union, non-exempt position.All official salary offers must be approved by Human Resources.