Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College

Employer
Grinnell College
Location
Grinnell, Iowa
Closing date
Sep 18, 2021

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Vice Presidents, Deans

Job Details

VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS AND DEAN OF THE COLLEGE

Grinnell, Iowa

Grinnell College (Grinnell), one of the top liberal arts colleges in the nation, seeks a vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college (VPAA) to lead its distinctive academic program. As a developer of the individually advised curriculum, Grinnell has long been an innovator in teaching and learning, providing students access to rigorous and diverse courses of study that allow them to follow their passions with the guidance of dedicated faculty and staff, with the goal of moving knowledge into action for the common good. As the world emerges from the structural, existential, and operational challenges of COVID, the next VPAA will further enhance Grinnell’s holistic academic program that creates well-rounded students who are fully prepared to thrive in an ever-changing world. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work in a financially sustainable environment, partner with a new and dynamic president, and collaborate with an outstanding faculty and staff to shape Grinnell’s next chapter and secure its place as a global leader in liberal arts education. 

Grinnell College is a highly selective, private, residential liberal arts college recognized for its rigorous curriculum and strong tradition of social responsibility. Founded in 1846, Grinnell enrolls approximately 1,700 students, generally from all states and about 50 countries, in 27 major fields and 19 concentrations. Among the nation’s small liberal arts colleges, Grinnell is widely viewed as an institution of the first rank, with an excellent faculty, a skilled staff, a consistently strong and diverse student body, and a well-equipped and beautiful campus.

In July 2020, Grinnell appointed Anne F. Harris as its 14th president. President Harris joined the college in 2019 as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college. During her tenure at Grinnell, President Harris has quickly become a trusted and admired member of the college community. In close partnership with President Harris, and in collaboration with a team of talented associate deans of the college, the next VPAA will build on Grinnell’s strong foundation and provide visionary and strategic leadership for academic affairs following a period of leadership transitions and a global pandemic. As the college begins to create the framework for the next chapter of its history and embark on a strategic planning process, the VPAA will be charged with listening to, collaborating with, and inspiring faculty, staff, and students around a common set of priorities. The VPAA will share innovative new approaches in pedagogy and scholarship with faculty and staff across the Academic Affairs division and demonstrate dedication to continual improvement of the learning experience at Grinnell. 

The successful candidate will be an outstanding academic leader who has significant experience supporting talented and committed teachers and scholars, fostering relationships with faculty and staff, and engendering excitement about the importance of the liberal arts in today’s complex landscape of higher education and social change on campus, across Iowa and beyond. The VPAA must have demonstrable experience in creating spaces that are diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist, and be prepared to champion a dynamic set of academic programs and functions in an institution with a strong culture of shared governance amongst faculty, students, staff, and trustees.

Grinnell College has retained the services of Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist in conducting this important search. All inquiries, applications, and nominations should be directed to the search firm electronically at: https://www.imsearch.com/7975



Jeff Kessner, Partner

Claire Hennessey, Senior Associate 

Isaacson, Miller

Grinnell College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer committed to attracting and retaining highly qualified individuals who collectively reflect the diversity of the nation. No applicant shall be discriminated against on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, marital status, religion, creed, or disability.

Organization

Founded in 1846, Grinnell College is a highly selective residential liberal arts college that enrolls 1,500 students from every state and about 50 countries around the world. The College’s primary mission is to provide students with a broad, deep, and life-enhancing education, preparing its students for professional success, personal growth, and social responsibility. The College’s graduates are equipped to pursue successful careers, satisfying personal lives, effective community service, and intellectually stimulating and physically active leisure.

The Grinnell liberal arts education is an exceptional, rigorous, comprehensive, and opportunity-rich experience that has, at its heart, meaningful one-on-one interactions between students and faculty. Capitalizing on a student/faculty ratio of 9:1; the College’s curricular and research programs incorporate active learning and collaborative work between students and faculty and a strong, growing commitment to undergraduate research.

The College recently completed a comprehensive strategic plan, and two of the six strategies focus on diversity and achievement. Recent efforts have nearly doubled the number of tenure track faculty of color and the number of entering students of color. Grinnell College has been named one of the 20 best liberal arts colleges in the country for the past 15 years by U.S. News & World Report. Additionally, Grinnell ranks in the top 1 percent of colleges and universities for Ph.D.s per graduate, and the College holds the largest endowment of any U.S. liberal arts college.

Because Grinnell College is small, it encourages a sense of closeness among students, faculty, and staff, alongside a recognition and respect for individual differences. Grinnell stands out among other selective national liberal arts colleges for the degree of participation expected of students in shaping their own educations. Grinnell’s individually advised curriculum requires each student to devise an individual academic plan in consultation with faculty advisers. The process challenges students to define their academic goals and to take an active role in exploring all Grinnell has to offer. The comprehensive academic plan, submitted when declaring a major, must show a balanced selection of courses across disciplines. With 26 majors and 10 interdisciplinary concentrations to choose from, students have many opportunities to conduct original research and undertake advanced study in a wide variety of areas.

Faculty members at Grinnell College are committed to working closely with students as instructors and advisers. Grinnell’s professors view classroom teaching as their top priority. They are respected scholars and practitioners, active in producing original, significant work. Ninety-six percent of Grinnell’s faculty members hold the highest degrees available in their areas of study. Faculty members also play a leading role in decision-making about curriculum and policy affecting academic matters. Courses offered at Grinnell are determined by the people who teach them. Interaction thrives between academic departments, fostering an atmosphere of intellectual discovery and excitement on campus, which is shared by faculty and students.

A year after commencement, almost a third of Grinnell graduates are attending graduate school, about one half are employed, and the remaining 20 percent are involved in volunteer work, traveling, service projects, and more. The College is proud of its graduates and their important work in education, business, technology, law, science, medicine, and the arts. No matter what they do, most graduates report that they continue to be influenced by their years at Grinnell, where they learned to translate their ideals into action.

The Grinnell College campus offers state-of-the-art facilities on a park-like 120-acre campus. The new $42 million Rosenfield Center sits at the heart of campus and serves as the College’s centerpiece, a hub of activity, and a meeting place for all Grinnellians, offering centralized dining, several lounges, student organization offices, a student art gallery, and more. A renovation and expansion of the Noyce Science Center, currently underway, will add 120,000 square feet to this facility, including teaching and research laboratories, classroom and office space, a science library, a computer laboratory, and study areas. The new $21 million Athletic and Fitness Center encompasses a performance gym, a state-of-the-art fitness facility, a practice gymnasium, and more. The Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, renovated and expanded in 1999, offers a recital hall, an art gallery, theatres, a scene shop, and studio space. The Grinnell College Libraries — consisting of Burling Library, Windsor Science Library, and the Listening Room and AV collections— hold more than a million books and government documents, more than 16,000 serials, roughly 30,000 audiovisual units, and almost 8,000 e-books. The campus-wide network of computers features the latest in technology. Every residence hall room has access to the Internet, as do all campus computer labs, and wireless access is widespread.

About Grinnell: Founded by abolitionists in 1854, Grinnell is a culturally vibrant community with a number of historic neighborhoods. Grinnell’s architecture is especially noteworthy, highlighted by buildings designed by Walter Burley Griffin, Louis Sullivan, and Cesar Pelli. Anticipating its future, Grinnell is investing in its central business district, its parks, and its amenities, including a new transportation museum.

With a population of about 9,000 people, Grinnell is small enough to be friendly and accessible, but large enough to have a variety of restaurants, shops, churches, health care facilities, and recreational programs and activities. Many Grinnell students participate in community projects, ranging from volunteer service to local politics.

Grinnell’s Iowa setting also provides many students with material for research and creative projects in the natural and social sciences and the arts. The College’s Center for Prairie Studies encourages curricular development and public events engaging with the natural, historical, and cultural environment of the region.

As a residential college, Grinnell has a busy intellectual and social life on campus with lectures, symposia, performances, and readings, as well as films, parties, and other events. More cultural outlets are available in Des Moines, Iowa City (home of the University of Iowa), and Ames (home of Iowa State University).

Grinnell College offers a competitive and comprehensive benefit package, including health, dental, life, and long-term disability insurance. A TIAA-CREF retirement plan is also available. Generous holiday leave and four weeks of paid vacation are part of the benefit package as well. Educational benefits include free courses at Grinnell for employees and their spouses, tuition remission for dependent children, and exchange programs with 22 other colleges. The College also offers a relocation allowance to employees who must relocate to Grinnell. All employees and their families receive free admission to most College events.

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