Dean of the College and Vice President for Campus Life

Northampton, MA

Smith College

Dean of the College OfficeJob DescriptionABOUT THE COLLEGE

Smith College - Background and History
Founded in 1871 as a private college with a mission to provide women with an excellent liberal arts education, Smith is one of the top 20 liberal arts colleges in the country. Primarily an undergraduate residential college, Smith stands alone in many ways. It is large enough to have the resources of a university, yet small enough to be an intimate community.

Smith College began more than 125 years ago in the mind and conscience of a New England woman. In her will, Sophia Smith expressed her vision of a liberal arts college for women equal to the best available to men, one that would make it possible "to develop as fully as may be the powers of womanhood." By means of such a college, she wrote, women's "wrongs will be redressed, their wages adjusted, their weight of influence in reforming the evils of society will be greatly increased...their power for good incalculably enlarged."

In keeping with Sophia Smith's intent, the college aims to produce graduates distinguished by their intellectual capabilities, their capacity for leadership, their ethical values and their readiness to contribute to the betterment of the world. Today, Smith is among the largest of the selective liberal arts colleges and offers a broad curriculum. In 2000, the college established the first engineering program at a women's college. Its programs in the arts, humanities and sciences have expanded to respond to the intellectual needs of today's students-offering study in computer science, data sciences, engineering, women's studies, environmental science and policy, Middle East Studies, neuroscience and other emerging fields. In particular, Smith has earned a leadership position in preparing women for careers in scientific fields and ranks highly among colleges in the number of women graduates who earn doctorates in science and engineering.

With 2,500 undergraduates, 290 faculty members, and a 8:1 student to faculty ratio, Smith's enrollment and faculty size enable it to combine the curricular breadth of a small university with the close personal attention of a residential liberal arts college. This supportive academic environment is complemented by a student housing program in which most students live in residential houses accommodating from 10 to 100 students.

Smith is a member of the Five Colleges, Inc., consortium, which affords students a wide range of academic, cultural and social advantages. The consortium, a unique private/public partnership among five educational institutions, is one of the oldest and most esteemed in American higher education.

Smith has an endowment of approximately $1.9 billion (June 2019) and an operating budget of approximately $250 million. The Smith campus is ideally situated. It is located just steps from the center of Northampton, Massachusetts, a city of 30,000 that is home to a vibrant social and cultural scene.

At Smith, the individuality of each student emerges. Smith students graduate confident in their academic and personal accomplishments. Students attracted to Smith are talented and strong minded, often with a more academic or intellectual orientation than their peers and a commitment to public or civic issues. Smith has become intentionally and significantly diverse, leading most of the academy, especially in socioeconomic diversity. Diversity today grows naturally from the college's historic mission and adds to its impressive accomplishments. In the tradition of Sophia Smith, Smith College has made a particular commitment to students of promise from the full range of socioeconomic classes. The 633 students who entered Smith in fall 2019 came from more than 550 different high schools and included 18 percent first-generation college students, 18 percent Pell Grant recipients, and 16 percent international citizens; 40 percent of domestic students in the latest class are students of color.

The college has made socioeconomic diversity possible through impressive financial aid, meeting the full demonstrated need of all students, and spending close to $76 million annually on financial aid. By remaining "need aware" versus "need blind," Smith carefully stewards the financial aid budget to ensure that all aided students are able to take part in every aspect of a Smith education. An important example is that Smith uses a "homeschool fee" policy in regard to study away, enabling students to study abroad -- a longstanding feature of many students' programs -- regardless of financial means.

Smith has graduated an impressive cadre of leaders around the world. With its increased international appeal, the college expects to see an even larger group emerge. Also distinctive is the College's Ada Comstock Scholars Program, established in 1975 to admit women of non-traditional age as either full- or part-time students. Today, 92 women ranging in age from their 20s to their 60s are enrolled as Ada Comstock Scholars. Amongst these scholars, 82 percent are Pell Grant recipients and 51 percent are first-generation college students. Their motivation and the diversity of their life experiences enrich the classroom.

To learn more about Smith College, visit


The Position
The dean of the college and vice president for campus life (the dean) is an integral, critical leadership role at the campus, with primary responsibility for the totality of the student experience. As a member of the president's cabinet, the dean will be engaged in all aspects of institutional planning and policy development, with a primary focus on enhancing and supporting students' growth and learning.

Smith seeks a strategic, engaged and imaginative leader to partner with the president and senior leaders in charting the path for the next generation of Smith students. Success will require an understanding of both complex organizational structures and the interdependence of the academic and non-academic aspects of students' education. The dean will bring energy and interpersonal skills to foster new cultural norms and programmatic innovations while respecting the value of tradition.

The dean will be an advocate, role model and mentor for Smith students, and will work directly with student leaders, faculty members, residential life staff, the provost, the vice president for equity and inclusion, President McCartney and other campus leaders to build an increasingly diverse and inclusive community that provides opportunities for social, emotional, and intellectual engagement and growth. The dean will play a vital role in shaping the student experience at Smith and will maintain and build structures that promote a healthy and dynamic campus environment, while ensuring the integration of Smith's curricular and co-curricular programs.

The dean will oversee an experienced and dedicated staff of approximately 100 and an annual operating budget of $20 million. Reporting directly to the dean are two associate deans of the college (the dean of students and the senior class dean), the dean for international study, the associate dean for integrative learning (dual report to the provost and the dean of the college) and directors with responsibility for academic advising, international students, student affairs, residential life, student engagement, health and counseling services, athletics, career services, disability services and the following centers/programs:

  • Ada Comstock Scholars Program
  • Jandon Center for Community Engagement
  • Lazarus Center for Career Development
  • Lewis Global Studies Center
  • The Narratives Project
  • Wurtele Center for Leadership

In addition, , the dean of the college sits on the Academic Honor Board, Administrative Board, the Committee on Academic Priorities, the Committee on Mission and Priorities, and the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation. The dean of the college also serves as a liaison (together with the provost and vice president of enrollment) to the Academic and Student Experience Committee of the Board of Trustees.

Finally, the dean will be energized by the opportunity to work with Smith students and will find joy and satisfaction in helping them navigate this time in their lives and in shaping a community where all can thrive and contribute.

While no one person is expected to possess all of the qualities enumerated below, the ideal candidate would have the following professional and personal characteristics:
  • Strong, organizational management and leadership skills developed in a complex residential college or university;

  • Passion for providing support and opportunities for students and an authentic appreciation for Smith's mission, values and history;

  • Visionary and strategic leadership to advance the college towards its highest aspirations and goals;

  • Talent for working across institutional and organizational boundaries to develop an exceptional living and learning student experience;

  • Successful track record of having built collaborative and meaningful relationships with a broad group of constituents, including faculty, staff, students, parents, trustees, alumnae and community leaders;

  • Deep understanding of the challenges that institutions of higher education experience as they work towards building more diverse, just and equitable communities;

  • A strong, visible presence and the inclination to be an active participant or observer in a range of co-curricular contexts;

  • Experience building, developing and empowering strong teams of faculty and administrative staff;and,

  • Terminal degree preferred.


Strategic Operational Leader
The dean will lead the division in alignment with the president's vision and college's mission, creating strategies and innovative approaches for the student experiences that build upon Smith's existing strengths and traditions, and ensure its ongoing position as a leader in liberal arts education and global leadership development. The dean will be a committed partner, a thoughtful listener and a dedicated leader who uses the authority and resources of the dean's position to empower a well- established team of student-affairs professionals to advance the goals of the division and the college. S/he will convincingly articulate the benefit of investing in the rigorous, residential liberal arts education that Smith provides and will promote the vision of a fully integrated student experience, combining the curricular and co-curricular dimensions of student life.

The dean will inherit a talented team and must continue to inspire, support and manage accomplished professionals with a wide range of expertise and responsibility. Through accessible and supportive leadership, clarity of purpose, and ongoing opportunities for development, the dean will enable the team to continue to build performance levels.

Collaborative Relationship-Builder
In a collegial community that values collaboration, the new dean of the college must develop strong working relationships across the college among the senior leadership team, notably with the provost and with the vice president for equity and inclusion, as well as with faculty, administrators, deans and department chairs. The next leader must convey a deep respect for the academic culture at Smith and a commitment to advance the college's overall mission and goals. The dean will have a leadership style characterized by a passion for engagement that builds connections across the institution. The dean will appreciate the delicate balance of serving as an advocate for students while also being an institution-minded leader and a trusted advisor to the president.

Cultural Agility
In a remarkably talented and increasingly diverse student body, the next dean of the college will be intimately familiar with the challenges of building more equitable and inclusive communities. The dean will possess the experiences, skills and willingness to champion a vision for Smith's community that appreciates and accepts differences, as well as the recognition that diversity, in all its forms, plays an integral role as part of a liberal arts education. The dean will be frequently called upon to publicly and effectively articulate and reaffirm Smith's commitment to social justice and equity, both through words and action. At the heart of this preparation will reside a heightened social awareness and knowledge of the experiences of, and challenges facing, a wide range of students who belong to frequently marginalized groups. The dean will be proactive when working through complex cultural issues of race, ethnicity, ability, gender and gender identity, socioeconomic status and other related issues of identity. The dean will actively and consistently engage students, faculty and staff in order to identify and address challenges and seek novel ways to build a community in which all students feel welcomed, supported and able to do their best work. Furthermore, the dean of the college should work to capture the opportunity afforded by the increasing internationalization of the student body and integrate global awareness into the student experience at Smith.

Smith College affirms that diversity in all aspects of the educational environment is necessary for achieving the highest level of academic excellence. As a central element of this commitment to excellence, the college seeks to provide an environment that fosters the recruitment and success of a diverse student, faculty and staff community. The college aspires to create and maintain an educational, working and living environment that is respectful of differences and free from harassing behavior.

It is the policy of Smith College to provide equal employment opportunities without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, genetic information, veteran, special disabled status, pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions. This policy relates to all phases of employment, including, but not limited to, recruiting, employment, placement, promotion, demotion or transfer, reduction of workforce and termination, rates of pay or other form of compensation, professional development and training, the use of all facilities and participation in all college-sponsored employee activities.

The Dean of the College Search Committee is being assisted in its work by Spencer Stuart and welcomes comments, questions, and nominations or expressions of interest. To contact the committee with comments, nominations or expressions of interest, please send an e-mail with any supporting materials to the confidential address: No applications made on the Smith website will be considered.

Please attach/upload a current resume and cover letter in order for your application to be considered for this position.

Review of applications will begin
February 1, 2020

Compensation Grade:
Grade A

Position Type:

About Smith College

Located in Northampton, MA, Smith College is one of the largest women's colleges in the country and is dedicated to excellence in teaching and research across the liberal arts. A faculty of outstanding scholars interact with students in small classes, as advisors, and through student-faculty research projects. The College is a member of the Five College Consortium with Amherst, Hampshire and Mt. Holyoke Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Students cross-enroll and faculty cross-teach across the Five Colleges.

Smith College is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age, color, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or veteran status in the recruitment and employment of faculty and staff, and the operation of any of its programs and activities, as specified by all applicable laws and regulations. Women, minorities, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

To apply please click here! Posted: 02/26/2020