Dean, Graduate and Professional Studies

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Emerson College invites applications and nominations for the position of Dean of Graduate & Professional Studies (GPS). Reporting to the provost, the dean is responsible for providing vision, leadership, and operational oversight of this dynamic and evolving part of the Emerson enterprise. The college's new president, Dr. Jay M. Bernhardt , sees GPS as an area of strategic investment and growth, and its next dean will create and implement a plan for that growth in the context of the College-wide strategic planning process currently underway to be completed by Fall 2024.

Graduate & Professional Studies is the division of Emerson College responsible for graduate-level degree programs and non-degree programs for a range of learners. The division serves a diverse array of students from high schoolers to lifelong learners as well as working professionals seeking to advance or redirect their careers, artists looking to develop their craft, and enterprise partners such as companies and not-for-profit organizations. GPS' portfolio features onsite/in-person, hybrid, and fully online offerings.

The division houses two areas of programming:
  • Graduate Studies – offering 17 masters-level (MA, MS, and MFA) degree programs and eight for-credit certificate programs in a range of applied, professional fields. Each degree program is led by a graduate program director.


  • Professional Studies – offering a variety of non-credit certificate programs and individual courses, pathway courses for high school students, and summer sessions focused on the arts and communication for undergraduate students seeking additional credits for a new or second major or a minor.


Key Opportunities
  • Assess Emerson's current offerings in the graduate and professional space and identify strengths to invest in further and weaknesses to remedy
  • Identify new program opportunities across the learner spectrum that can align Emerson's distinctive strengths and market demand
  • Reconceive the professional studies portfolio as a coherent set of offerings that are individually and collectively distinctive
  • Develop new synergies with Emerson's schools and colleges, particularly for inter-disciplinary programs
  • Explore the potential value of external partnerships to expand degree and non-degree offerings and to broaden enrollment
  • Define and develop the College's strategy and implementation for executive education offerings
  • Serve as a testbed for innovations in online and hybrid course modalities, refining approaches and tools that can inform Emerson's undergraduate and graduate offerings
  • Further develop and scale Emerson's international offerings across the graduate and professional studies continuum by leveraging Emerson's international relationships and developing new ones, in partnership with the college's Internationalization & Equity team


Qualifications and Competencies

The successful candidate will be creative, entrepreneurial, collaborative, and interested in exploring the broad opportunities for Graduate & Professional Studies at Emerson. They will know how to realize a vision and work effectively across organizational boundaries, and will bring experience envisioning, creating, supporting, and managing exciting, innovative, and inclusive programs within a dynamic, complex, and distributed academic enterprise. They will be drawn to the College's mission and values and will understand and embrace its commitment to student success and equity, access, and social justice. The successful candidate must have demonstrated success advancing equity, access, and social justice and engaging and working effectively with faculty, students, staff, and alumni from diverse backgrounds.

Required qualifications
  • A record of establishing successful degree and non-degree programs, preferably at the post-baccalaureate level
  • The ability to set goals and priorities and to make and implement tough decisions
  • A can-do spirit combined with a strong team orientation, vision, and a grasp of market dynamics, and the evolving higher-education landscape
  • Excellent management and organizational skills
  • A proven record of accomplishment in a leadership role in academia or in the private sector, including a track record of achieving visibility for successful initiatives
  • An even-handed management style with strong delegation and team-building skills
  • Demonstrated commitment to equity, access, and social justice throughout their career, including in supporting, promoting, and retaining a diverse team of academic and administrative staff, and student success across a diverse student body
  • An understanding and grasp of budgeting and financial planning, including experience leveraging, developing, managing, and advocating for resources
  • Excellent judgment of the character and potential of people and a proven record of recruiting, mentoring, promoting, and retaining high-performing professionals
  • Appreciation for the breadth and range of fields represented within Graduate and Professional Studies


Preferred qualifications
  • A terminal graduate degree and academic / professional credentials suitable for tenure


More information about the position can be found here .

To Apply

Emerson College has retained Opus Partners ( www.opuspartners.net ) to support this recruitment. Craig Smith, Partner, and Abigail Maynard, Senior Associate are leading the search. Inquiries, applications, and nominations should be sent to abigail.maynard@opuspartners.net . The search process will unfold with the greatest possible attention to candidate confidentiality. Required application materials include a CV and cover letter. The cover letter should reflect how a candidate's qualifications and experience match those described in this leadership profile, including demonstrated commitment to advancing equity, access, and social justice. Application review will begin on March 1, 2024, and continue until position is filled.

Emerson College strives to create an institutional culture that is inspiring and exuberant. Emerson believes in co-creating a learning and working environment that is equity-centered where people can find authentic community, engage in authentic growth, and be their authentic selves. As a community of storytellers, Emerson continually strives to cultivate a community that draws upon the widest possible pool of talent, fully embracing individuals from varied cultures, races, abilities, gender identities, sexual orientations, linguistic backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, life experiences, nationalities, perspectives, beliefs, and values. To that end, Emerson wants to retain talent that is prepared to operate effectively in a diverse institutional environment that holds these values.

Emerson College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sex (under Title IX), pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, including transgender identity, religion, disability, age, genetics, active military or veteran status and any other characteristics protected under applicable federal or Massachusetts law in the administration of its educational or employment practices, programs or activities.