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Dean of the College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences

Northern Arizona University seeks a Dean of the College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences
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Location: Flagstaff, Arizona

The Position:
Northern Arizona University invites nominations and applications for the position of Dean of the College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences (CEFNS). NAU seeks a strategic, visionary leader to shepherd a variety of highly ranked science, mathematics, and forestry degree programs, and to grow its globally recognized research enterprise.

The dean will collaborate with the university’s academic leadership team in pursuit of a strategic agenda to build high-value programming that serves diverse students through inclusive academic excellence. The dean is the college’s chief academic and administrative officer. Duties include overseeing academic programs, fundraising, and recruiting/retaining outstanding and diverse faculty, staff, and students. As the college’s leader, the dean is expected to collaborate across campus and champion the college’s vision, goals, and achievements within the university and to the community at large.

NAU seeks a dynamic administrator with proven ability to lead academic departments who embodies a philosophy that embraces the promotion of equity, diversity, and inclusion. The successful candidate will support students of all backgrounds in the rapidly changing world of higher education, supporting NAU’s commitment to becoming the nation’s leading university serving Native Americans and maintaining a focus on the university’s Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) status. The dean will be approachable, compassionate, supportive of the CEFNS team, and an inclusive decision-maker. They will be a person of integrity who listens well and communicates transparently.

The dean reports to the Executive Vice President and University Provost. The dean will develop productive working relationships with institutional administration, faculty, staff, and students, as well as alumni, industry, and community partners.

Minimum Qualifications

  • An earned doctorate from an accredited institution in one of the disciplines of the college or in a closely related STEM field;
  • A distinguished record of teaching, scholarship, and leadership that warrants a tenured faculty appointment at the rank of full professor;
  • At least three years of successful administrative leadership experience in higher education as a dean, associate dean, department chair, center or institute leader, or comparable position with responsibilities that include budgets, strategic planning, personnel management, performance reviews, promotion and tenure decisions, and experience with accreditation processes;
  • A philosophy or vision of innovative leadership and management reflected in a record of success related to the key functions of the position.

Desired Qualifications
Leadership experience

  • Support for shared governance and academic freedom;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills (e.g., listens well, treats others with respect, collaborative, and collegial) with a proven record of consensus-building;
  • Knowledge of current trends in higher education, demographic trends, and the ability to incorporate relevant issues and innovative thinking into strategic planning for the college;
  • Demonstration of visionary, future-focused leadership that encompasses creative, innovative, inclusive strategic planning reflecting a growth mindset and encompassing a commitment to excellence;
  • A focus on interdisciplinary opportunities and recognition that complex challenges require collaborative responses.

Administrative/management experience

  • Demonstrated success in leadership and administration of complex and interdisciplinary academic units of relevant size and structure to the college, and in management of diverse types of faculty and staff;
  • Successful record of visionary leadership related to academic programming, including experience developing and sustaining high-quality, student-centered coursework and curricula at both the undergraduate and graduate levels; practiced consideration of innovation, cost-effectiveness, and high academic standards; oversight of effective teaching and curriculum design, academic excellence that produces equitable student learning and graduation outcomes; and recruitment, enrollment growth and retention initiatives;
  • Experience recruiting, supervising, retaining, and managing professional development for strong and diverse faculty and staff;
  • Evidence of success in leadership roles such as department chair, director of programs, associate dean, or dean;
  • Experience and skill in developing and implementing a coordinated strategic plan;
  • Skill in building/facilitating collaborative efforts among diverse units;
  • Demonstrated budget development and management skills with a focus on fiscal responsibility and attention to equity issues;
  • Experience with broad student populations, including underserved and marginalized groups.

Academic experience

  • Significant classroom teaching experience, including an understanding of the value and role of technology in teaching and program delivery;
  • A record of excellence in research/scholarly pursuits, a demonstrated commitment to interdisciplinary academic and professional programs, and the acquisition and management of extramural funding;
  • Experience teaching and/or conducting service in diverse areas;
  • An understanding of the CEFNS disciplines, its role as a provider of general education courses for non-majors, and a willingness to learn and embrace new areas as needed;
  • Experience with undergraduate general education and ability to support programs providing foundational coursework for academic programs across the university.

Fundraising experience

  • Evidence of encouraging individuals and units to obtain external support for research;
  • Experience soliciting philanthropic gifts from individuals, foundations, and communities;
  • Proven record of accomplishment in donor development and alumni engagement;
  • Experience preparing, submitting, and managing federal, state, local, and foundation grants and contracts.

Commitment to diversity

  • Experience recruiting and/or supporting diverse students, faculty, and staff;
  • Experience designing or supporting programs with a diversity focus;
  • Scholarly and/or creative pursuits in support of diversity;
  • Broad community engagement and/or partnerships with diversity and inclusion focus.

Why Consider the Opportunity:

  • Inclusive excellence: A highly productive, committed, diverse faculty and staff.
  • Professional development: A commitment to the development of faculty and staff.
  • Strong support team: Dedicated budget and development officers.
  • Location: Flagstaff is one of the most ecologically diverse natural labs in the world - an epicenter for academic areas related to the college.
  • Commitment to diversity and inclusion: A long-standing commitment to positioning attention and resources in this area.
  • Exciting leadership: During his first year as president, Dr. José Luis Cruz Rivera has articulated a bold vision for a new NAU focused on the delivery of equitable postsecondary value.


  • Vision and planning: create a vision and strategic plan for the college that aligns with the institutional goals and strategic plan.
  • Fiduciary decisions: manage the budget and other resources.
  • College administration: appoint department chairs, school directors, and college administrators, and periodically review the performance of chairs, directors, and administrators in concert with the provost.
  • Personnel management: oversee hiring; establish job titles and salaries; make decisions and review policies regarding renewal, tenure, promotion, and dismissal; authorize faculty leave; review faculty annual evaluations; promote departmental mentoring and development opportunities; and support professional development of faculty and staff.
  • Educational leadership: provide leadership and vision for new and continuing academic programs, considering innovation, cost-effectiveness, market demand, fidelity to standards and accreditation; establish and maintain high academic standards; ensure effective teaching and curriculum design, recruitment, and retention.
  • Development: contribute to the development and fulfillment of fundraising priorities; participate in comprehensive capital campaign initiatives.
  • College governance: create ad hoc committees of the collegiate faculty; hear faculty grievances; promote academic freedom and responsibility; ensure that the college provides a diverse, opportunity- and perspective-rich environment; promote and support shared governance.
  • Diversity and inclusion: foster diversity and inclusivity among students, faculty, and staff.
  • Outreach: participate in various councils, commissions, and committees as set forth in university policy; represent the college within state or national boards/organizations and other appropriate groups; effectively demonstrate a commitment to Northern Arizona University’s core values through engaging the college in the campus, state, and national communities.

About the College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences:
The College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences (CEFNS) is one of seven academic colleges at NAU, with approximately 330 staff and faculty who serve more than 4,800 students. CEFNS is home to the departments of Astronomy and Planetary Science, Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Mathematics and Statistics, the School of Earth and Sustainability, Applied Physics and Materials Science, and the School of Forestry. CEFNS also collaborates with the college of Education to offer six secondary education programs.

The college supports 13 undergraduate majors, 15 master’s programs, and five PhD programs. CEFNS hosts four research centers: the Center for Ecosystem Science and Society (Ecoss), the Ecological Restoration Institute (ERI), the Center for Adaptable Western Landscapes (CAWL), and the Center for Materials Interfaces and Research and Application (¡MIRA!). These research centers partner with students to explore the world beyond the classroom.

CEFNS faculty members are deeply engaged in research with impact, and the college currently supports ~$12M in annual research expenditures. CEFNS is a prominent leader in the study of ecosystem science, earth and planetary sciences, and the development of innovative strategies for STEM education. Cutting-edge research initiatives have made a difference in areas such as forest restoration, global climate change, and the study of pathogens and microbial genomes. Surrounded by one of the most ecologically diverse natural labs in the world, the faculty and students produce revolutionary research in high-tech labs and institutes.

Learn more about the College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences.

About the Institution:
Founded in 1899, Northern Arizona University (NAU) began as a teachers college, and its commitment to building a better tomorrow through education remains a high priority. Students, mentored by faculty members renowned in their fields, are at the center of all institutional efforts. In the classroom and online, through hands-on experiences in an unparalleled learning environment, and with the NAU community cheering them on, students discover and hone their ambitions. NAU’s academic programs, research, public service, and creative endeavors enrich lives and create opportunities in Arizona and beyond. The institution’s mission is to develop solutions to today’s challenges and drive innovation in a supportive, inclusive, and diverse environment.

NAU has maintained boundless growth in its student population, research, and creative scholarship agenda since its inception. Today, the institution serves almost 29,000 students through multiple offerings: the traditional college campus experience set against a remarkable landscape at the base of Flagstaff’s San Francisco Peaks; the convenience of attending classes at one of over 20 locations across the state; and an award-winning online experience with over 125 virtual programs. NAU is dedicated to upholding the same high standards of education across all locations and delivery options.

With more than 180 undergraduate,125 graduate, and 90 certificate programs in a wide variety of disciplines—the arts, education, engineering, forestry, social sciences, business, and more - NAU comprises seven academic colleges plus the Honors and Graduate colleges. The institution also houses 15 Division I sports teams and consistently earns a top ten spot on the national Military Times Best for Vets list, ranking #1 in Arizona.

Northern Arizona University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission through 2027-2028. Some academic programs meet additional accreditation and licensure requirements for specific fields. Learn more about the NAU workplace.

To Apply:
A review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled; parties who apply by August 10, 2022 will be given first consideration. To apply:

  • Click here to access the NAU Careers Application Site.
  • Enter 606468 into the search bar at the top of the page.
  • Click on the search results: Dean, College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Apply
  • Sign in to access your account, or if you are not an existing user, select the New User link to create one
  • Proceed as instructed to complete application

As part of your application, please submit:

  • A PDF version of your CV/résumé
  • A letter of interest that describes both your motivation for application and how your leadership experience aligns with the key qualifications of the role
  • A diversity statement (maximum two pages) that addresses the ways in which your personal and professional philosophy and related record as a leader in higher education align with the institution’s vision to become a True Diversity University: a university environment exhibiting true diversity and inclusion where there exists a wealth of individuals whose unique experiences of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual and gender identities, disability, and other perspectives are valued and woven into the fabric of the institution

Note that names and contact information for references will be requested should you move forward in the process following committee review.

To make recommendations or for more information, please contact:
Tammarah (Tammy) Townes
Senior Consultant
Summit Search Solutions, Inc.
Direct: 302-388-9480

NAU is an Employer of National Service. AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and other National Service alumni are encouraged to apply.

If you are an individual with a disability and need reasonable accommodations to participate in the hiring process, please contact the Office of Equity and Access at 928-523-3312/TDD 928-523-1006 or PO Box 4083, Flagstaff, AZ 86011.

Northern Arizona University is a committed Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution. Women, minorities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. NAU is responsive to the needs of dual-career couples.

EEO is the Law Poster and Supplements

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