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Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts (SSHA)

Recruitment Period

Open date: September 3rd, 2019
Last review date: Friday, Nov 1, 2019 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications received after this date will be reviewed by the search committee if the position has not yet been filled.
Final date: Saturday, Feb 1, 2020 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.


The University of California, Merced (UC Merced) invites nominations and applications for the position of Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts (SSHA). This is a senior administrative position that reports to the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost.

The University of California, Merced, is the newest of the University of California system’s 10 campuses. With 8,500 undergraduate and graduate students (, UC Merced provides outstanding educational opportunities to highly qualified students from the heart of California, the nation, and abroad. The campus has special connections to nearby Yosemite National Park; is on the cutting edge of sustainability in construction and design; and supports the economic development of Central California. The Merced 2020 Project doubled the physical capacity of the campus, and enhanced academic distinction, student success, and research excellence (

Position Overview:
The Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts (SSHA) reports to the Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost and is the chief officer of the School, serving as its executive head, representative, and administrator. The Dean will provide intellectual and academic leadership in the instructional and research missions of SSHA, overseeing all the faculty and staff through a period of growth for the School as well as for the institution. The dean will engage the faculty and provide the strategic vision for the School in addition to managing the academic leadership and operations of the School. Because of UC Merced’s size and the highly interdisciplinary nature of the University, a close working relationship among Deans is also crucial, as it is with other senior leadership on campus. Candidates should have demonstrated leadership skills in a full range of activities associated with the academic and research missions of the School. The Dean will oversee the hiring, promotion, and retention of faculty and staff, guide the development and oversight of undergraduate and graduate curriculum and degree programs, oversee all School resources, and work with campus administration and the Academic Senate on campus-wide decisions and policy.

This position is a full-time, year-round (1.0 FTE) position.


Establish a vision and strategy for the School (20%)

The next Dean of SSHA will be a critical player in working towards a strategic vision and goals for the School and working to promote that vision. Working with stakeholders, the Dean will seek to understand the nature of the School, what it does well, and what can be improved. The Dean will work with the faculty to consider the aspirations for the School, and to build upon its strengths to create and execute a vision for its future. The Dean will lead the creation of a strategy to drive the development and ever-increasing success of School that engages and excites faculty around a shared vision and shared sense of mission. The School’s future focus will be determined in part by current strengths, as well as by opportunities for growth and expansion into new areas. The Dean will make strategic choices and invest in the future of the School in thoughtful and impactful ways that bring faculty together and enhance the academic future of SSHA.

Recruit, retain, and support talented faculty (16%)

As a young university, UC Merced has an unusual faculty profile, with more assistant professors than associates, and more associates than full. As SSHA continues to hire over the next few years, this profile will change slowly. In addition to supporting the hiring of skillful new faculty, the Dean will work to promote structures and programs that aid and develop existing faculty, supporting the excellent faculty already in place at SSHA to maintain and grow their successes. The Dean will foster mentoring and training, particularly for junior faculty, and provide professional development opportunities. Along with seeking individual achievement, the Dean will help to bring people together to achieve excellence across the School and across the University, promoting increased focus on interdisciplinary work as well as fostering continued excellence in disciplinary research.

The Dean will be attentive to diversity as part of all work related to recruiting, retaining, and supporting faculty and staff, embracing the culture of inclusivity and the commitment to diversity that is critical to the fabric of UC Merced. Above all, the Dean will pursue a culture of professionalism, serving as a strong and dependable leader of people.

Enhance the academic profile and scholarly impact of the School (16%)

The Dean will be tasked with leading the growth of the School’s scholarship portfolio and will work to build faculty engagement in research and scholarly activity. At the University level, the Dean will play a lead role in advocating for and supporting additional investment in the scholarly activities of the School. In addition, incumbent will work to further expand existing research programs to strengthen scholarly opportunities for faculty. The Dean will also be responsible for ensuring SSHA has the appropriate infrastructure through which its students, faculty, and staff can excel at attracting national recognition for its scholarly impact. This will include encouraging and aiding faculty to seek additional external funding and resources to support their work.

Manage the academic enterprise (16%)

As UC Merced and SSHA grow, careful attention must be paid to implementing the appropriate administrative infrastructure to support the ongoing growth of the enterprise, all while maintaining and fostering a common vision and shared values. Clear communication between the Dean, staff, and faculty is essential for the development and maintenance of central standards to ensure a common experience across the School. During this period of growth and evolution, particular attention to staff development will be crucial. Many staff members have been with SSHA since its early years and that dedication and commitment must be harnessed to ensure they are stewards of the School through this period of growth and change. As the campus matures and the SSHA structure grows more textured and complex, the Dean must work with the staff to position them for success in this new environment. Ultimately, UC Merced seeks a Dean with the capacity to manage a wide range of responsibilities and constituencies and to ensure vigorous execution of the strategic priorities of the university.

Advocate for SSHA as a unit, both internally and externally (16%)

As part of joining the SSHA community, the Dean will seek to understand the nature and successes of the School. The Dean will use this knowledge of the School, and draw upon the shared vision for its future, to be a compelling spokesperson for SSHA. This includes speaking for the School on campus, building out relationships and building bridges within UC Merced, and working collaboratively with other Deans and administrators. This also includes promoting SSHA past the boundaries of campus, creating relationships in the region and beyond. This advocacy will not only raise the profile and prestige of the School, but also will lead to broadened partnerships for scholarship, learning, and financial resources. The Dean will work with the Development Office to identify and cultivate donors to the School and will seek increased success in external fundraising as well as increased investment.

Grow the student body thoughtfully and effectively (16%)

Currently, graduate students comprise only a small percent of the student body of SSHA. While the current graduate programs are robust, the future of UC Merced and of SSHA will require vast growth of the overall graduate population, on the order of double the current numbers or more. The Dean will ensure that the focus is not solely on increased numbers, but also emphasizes high- and ever-increasing quality of students attracted to the School and retained in its graduate programs based on experience with top quality scholarship, mentorship, and faculty teaching, as well as strong outcomes for graduates.

As with faculty, diversity will be a lens through which the Dean helps SSHA approach this growth. UC Merced is the most ethnically diverse campus in the UC System and has been designated both a Hispanic-Serving Institution and a Minority-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The campus is a vivid example of how academic excellence and diversity inform one another and provide the best possible environment for learning. UC Merced is committed to recruiting and retaining diverse faculty, administrators, and staff to encourage excellence. The Dean should be similarly dedicated to supporting those ideals and actively promoting them within the School and across the University, with attention to recruiting and retaining diverse students and cultivating an environment of inclusiveness across the School.

Required Skills, Knowledge, Abilities, and Competencies

• An earned doctorate in a field housed within the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts;
• A distinguished record in teaching, scholarship, and service consistent with the expectations of the rank of a full professor with tenure in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts;
• Demonstrated academic leadership, vision, and management skills;
• Proven experience as a leader in the creation of new programs and academic structures;
• Demonstrated ability to be a good listener who can communicate effectively with administrators, faculty, students, and staff;
• Understanding of academic checks and balances and an environment of shared governance, as well as the ability to be open to consultation with faculty and staff;
• Potential for success in fundraising and securing external support from a variety of sources;
• Excellent interpersonal skills, and a leadership style of being accessible to others; and
• Appreciation for the mission and responsibilities of a university serving a diverse state and a demonstrated personal commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.

The University of California is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and invites applications from all qualified applicants, including women, minorities, veterans, and individual with disabilities, who will enrich the teaching, research and public service missions of the university. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy, see: UC Nondiscrimination & Affirmative Action Policy (

Job location

Merced, CA


Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Cover Letter

  • Statement of Research and Teaching

  • Statement of Contributions to Diversity - Statement addressing past and/or potential contributions to diversity through research, teaching, and/or service.