Dean of the CollegeDate Posted: 11/16/21
President Scott Feller has announced a search for the next Dean of the College at Wabash in a process that will invite both internal and external candidates. As the chief academic officer, the Dean reports directly to President Feller and exercises oversight of the academic program, which includes 93 FTE faculty and about 60 staff, through a robust tradition of shared governance. The Dean is responsible for all faculty personnel matters, provides leadership on issues of faculty development and program support, and manages all elements of the academic administration. The new Dean will be strategically positioned to build on the faculty’s collective good will and mission-driven approach to engaged teaching and learning.
Working with the faculty, President Feller has appointed a cross-constituent search committee that will be involved at each stage of the process. In the final stage, the committee will discuss with the President their evaluations of each finalist and the President will make the final decision. The application, interview, and selection process has been designed to maintain the confidentiality of all interested parties to the extent possible.
The Opportunities and Challenges for the New Wabash Dean
The Wabash faculty, staff, and administration are united in identifying a person who will provide leadership for the faculty and the curriculum, offer a contemporary understanding of programs and pedagogies in the liberal arts, and integrate new and engaging programs into the existing curriculum and governance structure. The new Dean will be a true partner in executing President Feller’s agenda, and will be expected to operate with transparency while providing leadership across the institution.
In accepting his/her responsibilities, the Dean will engage an agenda that includes:
Uncompromising Leadership – The Dean must lead in understanding the ways in which Wabash can leverage its strengths, including a $400 million endowment, to address the numerous challenges facing residential liberal arts colleges. In addition to basic issues of assessment, compensation, personnel, curricular review, and faculty development, the Dean will be asked to lead in areas of high impact programs such as domestic and international faculty-led course-embedded travel (“Immersion Learning”), student/faculty research, internships, and “Wabash X” initiatives. Enhancing and integrating these programs within the curriculum and academic framework, as well as continued emphasis on interdisciplinary offerings will require the Dean’s confident attention. The Dean is bolstered in this work by significant endowed funds for course-embedded travel and well-established advisory committees for the Wabash X initiatives.
On a campus where faculty are encouraged to voice a diversity of viewpoints, the Dean must be confident dealing with disagreement and channeling it as civil discourse. Whether working on specific planning objectives or addressing general issues of academic business, the Dean must understand how to lead in a culture where spirited discussion is a strength. A renewed understanding among and between all constituencies about effective shared governance will be helpful as a new Dean begins his/her tenure at Wabash.
Evaluating and Integrating Programs into Existing Curriculum and Governance – The Dean must bring skills as a listener, communicator, and facilitator of constructive discussion to create coherence around the College’s academic priorities. Under the last President and Dean, Wabash aggressively pursued the creation of new interdisciplinary majors and minors, as well as co-curricular Wabash X initiatives to expand the College’s academic footprint.
New majors in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) and Computer Science have doubled enrollments in each year since they were established, and about 20% of Wabash students participate in Wabash X initiatives in Global Health, Business and Entrepreneurship, and Democracy and Public Discourse. A new Dean will step into a role of underscoring the College’s fundamental strengths in the liberal arts, articulating the contemporary needs of 21st century learners, and integrating these new and emerging programs into the College’s timeless curriculum and governance structure. The Dean is supported by strong Division Chairs, who are both active teaching faculty and committed administrative colleagues.
At a time of increased scrutiny and challenges to the traditions of liberal learning, the Dean has an opportunity to improve on the College’s excellent reputation in the current national dialogue around these issues, while emphasizing the exceptional outcomes that emerge from a Wabash education.
Whole-Hearted Support for Diversity and Sense of Belonging – In a campus environment where diversity has become an increasingly important benchmark, intercultural competence is highly valued across the faculty, staff, and student body. Since its founding, Wabash has been committed to providing a liberal arts education to all qualified students, regardless of their financial circumstances. Typically, roughly 30% of each incoming class come from low-income (Pell Grant-eligible) households and a similar percentage of new students are the first in their families to attend college. About 20% of first-time freshmen are domestic students of color.
The new Dean will be a leader in the College’s efforts for diversity, equity, and inclusion – far beyond monitoring the gender, racial, and ethnic profile of the College’s constituencies. In cooperation with the Special Assistant to the President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – and with the backing of the $4.5 million “Restoring Hope, Restoring Trust” grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., the Dean will be asked to model and build the elements of an inclusive community in which Wabash students, faculty, and staff feel a genuine sense of belonging and are fully invested in all aspects of a life-changing liberal arts education.
Encouraging and Developing Faculty Over the Arc of Their Careers – One tenured faculty member confidently said, “The new Dean will be lucky to find such a collegial, hard-working, student-centered faculty.” Indeed, Wabash’s faculty play an out-sized role in the overall development of Wabash men, are active participants in all aspects of their students’ lives, and are genuine in their affection and support for their faculty colleagues. A growing number of endowed professorships, faculty development funds, and the Byron K. Trippet Professorships provide significant resources for the recruitment and development of faculty at Wabash.
The Dean is responsible for strengthening the teaching and scholarship activity of all Wabash faculty through ongoing support of faculty development. While the majority of Wabash faculty are tenured, a cadre of early-career tenure-track faculty will need support and encouragement as scholars and teachers. Opportunities also exist to encourage and challenge tenured faculty to remain fully engaged in the academic life of the College and to identify programs to leverage the expertise of mid-career faculty throughout their teaching careers.
As a member of the Personnel Committee, the Dean is intimately involved in coordinating many aspects of hiring, review, tenure, and promotion of faculty and academic administration, and will effectively facilitate efforts among the parties involved. The Dean will actively support faculty and staff who hold leadership positions and will encourage and develop others to seek important leadership roles at the College.
A Collaborative Partner – While advocating for the academic program is a fundamental aspect of administrative leadership, the Dean must also be a gracefully assertive leader in collaboration with members of the Senior Staff on College-wide issues. Positive relationships within the leadership team will be built on candor, authenticity, mutual respect, and a clear understanding of the entire Wabash College living and learning program. In particular, the new Dean must actively collaborate with staff in Advancement and Admissions.
Wabash has a long and storied culture of philanthropy, and the current Giant Steps Capital Campaign – designed to provide significant support for scholarships and faculty development – has exceeded all of its benchmarks since the public launch in November 2018. While President Feller serves as the College’s chief fund-raiser with Advancement staff support, the Dean will play a central role in developing the Wabash narrative that helps define donor priorities. The Dean will be active in developing proposals from corporations and foundations, and will be supported in these efforts by Advancement staff and the College’s partnership with McAllister and Quinn, a nationally recognized federal grant consulting firm. The new Dean will develop a keen understanding of the College’s endowed funds and how to leverage them to support the academic program.
Similarly, the Dean will work with colleagues in the Admissions Office to define and articulate the value of a residential liberal arts experience for young men. The new Dean must believe in this mission and help create an academic narrative to share with prospective students. As one of the Colleges That Change Lives, Wabash is committed to providing an elite liberal arts education to qualified young men regardless of their financial circumstances. Typically, over 30% of the entering freshman class receive federal Pell Grants and a similar percentage are first generation college students.
Managing with Strength – The Dean currently has supervisory responsibility for the three academic divisions that encompass all departments and majors, the Senior Associate Dean of the College, three Division Chairs, and 12 direct reports that manage a wide range of curricular and co-curricular activities, including Information Technology Services and Institutional Research.
The Dean also manages four grant-funded programs and centers: The Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts, Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS) Consortium, and the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program. These centers bring in substantial grant funding and provide significant resources for pedagogy, assessment, and data sharing.
Attention to detail and strong organization and management skills will be essential, as the successful Dean delegates effectively, evaluates fairly, holds others accountable, empowers an effective academic administrative team, and provides support for staff development.
Partnering with President Feller will also be a key ingredient in a successful leadership arrangement at Wabash. The Dean will provide the essential conduit between the President and the faculty and academic program.
Maintaining Visibility and Accessibility – The intimate and engaging nature of the Wabash community calls for the Dean to be comfortable dealing on a personal level with faculty and administrative colleagues, staff, and the student body. The Dean’s effort to nurture face-to-face conversations and communication will underscore his/her accessibility while also improving the quality of the dialogue. Everyone at Wabash will value the Dean’s visible, accessible, and participative place as a part of the Wabash community.
Desired Attributes of the Dean of the College
The next Dean should embody many of the attributes developed through liberal arts education, including intellectual curiosity, creative acumen, and an active life of the mind. The Dean should also possess skills that will meet the expectations discussed in the Opportunities and Challenges section of this position description. High energy, deep integrity, a sense of humor, warmth, commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and authenticity are important personal qualities. In addition, the Dean of the College will be:
- Collegial: The new Dean of the College will inherit a faculty with enormous good will directed toward the College, colleagues, and the administration, and will receive significant support from academic administrative staff. The new Dean will have high energy and a collegial spirit.
- Focused on the Liberal Arts: The new Dean must be unwavering in his/her advocacy of residential liberal arts education.
- Trusting: Wabash faculty and staff excel at their jobs and do not need to be micromanaged. The Dean should trust them and focus on overarching priorities.
- Candid: The Dean should be willing to have difficult conversations with faculty colleagues, Trustees, the President, as well as with all members of the community.
- Respectful: The Dean should respect that which is in place and understand the culture before advocating wholesale change. Further integration and assessment of new and emerging programs is critical.
- Mission-Driven: Given scarce resources and challenging times, the Dean should be focused on the College’s timeless mission: “Wabash educates young men to think critically, act responsibly, lead effectively, and live humanely.”
- Committed: The new Dean must embrace Wabash as a College for men, and understand the emerging narrative about the importance of educating young men in the liberal arts.
- Understanding: As with any faculty that includes educators at various points in their personal and professional lives, the new Dean must be understanding and active in promoting a healthy work-life balance, while at the same time holding all faculty and staff to high standards of excellence for which the College is known.
- Relaxed: The Dean should let faculty be faculty. There will always be a good bit of collegial debate. Not everything that creates controversy needs intervention.
Inquiries and Applications
Wabash College, a liberal arts college for men, seeks faculty and staff who are committed to providing quality engagement with students, high levels of academic challenge and support, and meaningful experiences that prepare students for life and leadership among diverse populations around the globe. Wabash is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes applications from persons of all backgrounds.
Questions and inquiries from prospects, as well as nominations, should be directed to Dr. Mauri Ditzler, who is assisting with the search. Candidates should submit a full CV, letter of intent, and responses to the Opportunities and Challenges and the Desired Attributes to the Wabash Employment website no later than December 31, 2021. All inquiries, nominations, applications, and future interviews will be treated with utmost confidentiality.
About Wabash College
Wabash College is a private liberal arts college for men located in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Founded in 1832, its mission is to “educate men to think critically, act responsibly, lead effectively, and live humanely,” and it accomplishes its mission in a residential community in which faculty are highly engaged with their students, in and out of the classroom.
Wabash’s 840 students come from over 30 states and about a dozen foreign countries. Wabash is featured in Loren Pope’s bestselling book, Colleges That Change Lives; its professors have received national rankings for quality and accessibility; and Wabash boasts the nation’s top-ranked Alumni Network and third-ranked Internship Program.
President Scott E. Feller: The Wabash College Board of Trustees elected Scott Feller, Ph.D., to serve as the 17th President of Wabash College by unanimous vote during the Trustees’ meeting May 16, 2020. Dr. Feller served as Dean of the College at Wabash from 2014-2020 and as Professor of Chemistry since 1998.
Senior Staff: The Dean of the College serves as a member of the President’s Senior Staff, which includes:
- Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
- Dean of the College
- Dean of Students
- Dean of Enrollment Management
- Dean for Professional Development
- Dean for College Advancement
- Director of Athletics and Campus Wellness
- President’s Chief of Staff and Director of Strategic Communications
- Special Assistant to the President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Board of Trustees: The Dean of the College serves as the administration liaison to the Board of Trustees’ Academic Affairs Committee and staffs the Executive Committee. Wabash College Board of Trustees.
Academic Leadership: The Dean of the College works directly with three Division Chairs, and also provides leadership and support for the following direct reports:
- Senior Associate Dean of the College
- Information Technology
- Institutional Research
- Lilly Library
- Academic Centers for Excellence
- Pre-Medicine Advisor
- Fellowship Advisor
- International Students and Off-Campus Studies
- Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts
- Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS) Consortium
- Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion
- Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program
Foundation Support and Philanthropy – Wabash receives national recognition and significant investment from foundations such as Lilly Endowment Inc., the National Science Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, and the Henry Luce Foundation, among others. The College has raised in excess of $20 million in each of the last three years, including a $3.5+ million annual fund. Each year, approximately 44% of alumni give to the College.
Wabash Graduates – Nearly 40% of Wabash’s 10,000 living graduates possess advanced degrees (27% boast terminal degrees). One in ten alumni holds a leadership position in his firm (director, owner, vice president, president, chairman, or CEO). The College’s placement rates to medical schools (94%) and law schools (88%) are nearly double the national averages, and Wabash’s first destination rate for the Class of 2021 was 99.4% within six months of graduation.
National Centers of Distinction – The College is home to the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion and the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program, which are wholly funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. Wabash also hosts the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts, which was founded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment, and the Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS) Consortium. The Dean of the College oversees these programs.
Wabash’s Financial Position – Wabash College boasts an endowment of approximately $400 million ($475,000 per-student) and has an annual operating budget of approximately $43 million.
Faculty – In 2021-22, 99 percent of the faculty members at Wabash hold a Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree. Wabash’s special strength lies with a faculty dedicated to teaching undergraduate students.
Student-to-Faculty Ratio – Wabash maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1, and 75 percent of all course sections have fewer than 20 students. Other figures: 94% of courses are taught by full-time faculty; 38% of full-time faculty are women and 13% are faculty of color; and 37% have at least 15 years of service at Wabash.
Majors and Minors – Wabash offers 39 majors and minors, two dual degree programs, and pre-professional programs in law and medicine. See the College’s website for a complete listing of majors, minors, and associated programs.
Library Collections and Services – Lilly Library, built in 1959, was renovated and expanded in 1992. Lilly Library is a founding member of PALNI, ALI, and The Oberlin Group. Both in the library and on the campus network students have access to periodical indexes and the online catalog of the 2.7 million volumes of Wabash and the 24 other private colleges and seminaries that are part of PALNI. Additional off-campus resources available electronically from the Library web site encompass a wide range of specialized subject indexes and abstracts, full-text journal and information databases, and the OCLC international database of 37.5 million volumes in over 30,000 libraries around the world.
Lilly Library also features the Goodrich Seminar Room on its second floor, which was funded by Pierre Goodrich. This grand gathering place provides Wabash students with a practical tool for understanding and interpreting the historical evolution of the idea of individual liberty. The Robert T. Ramsay, Jr. Archival Center, located on the library’s lower level, contains the records of the College, including catalogs and yearbooks, student publications, fraternity files, and other related materials that document Wabash's history, along with several special collections.
Athletics – Wabash’s athletic teams played and won the first collegiate football, basketball, and baseball games in Indiana. About half of all Wabash students participate in one of 13 intercollegiate sports. Wabash has produced more than 450 All-Americans, 33 Academic All-Americans, and 22 recipients of the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Wabash is a member of the North Coast Athletic Conference. All faculty and staff have full access to the College’s recreation and fitness facilities.
Crawfordsville and Montgomery County – Crawfordsville, Indiana, population 16,000, is the county seat of Montgomery County (38,000). Third-term Mayor Todd Barton is a Wabash College graduate, and successfully secured “Stellar Communities” designation from the State of Indiana, which allowed Crawfordsville to fast-track a series of transformational projects including construction of “Fusion 54,” a co-working space that brings together the city and county’s economic development and growth entities, with entrepreneurs and students in Wabash’s Center for Innovation, Business, and Entrepreneurship. Other Stellar projects include a downtown park; rehabilitation of a former insurance building, which will become a mixed-used space with restaurant/bar and boutique hotel; and a downtown cultural trail linking Wabash to the town.
Montgomery County is home to three school corporations and six museums. The Crawfordsville Community School Corporation has strong programs for gifted and talented students, as well as students with disabilities. Recent graduates have gone on to colleges that include Harvard, Princeton, and Northwestern, to name a few. The small business community is gaining strength, and there is an emerging “buy and eat local” movement that has grown from Crawfordsville’s very popular farmer’s market.
Crawfordsville is served by AMTRAK with service to Indianapolis and Chicago. The top-rated Indianapolis International Airport is a 50-minute drive from campus and Chicago’s Loop is less than a three-hour drive.
Employment opportunities for spouses and partners abound in the area. While the vast majority of Wabash faculty live in Montgomery County, thriving suburban communities northwest of Indianapolis include Zionsville and Brownsburg, which are each about a 40-minute drive to campus. West Lafayette, home to Purdue University, is just 30 minutes to the north.
Contact:James L Amidon
President's Chief of Staff and Director of Strategic Communications, Secretary of the College
P.O. Box 352
Crawfordsville, IN 47933
For general questions about the position or the department, contact:James Amidon
President's Chief of Staff and Director of Strategic Communications, Secretary of the College
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