Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) seeks a visionary leader and advocate to serve as its Dean of the newly formed College of Architecture, Arts, and Design. The Dean reports directly to the Executive Vice President and Provost and is a key member of the university’s senior leadership team.


The Dean of the College of Architecture, Arts, and Design (AAD) is responsible for strategically leading the academic and administrative operation of the college, and provides leadership through which the college continues to foster excellence in teaching, research, creative scholarship, and service to the professions represented within AAD and society more broadly.

The Dean represents the college to external agencies and constituencies, actively participates in fundraising initiatives, and advocates for the college in particular and architecture, visual and performing arts, and design in general within and beyond the university.

The Dean reports to the Executive Vice President and Provost and works closely with the college’s Associate and Assistant Deans, School Directors, and Program Chairs, as well as with the Deans, Vice Presidents, and Directors of other university units. The Dean must be an authentic leader with vision and imagination who will be credible to a diverse array of constituents and willing to work collaboratively at all levels. The Dean will support the university's commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access.


Newly formed through an internal reorganization of schools and departments, the College of Architecture, Arts, and Design at Virginia Tech is a global leader in architecture, visual arts, performing arts, and design, and is a premiere destination for high-value programs. The college houses four top-ranked schools: the School of ArchitectureSchool of Visual ArtsSchool of Performing Arts, and School of Design. Throughout their curricula, students in Virginia Tech’s nationally recognized programs find learning opportunities that nurture interdisciplinary study, collaboration, student research, experiential learning, and the chance to explore and grow as they learn through external engagements. Graduates pursue careers in architecture, graphic design, industrial design, interior design, landscape architecture, performance, cinema, arts production, stage management, education, art history, and more.

The college was formed to provide greater visibility, inclusion, and opportunity for arts, design, and architecture programs through a unifying identity and vision related to creativity, arts, and design work.  The college is well-positioned within the university to both lead and collaborate in a number of strategic university initiatives.

AAD houses 12 undergraduate majors, 11 minors, and 8 graduate degree programs. With over 1700 students, and still growing, 52% of the college’s students are on the Dean’s List and 130 are currently enrolled in the Honors College. The college and its programs are nationally recognized for the following achievements:

  • Top Graphic Design School – Graphic Design USA, 2021
  • #6 Most Admired Architecture Schools – Design Intelligence, 2019-20
  • #4 Landscape Architecture, Most Hired From – Design Intelligence, 2019-20
  • #5 Interior Design, Most Hired From – Design Intelligence, 2019-20
  • #8 Best College for Fine and Studio Arts in the Southeast – College Factual
  • #13 Top East Coast Animation School – Animation Career Review
  • #18 Top National Public Animation School – Animation Career Review
  • #24 bachelor’s degree in Theatre in the U.S. (top 5%), #1 in Virginia – College Factual
  • #21 bachelor’s degree in Music in the U.S. (top 5%), #2 in Virginia – College Factual

Programs throughout the college are nationally accredited, by the National Architecture Accrediting Board, National Association of Schools of Theatre, National Association of Schools of Music, Council for Interior Design Accreditation, National Association of Schools of Art and Design, and the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board.

AAD has 200 faculty across the university’s campuses, who are nationally and internationally recognized for their research, scholarship, professional service, and creative contributions. The college’s many award-winning faculty are key to providing world-class education of our students and cutting-edge research.

The college is also poised to play a key role in advancing many strategic initiatives that are at the core of Virginia Tech’s identity as a comprehensive land-grant institution.  Weaving technology and society-minded scholarship, outreach, and service through all of their programs, the college is a key contributor to a number of strategic university initiatives and continues to bring strong collaborative approaches to some of society’s most complex issues and needs.


As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and a leading R1 research institution, Virginia Tech offers approximately 280 degree programs to more than 37,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students across the commonwealth and manages a research portfolio of more than $556 million. The university fulfills its role as a land-grant institution by fostering a collaborative environment that integrates technology into all disciplines, so the Virginia Tech community can serve as a force for positive change around Virginia, the country, and the world.  Through experiential learning, future-focused research, and an inclusive, spirited culture, Virginia Tech strives to accomplish the charge of its motto Ut Prosim (That I May Serve).

Located in Blacksburg, Virginia, the main campus includes 235 buildings, 2,600 acres of land, and an airport. Virginia Tech is consistently recognized for its value and the quality of its programs and is ranked 48th in University Research in the United States. Virginia Tech has a significant presence across the commonwealth, including the Innovation Campus and other sites in Northern Virginia, the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke, and sites in Newport News and Richmond; educational and research facilities across the state; a study-abroad site in Switzerland; and an 1,800-acre agriculture research farm near the main campus.

The Dean will join Virginia Tech at an exciting time of growth. The university’s 16th President, Timothy D. Sands, who began his tenure in 2014, has led the university community in a long-term, future-focused visioning process to ensure Virginia Tech’s position as a global land-grant university leader for the coming generations. This was followed by university- and college-level strategic planning that builds on key opportunities to make meaningful and imaginative progress in the coming years.

Building on its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech is dedicated to InclusiveVT—an institutional and individual commitment to community, diversity, and excellence. The institution seeks candidates who adopt and practice the Principles of Community, which are fundamental to the university’s ongoing efforts to increase access and inclusion and to create a community that nurtures learning and growth for all its members. Virginia Tech actively seeks a broad spectrum of qualified candidates to join its community in preparing leaders for a diverse, global society and encourages individuals across racial, ethnic, religious, gender, sexual orientation, ability, international, and other identities to apply.


  • An appropriate terminal degree and substantial record of research, artistic, and/or scholarly achievement that merits a tenured appointment as professor in one of the college's academic programs;
  • A compelling record of proven leadership experience and achievement at the level of Department Chair or School Director, Research or Center Director, Associate/Assistant Dean, Dean, or above in higher education or its equivalent in an architecture, visual arts, performing arts, or design-related organization;
  • A leader deeply committed to, and accomplished in, meaningful, demonstrable progress in matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education and/or architecture, the visual and performing arts, and design;
  • Demonstrated success in fundraising and other resource development, including identification of new sources of support in order to build and sustain ongoing and new initiatives;
  • Achievement in the development of internal and external support for educational outreach; creative or scholarly work; building corporate and industry partnerships; and building partnerships with community, state, national, and international architecture, visual arts, performing arts, and design organizations;
  • Positive growth in rank and accomplishment, demonstration of excellent managerial and organizational skills, and a record of achieving positive visibility for successful initiatives;
  • Ability to work collaboratively with faculty, staff, students, and external stakeholders to understand existing strengths and further develop a strategic vision to continue to move AAD forward;
  • A proven record in recruiting and promoting talented people, encouraging teamwork, and inspiring the best efforts among faculty, staff, and students; and
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills coupled with the ability to articulate the vision of AAD to its numerous internal and external stakeholders.


The Dean must be committed to:

  • Visionary, collaborative leadership and an appreciation of the range of disciplines and activities in the College of Architecture, Arts, and Design;
  • Advocacy on behalf of all of the college’s units to support continued excellence across all programs;
  • Strengthening the whole college while balancing the needs and aspirations of its schools and constituencies;
  • Student success and degree completion;
  • Shared governance and consensus building;
  • Advancement of excellence among faculty, students, and staff;
  • Advocacy for inclusion, equity, and diversity at all levels of the college, responding to the specific needs of diverse faculty, staff, and students; 
  • Integration of new technology across architecture, visual arts, performing arts, and design programs; and
  • Engaging and collaborating with faculty, staff, and students beyond the Blacksburg campus.


The Search Committee invites nominations and applications (this consists of a letter of interest describing relevant qualifications and experiences; curriculum vitae; statement of contributions to diversity; the names of at least five references) to be submitted to Parker Executive Search. Confidential review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. The Search Committee prefers that all nominations and applications be submitted to Parker Executive Search prior to October 15, 2022.

Porsha L. Williams, Vice President
Jacob C. Anderson, Senior Principal
Parker Executive Search
Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 2875, Atlanta, GA 30328
Phone: 770-804-1996 x 109 or 111 ||

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.

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