Prescott College invites inquiries, nominations, and applications for the position of dean of academic affairs. This role offers the right individual a truly unique opportunity to join a close-knit campus community and play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the college.

The Position


The dean of academic affairs (dean) serves as the college’s chief academic officer. The dean works collaboratively with all constituencies to advance Prescott’s educational mission and provide vision, leadership, and overall management and direction to its academic offerings in alignment with the college’s strategic plan. The dean oversees the development of the academic program and the assessment of teaching and learning; carries responsibility for recruiting, orienting, developing, and evaluating faculty; reviews and recommends action to the president on faculty appointment, reappointment (the college has no tenure system), promotion, and sabbatical leaves; develops the academic budget and allocates resources; leads efforts related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging; and partners with colleagues to ensure the delivery of an intellectually stimulating and student-centered learning experience that is engaging, integrated, relevant, and purposeful.

Reporting to President Barbara Morris, who has led Prescott since July 2021, the dean of academic affairs serves as a key member of the President’s Leadership Council. The dean manages a $5 million budget and is ultimately responsible for 56 faculty and administrative staff employees, including six direct reports, and an array of adjuncts and field assistants.

Essential Duties

  • Advocate and promote quality instruction, student success, integrated planning, and the expansion of student learning outcomes to meet the educational needs of students in a multi-cultural environment
  • Work in close collaboration with the president and leadership council to align academic priorities with the college’s strategic plan
  • Advance the college’s student-centered, student-ready culture through designing and delivering high-quality, innovative, and transformative teaching and learning
  • Lead the design, implementation, and assessment of scholarly, diverse, and learning-centered curricula and initiate curricular innovation and lead curricular development which will make the college attractive to prospective students
  • Develop curricula, set academic standards, and work with faculty to ensure these standards are met
  • Promote the development of student-centered, equitable, and inclusive systems that enhance student learning, persistence, and completion, and equity of opportunity and success for all students
  • Monitor how cultural and socioeconomic changes may impact the academic process and assist in developing effective student recruitment and retention strategies in response
  • Oversee the college’s academic integrity and ensure compliance with various regional and program-specific accreditation and licensing agencies and serve as academic liaison officer for the Higher Learning Commission
  • Provide guidance to, and receive recommendations from the Faculty Leadership Council and Academic Council regarding the planning, implementation and review of academic programs, services, activities, and related matters
  • Coordinate the work of the program leaders and all teaching faculty
  • Support faculty in increasing academic excellence and in the continual professional development and mentorship of the individual interests and abilities of the faculty; and, work with program leaders and faculty members to support and enhance the scholarly activity, publication, and professional activity of the faculty
  • Encourage excellence in teaching and advising
  • Evaluate faculty, both remote and local, in a fair and just manner, utilizing agreed upon policies and procedures and review and recommend action to the president on contracts and sabbatical leaves
  • Work with program directors to prepare recommendations to the Leadership Council as to which faculty positions to fill, and work with program leaders to recruit and retain a diverse and highly qualified faculty
  • Demonstrate a commitment to creating an inclusive culture that embraces differences such as gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, social class, marital and parental status, disability, age, religion, gender identity or expression, geography, and national origin
  • Demonstrate a commitment to collaborative practices and shared leadership
  • Establish and sustain a vibrant and transparent institutional culture through consistent and open communication
  • Work collaboratively with the admissions, marketing, and student affairs to recruit and retain students and participate in admissions activities as needed
  • Review budget requests and recommend budget priorities to the Leadership Council


Prescott seeks candidates who have an earned doctorate or terminal degree appropriate to their discipline and a record of success as a teacher-scholar and academic administrator. The ideal candidate will be a committed, community-centered, entrepreneurial leader who can drive innovation and excellence in on-campus and online undergraduate and graduate education. This person will also demonstrate a deep respect for shared governance and faculty engagement, an ability to inspire others and bring them to actionable consensus, an unwavering commitment to justice and inclusive excellence, resilience in the face of challenges, and an affinity for the distinctive mission and character of the college.

In addition to the qualifications stated above, key stakeholders identified the following capabilities and attributes of a successful candidate:

  • Sustained scholarly accomplishment and demonstrated support for faculty scholarship
  • Experience with program innovation and academic portfolio planning
  • Experience with graduate and undergraduate academic programs, both online and residential
  • Commitment to innovative, collaborative, and experiential teaching and learning
  • Ability to lead diverse teaching modalities, including international field-stations
  • Ability to lead institutional change in a resource constrained environment by developing innovative and creative solutions
  • Ability to build and maintain productive relationships with the president’s senior leadership team, senior academic leaders, faculty, staff, students, parents and families, alumni, board of trustees, and other constituents important to the success of the college
  • Outstanding interpersonal, communication, and conflict resolution skills, with the ability to successfully navigate a variety of constituent relationships
  • Strategic orientation toward supporting faculty grants and gift development for program development and enhancement
  • Strong systems-thinking and innovative process and policy development
  • Strong problem-solving skills with an inclusive and collaborative approach to managing change
  • Commitment to shared governance, transparency, and inclusive decision making
  • Demonstrated ability to facilitate partnerships among academic programs, other divisions of the college, and external partners
  • Experience engaging online and on-campus faculty and students in dynamic conversations
  • Evidence of success in facilitating efforts promoting student success and retention
  • Demonstrated affinity and advocacy for both residential and online teaching and learning experiences
  • Strong understanding of contemporary student issues and values, intersectionality and college student identity development, and the ability to develop a natural rapport with students and student leaders
  • Visible, engaging, and accessible leadership style
  • Commitment to institutional goals of social and environmental justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion and cultivation of equity-minded campus culture
  • Positive, creative, and innovative spirit to lead within a 21st century higher education landscape


Prescott College has had many organizational models over its nearly 60 years. The college recently eliminated the position of executive vice president and provost as part of an administrative reorganization. In addition to the executive vice president and provost, who served as the college’s chief academic officer, the academic affairs division was staffed by two deans—one overseeing graduate programs and another overseeing undergraduate programs. To enhance collaboration, efficiency, and innovation throughout the college, President Barbara Morris created the dean of academic affairs position to function as the college’s chief academic officer with oversight responsibility for both undergraduate and graduate programs. The new dean will be tasked with leading the academic enterprise and driving innovation and excellence in on-campus and online academic programs.


The dean of academic affairs role offers the right individual a truly unique opportunity to join a close-knit campus community and play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the college. The dean will be expected to address the following priorities:

  • Design and continue to build vibrant and relevant academic programs:
    • Align academic offerings with the college’s mission, vision, and values
    • Build the academic reputation of the college
    • Address low program demand and create a model of program sustainability
    • Address the competitive landscape for current academic programs as well as the development of academic programs that address the needs of the next decade
    • Enhance a culture of program assessment and academic rigor
  • Improve the college’s academic infrastructure:
    • Plan and maintain the academic infrastructure necessary to achieve the college’s academic priorities
    • Further develop and enhance processes to improve operating efficiency and effectiveness
    • Improve internal communications and collaboration to engage faculty and keep them apprised of changes and decisions in a timely and transparent manner
  • Support faculty expertise:
    • Recruit and retain a talented, diverse, and qualified faculty
    • Develop systems to support the research interests of faculty
    • Create an environment of continual learning for faculty—instructional models, innovative pedagogical methods, and the uses of technology in delivering programs
  • Advance the college’s field stations:
    • Work to enhance and build opportunities for students and external partners in the college’s vibrant field stations
    • Align academic programs to further enhance the work of the field stations
    • Deepen the research potential of the field stations both for students and faculty


Soon after joining the senior team at Prescott, the dean will work directly with President Barbara Morris to identify specific quantitative and qualitative measures of success and their timetables. The following general metrics for the position are envisioned currently:

  • Complete the review of the entire offering of academic programs and begin to refine those programs relative to the marketplace
  • Develop and assess the enrollment and program data to recast existing and develop new program offerings that align more fully with the next cohort of students
  • Design programs that support the teaching and advising of students and more directly engage faculty in supporting student retention
  • Support faculty in the identification of grants and opportunities to increase professional academic development
  • Create a clear and efficient process to assess student learning and program outcomes
  • Evaluate the field stations in terms of innovative directions and opportunities to enhance the engagement of participants and partners in alignment with academic programs

Institution & Location


Founded in 1966, Prescott College has over a half-century of leadership in developing and refining experiential and online educational models that have kept the college at the forefront of institutions seeking to address urgent issues in environmental sustainability and social justice. Collaborative learning, multidisciplinary studies, and experiential and field-based learning in service of community impact are hallmarks of the Prescott educational experience. Enrolling approximately 1,000 students annually in both on-campus and online programs, the college offers a range of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Prescott students are educators, activists, counselors, researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs—all of whom are eager to make a difference in their local and global communities.

Prescott College currently serves 700 online graduate students and 300 undergraduate students, including 100 undergraduates who exclusively pursue their studies online. The college houses roughly 140 residential students in a residence hall and an apartment community.

The college is located in Prescott, Arizona, nestled in the state’s beautiful high plateaus, about a two-hour drive from Phoenix and Flagstaff. The city of Prescott has a vibrant downtown area and a strong arts community.


Barbara Morris, PhD, President

Prescott College’s 18th president, Dr. Barbara Morris, joined Prescott College in 2021 after serving as the associate vice provost and associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at the State University of New York (SUNY) System. SUNY is the largest university system in the United States, comprising 64 institutions and serving over a million students from diverse backgrounds. Morris led education reform across the SUNY campuses as well as efforts to expand Indigenous learning and support systems.

Prior to her work at the SUNY System, Morris served as president of SUNY Oneonta. One-third of SUNY Oneonta’s students are first-generation and come from underrepresented backgrounds. While at Oneonta, Morris launched a $25 million comprehensive campaign, secured funding for a general education pathway for students, and received the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Excellence and Innovation Award for Sustainability and Sustainable Development.

With her bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University and advanced degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Morris has taught courses on American foreign policy; gender, power, and public policy; and political activism. Her recent work includes co-authoring Recreating the Circle: The Renewal of American Indian Self-Determination, with LaDonna Harris and Dr. Stephen M. Sachs. Additionally, Morris served as the president of the Race and Ethnicity, and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association.

Senior leadership organizational charts

Mission, Vision, Values


The Student Body (Fall 2022)

Total Enrollment: 974

Undergraduate: 317

Graduate Enrollment: 657

Male: 36%

Female: 64%

Minority Enrollment: 15%

White: 66%

Black: 4%

Asian: 4%

Hispanic: 4%

American Indian: 2%

Two or more races: 1%

International: 1%


Click here for more information of Prescott College resources and benefits.

Application & Nomination

Prescott has retained Spelman Johnson, a national executive search firm, to assist in this search. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. For full consideration, application materials should be received by November 3, 2023. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter.

Confidential inquiries and nominations should be directed to Jim Norfleet, practice leader and senior consultant, at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email

The anticipated hiring salary range for the dean of academic affairs is $120,000 to $130,000 annually, commensurate with experience. The college expects to make an appointment in February 2024, and the successful candidate will be expected to take office as soon as possible thereafter. This full-time, in-person position may be eligible for a flexible or hybrid work schedule.

Visit the Prescott College website at

Prescott College is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other legally protected status in its employment decisions.