The Opportunity

Susquehanna University invites inquiries, nominations, and applications for the position of dean of the school of natural and social sciences. The new dean will be expected to take office in the summer of 2022.

Susquehanna University is a selective, residential, national liberal arts college committed to excellence in educating students for productive, creative, and reflective lives of achievement, leadership, and service in a diverse, dynamic, and interdependent world. According to a recent report from Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, Susquehanna University ranks among the top 10% of universities in the U.S. for career-long earnings. According to the most recent Washington Monthly college guide, Susquehanna ranks among the top 30% of liberal arts universities for social mobility among 218 liberal arts universities nationwide.

The University offers over 100 majors and minors in arts, business, communication, education, humanities, pre-engineering, and sciences. Susquehanna’s 2,300 undergraduates come from 30 states and 25 countries, and all students study away through Susquehanna’s unique Global Opportunities program. The 325-acre campus, noted for its beauty, is located in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, 50 miles north of Harrisburg in the scenic Susquehanna River Valley, about a three-hour drive from Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New York City.

The Position

Role of the Dean of the School of Natural and Social Sciences for Susquehanna University

Reporting to the provost and dean of faculty, the dean is responsible for leading the school comprised of 56 full-time faculty within eight departments: Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Math and Computer Sciences, Physics, Psychology, Political Science, and Sociology and Anthropology. In addition, the dean works collaboratively with academic staff and the other deans on university-wide matters such as strategic vision, leadership, direction, and planning, for the academic departments and programs. The dean promotes excellence in curricula, teaching and learning, academic advising, scholarship and creative activities, faculty development, and innovation that reflect the realities of contemporary higher education. The dean will hold an administrative appointment with faculty rank and will teach one class per year and advise some students. The dean is a member of the President’s Senior Leadership Team, Provost Council, and the University Council.

Additional specific responsibilities of the dean include:

  • establish and sustain a vibrant and transparent school culture through consistent and open communication;
  • initiate curricular innovation and lead curricular development which will make the University and the School attractive to prospective students;
  • work with department heads, interdisciplinary program coordinators, and other faculty mem­bers to support and enhance the scholarly activity, publication, and professional activity of the faculty in the School;
  • work with the provost and the other deans to initiate and sustain inter­disciplinary programs;
  • work with the new Innovation Center to facilitate mission-centric projects;
  • initiate and expedite, in cooperation with the Development Office and the Grants and Foundation Relations Office, an enriched program of grants and gifts to strengthen and support the programs of the School;
  • maintain regular communication with faculty and staff;
  • review and recommend action to the provost and the Faculty Personnel Committee on promotions, tenure, and sabbatical leaves;
  • encourage faculty professional growth, mentorship, and professional development with the indivi­dual interests and abilities of the faculty in the School;
  • work with department heads to prepare recom­mendations to the provost as to which faculty positions to fill, and to work with department heads and the provost to recruit and retain a diverse and highly qualified faculty;
  • demonstrate a commitment to creating and maintaining 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;
  • encourage excellence in teaching and advising;
  • review the annual evaluation of faculty members by department heads and conduct the annual review of department heads;
  • allocate limited discretionary funds during the year to support academic speakers, curricu­lar development, scholarly activity, and pro­fessional activity;
  • intentionally engage with students and maintain a visible presence on campus; expect the same of faculty and support them in their efforts to do so;
  • work collaboratively with and the Office of Admission and Center for Academic Success to recruit and retain students;
  • actively teach and advise students;
  • review budget requests from departments within the School and recommend budget priori­ties to the provost.

History of the Position

In 2011, the University transitioned from a three-school model (School of Arts and Humanities, School of Natural and Social Sciences, and the Sigmund Weis School of Business) to a two-school model – the School of Arts and Sciences and the Sigmund Weis School of Business.

Since 2018 the Susquehanna community has actively engaged in reflection and visioning with an eye towards reaching strategic planning goals. In 2020, the CenSUs: Everyone Counts Taskforce was formed to actively create a supportive, anti-racist community where all members are safe, valued, and provided with opportunities to thrive and flourish. SU 2.0 challenges Susquehanna to provide a more integrated, personalized, and efficient student experience. SU 2.0 is primarily focused on six critical student-centric areas of the University’s ecosystem: student experience, student health and wellness, academics, diversity, public safety, and facilities.

As part of SU 2.0, the academic steering committee recommended several enhancements related to academic innovation at Susquehanna University. Some of these include:

  • Restructure the University into four schools with three deans: (1) School of the Arts, (2) School of Humanities, (3) School of Natural and Social Sciences, and (4) The Sigmund Weis School of Business. The schools of the Arts and Humanities would share a dean. This new four school/three dean model would improve the balance of resources and allow each of the schools more critical focus.
  • Establish an innovation center to pursue new external funding opportunities (grants and other revenue), explore the creation of new academic programs, and promote further collaboration across all academic departments.
  • Revise the faculty evaluation process to be more transparent and include augmented sections on teaching, advising, scholarship, creative activity, service, and support for diversity, equity, and inclusion.

In the summer of 2021, Valerie Martin, the Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences, returned to the faculty to teach and work more closely with students as the Degenstein Professor of Music. The institution has named an interim dean to lead the School of Natural and Social Sciences for the 2021-2022 academic year while a national search is underway.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

Susquehanna University seeks a strategic, visionary leader to be its next dean of the School of Natural and Social Sciences. In transitioning to Susquehanna, the dean will encounter the following opportunities, priorities, and challenges as shared by university stakeholders in meetings with Spelman Johnson.

Continue to evolve the academic program

The dean will work collaboratively with the provost, president, provost’s council, deans, department heads, and faculty to advance the institution’s academic mission and further develop its academic programs. The dean will be responsible for curricular development and academic innovation within a highly interdisciplinary environment to ensure the undergraduate program is well-positioned to maintain and strengthen Susquehanna’s status as a national leader integrating the liberal arts and preparation for professions and careers, as evidenced through a number of interdisciplinary offerings within the school. The dean will build upon the work that has been done in revising and expanding the central curriculum while creating, supporting, and sustaining an environment of assessment, adaptation, innovation, and continuous improvement. Opportunities exist to leverage program and school distinction while enhancing cross-collaboration and synergy; enhance undergraduate student research; expand formal opportunities for interdisciplinary teaching and learning.

Inspire, support, and lead the school’s talented and dedicated faculty

To be successful, the dean must build strong rapport with faculty, gain their confidence and trust, and support their ongoing development through strategic decision-making, thoughtful resource allocation, and inspirational leadership. A central responsibility is to recruit, guide, retain, evaluate, and support faculty in their efforts to provide a rigorous educational experience for all students. The dean will attend to the factors that support faculty success, rewarding collaboration and entrepreneurship while recognizing and supporting faculty’s central teaching, mentoring, and advising responsibilities. The dean will promote excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service and establish priorities and plans for robust faculty development and mentorship. The dean will have an opportunity to partner with the new Innovation Center and a new Grants Office director to support faculty innovation and enhance international faculty partnerships with the Global Opportunities program.

Support an environment of inclusive excellence

The dean will intentionally partner with the newly created Division of Inclusion Excellence and the vice president for student life to strengthen Susquehanna’s commitment to supporting a diverse community of students, faculty, and staff, recognizing how the cultural differences of others enhance the student and organizational learning. The dean will support academic faculty and staff in effectively working with students from all backgrounds and identities and dedicate time and resources to recruit and retain faculty, which draw from diverse backgrounds. There is an opportunity to bring an equity lens to systems and processes such as faculty evaluation and faculty workload and productivity.

Collaborate with the provost and the president’s senior leadership team

Working in close partnership with the provost, the senior leadership team, and the provost’s council, the dean, will play a pivotal role in achieving the University’s strategic goals and vision of excellence. The dean will ensure the integrity of all academic programs and have a broad influence in shaping the future of teaching and learning. This position requires a talented and experienced academic leader with an open and transparent style who can effectively exchange ideas and opinions with a broad range of diverse constituencies, manage change compassionately and efficiently, and contribute effectively to the overall administration of the institution. The next dean will partner with campus leaders to strengthen and support a dynamic and holistic student experience.

Measures of Success

The dean will work with the provost to determine specific measures of success and their respective timetables. The successful dean will establish a positive relationship with faculty, work with department heads to make fair resourcing decisions, create pathways for faculty collaboration and innovation, identify research and learning opportunities for faculty and students, and advance the University’s standing as a premier National Liberal Arts University.

Qualifications

Qualifications and Characteristics

The successful candidate must hold an earned doctorate from an accredited institution in one of the disciplines represented in the school and be eligible for tenure and the rank of full professor. The successful candidate will have a record of exemplary undergraduate teaching, significant scholarly and professional accomplishments to be considered a senior scholar, and increasing administrative responsibility. The next dean should have a commitment to collaborative models of learning, scholarship, and governance, demonstrated administrative success in higher education, an ability to prioritize institutional goals and approach them with innovation and collaboration with all key constituencies, and an entrepreneurial spirit to problem-solving and fundraising. Experience with change management; superior communication and relationship-building skills; strong team development, strategic planning, and fiscal competencies; and demonstrated respect for diversity of identities and experiences, an orientation toward equity and inclusion, and cultural competency will be essential considerations in the selection of the next dean of the school of natural and social sciences.

Additionally, stakeholders identified a number of characteristics as essential attributes of the dean:

  • sustained scholarly accomplishment and demonstrated support for faculty scholarship;
  • ability to build and maintain productive relationships with the president’s senior leadership teamsenior academic leaders, faculty, staff, students, parents/families, alumni, board of trustees, and other constituents important to the success of the University;
  • outstanding interpersonal, communication, and conflict resolution skills, with the ability to successfully navigate a variety of constituent relationships;
  • demonstrated ability to facilitate partnerships among academic programs, other divisions of the University, and external partners;
  • 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;
  • experience engaging natural and social science faculty and students in dynamic conversations around career pathways;
  • demonstrated experience cultivating a culture of undergraduate research collaborations;
  • experience creating, supporting, and extending interdisciplinary programs and collaborations in the natural and social sciences;
  • evidence of success in facilitating efforts promoting student success and retention;
  • demonstrated affinity and advocacy for the residential liberal arts university experience;
  • 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 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.

Institution & Location

Overview of the School of Natural and Social Sciences

The School of Natural and Social Sciences

The School of Natural and Social Sciences offers multiple traditional science majors and minors, as well as interdisciplinary programs in biochemistry, biomedical sciences, chemical physics, ecology, environmental studies, international studies, legal studies, neuroscience, and public policy. The 3+2 engineering program allows students to earn a bachelor’s degree from Susquehanna in chemistry, computer science, mathematics, or physics along with an engineering degree from one of three partner-university programs. Students also can earn secondary education certification if majoring in biology, mathematics, physics, political science, psychology, or sociology Faculty members and students from the school also have the opportunity to work with the Center for Environmental Education and Research, which includes the Freshwater Institute.

At Susquehanna, students benefit from small class sizes, working one-on-one with professors who are experts in their fields. Students gain hands-on, real-world experience through faculty-student research, hands-on lab and field components, simulations, field trips, and conference presentations. Students complete a senior capstone experience, typically through an independent research project and/or internship experience. Graduates pursue a wide variety of pathways, including employment in the for-profit, nonprofit, and government sectors or further graduate or professional school studies.

Academic Programs and Faculty

Learning Goals

“Our learning goals articulate a vision of our students as competent, liberally-educated people who develop the skills they need to succeed in the job market post-graduation and to pursue advanced degrees.”

“We want our graduates to possess: an awareness of creative, natural, societal, and cultural forces that shape the world; an integrated set of intellectual skills; a mature understanding of self-mind, body, and spirit; and an understanding of personal ethical responsibility.”

Majors and Degrees

Students can choose from more than 100 hundred majors and minors and pre-professional programs, and an interdisciplinary honors program. The University offers bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of music degrees.

Schools at Susquehanna:

In addition, the provost oversees:

The University uses a semester system, has an average student-to-faculty ratio of 13-to-1, with an average class size of 19, and 151 full-time faculty. Ninety-six percent of faculty have a terminal degree.

Central Curriculum

The innovative Central Curriculum is at the heart of a Susquehanna education.

Far more than general education requirements, the courses in the Central Curriculum invite students to open their minds and think differently about themselves and the world around them.

This core curriculum, including the award-winning GO program, will help students be more aware of the creative, natural, societal, and cultural forces that shape the world around them and arm them with critical skills that will make them valuable employees in today’s marketplace.

Courses

Courses in the Central Curriculum make up 40 percent of the graduation requirements, and they easily fit with all of the 100+ majors and minors.

The Central Curriculum contains five complementary sections.

  • Richness of Thought
  • Natural World
  • Human Interactions
  • Intellectual Skills
  • Connections

The range of courses is quite diverse, so students have plenty of options to expand their knowledge and gain new perspectives.

Students may pursue an interest or enhance their major studies with an interdisciplinary minor. These minors combine courses from multiple departments to help students better understand important topics in today’s world.

It is easy to fit these flexible minors in with other studies and the Central Curriculum requirements.

  • Actuarial Science
  • Africana Studies
  • Applied Linguistics
  • Arts Administration
  • Asian Studies
  • Data Science/Analytics
  • Diversity Studies
  • Ecology
  • Film Studies
  • Health Care Studies
  • International Relations
  • Jewish and Israel Studies
  • Leadership
  • Legal Studies
  • Military Science
  • Museum Studies
  • Professional and Civic Writing
  • Public Policy
  • Strategic Studies
  • Women and Gender Studies

Leadership

Dr. Dave Ramsaran, Provost and Dean of the Faculty

Ramsaran has served as provost and dean of faculty since July 2019. As provost, Ramsaran serves as the chief academic officer with authority and responsibility for planning, implementing, and coordinating all university academic programs. He also leads the continued development of the University’s innovative educational programs and fosters faculty development and scholarship.

 

Ramsaran joined the faculty at Susquehanna in 2000 as an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. He later chaired the department and became full professor of sociology in 2010. He also directed Susquehanna’s Honors Program and served as associate provost for institutional effectiveness and student and faculty development.

 

As a professor, Ramsaran has taught courses on the principles of sociology, diversity, quantitative research methods, sociological theory, social stratification, economic sociology, and Caribbean culture. He credits his upbringing in Trinidad with influencing his scholarly interest in economic development policy and its effect on people.

Prior to his tenure at Susquehanna, Ramsaran served as a lecturer in the Department of Government Sociology and Social Work at The University of The West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados. He also taught at American University, Washington, D.C.

He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at The University of The West Indies – St. Augustine, and his doctorate at American University. He is also the author/co-author/editor of four books and numerous articles and scholarly presentations.

Institutional Overview

Institutional background/history

The University opened on September 1, 1858, as The Missionary Institute of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, officially becoming Susquehanna University in 1895.

During the 20th century, Susquehanna transformed into a four-year university offering a range of bachelor’s degrees for students. In 1903, the school adopted the colors orange and maroon. Throughout the years, the University has developed a variety of traditions.

Selinsgrove, PA

Founded in 1787 by Captain Anthony Selin, who fought with Washington in the Revolutionary War, Selinsgrove features a delightful blend of small-town friendliness and scenic countryside.

Quaint shops, restaurants, and businesses with an abundance of colonial and early American architecture set this town apart. Stroll the brick-paved sidewalks and tree-lined downtown where an array of specialty shops, restaurants, and professionals offer quality goods and services with personalized attention. Shopping or simply browsing, you will find an unhurried, relaxed pace.

Selinsgrove is also home to Susquehanna University, which is consistently recognized as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the Northeast by a number of college guidebooks.

Its quiet streets, historic homes, and easy access to shopping centers and schools make Selinsgrove an ideal place for families. Situated on the shores of the Susquehanna River, there are many opportunities for boating and swimming in the summer and ice fishing and skating in the winter.

Selinsgrove offers year-round enjoyment and security as an ideal place to work, live, and play.

 

Mission and Learning Goals

Mission

Susquehanna University educates students for productive, creative, and reflective lives of achievement, leadership, and service in a diverse, dynamic, and interdependent world.

Guiding Values

Susquehanna University is:

  • a selective, residential, national liberal arts college focused on an undergraduate education integrating the liberal arts and preparation for professions and careers;
  • a learning community that values diversity; intellectual collaboration among faculty and students; scholarship, research, and creative activity; health in mind, body, and spirit; and learning in and out of the classroom;
  • an enduring community that inspires and empowers alumni to be perpetual stewards of their alma mater and to strengthen the core educational experience of students;
  • a working community that recognizes its faculty and staff as its greatest resource, values cooperation, and expects ethical behavior and mutual respect from all its members;
  • a responsible community committed to financial and environmental sustainability and a pragmatic and ambitious approach to its work;
  • a valuable resource serving the local community and region while engaging in the larger world through strong national and international connections;
  • a physically attractive setting for reflection and learning;
  • a community that expresses its Lutheran heritage through the free and open exploration of ideas, commitment to service, development of individual talents, and welcoming individuals of all backgrounds and beliefs.

SU 2026 Strategic Plan

Susquehanna University educates students for productive, creative, and reflective lives of achievement, leadership, and service in a diverse, dynamic, and interdependent world.

Academic excellence is the lifeblood of Susquehanna University and the driving force that leads to life-changing experiences for students. Students benefit from a global education, student-faculty research, internships and practicums, creative work, service learning, and volunteer work. A Susquehanna education comprises the experiences students need to determine the lives they wish to lead and the knowledge, skills, values, and networks to achieve their full potential.

Faculty members are dedicated scholars and teachers who make close connections with students. They inspire them intellectually and creatively, expanding their knowledge, skills, and understanding of their place in the world. Staff members serve as caring mentors whose work bolsters the academic mission. These collective experiences help students to thrive personally and professionally.

The strategic plan reaffirms the core academic principles, ethics, commitment to each other, and the importance of engaging all voices in pursuit of new, equitable ways to solve the challenges of the world creatively.

Leadership

Dr. Jonathan D. Green, President and Chief Executive Officer

Jonathan D. Green became president of Susquehanna University in 2017. Since arriving at SU, he has worked to strengthen the University’s regional business and cultural impact through collaborations with the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce and the launch of the University’s Downtown Center. Susquehanna has taken a leadership role in regional and national diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in partnership with the Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way and as a founding member of the Liberal Arts College Racial Equity Leadership Alliance.

Prior to being named President at Susquehanna, Green served as provost and dean of the faculty at Illinois Wesleyan University prior to that he served as Dean of the College and VPAA at Sweet Briar College. At Sweet Briar, he received the Excellence in Teaching award, and at Illinois Wesleyan he was named the first recipient of the Outstanding Advisor Award.

Green is an award-winning composer of over 160 musical works and the author of eight music reference books.

The Student Body

Susquehanna has nearly 2,300 students and 160 student organizations. Dedicated student volunteers, including the Greek organizations, contribute more than 32,000 service hours to the community each year.

  • Fall 2021 Enrollment
    • Total enrollment 2,202
      • Women 56%
      • Men 44%
  • Out-of-state enrollment 36%
  • States and territories represented 30
  • Countries represented 29
      • International 1.2%
      • Black/Non-Hispanic 6.0%
      • Hispanic 6.7%
      • Native American 0.1%
      • Asian or Pacific Islander 1.9%
      • White 76.2%
      • Other 7.9%

Academics

  • Majors  55
  • Academic Calendar Semester
  • Student/faculty ratio  13 to 1
  • Average class size 19
  • Full-time faculty  138
  • Full-time faculty with terminal degree  96%
  • Students studying away Fall 2021  87

Benefits Overview

Benefits Overview

  • Health Insurance Plans
  • Dental Insurance Plan
  • Vision Plan
  • Flexible Spending Plan
  • Life insurance
  • Long Term Disability Plan
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Tuition/Education Benefits
  • Retirement Plan
  • Wellness Program

 

For more information on employee benefits.

Application & Nomination

Application and Nomination

Susquehanna University has retained Spelman Johnson to assist with this search. Review of applications will continue until the position is filled, but complete applications received by January 31, 2022 will be assured full consideration. 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 Anne-Marie Kenney at amk@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Susquehanna University website at https://www.susqu.edu/

As a living, learning and working community, Susquehanna University affirms its commitment to being an engaged, culturally inclusive campus. As we seek to embody the rich diversity of the human community, we commit ourselves to the full participation of persons who represent the breadth of human difference. The university encourages candidates from historically underrepresented groups to apply. Susquehanna University is an Equal Opportunity Employer.