Founded in 1882, Whitman College is a selective private, independent, co-educational, nonsectarian residential liberal arts college located in Walla Walla, Washington. Whitman’s 1,498 students come from 42 states and 31 countries. Whitman College provides a rigorous liberal arts education of the highest quality to passionate and engaged students from diverse backgrounds. Whitman students develop their intellectual and creative capacities in a supportive scholarly community that prioritizes student learning within and beyond the classrooms.

Whitman College fields 15 varsity athletics programs which compete in the Northwest Conference (NWC) of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division III. In addition, there are 16 club sports, many of which are nationally competitive, and a nationally recognized student-run intramural sports program, which boasts an 80 percent student participation rate.

The Position

Responsibilities of the Position

The director of athletics and chair of sports studies, recreation, and athletics supports the mission of the College by planning, designing, and administering successful programs in intercollegiate athletics, fitness, and recreation. The director/chair provides vision, strategic direction, and administrative leadership to the department by providing development, management, and supervision of both present and future facilities essential to those programs.

The director/chair fosters principles that encourage integrity, student well-being, diversity, and inclusiveness throughout all levels of the organization while promoting an environment of excellence and success. The director/chair will develop, implement, and monitor policies and procedures that promote best practices and address personnel development, financial management, facility renovation and enhancement, alumni and community relations, and compliance and regulatory expectations, while advancing a high level of integration of athletics into the overall student experience. In addition, the director/chair works closely with the admission office in the recruitment of scholar athletes and the establishment of a high level recruitment strategy. The director/chair works closely with the advancement office to assist and support the W Club—a membership group comprised of alumni, parents, and friends of the college.

The director/chair leads and manages an organization with an annual budget of approximately $1.3 million, 15 varsity sports, over 300 scholar-athletes, 16 club sports, and 40 full- and part-time positions throughout the department.

Reporting to the provost and dean of the faculty, the director of athletics and chair of sports studies, recreation, and athletics will:

  • provide leadership and oversight to the entire athletics, physical education and recreation department including offering strategic direction as the department adjusts to the needs of the College;
  • manage the overall operations of and planning for the department of physical education, recreation and athletics, including selection, supervision and development of professional and student staff;
  • advancing all aspects of diversity, equity, and inclusion and an understanding of gender equity in athletics and Title IX compliance;
  • exercise strategic, sound fiscal management including budgeting and financial planning, forecasting, reporting, revenue generation, and cost efficiency; oversee annual operating and restricted budgets and stewardship of the department’s fiscal and facility resources;
  • in cooperation with facilities and campus safety, providing strategic direction and oversight for the safety, maintenance, construction, and restoration of the athletics facilities and develop designs for future facility needs;
  • oversee the planning, supervision, assessment, and evaluation of the department, including its programs, services, policies, and personnel;
  • be a visible and accessible champion and advocate for the scholar athlete experience; coaching and recreation personnel; and the programs of sports studies, recreation, and athletics;
  • assisting in fundraising initiatives, working closely with the office of advancement and the W Club leadership;
  • working closely with the enrollment division in recruiting of student athletes;
  • working closely with the student affairs division in supporting the development of student athletes;
  • encourage and promote a diverse and inclusive community among all students, departmental faculty, and staff;
  • oversee the on-going professional development of the department faculty and staff;
  • ensure compliance with federal, NCAA, and College policies and procedures;
  • facilitate continuous improvement activities and lead change to ensure the department remains responsive to student and scholar-athlete needs;
  • represent the department through engagement with academic affairs leadership and faculty meetings and committee work; and
  • submit timely and accurate reporting to the Northwest Conference, federal, NCAA, and College departments.

Characteristics of the Successful Candidate

A master’s degree is required; significant, progressive professional experience leading a complex, dynamic, and diverse department is preferred. The successful candidate will possess a comprehensive understanding of intercollegiate athletics administration, student-athlete development, NCAA compliance within a Division III environment and the role of fundraising in supporting strategic and operating objectives. A collaborative management approach, coupled with superior communication and relationship-building skills, strong planning and fiscal competencies, a familiarity with program development and assessment, excellent problem solving abilities, and a commitment to diversity and inclusiveness will be important considerations in the selection of the next director/chair of athletics.

Additionally, as articulated by Whitman College stakeholders, the successful candidate will ideally possess the following qualities and attributes:

  • a significant understanding of NCAA Division III athletics in terms of program needs, compliance requirements, College rules and regulations, as well as Title IX regulations;
  • bring a commitment to an intercollegiate athletics program that operates with the highest integrity and is focused on the holistic development of its scholar-athletes;
  • provide leadership in the hiring, supervision, and professional development of coaches, adjunct instructors, and administrative staff with a strong focus on creating a shared departmental vision grounded in equity, communication, and colleagueship and the efficient and focused attention on institutional strategic priorities;
  • have a significant understanding of fundraising and revenue development, collaborating with the office of advancement to continue to enhance fundraising priorities and execute fundraising strategies;
  • demonstrate strong strategic planning skills and an ability to build consensus and support for short and long-term goals;
  • be a visible champion and advocate for the coaching staff and athletic programs;
  • serve as an effective ambassador for athletics and intentionally partner with student affairs, academic affairs, enrollment, communications, and advancement;
  • establish a rapport with staff, students, donors, alumni, faculty, community leaders, and other key constituents;
  • promote excellence, respect tradition, and support success;
  • be highly collaborative and adaptable, equipped to respond to changing dynamics as circumstances dictate; and
  • demonstrate positive interpersonal skills of diplomacy, accessibility, and respect for the expertise and viewpoints of colleagues within and outside the department of athletics.

History of the Position

Since May 2018, Michelle Ferenz, associate athletic director and senior woman administrator (SWA) has served as the interim athletic director and chair of the Sports Studies and Recreation Activities (SSRA) department. She remains head women’s basketball coach but has handed senior women administrator responsibilities to head swimming coach Jennifer Blomme, who has been promoted to interim associate athletic director and SWA. Ferenz replaced former Director of Athletics Dean Snider, who announced his resignation in May 2018 after 22 years of service to Whitman as the women’s volleyball coach (1996-2006) and athletic director (2006-18). Prior to this search, the director of athletics position had been filled by a member of the internal coaching staff.

Whitman Athletics has experienced significant change and growth in recent decades, including the addition and renovation of multiple facilities, the addition of Women’s Lacrosse as a varsity sport, and the creation and ongoing strengthening of assistant coach positions. In addition to overall budget growth, the programs have also witnessed the establishment of several endowments dedicated to individual programs as well as a varsity athletics endowment created to enhance the overall varsity athlete experience. With increased infrastructure and dedicated coaches, Whitman has also experienced exciting accomplishments with recent conference titles in men’s soccer, women’s basketball, men’s basketball, women’s swimming, men’s swimming, women’s tennis, men’s tennis, and women’s golf. Most satisfying, however, is that Whitman students are achieving this athletic success without compromising academic quality. Scholar-athletes earn essentially the same GPA as non-athletes (3.42 and 3.53 respectively) and graduate at 93.7 percent, several points higher than the general student body (86.5 percent).

Four Whitman coaches earned Northwest Conference Coach of the Year honors for the 2017- 18 season: Jenn Blomme, women’s swimming; Eric Bridgeland, men’s basketball; Skip Molitor, women’s golf; and Jeff Northam, men’s tennis.

Likely Opportunities, Priorities, and Challenges of the Position

As a top-ranked liberal arts institution, Whitman College is committed to excellence across all dimensions of the College. The athletics program contributes to the overall reputation of the College and there is a keen desire to see greater success across all of the intercollegiate teams.

Areas of focus for the new director of athletics and chair of sports studies, recreation, and athletics include:

  • providing decisive leadership and direction in the establishment of a departmental culture that is collaborative and strategic in the fulfillment of departmental and institutional priorities;
  • enhancing the coaches’ and administrative staff’s understanding of the institutional policies, procedures, and operations and their role relative to advancement and enrollment priorities;
  • developing a clear strategic plan and set of priorities for athletics that will address program equity and immediate and longer term facility, staffing, and fundraising goals and objectives;
  • working with the president, vice president of advancement, and the W Club leadership to continue to define and strategize fundraising efforts;
  • strengthening communication and collaboration between athletics and the larger institution—academic affairs, student affairs, facilities, etc.—with a particular focus on increasing efficiencies and further supporting student athletes;
  • defining and demonstrating internally and externally an understanding of competiveness at a selective liberal arts institution that is reflective of the Whitman mission and the goals of the NCAA;
  • leading efforts to build bridges to enrollment and leading coaches in collaborating more closely with enrollment around recruiting efforts; and
  • working with staff and coaches in identifying professional development opportunities and continuing to improve all aspects of the department.

Measures of Success for the Position

The director of athletics and chair of sports studies, recreation, and athletics will need to develop a comprehensive strategic plan and set of priorities for athletics that will address both immediate and longer term items such as the master plan for facilities, recruiting, balancing resources across all sports, and fundraising goals and objectives.

The processes, plans, and operations for the department need to be clearly communicated to staff and coaches and serve as the foundation for the collaborative work and messaging of athletics across the division of academic affairs and the College. Increased communication by athletics will help to facilitate relationship building, which will be key to achieving greater integration of athletics into the student experience and the institution as a whole.

Additional measures, as shared by key institutional stakeholders, include the following:

  • the director/chair will continue to enhance and strengthen the opportunities found within the areas of sports studies, recreation, and athletics for all students;
  • the director/chair will be a visible and highly accessible advocate for the coaches, faculty, staff, and scholar-athletes;
  • the new director/chair will have established strong working relationships and partnerships within the student affairs leadership team, advancement, direct reports, athletes, faculty, and key institutional stakeholders;
  • the director/chair will demonstrate a leadership style that is credible and collegial while being highly effective;
  • the director/chair will have demonstrated the ability to manage short-term change and long-term development for the department including staffing, professional development, facilities management, and strategic capital planning; and
  • the director/chair will actively engage with the office of advancement and College leadership to support fundraising initiatives aligned with the College and SSRA departmental and strategic plans.

An Overview of the Athletic Department

The life of the mind and intellectual learning require a balance of fitness and wellness programs. Sport Studies, Recreation, and Athletics at Whitman intend to complement the total educational experience, nurturing healthy qualities such as self-discipline, leadership, confidence, and collaboration.

Whatever the athletic goal–from a dream of the Olympics, to completing a marathon, to someday coaching a Little League team–Whitman’s Sport Studies, Recreation, and Athletics Department offers the facilities, programming, instruction, and competitive opportunities needed to succeed.

Whitman competes in Division III of the NCAA Northwest Conference in seven men’s and eight women’s athletic programs.

Women’s Sports

  • Basketball
  • Golf
  • Lacrosse
  • Volleyball
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Cross Country
  • Swimming

Men’s Sports

  • Basketball
  • Baseball
  • Cross Country
  • Golf
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Swimming

Facilities  

Baker Ferguson Fitness Center

A 38,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that opened in the fall of 2006 at a cost of $10 million. 10,000-square-foot fitness center with an elaborate array of the latest in weight-training and cardiovascular equipment.

Borleske Stadium

Named for legendary Whitman athlete and coach, Raymond V. Borleske ‘10, Borleske Stadium is home for the Whitman College baseball team. The stadium is equipped with night lights, grandstands, and concessions. The site also includes nearby soccer fields and a track.

Bratton Indoor Tennis Center

The Bratton Tennis Center, named in honor of former Whitman College president, Walter A. Bratton, opened for use in February, 1996, on the Whitman campus. The 28,000-square-foot masonry, $1.2 million indoor facility houses four indoor courts, dressing rooms, rest rooms, and a balcony area where people can observe matches in progress. In addition to its use by the men’s and women’s varsity tennis teams, it provides a year-around setting for intramural tennis competition, physical education courses, and recreational tennis.

Climbing Center

The climbing wall, comprising hundreds of imprint and free-form panels, has a total climbable surface of about 7,000 square feet. The main wall is 104 feet long and 39.24 feet at its highest point. An outer wall of windows allows for natural lighting while providing climbers with protection against ultraviolet sunlight

The Harvey Pool

A 30-meter swimming pool with eight competitive lanes and three practice lanes, which is home to the Whitman varsity swim teams, played host to the 2007 Northwest Conference swimming championships and includes an elevated area for spectators. The pool is also used for club water polo and kayaking practice, and to meet the recreational swimming needs of the Whitman community.

Sherwood Athletic Center

The Sherwood Athletic Center at Whitman College draws rave reviews from the campus and local communities. A $15.5 million renovation in 2009 upgraded the interior and exterior of the facility and replaced an outdated swimming pool with a much needed multipurpose gymnasium. The multipurpose space complements the existing main gym (used primarily for varsity basketball and volleyball games) and helps meet the physical recreation needs of the entire campus community, including students involved in intramural and club sports, as well as faculty and staff. The 71,000-square-foot Sherwood Center also features a stunning, state-of-the-art indoor climbing wall, team locker room space for varsity programs, and larger, modern athletic training room facilities.

Athletic Fields

Home to the Whitman men’s and women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse programs, this 17-acre complex is located about three blocks north of the Whitman campus. In addition to the pristine yet durable varsity soccer field, the complex has a softball field and additional fields used for soccer practice and a variety of intramural and club sports.

Outdoor Tennis Courts

In fall of 2013 the college unveiled the renovated facility that houses six newly surfaced courts and a new lighting system. In addition, a new drainage system was installed to preserve the state-of-the-art surface through Walla Walla’s four seasons.

Organizational Structure of the College and Sports Studies, Recreation, and Athletics (SSRA)

College organizational chart

About the Northwest Conference

The Northwest Conference exists to promote, organize, and supervise intercollegiate athletics competition among member institutions in a way that encourages competition to be equitable, fair, amicable, enjoyable, and educational.

Sportsmanship Statement

In accordance with the NCAA Principle of Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct:

“For intercollegiate athletics to promote character development of participants, to enhance the integrity of higher education, and to promote civility in society, student-athletes, coaches, and all others associated with these athletics programs and events should adhere to such fundamental values as respect, fairness, civility, honesty, and responsibility. These values should be manifest not only in athletics participation but also in the broad spectrum of activities affecting the athletics program. It is the responsibility of each institution to:

(a) Establish policies for sportsmanship and ethical conduct in intercollegiate athletics consistent with the educational mission and goals of the institution; and

(b) Educate, on a continuing basis, all constituencies about the above policies.”

History

In the last 22 years, the Northwest Conference has established itself as one of the most competitive NCAA Division III conferences in the U.S. Comprised of nine private colleges and universities in Washington and Oregon, the NWC is competitive on a national level in a wide array of sports and recognized for its emphasis on academic excellence.

The NWC was formed in 1926, making it one of the oldest athletics conferences in the western United States. For 60 years, the Northwest Conference sponsored sports exclusively for men, but in 1984 it joined with the Women’s Conference of Independent Colleges to become the Northwest Conference of Independent Colleges, shortening the name to its current moniker in 1996 when it joined the NCAA.

The charter members included Willamette University, Whitman College, Pacific University, the College of Puget Sound (now the University of Puget Sound), Linfield College, and the College of Idaho. In 1931, Albany College joined, left in 1938, and rejoined in 1949 using its present name of Lewis & Clark College. Pacific Lutheran University was added in 1965, and Whitworth College in 1970. In 1978, the College of Idaho dropped out of the conference. Whitworth also left in 1984, but then returned in 1988. In 1996, George Fox joined when the conference moved to the NCAA. Seattle University was also a member for one year before it switched to NCAA Division II. From 2006 to 2010 Menlo College was also a part of the conference as an associate member in football.

The move to NCAA Division III in 1996 was embraced as one that would foster equity, sportsmanship, and genuine concern for the student-athlete in all endeavors of competition. Athletics competition at the NCAA Division III level is based on the development of student-athletes through a “comprehensive educational experience” (NCAA Division III Identity Initiative).

The NWC’s current membership includes Lewis & Clark College, Linfield College, George Fox University, Pacific University, and Willamette University from Oregon, and Pacific Lutheran University, the University of Puget Sound, Whitman College, and Whitworth University from Washington.

The Northwest Conference has won nine NCAA Division III National Championships: Pacific Lutheran football in 1999, Linfield football and George Fox baseball in 2004, Linfield softball in 2007, George Fox women’s basketball in 2009, Linfield softball in 2011, Pacific Lutheran softball in 2012, Linfield baseball in 2013, and George Fox women’s track & field in 2018.

Each year, the NWC recognizes the school that excels across all fields of competition by awarding the McIlroy-Lewis All-Sports Trophy, based upon a points system. The trophy is named in honor of Jane McIlroy from Linfield (1950-82) and John Lewis of Willamette (1947-72).

Institution & Location

Institutional Background

Founded in 1882, Whitman College is a selective private, independent, co-ed, nonsectarian residential liberal arts college located in Walla Walla, Washington. In 1913, Whitman became the first non-sectarian institution of higher education in the nation to require comprehensive examinations for all students in their major fields of study, and installed the first college-based Phi Beta Kappa chapter in the Northwest in 1919.

Perhaps it’s the location in the Pacific Northwest. Maybe it’s the dynamic community of supportive peers, caring and mentoring professors, and friendly staff who live and work at Whitman. Whatever it is, to visit this beautiful, facility-rich campus is to find a place that is distinctively different from other college campuses across the nation.

Whitman students live and work on a residential campus that doubles as both an arboretum and an outdoor art museum. Located in a welcoming college town, it is a place that is home to an extraordinary diversity of talents, interests, activities, and people. At Whitman it’s easy to venture outside comfort zones, extend oneself intellectually, collaborate with others, and share new ideas and insights.

Although from many different backgrounds, Whitman students, faculty, and staff share a passion for knowledge and a determination to make an impact on the lives of those around them. The 1,498 students at Whitman come from 42 states and 31 different nations. And through a combination of academic rigor and all the extracurricular opportunities offered by more than 100 student-run clubs, activities, and organizations, they make a mark on both the college and the larger community.

Whitman offers students a classic, liberal arts campus that blends beauty with contemporary facilities, modern technologies, and historic buildings. Take a stroll along the well-groomed, beautifully landscaped paths of our campus and it’s easy to see why students describe it as the perfect place to strike a balance between the academic, the professional, the social, and the personal:

  • The Ethernet- and wireless-capable Allen Reading Room within the state-of-the-art Penrose Library, open 24/7, which exemplifies Whitman’s dedication to learning and achievement.
  • Research laboratories in the recently remodeled Hall of Science, designed for collaboration between students and professors (don’t miss the environmentally friendly heating and cooling systems, which exemplify Whitman’s environmental ethic).
  • The Reid Campus Center, a gathering place for the entire Whitman community. Students may also rent sports equipment from the Outdoor Program rental office housed there, or sign up for community service opportunities through the Center for Community Service.
  • The centrally located Ankeny Field, home to the college’s intramural sports competition, in which 75 percent of Whitman students participate. As a Whittie, students spend many sunny afternoons here, studying, sunbathing, playing Ultimate Frisbee, pick-up soccer, football, or volleyball, or simply hanging out with friends.
  • Ideal venues for art and cultural events such as Harper Joy Theatre, Cordiner Hall concert auditorium, and Donald H. Sheehan Art Gallery.
  • Great spots for solitary reflection, quiet conversation, or socializing, such as the Cordiner Glen (Narnia), the Whitman Amphitheater, or Lakum Duckum.

About Walla Walla, Washington

The Walla Walla Valley is a place where scenic beauty, incredible wineries, enticing restaurants, cultural inspiration, outdoor adventures and small town friendliness come together to create a memorable experience.

A vibrant reflection of the past and the present, downtown Walla Walla is the place to discover what makes Walla Walla so unique. A walk down tree-lined streets reveals a funky mix of vintage shops, boutiques, cafes, bookstores, tasting rooms, restaurants, and more. Add in the numerous pieces of public art and special events, like Feast Walla Walla, the seasonal Farmers Market, and outdoor concerts, and it’s easy to see why the downtown area has been recognized time and again as one of the best small town Main Streets in the country.

Walla Walla has long been known as one of the most fertile agricultural areas in the nation, producing such crops as wheat, asparagus, strawberries, and the famous Walla Walla Sweet Onions. However, it’s as wine country that Walla Walla is most celebrated. With more than 135 wineries representing a wide range of varietals, it doesn’t take long to see why people return to Walla Walla again and again.

Walla Walla Wine Country offers the rare opportunity to experience not only world-class wines but to meet the winemakers, vintners, and family members carrying on the wine tradition. No one is in a rush. Conversation is relaxed. Here, tasting wine becomes an entirely different and wonderful adventure.

Additionally, convenient day trips within the Walla Walla Valley include the towns of College Place, Waitsburg, Dayton, and Milton-Freewater. Only a short drive or bike ride away, neighboring towns offer even more unique museums, dining and spirits, shopping, and community events.

The rivers, woods, hills, mountains and canyons that shape and surround Walla Walla offer a diverse range of activities. Walla Walla is much drier than neighbors to the west. Residents and visitors enjoy the bounty of sunny days by canoeing, kayaking, fly-fishing, hiking, skiing, rock climbing, and bicycling around town and in the nearby area.

Not only is Whitman’s location a differentiating factor for the college, it’s also a big part of the College’s identity and offers endless learning opportunities for students. One of the college’s strategic priorities is working to build on the already strong relationships in the local community and region. The leaders of the Walla Walla and regional communities are partners who collaborate on internships, volunteer service, community-based classes, and other experiential learning opportunities. Whitman’s Memorandum of Understanding with the local Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation fosters collaboration with the native community in curriculum and service. And each year Whitman students are welcomed into a wide range of Walla Walla Public School classrooms to teach age-appropriate lessons about the civil rights movement. These are just some of the many ways Whitman students collaborate and learn from community partners.

Whitman College is the recent recipient of an $800,000 Mellon grant specifically allocated to building on the already robust community engagement as a means to broaden students’ perspectives and provide a variety of high-impact experiences tied to the academic program. This funding also includes faculty development opportunities in inclusive pedagogy, course revision and development, and community-based learning.

Mission and Vision

Situated within the rich and complex landscape and history of the Walla Walla Valley, Whitman College provides a rigorous liberal arts education of the highest quality to passionate and engaged students from diverse backgrounds. Whitman students develop their intellectual and creative capacities in a supportive scholarly community that prioritizes student learning within and beyond our classrooms. We help each student translate their deep local, regional, and global experiences into ethical and meaningful lives of purpose.

Strategic Plan

Whitman College began a comprehensive strategic planning initiative in 2016-2017 to determine where Whitman wants and needs to be in the next five years and beyond — and to prepare Whitman for that future.

The strategic planning process generated five strategic priorities, which were approved by Whitman’s Board of Trustees in August, 2017.

In June 2018, that plan took a step closer to full implementation when the board approved a list of tactics developed to move the college forward to its goals.

This process included listening sessions and other engagement opportunities with students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends of Whitman. This work was iterative, with sessions held throughout the year as the committee considered and refined ideas, bringing this work back to the community for further input.

The five institutional priorities that emerged—related to increasing access and affordability; enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion; innovating the curriculum; preparing for life after Whitman; and celebrating the location—are aimed at bolstering the liberal arts values that have always driven a Whitman education and have already begun to shape the future of the college in significant and important ways.

The tactics for implementing these priorities will be further developed by focused working groups in the next year, a process that will allow for even deeper campus engagement.

Leadership

Kathleen M. Murray, President

On July 1, 2015, Kathleen Murray became the 14th president of Whitman College. Previously she was provost and dean of the faculty at Macalester College, where she led the academic program of one of America’s finest liberal arts colleges, planned a new $70 million fine arts center, and played a key role in the development of Macalester’s strategic plan. Prior to Macalester she was provost at Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama for three years.

President Murray received her Bachelor of Music degree from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1979, then obtained her Master of Music in piano performance from Bowling Green State University in 1982 and her Doctor of Music in piano performance and pedagogy from Northwestern University in 1989. Over the course of nineteen years, she was a member of the piano faculty, dean of the Conservatory of Music, and dean of the faculty at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. A frequent performer, she is also a clinician and adjudicator both nationally and internationally, as well as the author of numerous articles on music and music education. She is recorded on the CRI label.

Dr. Murray is a passionate advocate of the liberal arts and the residential learning experience. She firmly believes that her undergraduate years in such a setting developed her potential as a scholar and artist, laying the foundation for her rewarding career and life.

As president of Whitman College, Kathy looks forward to close connections with the entire community. She loves to travel when she has the opportunity and recalls a hike up Mount Kilimanjaro as being one of her high points, literally and figuratively.

Alzada Tipton, Provost and Dean of the Faculty

Alzada Tipton began as Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Whitman College on July 1, 2016. Prior to that she served as the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Elmhurst College from 2006 to 2016. Prior to her time at Elmhurst College, she was associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. At Elmhurst College, she worked on a renewal of the general education program, the establishment of a first year seminar program, the establishment of a center to support faculty development in scholarship and teaching, and the establishment of the School for Professional Studies for adult students. She has several administrative presentations and publications on creating global, interdisciplinary, values based, and first-year programs.

Before becoming an administrator she was an English professor at Hamline University with a specialty in British Renaissance literature. Her teaching interests are medieval and Renaissance literature. She has published and presented on Renaissance historiography and the Earl of Essex and Elizabethan literature.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, and her master’s degree and PhD from Duke University, all in English literature.

The Academic Program

Student-to-Faculty ratio is 9:1

With plenty of opportunities for students to conduct research alongside professors (and present that work at the annual Undergraduate Research Conference), no one gets lost in the intellectual shuffle. The Whitman faculty has received honors from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Fulbright Program, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and more, and small class sizes mean students benefit from close teaching.

Whitman has 48 departmental majors

In addition to these majors, which lead to a Bachelor of Arts, Whitman partners with other top schools to offer combined 3-2 engineering and computer science programs; 3-2 oceanography and biology or geology; 3-2 forestry and environmental management programs.

88 off-campus programs in 40 countries

Whitman works with various study abroad organizations to offer a wide range of semester- or year-long off-campus study options. Students can apply their Whitman need-based aid and merit scholarships toward the fees of any partner program; 40 percent of students study abroad during their junior year.

  • Whitman’s Encounters program—taken by all first-years—is a unique introduction to how a liberal arts education works. All students read the same texts across the year, talk about them in small class discussions, and lay the groundwork for the intellectual experience to come.
  • The Whitman Undergraduate Conference is an annual celebration of undergraduate scholarship. The WUC features nearly 200 students presenting to the campus community the results of research projects and creative endeavors usually undertaken in conjunction with faculty members.
  • Community-based service learning opportunities are also characteristic of the Whitman experience: more than 25 percent of students take on a volunteer, internship, or another service role in the greater community every week.

The Student Body

Whitman’s 1,498 students come from 42 states and 31 countries. Our students are explorers of their world, whether that means digging in–to the rugged beauty of Washington’s landscapes during a pre-Orientation Scramble, for example–or heading out–as in, say, studying health and social policy in South Africa for a year. Friendship Families help international students settle in, and the four language houses on campus are home to native speakers of French, German, Spanish, and Japanese, who help residents improve language skills and gain first-hand knowledge of cultural customs without ever leaving Walla Walla. Every Whitman student has the opportunity to become a global citizen.

70 percent of students volunteer

Building community with an eye toward the future, about 350 students volunteer once a week through one of our six student-led service programs.

75 percent of students play intramural sports

Whitman is in the NCAA’s Division III and is part of the Northwest Conference. Men and women compete in 15 varsity sports, 16 club sports and nine intramural sports including Ultimate and table tennis.

Benefits Overview

Whitman College benefits include the following for full-time employees:

  • Medical/prescription/vision plan
  • Retirement savings plan
  • Health care and dependent care flexible spending plan
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Dental plan
  • Group life insurance
  • Group AD&D insurance
  • Optional life and AD&D insurance
  • Optional group dependent life insurance
  • Long term disability insurance

For a detailed look at the benefits plan, visit the website at https://www.whitman.edu/human-resources/benefits

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. 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. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Dell D. Robinson at ddr@spelmanjohnson.com or 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 Whitman College website at www.whitman.edu

Whitman College is building a diverse academic community of highly qualified students, faculty, and staff. Diversity is fundamentally important to the character and mission of Whitman College. Diversity enriches our community and enhances intellectual and personal growth.

The College provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, sex, gender, religion, age, marital status, national origin, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other basis prohibited by applicable federal, state, or local laws.

This policy does not permit or require the lowering of bona fide job requirements or qualification standards to give preference to any employee or applicant for employment. The College will take positive measures in accordance with prevailing law to increase the diversity of the applicant pool. This may include identifying referral services specializing in candidates who may contribute to the diversity of the College, requesting voluntary and anonymous data on candidate searches and asking candidates to address (either verbally or in writing) the importance of diversity and the contributions they can make to the core value of diversity at Whitman College.