Academic Jobs
Dean of School of Communication
Institution: American University
Location: DC, United States
Category: Executive - Dean - Communications
Posted: 12/30/2019
Application Due: 00/00/0000
Type: Fulltime


Washington, DC, US, 20016


American University

Executive Summary


American University (AU) invites inquiries, nominations and applications for the next dean, School of Communication. Chartered by Congress in 1893 in the nation's capital, American University is a highly selective student-centered research institution defined by its global outlook, practical idealism, and passion for public service. Recognized for its emphasis on personalized teaching and experiential education, the university provides for the direct involvement of faculty and students in the institutions and culture of the nation's capital. As AU has grown in reputation and stature, it remains grounded in the ideals of its founders as it continues to be a leader for a changing world. 

Located in the media capital of the world, the AU School of Communication empowers undergraduates and graduates in its programs to tell stories that influence change, inspire action, and transform communities and the world. The School has over 1,200 undergraduate and graduate students and nearly 60 full-time faculty. The school has four divisions that offer both professional and traditional academic programs: public communication; film and media arts; journalism; and communication studies. The School hosts and partners with several centers that leverage the vast experience of SOC faculty to give students unique academic opportunities. The School has an annual budget of approximately $12 million.  

Reporting to the provost, the dean will serve as the chief academic officer of the School and provide leadership to faculty, staff and students. The next dean will leverage the strengths of the faculty and the School's diverse divisions to develop a strategic vision for the School; lead the recruitment, retention and development of an eminent faculty and staff; build upon the School's record of advancing diversity and inclusion; generate new resources for the School; and serve as the public voice for the School both within AU and externally.   

AU seeks in its next dean a visible leader who possesses the passion and creativity to optimize the School's impact as a change maker. Well-honed communication skills and the ability to build effective working relationships with faculty, staff, and students are essential. Evidence of the ability to manage a budget and staff within a complex environment is strongly preferred, and candidates must demonstrate the aptitude and appetite for significant involvement in fund raising. A commitment to excellence in teaching and the ability to support and nurture both theoretical and applied scholarly achievement are expected. The dean must successfully engage with both the academic enterprise (requiring the ability to recruit, retain, and promote a highly capable faculty) and the creative enterprises of the School.  

Candidates may exemplify their potential for the position through academic qualifications (earned terminal degree, and an extensive record of scholarship broadly defined) or through a record of outstanding professional activity in the field of communications, coupled with the ability to fulfill the leadership and administrative expectations of the position. 

The Role


The Dean of the School of Communication at American University reports to the Provost and is the chief academic, fiscal, and administrative officer of the School. The dean will provide leadership to the faculty, staff, and students of the school and oversee all its academics and operations. The dean will work collaboratively with the faculty to leverage its strengths and further develop a collective vision for the school across its diverse divisions and activities. Among the many responsibilities of the dean, central emphasis will be on: 

  • Recruiting, retaining, and developing an eminent faculty and staff; 

  • Building on the School's record of advancing diversity and inclusion; 

  • Developing curriculum and academic programs; 

  • Managing the School's financial resources, including general new resources through fundraising; 

  • and serving as the public voice for the School both within AU and externally, as well as providing direction for the school's communications and marketing efforts. 

The dean is a member of the Deans' Council and the President's Council and therefore is an important voice in guiding the overall direction of university and its collaborative efforts to implement its strategic plan. The dean is also responsible for helping scholars reach across school and interdisciplinary boundaries to forward the university faculty community's research efforts. The dean will work closely with the Office of Development and Alumni Relations not just in matters relating to the School of Communication, but also with crosscutting and university wide initiatives, particularly as the University approaches the public launch of its capital campaign.

Professional Qualities & Personal Characteristics


The ideal candidate will have the following professional qualifications and personal characteristics.

  • Credentials: An earned terminal degree and an extensive record of teaching and scholarship broadly defined that would be sufficient for tenure within a discipline housed in the School; or a record of outstanding professional activity in the field of communications, coupled with the ability to fulfill the leadership and administrative expectations of this academic position.  

  • Distinguished and trusted leadership: Leadership that grows out of a deep commitment to excellence and a nuanced understanding of contemporary issues within the communications disciplines and in higher education more generally. Ability to model intellectual/creative achievement, acceptance, and inclusion.  

  • Management: Well-developed management skills and experience, including strategic planning and budgeting; recruiting and professional development of an administrative team; and delegation as appropriate. 

  • Fundraising: Eagerness to broadly convey the special character of the School and AU and aggressively cultivate support from individuals and institutions with the capacity to contribute to its financial health. 

  • Relationships: Evidence of ability to establish a strong presence in and connection to the global communications field, the AU community, and partners in the surrounding area. Ability to form strong connections and relationships with strategic contacts on the national and international level.   

Procedure for Candidacy


Inquiries, nominations, and applications are invited. Review of applications has begun and will continue until the position is filled. 

Candidates should provide a CV or resume and a letter of interest that addresses the responsibilities and requirements described in this leadership profile.  

Confidential inquiries, nominations, and application materials should be emailed to:

Current American University Employees:

If you are a current full-time or part-time staff member at American University, please log into AsuccessfulU through the myAU portal. Once in AsuccessfulU, please select the Careers tile which will take you to our internal career page. 

Contact Us:

For more information or assistance with the American University careers site, email

American University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution that operates in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The university does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, veteran status, an individual's genetic information or any other bases under federal or local laws (collectively "Protected Bases") in its programs and activities.

Nearest Major Market: Washington DC

Application Information
Online App. Form: