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The University of Utah is looking for a new Dean of the School for Cultural and Social Transformation

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Position Overview

The University of Utah invites nominations and applications for the position of Dean of the School for Cultural and Social Transformation. The Dean will be a tenured professor serving as the College’s chief academic and administrative officer. Duties include overseeing academic programs, fundraising, recruiting/retaining outstanding and diverse faculty, staff, and students; collaborating with other Deans and leaders across colleges; and communicating within the University, and to the greater community, the goals and achievements of the College. The ideal candidate for this role will be well-connected within their field and active in professional associations, with broad interdisciplinary connections.

The Dean will serve a five-year renewable term and will report to the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost. This is an exciting time to join the University of Utah as the Dean of the School will be part of a large cohort of new senior leadership, including a new president, provost, and several academic deans.

The University of Utah seeks a dynamic academic administrator with a proven ability to lead academic departments who embodies a philosophy that embraces and supports students of all backgrounds in the rapidly changing world of higher education.

Position Profile

Role of the Dean of the School for Cultural and Social Transformation

  • Serving as the chief academic officer of the School;
  • Providing leadership for strategic planning, including developing and enhancing the School’s academic programs;
  • Overseeing School advancement, including development, marketing, and communications, donor cultivation and fundraising, and alumni relations;
  • Recruiting outstanding, inquisitive, and diverse students to Transform, facilitating equitable and just access to degree programs for all students, continuing and expanding enrollment growth and interest in the School’s majors and programs;
  • Overseeing recruitment, supervision, professional development, and retention of strong and diverse faculty and staff;
  • Promoting an environment where equity, diversity, and justice are fostered accountably throughout the teaching, research, and service activities of the School;
  • Ensuring continued accreditation and state approvals;
  • Supporting faculty research and the related development required to ensure continued, strong contributions in this area;
  • Promoting and facilitating interdisciplinary programming and collaboration between the two divisions and two] programs as well as between Transform and the broader University;
  • Managing the School’s budget and staff;
  • Participating in University governance, including service on standing and ad hoc committees, and representing the School to external constituencies.

About the School for Cultural and Social Transformation

The School for Cultural and Social Transformation, known as Transform, was formed in 2016 through a merger of ethnic studies, gender studies, and disability studies. Today, Transform has expanded to also include Pacific Islands Studies. The School is focused on comprehensively examining the way bias, bigotry, inclusion, and equity are centered and thought about and providing cutting edge scholarship and critical interventions for a broader community.

Through combining innovative scholarship, coalition building, and practical expertise, Transform is revolutionizing the study of shifting sexualities, changing genders, dynamic immigrations, and emergent struggles against all racist thought and actions. Beyond the degree programs, minors, and certificate programs described below, students are prepared to read and think on these topics critically, thereby participating more thoughtfully in all their coursework and throughout their lives.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, one of the most prestigious grantmaking foundations in the arts and humanities, has repeatedly recognized the dynamic excellence offered by Transform. In 2018, the School received a $600,000 Mellon Foundation grant for its Pacific Island Studies Initiative which was renewed with a $1 million grant in 2022. That same year, The Mellon Foundation separately awarded the School a $517,000 grant, representing one of only five Mellon grants awarded to create an intersectional studies collective. Transform is almost completely unique amongst its peers in U.S. universities as a free-standing college for intersectional inquiry, the vanguard approach examining how the interlocking dynamics of how race, gender, sexuality, (dis)ability, and other critical entities intersect. With its critical mass of renowned scholars working at the forefront of this area, Transform hosted the inaugural Mellon Summer Institute for Intersectional Studies in the summer of 2022.

Professional Qualifications and Personal Qualities

The successful candidate for this position will possess: 

  • A terminal degree in a discipline appropriate for leadership of the School.
  • An achieved rank of associate or full professor and evidence of the ability to meet the professional requirements of a tenured position in the School.
  • A demonstrated record of cutting-edge social change work informed by a wide base of scholarship and an ability to be conversant across all Transform disciplines.
  • A minimum of five years in a related leadership role within higher education with management experience in strategic planning, change management, budget oversight, human resources, and the promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
  • A commitment to fostering a diverse educational environment and an ability to work across a variety of diverse entities and navigate differing opinions, perspectives, and politics to inspire collaboration and advance the work of the School.

The successful candidate will provide evidence of possessing many of the following experiences, skills, and attributes:

  • A commitment to developing and promoting innovative practice in the field, including research, design, community engagement, and technology.
  • A commitment to shared governance, transparency, and open communication.
  • A record of overseeing growth and development in academic programming, including the promotion of innovative and best-practice educational delivery models and processes.
  • Experience managing academic units, including identifying, recruiting, and retaining distinguished and diverse faculty.
  • Experience developing and deploying strategic initiatives to advance high-quality research and research funding.
  • A record of developing forward-thinking strategies for identifying new sources of revenue and fundraising.
  • A track record of leading or participating in interdisciplinary design initiatives, projects, or programs and working across entities to eliminate silos and transform entrenched structures.

Procedure for Candidacy

Confidential review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled; parties who apply by January 2, 2023 will be given first consideration. Please submit 1) a CV that includes the scope and scale details for your related roles, 2) a cover letter addressing how your experience aligns with the qualifications, your record of success, and your particular interest in this role, 3) a diversity statement (maximum two pages) that addresses the ways in which your personal and professional philosophy and related record as a leader aligns with the University’s “4 Pillars to Lead to Equity” and demonstrates your ability and willingness to embrace and advance this mission.

All applications and nominations will be held in confidence. To apply online, go to:

For more information or to offer recommendations or nominations: 

Lindi Hewitt, PhD
Senior Consultant
Summit Search Solutions, Inc.
Direct: 615-423-0525

Beth Baldino, MSW
Senior Consultant
Summit Search Solutions, Inc.
Direct: 828-216-6606

The University of Utah values candidates who have experience working in settings with students from diverse backgrounds and possess a strong commitment to improving access to higher education for historically underrepresented students. Individuals from historically underrepresented groups, such as minorities, women, qualified persons with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply. Veterans’ preference is extended to qualified applicants, upon request and consistent with university policy and Utah state law. Upon request, reasonable accommodations in the application process will be provided to individuals with disabilities.

The University of Utah is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and does not discriminate based upon race, ethnicity, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, genetic information, or protected veteran’s status. The university does not discriminate on the basis of sex in the education program or activity that it operates, as required by Title IX and 34 CFR part 106. The requirement not to discriminate in education programs or activities extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator, to the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, or both.

The university is a participating employer with Utah Retirement Systems (“URS”). Eligible new hires with prior URS service may elect to enroll in URS if they make the election before they become eligible for retirement (usually the first day of work). Contact Human Resources at (801) 581-7447 for information.

This position may require the successful completion of a criminal background check and/or drug screen.

Search Committee

Dean, College of Nursing
Marla DeJong (Co-Chair)
Chair, Ethnic Studies
Edmond Fong (Co-Chair)
Associate Professor (Lecturer), Gender Studies
Debjani Chakravarty
Distinguished Professor
Lisa Diamond
Assistant Professor, Gender Studies
Lezlie Frye
Associate Professor, jointly appointed in Sociology and Gender Studies
Sarita Gaytan
Assistant Dean, School for Cultural and Social Transformation
Estella Hernandez
Associate Professor joint appointment in Theatre and Ethnic Studies
Kimberly Jew
Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Sociology
Ed Muñoz
Kent Ono
Assistant Professor, Ethnic Studies
Thomas Swensen
Associate Professor, Educational Psychology
Karen Tao
Executive Director of Development
Michelle Glen

About the University of UtahThe University of Utah logo

The University of Utah is the state’s flagship institution of higher education, with 18 schools and colleges, more than 100 undergraduate and 90 graduate degree programs, and an enrollment of more than 34,000 students. In November 2019, the university was selected as a new member of the Association of American Universities—an invitation-only, prestigious group of 65 leading research institutions in North America marked by excellence in academic expertise and research impact, student success and securing resources in support of core missions. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Utah as an R1: Doctoral University–Very High Research Institution.

The University of Utah’s success in achieving excellence in research and teaching reflects the values of Utah: An unparalleled work ethic and a spirit of entrepreneurship, collaboration and community service. These qualities have enabled the University of Utah to innovate across many fields and pioneer new programs with social impact, generate path-breaking discoveries, fuel critical research, and inspire innovative approaches to education. More facts, stats and data on the university are available here.

The U is the University for Utah just as it is the University of Utah. It strives to be a model public university in delivering unmatched value in higher education and health care while making social, economic and cultural contributions that improve the quality of life throughout the state, the nation and the world. The University of Utah’s reputation for excellence draws top-tier faculty and attracts motivated students from across the country and internationally. These students bring with them diverse experiences and outlooks—representing traditional and nontraditional students alike—thereby enhancing the exceptional educational experience the University of Utah offers.

The University of Utah honors the fact that its campus is located on the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Shoshone, Paiute, Goshute and Ute tribes, as stated in its Indigenous Land Acknowledgment Statement. The U also has a memorandum of understanding with the Ute Indian Tribe to use the Ute name for its sports programs.


The University of Utah fosters student success by preparing students from diverse backgrounds for lives of impact as leaders and citizens. We generate and share new knowledge, discoveries and innovations, and we engage local and global communities to promote education, health and quality of life. These contributions, in addition to responsible stewardship of our intellectual, physical and financial resources, ensure the long-term success and viability of the institution.

Strategic Vision

In 2020, the main and health campuses at the University of Utah launched a strategic roadmap that ensures a One U approach to the future—a blueprint designed to accelerate the university’s rise as it focuses on four overarching goals: student success, knowledge transfer, community engagement and institutional vitality. Strategy 2025 is the result of a process launched in spring 2019 that harnessed the creative power of our campus community and stakeholders to shape a new vision, with strategies and measurable outcomes to guide us for the next five years. More information about the University’s strategy plan is available at

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