Dean of the College of Social Sciences, Policy, and Practice

About the Dean's Position

The Dean is responsible for supporting, strengthening, and diversifying a strong faculty, promoting innovative teaching and engaged learning, and building a culture of research and scholarly productivity. In every modality, our programs are high-touch. Simmons has a core value that “we are at our best when students are first.” Everyone at the College strives to engage the whole student and to realize each student’s potential. 

The Dean will enhance and promote programs within and across disciplines, both inside theCollege and in partnership with the other Deans. Simmons has identified several themes of particular interest for this cross-college work: inclusive leadership, social justice, global engagement, and inter-professional preparation. 

The successful candidate will be skilled at recognizing and realizing opportunities and at creative problem solving. Candidates should have a record of building consensus, strong skills in partnership and collaboration with other campus units, and the ability to lead and motivate faculty. Simmons seeks candidates who want to work within a framework of shared governance.

Strategic Opportunities

Strategic Opportunities:

  • Build the reputation of the College of Social Sciences, Policy, and Practice around a clear set of priorities and outcomes. Promote that reputation externally and garner resources to support it.
  • Simmons founded the first School of Social Work in the country. Enhancing the reach and reputation of this large program will always be a priority.
  • Grow enrollments in the Social Sciences and seeking opportunities for meaningful collaboration, both inside Simmons and beyond.
  • Grow enrollments in Special Education and Elementary Education master’s programs and promote education as an object of study across the College; complete the process for Massachusetts re-approval of teacher licensure programs.
  • Contribute to Simmons’s Diversity & Inclusion efforts and design the ways the College of Social Sciences, Policy, and Practice will reflect those values.
  • Complete the accreditation process for Public Health.
  • Continue to ensure quality in online master’s programs.
  • Evaluate new pipelines for the Master of Public Policy program.
  • Participate in efforts to ensure appropriate career preparation for all students in the College. Collaborate with centralized Career Services to achieve these goals.
  • Develop faculty for leadership roles.
  • Lead a search for the next Warburg Chair, influence the direction of the Warburg program, and promote the presence of James Warburg papers, which have recently come to Simmons.
  • Support and promote the Barbara Lee Fellows Program.
  • Work with the faculty to seek grant support for both program-specific and interdisciplinary teaching, research, and practice.
Opportunities and Expectations for Leadership

The Dean will face the following critical leadership tasks and challenges:

Provide visionary, optimistic and creative leadership

The Dean will work with department chairs, program directors, and the faculty to cultivate a climate of intellectual excitement and creative vitality to set a shared vision for the new school. The Dean will work to build bridges among the faculty, staff, and students, serving as a decision-maker and problem-solver in achieving the College’s goals.

Foster an integrated academic community

The Dean will cultivate collaboration among faculty and other stakeholders throughout the College, pursuing the growth and development of programs and initiatives and in so doing build new academic partnerships at Simmons. The Dean must be adept at collaborating with fellow deans on initiatives such as interdisciplinary programs, joint faculty appointments, and new academic ventures.

Balance attention to undergraduate and graduate education

The Dean will need to attend to the professional graduate programs and the undergraduate programs that contribute to a vibrant intellectual academic community. An important part of this work will involve collaborating with the Dean of the Undergraduate Program (a member of the Provost’s Office staff) to ensure staffing for courses in PLAN (the undergraduate General Education program), to understand and support academic policies for undergraduates, and to assess undergraduate programs. Professional programs, both graduate and undergraduate, will be held to the standards of their accrediting organizations. 

Contribute to the institutional strategic plan and help realize its goals

The Dean will be joining an institution with ongoing and comprehensive strategic planning. The Dean will be responsible for the College’s engagement in the implementation of these plans as well as assessing the outcomes of these plans.

Build external relationships and partnerships

There are extensive opportunities for the Dean to build partnerships in the Boston metropolitan area, and beyond. The Dean will be alert to the identification of such opportunities and will leverage them appropriately. These efforts will establish the College of Social Sciences, Policy, and Practice within Simmons, the community, and the national landscape of higher education.

Serve as a vital partner in the recruitment and retention of students

Successful recruitment and retention of students is a priority across academic and administrative units. The Dean will work with a leadership team that is reframing recruitment and retention at Simmons and demonstrate discipline in using data to inform strategic decisions and goal setting.

Support faculty with a commitment to shared governance

The Dean is responsible for supporting faculty recruitment, retention and development, within a framework of shared responsibility among faculty, board members, and administrators for mission-driven outcomes and priorities.

Build and sustain fundraising and resource development

The Dean will be responsible for working with the advancement office to develop a broad and effective fundraising strategy. The Dean will be responsible for identifying areas of emphasis and strength, working alongside departments and programs to identify targets for possible fundraising activities. The Dean will also be expected to help improve alumni engagement.

Personal Qualifications and Qualities

The ideal candidate will also have many of the following experiences, capabilities, and  attributes:

  • Experience managing change and working within a fluid and evolving institutional context;
  • A record of creative and strategic thinking in developing programs, teams, or organizations—and of encouraging and facilitating innovation and collaboration across disciplines;
  • A commitment to educating and empowering women and demonstrated commitment to social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion; 
  • A focus on recruiting and retaining a culturally diverse faculty, staff, and student body;
  • Strong fund raising experience (or capabilities) and the ability to engage, excite, and steward prospective donors;
  • A successful record coaching and developing faculty to advance their scholarship and an understanding of the infrastructure needed to support faculty scholarly productivity;
  • Commitment to professional development for faculty and staff;
  • Experience managing and planning budgets and allocating resources effectively; ability to hold others accountable for results;
  • Ability to balance advocacy for the College and its programs with the needs of the wider university community;
  • Deep understanding of or informed curiosity about programs and disciplines within the College;
  • Ability to communicate ideas effectively to donors, policy makers, academics, and university administrators;
  • Capacity for university leadership—the ability to earn the respect, confidence, and trust of colleagues across the community;
  • Outstanding leadership, analytical, strategic planning, and interpersonal skills;
  • Demonstrated academic accomplishments appropriate for a tenured appointment at the rank of professor for traditional candidates, with a reputation in their field for leading diverse teams of faculty. Non-traditional candidates should have significant accomplishments, experience leading diverse teams of professionals and reputations in their field;
  • Academic administrative experience at the level of dean, associate/assistant dean, department chair, center director, or equivalent experience in public service or the private sector; and
  • A record of teaching and creative/scholarly/research activity.

The Dean shall have an earned doctorate or equivalent terminal degree if s/he comes from an academic background. The Dean reports to Provost Katie Conboy.