Leadership Opportunities

Simmons University is pleased to announce the following leadership opportunities. Learn more about these specific positions and what makes Simmons Simmons.

President, Simmons University

Uniquely Simmons

Located in the heart of Boston, Simmons University is a private university, home to a respected women’s undergraduate program, as well as coeducational graduate programs in nursing and health sciences, liberal arts, business, communications, social work, public health, and library and information science.

Simmons has established a model of higher education that only today other colleges and universities are beginning to adapt: the combination of education for leadership in high-demand professional fields with the intellectual foundation of the liberal arts. The result is a Simmons graduate prepared not only to work, but to lead in professional, civic, and personal life — a vision of empowerment that Simmons calls preparation for life’s work.

Since its founding in 1899, Simmons’ raison d’etre has been to expand opportunities for women, forging fields that advance equity and justice locally and globally. The vision of Founder John Simmons, “to establish a female college best calculated to enable the scholars to acquire an independent livelihood” is reflected in Simmons’s singular accomplishments:

  • The School of Social Work was the first in the nation to take a clinical approach to the field;
  • Simmons School of Nursing has long been among the most highly regarded by leaders of Boston’s world-class hospitals;
  • Simmons School of Library and Information Science is one of the top ranked such programs in the country.

From College to University: A Decade of Growth

While Simmons has grown and adapted to the higher education landscape over its many years, it is the story of the last 10 years that is critical to understanding the Simmons of today — and of tomorrow. In the summer of 2018, Simmons College became Simmons University — a transition that was many years in planning, and reflected the institution’s growth over the previous decade. But when President Helen G. Drinan took the helm at Simmons College in 2008, growth and university status were not yet on the horizon. That year, the world economy entered a crisis of a scale not seen since the Great Depression. At Simmons, declining revenues and a lack of investment in the school’s faculty, physical plant, and student experience resulted in a challenging time.

What a difference a decade makes. Today, the Simmons story is one of growth, innovation, and a solid foundation — fueled by on-the-ground and online enrollment, renewed investments in its campus and technology, and a diversity of revenue streams unmatched in similar-sized institutions.

As with many turnaround stories, there is no one factor that ignited Simmons’s rise into a dynamic, growing university. It was the confluence of strong leadership, committed faculty, alumnae/i and students, and a willingness to implement new ways of doing business that paved the road to institutional success.

As is the case with many institutions in crisis, Simmons leadership made difficult decisions, cutting costs and right-sizing the institution. While those decisions were complicated and tough for the Simmons community, in the years since, the college, and now university, has met self-imposed goals for net-tuition revenue growth, revenue surplus budgets, and fundraising, as well as appropriate debt ratios and cash reserves.

At the same time, Simmons leadership recognized that the school could not fulfill its mission by cutting its way to a healthy balance sheet, so in cooperation with the faculty and board of trustees, they began work on a series of initiatives that would ultimately reshape the school and position it for the long term:

The 2U Partnership for Online Programs

  • The growth of online programming in higher education has dominated the sector for more than a decade. Although the initial explosion of online initiatives is often characterized by questionable players, established colleges and universities also got in on the action, launching online MOOCs, certificates, and degrees to varying success.
  • While large institutions with robust resources and widespread brand awareness such as Harvard, MIT, and Stanford could launch a host of online offerings without any outside assistance, smaller regional institutions such as Simmons, with fewer resources in technological or instructional capacity, made a bigger investment.
  • Consummated in 2012, Simmons’ partnership with 2U, a private, for-profit company partnering with colleges and universities internationally to provide the technology and services that power online graduate degree programs, was quite simply a game changer, more than doubling Simmons’s graduate program enrollment and tuition revenue. Today, Simmons offers five online master’s degrees in partnership with 2U, with students from all 50 states enrolled.
  • In 2018, President Drinan announced a 15-year extension to the partnership with 2U, ensuring the university can continue to offer innovative online graduate degree programs and enjoy the market reach, additional student enrollments, and revenues that come with them — well into the future.

The Academic Redesign

  • Well before Simmons became a university, Provost Katie Conboy, the faculty, and President Drinan were planning a new model of academic organization. The Academic Redesign, as it is known, came in response not only to trends in higher education generally, but to a vision for Simmons at its best: where all students can strengthen their core areas of study by learning across disciplines, and where the process of intellectual and professional inquiry fuels individual formation — resulting in a competent professional ready to enter her field and a lifelong learner ready to embark on her life’s work.
  • The Academic Redesign established four colleges, each incorporating a complementary selection of academic fields:
    • The Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities incorporates disciplines attuned to the modes of expression through which we record and interpret human experience, including communications, literature, art, music, gender and cultural studies, and the humanities.  
    • The College of Natural, Behavioral, and Health Sciences sits at the core of Simmons’s long tradition of education for the health professions and incorporates renowned nursing, physical therapy, nutrition, and behavior analysis programs, along with the natural and behavioral sciences.
    • The College of Organizational, Computational, and Information Sciences combines the growing information fields with Simmons’s nationally-ranked Library and Information Sciences program and School of Business, combining the theory and practice of analytics, entrepreneurship, and technology.
    • The College of Social Sciences, Policy, and Practice incorporates Simmons’s first-in-the-nation School of Social Work with programs in education, public health, public policy, and the social sciences, rounding out another important facet of Simmons’s historic tradition in justice and change-oriented education for the human services professions.
  • The Academic Redesign not only groups complementary fields within the same colleges, it also makes it easier for both graduate and undergraduate students to combine the study of disciplines across the colleges by standardizing credits and costs across the university, allowing both students and faculty to work around disciplinary “corners” and open up new inter-professional opportunities and pathways to meaningful work.

The “Making Education Work” Campaign

  • Fundraising is critical to the success of any college or university. In the “Making Education Work” comprehensive campaign, Simmons met the $85 million goal a year early. The goal was then updated to $100 million and achieved in the final year.

Leveraging Real Estate, Strengthening Living and Learning in Community

  • In 2017, President Drinan and the Simmons Board of Trustees announced that they would seek to leverage the university’s substantial real estate holdings in the heart of Boston to further endow the institution and to underwrite critical updating and expansion of core programs. In the coming months, the university looks forward to announcing a new institutional master plan that will spell out the campus changes and enhancements that will fuel future growth and stability.

Strategy 2022: A Solid Foundation, a Future of Possibility

  • Building off of this decade of growth, the vision for Simmons’s next 100 years, articulated in Simmons’s Strategy 2022 plan, is for the university to “become a beacon of leadership in the world of higher education; a resource to our nation and world; known for our expertise in fields which improve the human condition; sought out for the findings of our highly reputable research and seen as the global expert in educating women for their own empowerment and leadership.”

    Redesigning Simmons: The Strategy for 2022 provides a roadmap to guide the University toward making that vision a reality. Top strategic priorities include:
    • Fostering a diverse, welcoming, and inclusive community. In September 2018 Simmons hired a senior vice president of Organizational Culture, Inclusion, and Equity (OCIE) that reflects its commitment to building a community that is equitable and inclusive of all its students, staff, faculty, and alumnae/i. The OCIE Office seeks to facilitate fundamental cultural and institutional changes necessary to establish and maintain a fully inclusive campus, and to promote ongoing, meaningful and authentic engagement with diversity, equity, and inclusion. Diversity includes age, ancestry, class, color, disability, ethnicity, gender identify and expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other status protected by law. 
    • The Office, in partnership with many across campus, is leading the work to make Simmons University the most inclusive campus in New England. By approaching diversity work in a systemic and multidimensional way — so it is embedded in all Simmons does — Simmons will demonstrate the tremendous educational and cultural benefits that equity and inclusion initiatives have served and will continue to serve the University community, the U.S. and the world.
    • Highlighting and building Simmons’s strengths in a sustainable structure. Key components of this strategic priority include the Academic Redesign, strategic investments in faculty development, the completion of Simmons’s innovative PLAN general education platform, and elevating the Simmons brand in education for leadership.
    • Supporting students through investment in services, academic support, mentorship, and our campus. Significant components of this strategic priority include building a state-of-the-art learning and living environment to help students integrate in-classroom learning with the social, emotional, and ethical development at the core of all higher education.

Where it all Happens: A University in a Global City

No doubt the city of Boston plays a significant role in many of Simmons’s academic and professional offerings. Indeed, the University draws on many of the city’s cultural, historical, economic, scientific, and educational resources to offer an unparalleled student experience.

The campus is located in the Fenway neighborhood, within walking distance of the Longwood Medical Area, where many Simmons students complete internships and clinical rotations at hospitals and medical research facilities. Simmons is also a short ride to Cambridge’s Kendall Square, a locus of technology innovation and successful startups, as well as the burgeoning Seaport and Financial Districts, where law, venture capital, and investment firms offer opportunities to students with interests in those fields.

The University is also linked with several nearby historical and cultural institutions. The Boston Public Library, Massachusetts Historical Society, and John F. Kennedy Library offer unmatched opportunities for research and professional experience for undergraduate and graduate students alike, while institutions such as the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Museum of Fine Arts host internships for Simmons students, providing rich material for experiential learning.

As with Simmons, Boston has grown considerably in the past few decades. Though it once might have been viewed as a small, even provincial city, Boston now is a booming and global metropolis, with almost five million people in the metro area. With that growth has come a welcomed diversity in racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, and national origin. And, as home to more than a quarter million college students, Boston is a center of higher education and a community of educators, administrators, and student service professionals unlike anywhere else in the world.

About Simmons

Students hanging out on the quad

Our students

Simmons is home to 1,700 undergraduate women and 2,400 graduate men and women.

Headshot of Gary Bailey


Simmons faculty members are leaders in their fields and mentors in the classroom. 

The front of the Main College Building

Our future

At Simmons, innovating and adapting to the needs of the modern world is key to our history, and our future.