12551: Dean of the Robert D. Clark Honors College

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Dean of the Robert D. Clark Honors College - Archive
Provost Office

Posting: 12551
Location: Eugene
Closes: 2013-07-30

The University of Oregon (UO) seeks applications and nominations for the position of Dean of the Robert D. Clark Honors College.  The Clark Honors College (CHC), founded in 1960, offered the first four-year honors college curriculum in the United States.  The CHC has supported the mission of the UO by attracting talented, motivated, and creative students and providing them with an intensive interdisciplinary academic experience.  With 700 students, the CHC offers the best elements of a small liberal arts college within a top-tier public research university.  The CHC includes its own resident faculty, staff, academic and residential facilities and also draws on the best faculty from across the UO (see honors.uoregon.edu).  The University of Oregon, founded in 1876, is the state’s flagship institution of higher education, a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), and classified in the top category of research activity by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  The University of Oregon is renowned for its unparalleled combination of academic quality, culture, quality of life, size and community (see uoregon.edu).

As the chief academic and executive officer of the Clark Honors College, the Dean reports to the Provost and is responsible for providing academic leadership and administrative management for all programs within the CHC and for the College’s planning, outreach efforts and fund-raising.  We seek a skilled communicator and visionary leader committed to working with research-active faculty and a diverse group of high-ability students to build excellent undergraduate academic programs.  The CHC Dean works in collaboration with other UO deans and executive officers to implement the university’s mission and is an active leader both within the university and greater communities.  The successful candidate will be a dedicated teacher and an excellent scholar qualified for tenure at the rank of professor at the UO.

Qualifications and Experience

The Dean of the Robert D. Clark Honors College will articulate a compelling vision for the liberal arts and the role of honors education in the public research university.  She or he should demonstrate qualifications and experience in the following areas:

  • A distinguished record of scholarship, teaching and service commensurate with the rank of Professor at the University of Oregon.
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and leadership skills.
  • Strong administrative experience including the skills to run a college.
  • A record of developing, implementing and sustaining innovative interdisciplinary academic programs.
  • A commitment to the pedagogical mission of the College and to fostering leadership and achievement among high-ability students.
  • Experience recruiting, developing, and retaining an excellent research faculty.
  • The ability to work across campus with faculty, deans and administrators.
  • Experience in budget and financial planning.
  • Knowledge of the fundamentals of fundraising and development and the capacity to raise substantial resources for the College.
  • A demonstrated commitment to access and to diversity in students and faculty.
  • The skills to work with diverse communities outside the university and to communicate the mission of the College to a wide variety of stakeholders.
  • The ability to lead the College within the University and among competitive liberal arts colleges nationally and internationally.

Overview of the Robert D. Clark Honors College

The Robert D. Clark Honors College is a rigorous, highly selective, small liberal arts college nested within an AAU research university.  The college has approximately 700 students and 15 highly decorated resident faculty members.  Incoming students average a 3.95 GPA and 1330 SAT.  The CHC also boasts over 3200 alumni in all walks of professional and creative life.  Its students have won recognition in many endeavors, including Rhodes, Fulbright, Marshall, Mitchell, and Goldwater Fellowships and regularly rank among the top graduates at UO its Phi Beta Kappa “Oregon Six”.  The CHC offers a unique, interdisciplinary four-year curriculum grounded in the study of history, literature, and science and extending to all fields represented at the University of Oregon.

The main college building is Chapman Hall, a historic 1939 Ellis Lawrence building at the heart of the University of Oregon campus on the northeast corner of Memorial Quad.  Beginning in 2012, first-year CHC students live together in the new Global Scholars Hall, which provides a living and learning environment featuring new classrooms, a library commons, a food court and recreational facilities, along with faculty, graduate student, and librarian support and emphasis on global studies and language immersion.

The CHC enrolls students with wide-ranging skills and deep curiosity.  Likewise, faculty members of the CHC are distinguished by their interdisciplinary vision, research achievements, and commitment to great undergraduate teaching.  The core identity of the Clark Honors College is interdisciplinary.  CHC courses stress critical thinking, analytic writing, persuasive argument, and inquiry across traditional disciplinary boundaries.  The college curriculum fosters interest in diverse cultures and approaches to learning.  CHC students come from every part of Oregon, the United States, and the world; they enroll in the wide range of majors at the University of Oregon, throughout the arts, humanities, social sciences, and sciences; and they participate and lead in every aspect of campus life.  The CHC values tolerance and inclusivity and strives to achieve both in its community and curriculum.

While the Clark Honors College represents a long tradition of liberal arts education, it is also a distinctive institution.  As a small college within a major research university, the CHC brings together broad, interdisciplinary liberal arts teaching with cutting-edge research, and the alchemy of great teaching and research is the basis of everything the college does.  While the college places emphasis on critical reading, writing, and discussion, in the mode of the classic liberal arts college, it also stresses the centrality of research in the undergraduate experience.  And, with the resources of the University of Oregon at its disposal, it excels in both.

Key Opportunities and Challenges for the Dean

Hire and Support Top Faculty

The Clark Honors College must continue to attract and retain top faculty with recognized excellence in research and teaching as it strives to broaden its fields of teaching and reinforce its traditional areas of strength.  The CHC is a vibrant community  within the university and enjoys lively connections to many different fields, projects, laboratories, and institutions.  Through hiring and collaboration with the university at large, the Clark Honors College should seek to offer a broad range of courses and experiences and to expose students to faculty with diverse training and backgrounds.  Hiring goals should be set with a view to providing a sufficient faculty to student ratio to ensure the availability of faculty for direct mentoring relationships with students.

Foster Excellence in Teaching

For half a century, the CHC has provided a model of great undergraduate teaching at the University of Oregon.  The college has changed with the times, but its mission to provide a superior educational experience has not faltered.  A key principle of the small liberal arts college is close contact between faculty and students.  The college strives to provide small classes and foster an environment of experimentation, innovation, and rigor in pedagogy.

Build Bridges Across the University

The Clark Honors College relies on the faculty of the UO colleges and professional schools to provide its students with a rich and comprehensive education that draws on resources from every part of academe.  UO faculty affiliated with the Clark Honors College are essential to its intellectual mission, broadening its intellectual horizons and opening doors for its students to the many specialized research paths available at the university.  Though not resident in the CHC, these faculty are as important to what the college does as are the faculty with full-time CHC appointments.  The Clark Honors College aspires to lead the University in all of its areas of activity, from core efforts in interdisciplinary liberal arts education to facilities development to diversity recruiting.

Promote Arts and Sciences Education

The CHC is interdisciplinary at its core. Its faculty members come from a range of fields across the arts and sciences, and every Clark Honors College class is filled with students with a wide range of expertise and interests.  Courses in the Clark Honors College examine important intellectual problems that do not fit neatly in single fields of inquiry.  The college fosters a culture of open questioning and intellectual encounter.  To be a great liberal arts college, the Clark Honors College must ensure that its students are conversant in both humanistic and scientific principles and ideas, it must support a strong culture of science, and it must foster vigorous communication and collaboration across the arts and sciences.

Enhance Community

The greatest resource of the Clark Honors College is its small community of students, faculty, staff and alumni.  Over the past fifty years, the CHC has changed many times over, yet a persistent commitment to excellence fostered by bonds of community has tied generations of CHC people together.  The CHC curriculum, its buildings, its administrative structures, active student life, and all of its organizational features exist in service of the small intellectual community that makes the college distinctive within the university.

Build Diversity and Access

The Clark Honors College aims to fulfill the highest aspirations of equality, opportunity, and pluralism.  The college seeks to attract and support a student population that embodies cultural diversity and intercultural exchange; a faculty with a broad range of backgrounds, linguistic skills, and experiences; and a curriculum enriched by the diversity of American and global cultures, as well as to provide an education that is affordable.  It aims to cultivate interest among Oregon’s diverse populations, to promote values of tolerance and inclusivity, to foster global and multicultural understanding, and to sustain an environment that facilitates an excellent education for people of all backgrounds.

Expand Programming

In recent years, the CHC has expanded programming through the development of lectures, workshops, field trips, study abroad, and residential experiences.  For example, the CHC has partnered with the Creative Writing Program to offer the Honored Authors event series, which gives CHC students special access to creative writers visiting campus.  The CHC solicits proposals for talks and symposia from faculty around campus to be offered in conjunction with CHC courses.  New programs in the Global Scholars Hall and the common reading project for freshmen offer other examples.  The new Dean will have numerous opportunities to provide great experiences for our students while building relationships around campus and in the community.

Provide the Resources of a Top Liberal Arts College

For the Clark Honors College to play its leadership role, it is essential that it offer up-to-date educational resources and facilities.  The core infrastructure need of the CHC is a unified, modernized Chapman Hall with great classrooms, offices to house its faculty and staff, spaces for student organizations, activities, and community, and public spaces to support a vital intellectual and cultural life both within the CHC community and for the campus at large—a building that both functions and feels like a college.  It is incumbent upon the Clark Honors College to motivate public and private support.  The CHC Dean must steward a sustainable fiscal model for the College while raising funds and developing new resources.  The Dean will assure the financial future of the College and its ability to provide an excellent and affordable education worthy of the great tradition of public education in the State of Oregon.

Raise Visibility

The Clark Honors College faces the challenge of communicating to the public the multifaceted role that the CHC plays in the life and mission of the university.  The CHC provides an affordable and accessible education to Oregon’s most ambitious and highly motivated students; it keeps these students in Oregon, while it attracts excellent students from elsewhere in the United States and the world; it sets the highest standard for undergraduate education at the university and in the region; it creates a forum for interdisciplinary exchange and dialogue; it bridges undergraduate and graduate research; it highlights the university’s commitment to undergraduate education; and it promotes the university and its greater mission.  The CHC Dean will expand these efforts and raise the profile of the College regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Eugene and UO

Based on a scenic 295-acre campus in Eugene, in the beautiful Willamette Valley – just over an hour from the Pacific Ocean, the Cascade Mountains and the city of Portland – the University of Oregon currently enrolls approximately 24,447 students, including 20,631 undergraduate and 3,816 graduate students, and offers 300 comprehensive academic programs.  The greater Eugene area has a population of about 250,000 that balances affordability with an exceptional quality of life.  Eugene is often described as one of the most livable communities in the country, and the University of Oregon -- beyond its tradition of academic excellence and commitment to liberal arts education -- offers one of the finest work-life balances of any major university.  The campus offers immediate access to nearly boundless outdoor recreation, and Eugene is home to a number of high-quality music, drama and arts organizations, including the world-renowned Oregon Bach Festival.  For more about Eugene, see theeugeneguide.com.

Inquiries, nominations, and applications should be submitted electronically to CHCDeanSearch@uoregon.edu.  Applications must include a cover letter, curriculum vitae and contact information for five professional references.  Review of applications will begin on March 1, 2013.  The position will remain open until filled.  Finalist must complete a background check.

The University of Oregon is an equal-opportunity, affirmative-action institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.