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Job ID: 223838

Nazarbayev University

Date Posted Oct. 18, 2023
University Nazarbayev University
Astana, Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Dean
  • Administration - Academic Unit

Job Advertisement

Nazarbayev University (NU) is seeking to appoint a Dean of the School of Engineering and Digital Sciences. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to build on a strong international reputation for research, teaching, and impact. 

The University Times Higher Education ranked NU in the top 30 percent in the 2024 World Universities Ranking. NU is ranked first in Central Asia and in the top 10 among ASEAN universities.

Established in 2010, we are the flagship research-intensive University for Kazakhstan and Central Asia. The capital city of Astana is linked to both Asia and Europe and has a mission to develop a knowledge economy, based on strong and robust institutions.

NU is an autonomous English-Language university with a mandate for world-class research, teaching, and innovation. We have international faculty from 61 countries and international students from 35 countries who create a strong and ambitious scholarly community and are willing to take leadership roles. 

The University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor’s programs to around 7,200 students in Sciences and Humanities, Business, Education, Engineering and Digital Sciences, Medicine, Mining and Geosciences, and Public Policy. NU also provides a Foundation Studies program for pre-bachelor, pre-master, and pre-doctoral students.

The University hosts the most advanced scientific research laboratories in the region, with over 70 laboratories and a data center.

Over its first thirteen years of operation, the University built a range of close strategic partnerships with top-ranked international universities including - Duke University (Fuqua School of Business), University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cambridge University, University of Pittsburgh, National University of Singapore (Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy), University of Pennsylvania (Graduate School of Education), Colorado School of Mines and University College London.

Graduates from Nazarbayev University are routinely accepted to masters and doctoral programs, on full scholarships, to prestigious universities, including Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, University of Cambridge, University of Chicago, University of Arizona, University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign, Humboldt and London School of Economics.

Founding President, Shigeo Katsu served in the World Bank for twenty-five years where he rose to become Vice President of the Europe and Central Asia Region. The Provost and Acting President, Ilesanmi Adesida, was previously Dean of Engineering and then Provost of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As the University enters its second decade, there is a renewed focus on building an international reputation based on top-of-the-class research, teaching, and innovation. 

The School

The incoming Dean of the School of Engineering and Digital Sciences (SEDS) will have the opportunity to accelerate recent achievements in research, with a focus on interdisciplinary collaborations, research-integrated teaching, student research, and collaborations with industry and with local and regional universities.

The School is preparing for program accreditation with ABET. 

The School offers these programs: 

  • Undergraduate programs in Chemical and Materials Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Robotics Engineering, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Computer Science.
  • Masters programs in Chemical and Materials Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Masters in Engineering Management, Masters in Biomedical Engineering, Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Masters in Robotics, Masters in Computer Science, Masters in Data Science.
  • PhD programs in Chemical Engineering, Robotics Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and PhD program in Science Engineering and Technology.

The School emphasizes technical excellence and creative problem-solving, and teaches core curriculum compulsory courses in computer science to all undergraduate students.

Faculty are all research-active and are strongly encouraged to publish in Q1 journals. More than 25% of papers published by NU scholars are co-authored with students.  

SEDS has approximately 100 faculty members. From the Postdoctoral scholar rank and above, all faculty possess a Ph.D. degree.  Around 46 percent of the faculty holds the rank of Associate Professor or higher. 

The School considers it important to create opportunities for female faculty in senior and leadership positions. The proportion of female faculty is around 14% and is expected to grow. 


The successful candidate will have a multi-year renewable contract, no mandatory retirement age, a competitive compensation and benefits package, including accommodation, health care (including for dependents). and flights home per year for the candidate and dependents. The campus has a Montessori school for younger children, and several English language international schools are available in the city. International candidates have a ten percent flat taxation rate. Visa expenditures and delivery of personal belongings to the campus are also covered. Expatriation and repatriation support. 

For further information, please contact Nurgul Ularkhanova, Director of the Department of Human Capital Development; or Dr. Loretta O’Donnell, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs,

This position will be open until filled.

Job Description – Dean of the School of Engineering and Digital Sciences

The employee will be based in Astana, Kazakhstan
Reports to:  Provost of Nazarbayev University
Main Purpose of the Role
The Dean is the principal officer of the School of Engineering and Digital Sciences (SEDS) and is responsible for the strategic leadership and executive management of the School.

The Dean must have an earned Ph.D. from an internationally accredited University and have held the rank of Full Professor in an appropriate discipline for at least five years, with an international record of scholarship. We anticipate the successful candidate will have several years of experience in an academic leadership role.

Having a global view, open-mindedness, and proven experience in cooperation with other disciplines and other Deans are essential elements for success in this role. 

Unique strategic strengths within the School lie within the broad areas of Electrical Engineering, Materials Engineering, Robotics, and the highly productive ISSAI: Institute for Smart Systems and Artificial Intelligence.

The Dean will actively seek research funding from: industry; government agencies; international grant agencies; non-government entities; local and international universities. This funding will help support faculty initiatives as well as specific institutes and research centers on campus. These centers will be available for interdisciplinary research on campus as well as for national and international scholars and policymakers.

The Dean will foster a collaborative, interdisciplinary academic environment, supportive of the University's mission and vision.
Responsible for: SEDS staff and faculty. The Vice-Dean (Academic Affairs), the Vice-Dean (Research), the Heads of Departments, the Chief Administrative Officer, and the Dean’s Personal Assistant are direct reports. The Chief Administrative Officer also reports to the Executive Vice President on financial and budget matters.

Main Duties and Responsibilities
Clarify Vision and Strategy

  • Clarify and implement the School's strategic direction through the Strategic Plan.
  • Actively support program and institutional accreditation and/or evaluation, consistent with University policy.
  • Establish and maintain an appropriately constituted industry or professional advisory group.
  • Contribute to University committees and activities and communicate University policies to the School.
  • Work with the relevant departments and Chief Administrative Officer to oversee the School's financial resources according to University policies, relevant legislation, and the strategic direction of the School.
  • To oversee annual budget-setting for the School, in consultation with the Chief Administrative Officer.
  • To ensure that all School committees, including the Industry Advisory Board, are constituted and operate regularly at appropriate times during the academic year.
  • Develop and continuously review student recruitment targets, consistent with University policy.
  • Collaborate with other Schools, Research Centres, and units on curriculum, research, and teaching to ensure efficient use of University resources.
  • Encourage appropriate applications for graduate study and career opportunities for the School’s graduates. 

Lead People

  • Reward faculty and staff who uphold the strategy of the School.
  • Ensure a fair, safe, and harassment-free work and study environment in accordance with NU policies.
  • Create a supportive and enriching academic environment for students.
  • Continuously review plans for the staffing needs of the School.
  • Recruit high-quality faculty who can contribute to the University’s international research and academic impact.
  • Ensure faculty receive regular reviews of performance in accordance with University policy, and that action plans for continuous improvement are implemented.
  • Be responsible for faculty promotion and provide career guidance to faculty as needed.
  • Conduct regular staff/faculty satisfaction surveys and communicate results and action plans to the School.
  • Uphold the values of the university, including academic integrity, as stated in NU Learning and Teaching Strategy and other university policies.
  • To coordinate, mentor, develop, and appraise direct reports.

Foster a Research Culture

  • Define and communicate the School’s research strategy.
  • Develop own research interests, in consultation with the Provost.
  • Promote research integrity, ensuring that all School faculty and staff uphold research ethics when planning, conducting, and reporting research and scholarly activities.
  • Lead the School's national and international external relationships.

Consistent with university policy, encourage technology transfer and commercialization of intellectual properties developed by faculty and students. 

Integrate Research and Teaching

  • Uphold the University Learning and Teaching Strategy.
  • Oversee the quality enhancement of courses and programs using the NU Quality Framework.
  • Collaborate with other Schools to optimize teaching and learning resources, including sharing of courses and sharing faculty resources, as appropriate.
  • Ensure that student feedback on courses and programs is communicated to faculty and that action plans are developed and implemented.

The Dean will also undertake any other duties and responsibilities required for the success of the School, in consultation with the Provost.

This job description reflects the present requirements of the post and, as duties and responsibilities develop, the job description will be reviewed and be subject to amendment in consultation with the Dean.

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