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Job ID: 226696

Dean, School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts
University of California Merced

Date Posted Dec. 1, 2023
Title Dean, School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts
University University of California Merced
Merced, CA, United States
Department Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts
Application Deadline Open until filled
Position Start Date Available immediately
  • Dean
  • Development/Institutional Advancement
    Administration - Academic Unit

Dean, School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts

University of California Merced

Position overview
Position title: Dean, School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts

Salary range: $300,000 to $350,000

Percent time: 100%

Anticipated start: July 1, 2024

Review timeline: First review of applicants begins January 8, 2024. Open until filled.

Position duration: Permanent

Application Window

Open date: November 6, 2023

Next review date: Monday, Jan 8, 2024 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Saturday, Jun 8, 2024 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

Position description

The University of California (UC), Merced, the youngest campus in the world-renowned University of California system, seeks a new Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts (SSHA) to lead this unique school into an exciting new era as it continues to grow, champion inclusive excellence, and distinguish itself within the UC system and among research universities globally. The new SSHA Dean will be joining the university at a pivotal time to support its extensive growth and ensure its continued success. The SSHA Dean will need to be a gifted academic leader who will work closely with SSHA faculty and staff and the larger campus community to continue to develop the school as a magnet for high-caliber students from diverse backgrounds, talented faculty, and a respected center for research addressing major global challenges as well as the pressing needs of the Central Valley.

Opened to undergraduates in 2005, UC Merced was the first new University of California campus in 40 years, and the first American research university of the twenty-first century. UC Merced now ranks #28 among public universities and #60 overall among national universities and remains the youngest university in the top 100 U.S News & World Report rankings. We are proud that our campus is recognized as #4 in the nation for creating social mobility and #13 for economic diversity in the 2023 U.S. News & World Report. UC Merced achieved R2 classification ("doctoral-granting university with high research activity," per the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education) in record time and is now setting a very ambitious trajectory towards quickly earning an R1 designation. Since welcoming our first freshman class, UC Merced has grown in enrollment to 9,148 students, including 3,357 undergraduates and 214 graduate students in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts.

Declared undergraduate enrollment by school is divided among the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts (SSHA) (40%), the School of Engineering (SoE) (32%), and the School of Natural Sciences (SNS) (24%). Sixty-five (65) percent of undergraduates are first-generation college students, with 59% Pell Grant eligible. Geographically, 99% of UC Merced undergraduates are Californian, with the Central Valley representing approximately 28% of the population. An additional 35% of students come from Southern California (including Los Angeles and San Diego) and 33% from the San Francisco Bay Area. Fewer than one percent of UC Merced undergraduates are from out of state or from a foreign country.

UC Merced is proud to be a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), with nearly 55% of its undergraduates identifying as Hispanic. UC Merced is also proud of its eligibility status as an Asian American, Native American, Pacific Islander serving institution. In 2021, UC Merced was awarded the Seal of Excelencia in recognition of its commitment to the success of Latino students and in both 2021 and 2023 the HEED Award for Excellence in Diversity.

Delivered in fall 2020, the 2020 Project campus expansion nearly doubled the campus's physical capacity to support enrollment growth to 10,000 students. The university is now expanding its capacity to reach 15,000 students in the next decade. The impact of UC Merced's rapid ascent reaches beyond its campus and continues to transform the region economically, academically, and environmentally. UC Merced maintains a focus on sustainability, research, diversity, and community. It leads the UC system in the percentage of students from underrepresented ethnic groups, low-income families, and families whose parents did not attend college.

UC Merced is becoming well-known nationally for its state-of-the-art facilities and extensive growth plan, its talented and diverse student body, and for its well-established research programs in fields such as agricultural technology; biomedical, behavioral and health sciences; climate science and sustainable systems and solutions; theoretical, computational and data sciences; and inequality, social justice, and policy. Building upon this strong foundation, the Dean will lead the continued evolution of SSHA as the campus seeks recognition as an R1, or "Highest Research Activity," institution.

SSHA has recruited an outstanding, award-winning faculty that is highly productive in research. The faculty can be characterized as relatively early in their careers (roughly 35% are assistant professors) and many take highly interdisciplinary approaches to research and teaching. This talent has attracted major grants from leading research agencies, such as NSF, NIH, and the Department of Education, and major philanthropic organizations such as the Mellon Foundation and the Henry Luce Foundation.

Strategic Plan & Goals

Together with its leadership and community, UC Merced is uniquely poised to impact a rapidly changing world. To this end, Chancellor Juan Sanchez Munoz led an inaugural long-range comprehensive strategic planning process over a year of thoughtful engagement and refinement by faculty, staff, students, and external community and partners. This strategic plan outlines three mission-driven, intertwined priorities: discovery and the advancement of knowledge, developing future scholars and leaders, and cultivating a culture of dignity and respect for all. The strategic plan reflects UC Merced's ever-deepening commitment to continuous and iterative transformation toward a socially just, equitable, and sustainable campus and society and to expand and enrich the nature of the campus's educational offerings and research portfolio. UC Merced will create new and diverse opportunities, empowering experiences for its students who will in turn deepen and diversify leadership across all fields and the nation. The plan includes the ambitious goal of being the youngest university ever to achieve a very high research (R1) designation, which will acknowledge UC Merced's increasing research prowess and its impact but also support the acceleration and sustain its rise. The strategic plan also elevates the importance of an inclusive workforce and flexible and sustainable infrastructure that evolves with the research and learning enterprise. The full university strategic plan can be found here:

Role of the Dean of the School of Social Science, Humanities and Arts

The Dean of SSHA is the chief officer of the School with overall administrative responsibility for an academic unit that currently includes 11 departments offering 19 undergraduate majors, seven graduate programs, the Merritt Writing Program, and two research centers (the Center for Humanities and the Center for Analytic Political Engagement). SSHA has 144 tenured and tenure-track Senate faculty and 108 non-Senate faculty, 3,357 undergraduate students, and 214 graduate students (204 Ph.D.). As the School's executive head, representative, and administrator, the Dean provides intellectual and academic leadership for the instructional and research missions of SSHA and in doing so works closely with the School's faculty and staff as well as senior leadership across the campus to deliver the School's mission. The Dean supervises the hiring, promotion, and retention of faculty and staff, guides the development and provides oversight of undergraduate and graduate curriculum and degree programs, manages all School resources, and works with campus administration and the Academic Senate on matters of School and campus-wide policy. Successful candidates will have demonstrated leadership skills in a full range of activities associated with the academic and research missions of the School.

Key Opportunities and Challenges for the Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts

UC Merced has made remarkable progress and requires outstanding leadership to move into its next phase marked by excellence in research, innovation in teaching, and thoughtful growth, guided by excellent leadership and shared governance. As an emerging research university, UC Merced has exceptional freedom to pioneer new models for teaching, research, and service. In leading SSHA into its next stage of growth, the Dean will address several key opportunities and challenges, which are detailed below:

Lead the vision and strategy for the School

The next Dean of SSHA will provide critical leadership for the next phase of the School's development. The Dean will strategically and empathetically lead the School through immediate and longer-term organizational changes, including finalizing a divisional structure for the School already in progress. To this work, the Dean will bring a spirit of vibrancy, collaboration, and sustainability that is inherent in UC Merced's Strategic Plan as it strives to become a top-tier (R1) research university. The Dean will invest in the future of the School in thoughtful and impactful ways that bring faculty together and enhance the academic future of SSHA.

Recruit, retain, and support talented faculty

Given UC Merced's aspirations for growth, the campus anticipates hiring significant numbers of faculty in the coming years. Attracting and hiring high-caliber faculty will be essential to continuing to grow the School's reputation and the impact of its scholarly and academic output. In addition to hiring outstanding new faculty, the Dean will work to promote structures and programs that continue to aid, develop, and support existing faculty in their pursuit of excellence in scholarship and instruction. Along with supporting individual achievement, the Dean will strive to further a culture of inclusive excellence and promote both disciplinary and interdisciplinary research across the campus.

The Dean will understand diversity as integral to all work related to recruiting, retaining, and supporting faculty and staff, and will further the culture of inclusivity and commitment to diversity that is core to the mission of UC Merced.

Enhance the academic profile and scholarly impact of the School
The Dean will lead the growth of the School's research portfolio and support faculty engagement in research and scholarly activity. In close collaboration with faculty, the Dean will further expand existing research and scholarship programs, identify new opportunities for scholarly research, and advance the School's contributions to UC Merced's R1 ambitions.

Grow the student body thoughtfully and effectively

SSHA will be an important contributor to UC Merced's goal of achieving a total enrollment of 15,000 students. In this context, the Dean will work with leadership across campus to facilitate the School's enrollment growth, focusing on efforts that increase new student enrollment and retention of existing students. Likewise, working collaboratively with the Vice Provost and Dean for Graduate Education, the Dean will consider how best to support and strengthen graduate student enrollment. This includes working with faculty to build new academic programs, undergraduate and graduate, to advance the School's development.

SSHA's 3,357 undergraduate students form a multi-ethnic student body with around 62% of students identifying as Hispanic. For undergraduate students, opportunities for academic enrichment include involvement in research, student professional organizations, comprehensive student advising, leadership opportunities, and experiential learning, just to name just a few.

As with faculty, diversity will be a framework the Dean will use to approach enrollment growth for undergraduate and graduate students in the SSHA. As the most ethnically diverse campus in the UC System, and as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and a Minority-Serving Institution, the campus is a vivid example of how academic excellence and diversity inform one another and provide the best possible environment for learning. The Dean must be dedicated to supporting these ideals, actively promoting them within the School and across the university, with attention to recruiting and retaining diverse students and cultivating an environment of inclusiveness across the School.

Manage the academic enterprise

As part of SSHA's continued development, the Dean will be responsible for refining the School's administrative infrastructure to support its ongoing growth and success and for collaborating with the EVC/P leadership team to foster and strengthen a culture of fiscally aligned planning and accountability. The dean will apply analytical and strategic leadership as well as financial acumen to balance resource advocacy, constraints, and management. This includes bringing creativity, fiscal resourcefulness, and thoughtfulness to budget challenges while driving towards growth. The Dean will work with the faculty and staff to position them for success in this changing environment. In advancing these efforts, the Dean will cultivate a positive team culture across the School that advances the campus's commitment to equity, justice, and inclusive excellence.

Advocate for SSHA as a unit, both internally and externally

As the leader of the SSHA community, the Dean will be a compelling spokesperson for the School. The Dean will build relationships and bridges at UC Merced through working collaboratively with other Deans and administrators. At the university level, the Dean will advocate for investment in infrastructure and initiatives that will amplify the School's research and educational missions.

The Dean will work with the Division of External Relations and Strategic Communications to promote SSHA externally, creating and maintaining relationships in the region and state, nationally, and globally. This advocacy will raise the profile and prestige of the School, and lead to broadened partnerships for scholarship and learning and to additional financial resources to support the School's mission.


Basic qualifications

Required Skills, Knowledge, Abilities, and Competencies

An earned doctorate in a field compatible with the programs offered within the School of Social Science, Humanities and Arts.
A distinguished record in teaching, scholarship, and service consistent with the expectations of the rank of a full professor with tenure in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts.
Significant years of increasing responsibility for leading and managing (an) academic area(s) that demonstrate visionary leadership and management and administrative skills.
Demonstrated leadership skills in a full range of activities associated with the academic, research, and/or scholarly mission of the School.
Demonstrated ability to create an inclusive environment within a unit and advance equity, justice, and inclusive excellence.
Experience fostering interdisciplinary research and education.
Demonstrated skills as a creative and collaborative leader in the creation of new programs and academic structures.
Proven leadership abilities in a complex environment with various stakeholders in order to achieve support for, and move forward projects and initiatives through, relationship building, motivation, influence, and transparency; strong community and consensus builder to leverage partnerships and resources.
Expert analytical and strategic thinking skills to understand key institutional drivers.
Strong management skills, including the ability to lead, assess, and support professional staff and to motivate subordinate management to develop and achieve goals in alignment with mission.
Skilled in organizational management and development; strong and visionary organizational leadership to improve cohesion, culture, and effectiveness of an organization and the stakeholder community.
Strong financial acumen and sound budgetary judgment.
Experience in fundraising and securing external support from a variety of sources.
Ability to focus on regional and global issues, with a particular focus on the UC Merced campus.
Demonstrated ability to be a good listener who can communicate effectively with administrators, faculty, students, and staff.
Understanding of academic checks and balances and an environment of shared governance, as well as the ability to be open to consultation with faculty and staff.
Strong diplomacy skills and political acumen.
Excellent interpersonal skills, and a leadership style of being accessible to others.
Appreciation for the mission and responsibilities of a university serving a multi-ethnic state and a demonstrated personal and professional commitment to diversity.

Preferred qualifications

Preferred Skills, Knowledge, Abilities, and Competencies

Significant knowledge of the organizational unit's objectives and activities.
Thorough knowledge of university administrative organization, policies, procedures and practices including the principle of shared governance.
Familiarity with WSCUC or other university-wide accreditation procedures

Application Requirements

Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.
  • Cover Letter
  • Statement on Contributions to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion - Statement on your contributions to equity, diversity, and inclusion, including information about your understanding of these topics, your record of activities to date, and your specific plans and goals for advancing equity and inclusion. Please review the UC Merced Diversity Statement Guidelines and UC's Commitment to Diversity
Reference requirements
  • 3-5 required (contact information only)
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About UC Merced

The University of California, Merced, is the newest of the University of California system's 10 campuses. With over 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students (, UC Merced is committed to interdisciplinary excellence in research and teaching as well as to diversity, equity and inclusion. Ranked as one of the best public universities in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, UC Merced provides outstanding educational opportunities to highly qualified students from the heart of California, the nation, and abroad. The campus has special connections to nearby Yosemite National Park; is on the cutting edge of sustainability in construction and design; and supports the economic development of Central California. The Merced 2020 Project doubled the physical capacity of the campus, and enhanced academic distinction, student success, and research excellence (

The University of California, Merced is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer advancing inclusive excellence. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, protected veteran status, or other protected categories covered by the UC nondiscrimination policy.

As a University employee, you will be required to comply with all applicable University policies and/or collective bargaining agreements, as may be amended from time to time. Federal, state, or local government directives may impose additional requirements. This includes the University of California Policy on Vaccination Programs:
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