Search for the Assistant Vice President for the Arts
Palo Alto, California
Stanford University seeks an Assistant Vice President (AVP) for the Arts who will help to further implement a cohesive 21st century vision for the arts at the University. Reporting to the Vice President for the Arts (VPA), the AVP will be responsible for evaluating the portfolio of non-academic arts offerings on campus, coordinating efforts across units, and operationalizing a strategy for future creative and artistic endeavors at Stanford.
In 2006, the Stanford Arts Initiative was launched in efforts to build more capacity and visibility in the arts with the goal of making the arts a fundamental part of a Stanford education. Over $380 million has been raised for this effort which has included investments in new faculty positions, new graduate fellowships for PhD and MFA students, and many new arts programs and opportunities designed to ensure that every Stanford student can have a meaningful engagement with the arts. As an outgrowth of this initiative, the University has added a new general education curricular requirement for undergraduates in Creative Expression, requiring every undergraduate to enroll in at least one creative practice class before graduation. In addition to the historic and renowned Cantor Art Center, the University has also built three new arts facilities on campus-Bing Concert Hall, the Anderson Collection at Stanford, and the McMurty building-and renovated various rehearsal and performance spaces on campus including the soon to reopen Frost Amphitheater. These state of the art facilities house and showcase various visual and performing arts exhibitions, concerts, and other academic programs.
At a time when many higher education institutions were scaling back arts initiatives as a result of the recession, Stanford was increasing its investment in order to further infuse the arts and creative expression across the curriculum and the campus. In early 2017, President Marc Tessier-Lavigne created the Vice President for the Arts role to elevate the arts in the University’s priorities and to lead strategic planning for the University’s arts goals. Harry Elam, professor of theater and performance studies and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, was named to this position and currently leads all strategic planning for non-academic artistic activities on campus.
The AVP will provide crucial support to the VPA in further articulating the scope of and implementing the priorities and goals of the arts at Stanford, and fostering collaboration across the University’s non-departmental arts programs, including the Anderson Collection, Cantor Arts Center, Stanford Live/Bing Concert Hall, as well as the Stanford Arts Institute and the Institute for Diversity in the Arts.
The ideal candidate will be an individual who is deeply engaged in thinking about the role the arts can and should play in higher education and society and will have tremendous program coordination skills. As effectively a chief of staff for the organization, this individual will work closely with the VPA and directors to coordinate and prioritize arts activities on campus, and serve as the connective tissue between academic unit heads and faculty, donors, and the greater community to imagine the future of the arts at Stanford. The ideal candidate will have a track record in leading through influence and collaboration, demonstrate a commitment to social justice and equity, and have a passion for, and experience in, managing a diverse portfolio of arts initiatives in a highly complex, decentralized institution.
To be successful, the AVP for the Arts must address a key number of opportunities and challenges, including:
In collaboration with the VPA, arts leaders, and the campus community, develop and operationalize the University’s vision for the arts;
Build a more cohesive arts experience at Stanford; work to further connect, prioritize, and integrate arts activities across campus;
Manage and develop financial resources; and
Build rich intellectual engagement in the arts at Stanford.
Stanford has retained Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist in this search. Screening of complete applications will begin immediately and continue until the completion of the search process. Inquiries, nominations, referrals, and CVs with cover letters should be sent via the Isaacson, Miller website for the search: www.imsearch.com/6999. Electronic submission of materials is strongly encouraged.
Regan Gough and Brett Barbour
1000 Sansome Street, Suite 300
San Francisco, CA 94111