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Senior Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs & Dean of Undergraduate Studies Search

The Position

The University of Utah seeks a dynamic academic administrator with proven ability to lead Undergraduate Studies and promote best practices in undergraduate education across campus to serve as Senior Associate Vice President and Dean (SAVP-Dean). The SAVP-Dean must embody a philosophy that embraces and supports students of all backgrounds in the rapidly changing world of higher education.

Reporting to the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs (SVPAA/Provost), the SAVP-Dean serves as part of the university's Academic Leadership Team. In that capacity, the SAVP-Dean actively supports many facets of the undergraduate experience, performs institutional leadership roles, and serves as a primary advisor to the SVPAA on issues related to undergraduate education.

The SAVP-Dean oversees 26 direct reports, two dotted line reports (Honors and Academic Athlete Support) and works closely with the academic deans, Student Affairs, Enrollment Management, Online and Continuing Education, and the Graduate School to promote and support an exceptional educational experience for every student. The SAVP-Dean works to perpetuate best practices in undergraduate education and student success and leads assessment efforts in each of those areas.

The SAVP-Dean also plays a key role within central administration, participating in the Council of Academic Deans while providing strategic insight to the SVPAA, especially regarding all aspects of quality undergraduate education.


The ideal candidate should have the following qualifications:

  • An earned doctorate or equivalent terminal degree from an accredited university.
  • A minimum of five years of administrative leadership experience, with a demonstrated record of academic accomplishment in creating and leading innovative programs that foster undergraduate student success.
  • A demonstrated record of scholarly achievement in the form of publications, presentations, etc.
  • Demonstrated record of successful leadership related to high-impact programs and processes which result in improved metrics associated with student retention and graduation rates.
  • An ability to lead in a multifaceted and complex organization with a broad range of student and faculty interactions.
  • Demonstrated experience with strategic planning in rapidly evolving higher education, including familiarity with certificates, online education, and other competency-based education modalities.
  • Superior oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills and intercultural competence.
  • Strong organizational, personnel management, and budget management skills.
  • Experience in advocating for and securing resources from internal and external stakeholders.
  • A record of engaging in the national conversation related to best practices and innovation in the pursuit of educational excellence and completion initiatives.
  • Experience working with accreditation agencies and state higher education leaders.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education.

Position Description

The Office of Undergraduate Studies

Mission Statement: Educators who empower students to imagine life's possibilities

The Office for Undergraduate Studies (UGS) is responsible for ensuring the success and timely completion of all undergraduate studies. UGS actively engages undergraduate students through cultivating skills development, building anchoring communities, supporting inspiring teaching, and practicing a commitment to equity and diversity. UGS works to empower students who make an impact and are confident to make a difference in the world.

UGS provides students with an exceptional educational experience through the transition from high school to the university; integrated General Education and coursework before the major; advising, support, and advocacy; and signature experiences from global education, community service, and research opportunities. UGS is charged with helping implement the university's educational mission. It does this by:

  • Ensuring Student Success through initiatives and programs that aid students in making progress toward degrees, meeting learning objectives, finding campus resources, including support for first-generation and non-traditional students.
  • Providing Signature Learning Experiences for undergraduate students in research, honors, and experiential education.
  • Providing Academic Advising to undergraduate students as they transition to the university from high school or other educational institutions, complete their General Education and Bachelor's Degree requirements, and pick a major.
  • Coordinating the General Education experience and requirements for undergraduate students in cooperation with colleges and departments.
  • Providing central administrative support to centers, colleges, programs, and resources that support undergraduate students across the institution, including undergraduate curriculum management, learning outcome assessment, and accreditation requirements.
  • Establishing new degree programs and reviewing existing programs for quality and coherence through the Undergraduate Council and collaborating with colleges and departments.
  • Administering and awarding a variety of faculty and student awards and scholarships.

The Institution

The University of Utah is the state's flagship institution of higher education, with 18 schools and colleges, more than 100 undergraduate and 90 graduate degree programs, and an enrollment of more than 32,000 students. In 2019, the university joined the Association of American Universities, an invitation-only, prestigious group of 65 leading research institutions marked by excellence in academic expertise and research impact, student success, and securing resources in support of core missions.

A key mission of the university is to build an inclusive community that fosters a sense of belonging and well-being in which every student can thrive. The university is committed to removing barriers that have been traditionally encountered by individuals from underrepresented groups; strives to recruit faculty and staff who will further enhance our diversity; and makes every attempt to support their academic, professional, and personal success while they are here. The university recognizes that a diverse faculty and staff benefits and enriches the educational and professional experiences of the entire campus and greater community. This institution offers benefits to same-sex and to different sex domestic partners, as well as to spouses. The university is located in Salt Lake City, a vibrant, major metropolitan area with a diverse, multicultural population and numerous cultural and outdoor activities. The city's robust array of diverse communities facilitates numerous opportunities for interaction with a range of civic and political organizations, give the city's role as the governmental and social nerve center of the state.

The university is uniquely situated to offer both unmatched outdoor and exciting urban experiences. While mountain vistas are only a few steps away and vast red-rock desert landscapes are within reach of a scenic afternoon drive, the campus also happens to be located in Salt Lake City, one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing—economically and culturally—metropolises in the U.S.

With ready access to spectacular skiing, mountain biking, hiking, and a vibrant array of cultural, culinary, and entertainment venues, there is a lot going on just beyond the campus boundaries. Yet what's happening within the university's 1,535-acre hillside campus is even more compelling. At the U, as it is affectionately called, you'll find world-class research, education, and clinical care complemented by a lively social, cultural, and athletic campus experience. An unparalleled work ethic and a spirit of entrepreneurship, collaboration, and community service have enabled the U to innovate across fields, pioneer new programs with social impact, generate path-breaking discoveries, fuel critical research, and inspire innovative approaches to education.

The U strives to be a model public university in delivering unmatched value in higher education and health care while making social, economic, and cultural contributions that improve the quality of life throughout the state, the nation, and the world. The U's reputation for excellence draws top-tier faculty and attracts motivated students nationally and internationally. Students bring diverse experiences and outlooks – representing traditional and nontraditional students alike – thereby enhancing the exceptional educational experience the U offers. Learn more at


Ruth V. Watkins became the 16th president of the University of Utah in April 2018 and is focused on ensuring the U builds on its legacy of innovation, discovery, and delivering outstanding value in higher education and health care. Watkins is committed to providing faculty and staff with unwavering support and resources.

Before her appointment as president, Dr. Watkins served as senior vice president for Academic Affairs. She has long been an advocate for advancing the success and impact of the U as a top-tier research university, including enhancing student success through degree completion and expanding research and creative activity.

Watkins came to Utah from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she spent 20 years in leadership and faculty roles, including associate provost for Undergraduate Education, vice provost and chief of staff, and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She earned a master's degree and doctorate degrees at the University of Kansas, where she studied communication development and disabilities in young children.

Daniel A. Reed, senior vice president for Academic Affairs, joined the U in July 2018. Previously he served at the University of Iowa, where he was the institution's vice president for research and economic development, the computational science and bioinformatics chair, and a professor of computer science, electrical and computer engineering and medicine.

Reed is a former corporate vice president and technology policy leader at Microsoft, the founding director of the Renaissance Computing Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and was the director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois. Reed is a member of the National Science Board, which provides advice and oversight for the National Science Foundation. He has served on many national committees and has chaired the board of directors for the Computing Research Association, which represents doctorate-granting computer science departments in North America and currently serves on its government affairs committee.

A graduate of Missouri University of Science and Technology, Reed earned his master's degree and a doctorate in computer science from Purdue University.

To Apply

Confidential review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled; parties who apply by January 20th will be given first consideration. Upon application, please submit a PDF version of your CV/resume, a letter of interest, and a diversity statement (maximum one page). That statement should describe how your values and leadership frame or center Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in your work. Please highlight any specific EDI goals, issues, or initiatives that you have led which have transformed your department or unit.

All applications and nominations will be held in confidence.

To apply online, go to:

For more information or to offer recommendations or nominations:

Kristen Farha, MAHR
Senior Consultant
Summit Search Solutions, Inc.
Direct: 316-650-0069

The University of Utah is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer. Upon request, reasonable accommodations in the application process will be provided to individuals with disabilities. Please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, 201 S. Presidents Circle, Room 135 (801) 581-8365 (V/TDD), for further information or to request an accommodation. The University of Utah is committed to diversity in its workforce. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.