Dean of the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

Southern Methodist University

Southern Methodist University (SMU), the premier private research university of North Texas, seeks a new Dean for the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences ( The Dedman College is the oldest, largest, and most diverse of SMU’s eight degree-granting academic units, offering the BA, master’s programs, and PhDs in 16 departments, engaging nearly 40% of all enrolled SMU students and furnishing 53% of undergraduate instruction (as measured by credit hours), including the Common Curriculum inaugurated in 2020. The new Dean will play a critical role in realizing SMU’s imminent goal of achieving and maintaining status as a Carnegie R-1 institution, while sustaining its reputation for high-quality and personalized undergraduate and graduate instruction. As a new member (along with Stanford and UC Berkeley) of the Atlantic Coast Conference, SMU will enjoy heightened national visibility, and its senior administrators will gain a peer group of colleagues working in some of the nation’s pre-eminent research universities. With the University’s SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow campaign nearing its $1.5 billion goal three years ahead of its targeted conclusion, the recently endowed Elisabeth Martin Armstrong Dean will have the opportunity to articulate a vision for the College’s future, attracting and supporting outstanding faculty members and students and encouraging their engagement with traditional and emerging disciplines through cutting-edge research and inspired instruction empowered by future-facing technologies.

The Dedman College received its naming gift in 1981 and remains today the core and hub of academic life at SMU. The College’s Dallas Hall was the University’s first building and figures as SMU’s identifying symbol on the University seal and logo. Academic departments and College offices extend across nine other campus buildings. SMU’s satellite campus in Taos, NM provides a unique, complementary setting for experiential learning and cultural immersion. With a tenure-line faculty of 189, a teaching and professional faculty of 127, and a budget of $70 million, the Dedman College connects its 2000 students with forward thinkers and global problem solvers through liberal arts foundations, advanced study, and cross-disciplinary programs, including seven interdisciplinary centers and institutes. In 2023, Dedman College researchers generated $14.26M in competitive research grants. Cluster hires in Earth Sciences and National Security (onboarded in fall 2022), Data Science (fall 2023) and Urban Research (fall 2024) will greatly enhance areas of established research strength at SMU.

Dallas-Fort Worth is an ideal location for a premier research institution. Soon to be the nation’s third largest metropolitan area, DFW encompasses cosmopolitan twin cities; demographically, they constitute a microcosm of the United States. The new Dean of Dedman College will arrive in a boomtown that is noted for its big ambitions; optimistic, enterprising spirit; diverse and welcoming population; affordable quality of life; high culture; and recreational amenities. Apart from New York and Los Angeles, no American city has a more prominent footprint of fine and performing arts, major league sports, and cultural philanthropy than Dallas. Dubbed the “Silicon Prairie,” DFW has become a magnet for company headquarters over the past decade, with 140 headquarters relocations to the region from across the U.S. and abroad, including more than 45 companies moving from California. The Metroplex has surpassed Chicago as the top headquarters location for Fortune 500 companies: 22 now make DFW their home.

Following a successful ten-year deanship that elevated every area of Dedman College’s operations and sustained a healthy reserve account, the new Dean will have the opportunity to elicit from the faculty and articulate a strategic vision for the College that affirms the University’s commitment to humanities and sciences education, fosters high quality research and teaching, and grows research expenditures and graduate enrollment.

SMU seeks as the Dedman College’s new Dean a prominent scholar with a record of departmental and institutional leadership in a premier research university. Candidates must possess a PhD and a record of scholarship, teaching, and service that meets the College’s criteria for tenure at the full professor rank. Professional exposure to the range of humanities and science disciplines and the readiness to be a visible, credible, and effective advocate and promoter for the College, are essential. The new Dean will need to be both a collaborator and facilitator, accustomed to developing and marshaling data in support of decisions and recommendations and demonstrating return on investment. Strategic budget acumen, creative problem-solving abilities, and the capacity to provide expertise and service in substantiating SMU’s anticipated R1 status are required. Competitive candidates will evidence experience in or aptitude for building collaborative and sustainable interdisciplinary academic programs; engaging and stewarding alumni and donors; cultivating corporate and philanthropic supporters; and realizing institutional commitments to diversity and inclusion. Applications should demonstrate the candidate’s readiness to pursue collaboration across SMU’s other academic units; to provide professional mentorship for early-career faculty; and to lead a student-focused College within a University that nurtures high affinity among all its constituents. An aptitude and appetite for capital and facilities fundraising, and raising endowments for named faculty chairs, scholarships and fellowships, will be essential to success in this deanship.

Review of candidate materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment. A complete application will include a letter of interest, a current curriculum vitae, and contact information for five professional references who can speak about the candidate’s qualifications for this position. Named referees will not be contacted without the candidate’s prior consent. Expressions of interest, applications, nominations, and inquiries should be directed to SMU’s search consultant, Mr. Chuck O’Boyle of C. V. O’Boyle, Jr., LLC, at, who will be able to furnish a detailed specification.

SMU will not discriminate in any employment practice, educational program, or educational activity on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status.

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