Department Chair / Mary Lois Wheatley Presidential Chair in Art & Art History

University of Utah

Starting Date: July 1, 2024

The College of Fine Arts at the University of Utah, the flagship institution of higher education in the state of Utah, invites nominations and applications for an innovative leader to serve as the next Chair of its Department of Art & Art History. This individual will also hold the endowed Mary Lois Wheatley Presidential Chair in Art & Art History. The anticipated start date is July 1, 2024. Reporting to the Dean of the College of Fine Arts, the Chair is the administrative head of the Department, overseeing its personnel, operations, finances, curriculum, and strategic direction, and acting as the Department’s representative and advocate within the College, University, and wider community.

The Department of Art & Art History is home to an active community of artists, scholars, and educators, and offers undergraduate degrees in Studio Art, Art History, Art Teaching, and Graphic Design, as well as graduate degrees in Studio Art, Art History, and Community-Based Art Education. A commitment to excellence in all of these areas is the hallmark of our Department. This is an exciting, transformational moment in our history, as we continue to refine this commitment within the dynamic contexts of art and art history in the twenty-first century. We seek a Chair with a holistic understanding of visual arts as an evolving and interconnected set of practices for creative, cultural, and personal expression. The new Chair will have a successful record of transparent, collaborative leadership, with the interpersonal and communication skills needed to work with diverse groups to achieve meaningful change. Our ideal candidate will have a clear perspective on current trends and challenges in the fine arts in higher education and beyond and will offer a compelling and unifying vision for how the Department will meet those challenges and continue to thrive in the future.


  • Terminal degree (MFA or PhD) in visual art, graphic design, art history, or a related field.
  • A distinguished record of creative or scholarly achievement in the study and/or practice of visual arts and design commensurate with a faculty appointment at the rank of a tenured Associate Professor or Professor, including a body of work that represents a significant contribution to the field; demonstrated excellence in post-secondary teaching; and evidence of an active, ongoing program of creative or scholarly research.
  • Significant leadership, administrative, and supervisory experience, including strategic and financial planning, curricular innovation, and recruitment and retention of faculty, staff, and students.
  • Evidence of a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, with demonstrated ability to lead effective change in diverse groups.

The Chair will (1) guide the efforts of a well-respected faculty to establish a strategic vision for art education and scholarship within the context of a major research university; (2) provide collaborative, transparent, and empathetic leadership for the Department; (3) sustain and enhance the reputation of the Department both nationally and internationally; (4) serve the Department in official business with University authorities, students, and the public; (5) create and support professional development initiatives for faculty and staff; (6) foster and encourage faculty research; (7) promote student success through recruitment and retention efforts; (8) oversee curricular activities, including ongoing efforts to modernize our curricula; (9) administer school finances, resources, and facilities; (10) engage in donor relationships and funds development; and (11) be an active participant as a member of the Executive Committee of the College of Fine Arts in furthering the College’s goals and mission.

The Department of Art & Art History is home to over 500 undergraduate and graduate majors, served by a faculty of award-winning artists and educators and distinguished scholars and supported by a highly experienced, professional staff. The Department presently offers a BA and MA in Art History; a BFA and MFA in Art with emphases in books arts, ceramics, illustration, painting and drawing, photography and digital imaging, printmaking, and sculpture/intermedia; an MFA in Community-Based Art Education; a BFA in Art Teaching; and a BFA in Graphic Design.

The rich heritage of art education at the University of Utah began in 1869, when the then- University of Deseret offered its first class in drawing. The painter and photographer George Ottinger arrived in 1882 to supervise drawing courses taught by visiting instructors. In 1888, an Art Department was approved to offer a four-year program focusing on drawing, oil painting, and life drawing. The University of Deseret reformed as the University of Utah in 1892 and, within the University, the School of Art and Sciences was formed in 1901. The School contained a new Art Department. The School of Fine Arts made its first appearance in 1947 and was renamed in 1948 as the College of Fine Arts. Art degrees were offered at the end of a four-year program. An MFA in Art was first offered in 1948, and a Masters of Art in Art History was first offered in 1969. The Art History area was approved in 1995 as an undergraduate program. In 1996, the Department successfully petitioned for a name change to Department of Art & Art History.

Additional information about the Department of Art & Art History can be found at

The Department of Art & Art History is one of five academic units in the College of Fine Arts, along with Dance, Film & Media Arts, Music, and Theatre. The University also has four professional arts affiliates: Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Pioneer Theatre Company, Tanner Dance, and Utah Presents.

The University of Utah is the state’s public flagship institution of higher education with an enrollment of approximately 35,000 undergraduate and graduate students and offers 111undergraduate and over 100 graduate degree programs. A member of the American Association of Universities (AAU), the University of Utah is classified by the Carnegie Foundation among the 146 research universities with the “highest research activity” in the nation. The university has been named by Forbes as one of the top ten employers in the state and recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best national universities. The University of Utah has several campus-wide initiatives that contribute to a rich campus climate, attract academic and professional talent, improve access to higher education for historically underrepresented groups, and strengthen the U’s ability to educate the next generation of leaders.

The University is located in Salt Lake City at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains. Routinely ranked as one of the best places to live in the U.S., Salt Lake City is the center of a metropolitan area of over one million residents, with unparalleled opportunities for outdoor recreation, a major international airport, and extensive arts and cultural activities. The city is home to a number of major art museums and galleries, including Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, and Modern West.

Please submit (1) a letter of application, not to exceed three pages, addressing the position’s qualifications and responsibilities, and including a statement of philosophy that addresses leadership of a comprehensive department of art and art history; (2) curriculum vitae; and (3) names and contact information for five references. Candidates will be notified before references are contacted. Applications must be submitted electronically at Screening of applications will begin November 15, 2023 and continue until the position is filled. For additional information, please contact search committee chair Dr. Andrew Patrick Nelson (

The University of Utah is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and does not discriminate based upon race, national origin, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, status as a person with a disability, genetic information, or Protected Veteran status. Individuals from historically underrepresented groups, such as minorities, women, qualified persons with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply. Veterans’ preference is extended to qualified applicants, upon request and consistent with University policy and Utah state law. Upon request, reasonable accommodations in the application process will be provided to individuals with disabilities. To inquire about the University’s nondiscrimination or affirmative action policies or to request disability accommodation, please contact: Director, Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, 201 S. Presidents Circle, Rm 135, (801) 581-8365.

The University of Utah values candidates who have experience working in settings with students from diverse backgrounds, and possess a strong commitment to improving access to higher education for historically underrepresented students.

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