Dean, Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts at Webster University

St. Louis, MO

Webster University seeks a talented and creative leader in the arts to serve as the dean of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts. 

Webster University seeks a talented and creative leader in the arts to serve as the dean of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts. Applications and nominations are invited; the University will begin reviewing candidates immediately and hopes to have the new dean in place by the summer of 2019.

Webster University’s entrepreneurial spirit drives its mission to ensure high quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence. Founded in 1915, Webster is a private, nonprofit university with its main campus in Webster Groves, Missouri (in the St. Louis metropolitan area), and a network of international campuses in Europe, Asia, and Africa; extended locations in metropolitan areas and on military bases; and robust online offerings. The University enrolls approximately 4,200 students at the main campus in five schools and colleges: The Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts, the College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Communications, the George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology, and the School of Education. More than 13,000 students are enrolled across the University’s network of locations and online. Webster University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

The nationally-recognized Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts is a key constituent of the thriving St. Louis arts community. The College houses four academic departments. The renowned Conservatory of Theatre Arts is a professional training program for acting, musical theatre, directing, theatre studies and dramaturgy, design, technical direction, and stage management with strong associations with local professional theatre companies, two of which are located on the Webster University campus – The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

Students in the Department of Music participate in classes, lessons, and ensembles, learning from faculty and guest artists who are outstanding professional practitioners: composers, teachers, performers, conductors, and historians. The Department of Dance educates students to become skilled, creative, and compassionate thinking artists for 21st century careers as performers, choreographers, educators, and scholars in a diverse and global community. The Department of Art, Design, and Art History offers a student-centered learning environment emphasizing personal expression, alternative approaches, and experimentation where students work with faculty who believe in intensive work, study, and involvement in art.

The College also houses the Community Music School, which offers outstanding music education and performance opportunities, including individual lessons, orchestras and ensembles, and special programs such as Kindermusik, to students of all ages and abilities.

The College of Fine Arts prizes hands-on learning, and its nearly 500 primarily undergraduate students actively engage in professional productions, concerts, performances, and exhibits, opportunities available through the many vibrant professional arts organizations in the St. Louis region and beyond. Graduates of the College cultivate a lasting dedication to their craft and go on to careers of distinction.

The dean reports to the Provost, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer; as a member of the Academic Deans Council and the Provost’s Council, the dean will work closely with fellow deans and leaders of Webster’s U.S. and international campuses and the online division.

The next dean will:

Expand the visibility and reputation of the College’s programs in theatre, art, music, and dance nationally and internationally

Nurture the College’s invaluable partnerships in the arts while cultivating new connections regionally, nationally, and internationally

Advocate for the College–articulate and demonstrate the relevance of the creative arts and of higher education arts instruction in the 21st Century

Be a champion for the College’s students and graduates and expand opportunities and venues for them to tell their stories and exhibit their talents

Be both present- and future-minded; work to preserve and promote the quality and well-deserved reputation of the College while creating a strategic vision for the future

Build community and relationships with and among faculty and across disciplines

Provide leadership in a context of shared mission, communicate openly and collaboratively, and support teaching, service, creative endeavor, and faculty and student development

The dean will possess the following professional and personal attributes:

Proven success in the arts and arts leadership

Experience in academia

Demonstrated success in external relations, including developing donor-potential relationships with alumni, community, and/or corporate stakeholders

Demonstrated ability to nurture and grow relationships with partners and to create new partnerships to expand opportunities for students, alumni, and faculty

Passion to engage with and support a faculty of active artists in a community where students learn by doing

Keen interest in student development and success; accessible to students and engaged in their activities and events

Proven commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity

A global mindset; supportive of programs that offer opportunities for students and faculty to study and teach through Webster’s global network of campuses and partnerships

Demonstrated experience as an administrator with strong organizational, budget, and management skills

An academic degree and a record of artistic accomplishments that would qualify the candidate for tenure or status as a professor in the College

Application Information

Additional information about Webster University and the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts is available at To ensure full consideration, all materials should be received by March 25, 2019.

Dr. Katherine Haley of Haley Associates Higher Education Executive Search LLC is supporting the search. To make inquiries or nominations, please contact her at: or 603.748.4399. To formally apply, upload your vita and letter of application at The letter of application should address the candidate’s match to the qualifications identified in this document.

Candidacy review begins immediately and continues until appointment is made.

Webster University is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to maintaining a culturally and academically diverse faculty and staff of the highest caliber. Accordingly, Webster University provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national origin, ethnicity, age, protected veteran or disabled status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

Leave a comment

Plain text

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <ul> <ol> <li>
  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
2 + 3 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

User login