Organization: The Fashion Institute of Technology

Location: New York, NY

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About The Fashion Institute of Technology:

The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a part of the State University of New York (SUNY), has been a leader in career education in art, design, business, and technology for nearly 70 years. With a curriculum that provides a singular blend of hands-on, practical experience, classroom study, and a firm grounding in the liberal arts, FIT offers a wide range of outstanding programs that are relevant to today’s rapidly changing industries. Internationally renowned, FIT draws on its New York City location to provide a vibrant, creative community in which to learn. The college offers more than 45 majors and grants AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees, preparing students for professional success and leadership in the global marketplace.

With close ties to industry, FIT draws faculty from the city’s art, business, and design elite, and from the rich academic community of the region. The college continually seeks creative faculty members who are passionate about their field and demonstrate exceptional professional capability in the core competencies of instruction design, learning enrichment, globalism, and use of technology, as well as mastery of established and emerging industry practices.

The School of Art and Design offers programs in Accessories Design, Advertising Design, Communication Design, Computer Animation and Interactive Media, Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design, Fabric Styling, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Jewelry Design, Menswear, Photography, Packaging Design, Textile/Surface Design, and Toy Design and Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design.

The Mission

FIT’s mission is to prepare students for professional excellence in design and business through rigorous and adaptable academic programs, experiential learning and innovative partnerships. A premier public institution in New York City, FIT fosters creativity, career focus, and a global perspective and educates its students to embrace inclusiveness, sustainability and a sense of community.


The History

In the 1940s, fashion and apparel industry members were faced with a dwindling number of qualified people to help them run and carry on their businesses. The next generation wanted to be doctors and lawyers—not tailors. A group of industry members, led by Mortimer C. Ritter, an educator with an interest in programs for young working people, and Max Meyer, a retired menswear manufacturer, set about organizing a school to ensure the vitality of their businesses. First, they created the Educational Foundation for the Apparel Industries to promote education for the industry. The Foundation then obtained a charter from the New York State Board of Regents to establish a “fashion institute of technology and design.” The institute opened in 1944 with 100 students, and was located on the top two floors of the High School of Needle Trades.

Soon, supporters wanted to bring greater prestige to the industry by having the institute become a college with the authority to confer degrees. Industrialists and educators decided on two majors: Design (with programs in apparel, millinery, and textiles) and Scientific Management. The curriculum also included Liberal Arts. In 1951, three years after the State University of New York had been established and state law had provided for the creation of community colleges, FIT became the second SUNY community college empowered to grant the Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree. By then, there were 400 day students and about 1,000 evening students.

FIT received accreditation in 1957, and as the curriculum and student body grew, the college moved into its first real home—a nine-story building on Seventh Avenue in the heart of the garment district—in 1959. The building had been planned for 1,200 students; by 1963, there were 4,000. During this time, the college’s curriculum was growing beyond traditional notions of fashion, to include subjects like photography and advertising and interior design.

The college wanted to further expand its curriculum by offerings bachelor’s and master’s degrees— something that “was just not done” by a community college, according to the State University’s former chancellor. Representatives of the college and supporters in the industry and government lobbied hard to persuade legislators to allow FIT to do this. In 1975, an amendment to the Education Law of New York State permitted FIT to offer BS and BFA programs; another in 1979 authorized master’s programs.

By this time, six more buildings had been added to the campus, including two dormitories, and the Shirley Goodman Resource Center, which houses the Gladys Marcus Library and The Museum at FIT. The school continued to grow by adding state-of-the art facilities, like the Design/Lighting Research Laboratory and the Annette Green Fragrance Foundation Studio (the first of its kind on a college campus), making international programs available to students, and evolving its academic offerings
Today, the campus encompasses an entire city block, and serves more than 10,000 students. The college offers degrees in diverse subjects, such as Menswear and Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing, which are unique to the college, and Fashion Merchandising Management, Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design, and Toy Design, the first of their kind in the country.

For more information on the Fashion Institute of Technology, please visit their website here.

The Opportunity:

The Fashion Institute of Technology seeks a charismatic visionary leader to serve as its new Dean of the School of Art and Design. This is an excellent opportunity for an experienced leader who has connections across and a deep knowledge of  the fashion, art and design industries, and a thorough understanding of the complexities and nuances of an academic institution. The new Dean will be committed to FIT’s overall mission to guide the academic and strategic vision of the School of Art and Design. The Dean will be a strong leader and advocate who supports faculty initiatives, fosters collaboration among disciplines, and works in partnership with faculty and other deans to achieve a shared vision for the School. This professional will be an engaged collaborator on campus to build bridges and relationships across the School and FIT to move the academic mission forward.

Overseeing 17 programs in the School of Art and Design, the Dean serves as academic leader to over 4,000 students and 250 faculty. Serving as the face of FIT to the external community and to industry, this individual will have the capacity to effectively operate in both worlds as an promoter of FIT to create, develop, and enhance meaningful relationships and partnerships. This individual will have a passion for and expertise in art and design, and will be able to motivate and inspire faculty to nurture, mentor, and empower students for industry and future success. Along with the senior administrative and academic leaders at FIT, this Dean will continue to elevate FIT’s brand globally as one of the top academic leaders in the fields of fashion, art and design.


Key Responsibilities:

Reporting to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs, the Dean leads the School of Art and Design and serves as its visionary, instilling an entrepreneurial mindset, and is responsible for:

  • Providing leadership for the School of Art and Design to advance the college’s mission, vision, and strategic plan;
  • Overseeing and guiding the development, coordination, delivery, and supervision of programs, courses and degree offerings in the school, promoting instructional innovation, and ensuring compliance with academic and accreditation standards and college requirements and policies;
  • Maintaining and enhancing academic standards;
  • Establishing, maintaining, and promoting collaborative relations and communications with the school faculty, department chairs and staff, other academic and administrative units, and external partners;
  • Representing the School in a wide range of academic, professional, technological and industry committees and communities;
  • Developing and promoting activities that support a large and diverse faculty and balancing the needs of the school and departments within the framework of the college’s strategic plan and budgetary constraints, as well as initiating and coordinating school activities with the Vice President of Development to secure resources and fundraising;
  • Identifying international collaborations and initiatives that best support the goals of the school;
  • Developing and overseeing the budget and management of day-to-day operations including supervision of the Office of the Dean personnel, and coordinating and facilitating the administrative actions of Departmental Chairs;
  • Guiding and assisting in the process of hiring, evaluating, developing, and retaining faculty and staff;
  • Promoting excellence in faculty teaching, service, professional growth/development, and academic achievement;
  • Overseeing all School exhibitions and special events including the high profile BFA Fashion Design runway show, the Graduating Student Show and the Faculty Exhibition;

The Dean is a member of the Deans Council, and serves on numerous College-wide committees, such as the Enrollment Management Committee and the Strategic Planning Council.

Core Competencies:

The Dean of the School of Art and Design will be a seasoned and accomplished academic administrator in the field of art and design with a Master’s degree in a discipline appropriate to the School. The ideal candidate will have the following competencies and personal characteristics:

Passion for the Mission and Industry Expertise:

The Dean of the School of Art and Design will have a true passion, and broad knowledge and understanding of the design-related world coupled with demonstrated leadership and effectiveness in envisioning and articulating the needs of a School of Art and Design or similar educational units. With a student-centered philosophy, a strong sense of ethics, a high degree of integrity and natural empathy for the students, this individual will have a personal commitment to the institution and will empower FIT’s students in their development. The Dean of the School of Art and Design should possess a commitment to shared governance, cultural diversity, and the enthusiasm to embrace collaborative global initiatives. This individual will have a pulse on the cutting edge of the demands and trends in industry, and will be dedicated to preparing FIT’s students for future success in contemporary industry.

Strategic Academic Leadership:

A proven visionary, the Dean of the School of Art and Design will be a strategic leader with at least seven years of progressive responsibility in academic and administrative roles in higher education. S/he will have demonstrated experience and accomplishments in strategic planning, curricular development, instructional methods and technology, and budget management, and will lead the School in alignment with the overall Strategic Plan and Goals of FIT. S/he will be a passionate advocate for the School and able to grow the School academically and operationally, with the ability to take risks and learn from others. This individual will have a record of successful creative and/or scholarly accomplishments, along with teaching experience at a post-secondary level. It is preferred that s/he have accreditation in the Arts disciplines.

Operational Expertise and Management Experience:

The Dean of the School of Art and Design will be an experienced operational and administrative leader with the ability to perform at a high level in a bureaucratic environment. S/he will have demonstrated success in leading and managing a large and diverse group of faculty and staff in the Arts or an arts-related field, preferably in a unionized environment. S/he will have the ability to lead effectively within a shared governance model and have a clear perspective on the complexity of a higher education environment. The Dean will be an advocate for and mentor to academic leadership, creating and identifying opportunities for growth and development. A natural consensus-builder, the Dean will be comfortable in ambiguity and have the persistence to drive process forward through collaboration and dedication.

Exceptional Communicator:

The Dean of the School of Art and Design will be an engaged and active listener, and will be able to communicate effectively with a broad group of stakeholders and outlets, including parents and students, staff, faculty, Board leadership, external partners in industry, the private sector, and the press. With a clear sense of fairness and equality, the Dean will be a leader known in the community for honesty, a sense of humor, a willingness to listen, and a genuine mentor to students and a true colleague to faculty and staff. Relationship Builder and Collaborator: The Dean of the School of Art and Design will be skilled at building and sustaining excellent relationships across all levels of the School, including the Board and Senior Leadership. Additionally, s/he will be a natural partner to peer academic Deans at FIT, as well as to faculty, students and other staff. This individual will be the external face of the School of Art and Design, able to identify, build and enhance strategic industry partnerships alongside strong relationships with the external academic community.



The Fashion of Institute of Technology has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. This search is being led by Michelle R.S. Bonoan and Trisha Sutrisno.

Michelle R.S. Bonoan
Managing Director

Trisha Sutrisno
Vice President

Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here, and for consideration, please submit the following documents online to

  • Resume/CV
  • Cover letter
  • A list of three (3) professional references with telephone numbers and email addresses

Please note successful completion of a background check is required for appointment to this position.

The deadline for submission for this role is close of business on Friday, February 24th.

For more information about FIT, please visit FIT’s website at:

Equal Opportunity And Affirmative Action Policy:
FIT is firmly committed to creating an environment that will attract and retain people of diverse racial and cultural backgrounds. By providing a learning and working environment that encourages, utilizes, respects, and appreciates the full expression of every individual’s ability, the FIT community fosters its mission and grows because of its rich, pluralistic experience. FIT is committed to prohibiting discrimination, whether based on race, national origin, gender, religion, ethnic background, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or any other criterion prohibited by applicable federal, state, or local laws. FIT is committed to providing equal opportunity in employment, including the opportunity for upward mobility for all qualified individuals. Applications from minorities, women, veterans and persons with disabilities are encouraged.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital-consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit