About The School of the Museum of the Fine Arts at Tufts (SMFA at Tufts)
The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University is a rigorous interdisciplinary environment where, for generations, talented and curious students have developed their unique art practices. Students have access to a full spectrum of mediums, disciplines, and techniques to produce art that provokes thought and inspires change. It is a community fueled by big ideas, and the energy of those who seek to make them a reality. At SMFA, process matters every bit as much as the final product, provoking questions that are as important as the answers.
Founded in 1876 as part of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the SMFA was conceived as both a technical institute of drawing and painting and a school dedicated to exploring ideas by building visual literacy and expression. In 1945, SMFA began a partnership with Tufts University to offer joint degrees. This relationship continued and evolved until 2016, when Tufts formally acquired the school. This unique partnership – a major museum, a top-ranked research university, and one of the nation’s oldest art schools – produced a legacy of creative leadership and cultural impact that endures today.
SMFA is a dedicated art school within the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University. Students enjoy the resources of a top-tier research university and an innovative approach to arts education. The School of the Museum of Fine Arts offers BFA and Combined Degree (BFA+BA/BS) undergraduate programs, as well as graduate, post-baccalaureate, and non-degree programs, with areas of study that run the gamut from painting and sculpture to performance, video, and photography, to virtual and augmented reality. The undergraduate population will grow to over 500 students in Fall 2021, while the MFA program enrollment is approximately 50. Students work with faculty across two campuses that together encompass almost 450,000 square feet of classroom, library, and studio space.
Students spend much of their time at the Boston SMFA campus, a specialized studio art campus located next door to the Museum of Fine Arts, where they take most of their art and Visual & Material Studies courses, use studio facilities and resources, and take advantage of the many resources of the MFA and other area museums and institutions. A large building in the Mission Hill neighborhood houses individual graduate and post-baccalaureate studios and the Graduate Program offices. Students have full access to the Tufts Medford/Somerville campus, where they take liberal arts and sciences courses, enjoy campus amenities, resources, and events, and are members of larger Tufts student community. Students regularly travel between campuses by shuttle or public transportation.
The hallmark of SMFA at Tufts is a commitment to the idea that making art is a mode of researching and changing the world through the artist’s singular practice. There are no declared majors, few required studio classes, and no grades for studio courses. Each student finds a path to their own artistic practice through rigorous coursework and close mentoring. SMFA faculty are prominent artists, thoughtful practitioners, and devoted teachers committed to developing students’ artistic creativity.
The vision and mission statements and value proposition of the SMFA were developed by leadership, staff, and faculty at the school to clearly communicate their purpose, aspiration, and how they support and deliver value to their key constituents – their students – as follows:
- Mission: Educate students who think through making. The work starts with the idea.
- Vision: Lead the way in preparing artists who start conversations that matter.
- Value Proposition: Mentored closely by faculty and staff, SMFA at Tufts students design individualized programs of study with open access to the vast resources of a major university and a world-class art museum. Our graduates are creative thinkers and problem solvers who succeed in a wide variety of careers.
The SMFA faculty are successful working artists and seasoned educators with expertise and experience in a wide range of mediums and disciplines. There are 72 full-time or part-time faculty members at the SMFA. This is an exciting period of growth for the SMFA, as they have hired a diverse pool of 16 new full-time faculty members with highly distinguished backgrounds in the past five years. The SMFA recently concluded a pilot cluster hire seeking “artists whose making and scholarship focus on racial and social justice, as well as decolonial aesthetics, broadly defined.” This high-profile faculty search resulted in five internationally acclaimed professors of the practice, as well as several new lecturers, whose teaching and research centers justice-based work.
Undergraduate enrollment is robust and growing in line with the school’s goals. FY 2021 saw 28% increase in enrollment, with a similar increase expected for this coming year. The MFA program enrollments have been steady and, more broadly, graduate education is an area of growth potential as the school expands and adds exciting new faculty hires. SMFA has met (or exceeded) its budget target for consecutive years and, after a period of financial deficit after its acquisition, the SMFA’s finances are on track for a surplus by FY 2023.
In 2020, Tufts President Tony Monaco launched an on-going initiative, Tufts as an Anti-Racist Institution, prompting each division to develop robust and focused DEIJ goals and practices. SMFA has a robust grass-roots organization, the Anti-Racist/Anti-Bias Coalition, known as ARBC, that engages administration, staff, faculty, and students.
Tufts is a leader in American higher education, distinctive for its success as a moderately-sized university that excels at research and provides students with a personal experience. Its combination of research and liberal arts attracts students, faculty, and staff who thrive in an environment of curiosity, creativity and, engagement. There are over 6,000 undergraduates at Tufts, within the School of Arts and Sciences, SMFA at Tufts, and the School of Engineering and top-ranked graduate programs in the arts, sciences, humanities, social sciences, engineering, medicine, nutrition, and international relations. With a student-faculty ratio of 9:1 and an average class size of 20, Tufts provides its undergraduates the resources of a major research university and the attention of a liberal arts college.
Tufts University prioritizes quality teaching, highly competitive basic and applied research, and a commitment to active citizenship locally, regionally, and globally. Tufts also prides itself on creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. Current and prospective employees of the university are expected to have and continuously develop skill in, and disposition for, positively engaging with a diverse population of faculty, staff, and students. Please visit this link to learn more about Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice at Tufts, including a link to the School of Arts and Sciences strategic plan.
For more information, please visit the Tufts University and SMFA at Tufts websites.
Anthony P. Monaco, President
Anthony P. Monaco has served as the thirteenth president of Tufts University since August 1, 2011. An accomplished leader, scientist, and teacher, Dr. Monaco brings to the Tufts presidency deep-rooted commitments to academic excellence, diversity, access and inclusion, a global perspective, and a keen awareness of the power of higher education to impact individuals and society.
Under President Monaco’s leadership, the university has identified strategic directions and key initiatives that will support and enhance Tufts’ longstanding commitments to innovation, collaboration, civic life and global perspectives. Major initiatives of Dr. Monaco’s tenure have included the 2016 acquisition of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and he has personally led university-wide initiatives on diversity and inclusion, sexual misconduct prevention, student mental health, and sustainable operations, as well as the university’s operational plans during the pandemic. Each of these efforts builds on a comprehensive assessment of how Tufts could best put its values and institutional commitments into practice.
A distinguished geneticist, Dr. Monaco’s doctoral research led to a landmark discovery: the gene responsible for X-linked Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies. Before coming to Tufts, he spent two decades as a faculty member and senior academic leader at the University of Oxford.
James M. Glaser, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences
James M. Glaser, Professor of Political Science, has been Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences from 2014 to the present. Between 2010 and 2014, he served as Dean of Academic Affairs for Arts and Sciences. Prior to that, he served as Dean of Undergraduate Education for Arts, Sciences, and Engineering from 2003 to 2010.
Dean Glaser led the acquisition of the SMFA, its integration into Tufts, and its steady progress toward financial viability. He co-led the 2015 strategic planning exercise that has charted the course for the school for the past six years. Among the major accomplishments of his administration are the programming of three new science buildings on campus and their absorption into the budget, the establishment of two new academic departments (Community Health and Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora), the successful negotiation of collective bargaining agreements with three new faculty and graduate student units in the school, the establishment of 26 new senior and junior professorships to better recruit and retain first-tier faculty members, the creation of a school-wide strategic plan for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice, and the raising of close to $400M in the university’s capital campaign.
Dean Glaser received his B.A. from Stanford University and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He joined the Tufts faculty in 1991. He is the co-author (with Timothy J. Ryan) of Changing Minds, if Not Hearts: Political Remedies to Racial Issues (2013, University of
Pennsylvania Press). His previous books, The Hand of the Past in Contemporary Southern Politics (2005, Yale University Press) and Race, Campaign Politics, and the Realignment in the South (1996, Yale University Press), each received the Southern Political Science Association’s V.O. Key Prize awarded to the year’s best book on southern politics and both were named by Choice as Outstanding Academic Titles. Additionally, he has published in many of the premier journals in the discipline.
Tufts University is seeking a dynamic and experienced administrator with an established record of inclusive, effective, and collaborative leadership and a demonstrated commitment to the arts who recognizes the arts as a global community.
The Dean of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts will provide leadership and oversight of faculty, staff, curricula, research, and teaching at SMFA. The SMFA Dean will report to the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and will lead the continued growth of SMFA at Tufts as a top-tier arts institution. The Dean will recruit and develop faculty while providing leadership and insight on undergraduate and graduate strategy and programming. The Dean must work adeptly with senior administrative leadership at SMFA, as well as with other deans and leaders across the School and Arts and Sciences and throughout the University. In this highly collaborative role, the Dean must possess strong communication and relationship-building skills to share the mission of SMFA and strengthen the sense of community on- and off-campus.
The SMFA Dean will work closely with the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, the SMFA Dean of Faculty, and the SMFA faculty to move the SMFA into its next phase of growth. They will provide leadership and oversight of faculty, curricula, and teaching in a dynamic, diverse, and developing environment. The SMFA Dean will serve as leader to the faculty and staff and work with them as they shape their curriculum and the departmental programs and offerings. The Dean will also hold a critical role in recruiting, mentoring, and retaining a diverse group of excellent faculty members who are committed and engaged teachers and artists who work very closely with their undergraduate and graduate students.
The SMFA Dean leads the faculty and staff in tandem, while partnering closely with the Advancement, Student Services, Student Affairs, Operations, and Technology Services departments within the School of Arts and Sciences and the University to effectively oversee and manage the SMFA.
A priority for the SMFA is to consider the current structure of its graduate programs, and the Dean will be central in leading these efforts. The Department of History of Art and Architecture is currently developing a new master’s program in Curatorial Studies, which will allow for exciting new collaborations with SMFA, Tufts’ Museum Studies program, the Tufts Art Galleries, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
The SMFA Dean will serve as a leader in shaping the future of the school. They will be expected to champion the mission and vision of SMFA, and to articulate the direction of the school’s development. The Dean is expected to strategically advance the institution through internal and external partnerships, working closely with faculty, staff, leadership, and administrators across the School of Arts and Sciences and the larger University, as well as external supporters.
The Dean will hold modest fundraising responsibilities and will co-lead a board of advisors that encompass both the school and the Tufts University Art Galleries. The SMFA Dean is the primary public-facing connection for SMFA alumni and SMFA-specific donors and routinely communicates and engages with these constituents.
As a seasoned administrator, the SMFA Dean is responsible for the SMFA’s financial performance. The Dean will be expected to consider mission, strategic insight, and fiscal management while making decisions and working with stakeholders on their institutional priorities. As an advocate of SMFA, the Dean will partner with school leaders and their key constituencies as needed, serving in a public-facing role.
The Dean will promote the values and visions of an arts education at SMFA, internally and externally. They will collaborate across disciplines and departments to support and advance the scholarly, educational, and societal impact of SMFA and arts education. There is a vibrant art community within SMFA, Tufts, the Museum of Fine Arts, and within Boston, and the Dean will serve as a key collaborator and catalyst to connect with the surrounding community and beyond.
The Dean of SMFA at Tufts will be a creative, collaborative, and engaged leader who thrives working within an environment of passionate community members. They must be committed to working with a diverse community and will be expected to lead the school’s strategic efforts in line with the mission and values of contemporary arts education. They will possess excellent organizational and strong interpersonal skills, as well as demonstrate a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Dean must be insightful, compelling, and articulate, and must be receptive to new ideas and proactive about exploring and implementing them.
SMFA at Tufts is committed to building a culturally diverse and equitable educational environment. There is a special interest in candidates who can enhance social justice within the academic community through their research, teaching, and/or service. Applications are strongly encouraged from candidates belonging to groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and lesbian/gay/bisexual/gender-nonconforming people; and from those who produce artwork, curriculum, and research that engages marginalized groups. To learn more, please visit https://smfa.tufts.edu/student-experience/deij.
The new Dean of the SMFA will be a strategic leader and thinker, and preferably comes from an environment where they understand the mission of higher education and the opportunity for growth and institutional advancement. They must be comfortable managing through diverse perspectives and have demonstrated capacity for administrative leadership and decision-making in the areas of staff and faculty development and supervision, budget and financial planning, and operational oversight, as the school adopts institutional advancements. Experience supporting philanthropic efforts through stewardship and grants is desirable.
In addition, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following qualifications, capabilities, and experiences:
- A terminal or equivalent degree is required (MFA or PhD), with a record of scholarship or artistic practice.
- Proven record of relevant administrative experience in a complex and dynamic environment.
- A demonstrated personal and professional commitment to racial justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Demonstration of strategic thinking about recruitment and retention of students.
- A commitment to and appreciation for the arts and arts education, through personal practice or in an administrative or academic capacity.
- A record of cultivating a collaborative intellectual community.
- Ability to support and advance an environment in which complex configurations of faculty and staff can thrive through meaningful discourse and support for creative/artistic work, research, scholarship, and teaching.
- A capacity to support engagement and communications across academic and administrative departments, as well as with students and other community constituencies.
- Ability to understand the community and serve as a collaborative and strategic thought leader through creating, supporting, and championing a broad and compelling shared vision for the future of the arts in higher education and in the professional world, paired with the critical skillset to implement the vision.
- An optimistic, graceful, and transparent approach to leadership that will bring out the best in the exceptionally talented, diverse community of faculty, staff, and students who comprise the SMFA community.
- Facility with budgets and financial management.
- Ability to navigate the complex structures of a large university diplomatically and effectively.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills with the ability to listen to diverse voices, and effectively articulate the mission and vision of Tufts and SMFA to a wide variety of internal and external constituents.
Amy Sugin and Holly Bogo of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
Tufts University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. We are committed to increasing the diversity of our faculty and staff and fostering their success when hired. Members of underrepresented groups are welcome and strongly encouraged to apply. See the University’s Non-Discrimination statement and policy here https://oeo.tufts.edu/policies-procedures/non-discrimination. If you are an applicant with a disability who is unable to use our online tools to search and apply for jobs, please contact us by calling Johny Laine in the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) at 617-627-3298 or at [email protected]. Applicants can learn more about requesting reasonable accommodations at http://oeo.tufts.edu.
About Koya Partners
Koya Partners, a part of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.
For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.