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Title:  Dean, College of Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences

Requisition ID:  15258

Hammond and Westville, IN, US

Date:  Sep 1, 2021

Purdue University Northwest (PNW) invites nominations and applications for an exceptional academic leader to serve as the Dean of the College of Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences (CHESS). The dean will be expected to work with faculty, staff, and students to build a vision for the college, which is composed of the following departments: English and World Languages; History, Philosophy, Politics, and Economics; Behavioral Sciences; Psychology, Communications and Creative Arts; and the School of Education and Counseling.


Academic programs are offered within six colleges that have operations on two campuses located in Hammond and Westville:


  • College of Business
  • College of Engineering and Sciences
  • College of Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences
  • College of Nursing
  • College of Technology
  • Honors College


This is an exceptional opportunity for an innovative thinker with experience in change management and partnership building.


About Purdue University Northwest


Purdue University Northwest (PNW) is a premier metropolitan university dedicated to empowering transformational change in our students and in our community. PNW serves approximately 9,300 students across two campuses, offering more than 70 areas of study at the baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral levels. Located in Northwest Indiana, near Chicago, PNW values academic excellence, supports growth, and celebrates diversity.



Purdue University Northwest transforms students’ lives and our metropolitan region through a diverse campus committed to innovative education, applied research, and community engagement.



As a premier metropolitan university, Purdue University Northwest (PNW) will power intellectual, cultural, and economic development in northwest Indiana and the greater Chicago metropolitan area, enriching the surrounding community through collaborative partnerships that leverage the university’s expertise to improve people’s lives.

PNW will continue to focus on preparing students to be effective, ethical, and innovative leaders in their careers and communities through enhanced academic programming and integrative, experiential learning.

PNW will support a diverse, talented faculty as they tailor their research and teaching to address the needs of a changing economy and workforce.

PNW’s vibrant student experience, robust campus resources, and engaged alumni community will enhance students’ abilities to form lasting connections with each other and the university.

Core Values

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion









Thomas Keon became Chancellor of Purdue University Northwest on July 1, 2016, after the unification of Purdue University Calumet and Purdue University North Central was finalized. Dr. Keon had served as Chancellor of Purdue Calumet since 2011.


Prior to coming to Purdue Calumet, Dr. Keon spent 14 years as Dean of the College of Business Administration at the University of Central Florida (1997-2011), where he was responsible for all personnel, including 150 full-time faculty members, budgets up to $31 million, 9,100 students and academic programs at the baccalaureate, masters and doctoral levels at a university of more than 55,000 students.


During his 35+-year career in higher education, he has been Dean of the College of Business and Administration at Southern Illinois University (1995-97), Associate Dean of the College of Business at Florida Atlantic University (1990-94), Associate Dean of the College of Business and Public Administration at the University of Missouri in Columbia (1989-90), Director of Graduate Studies in the School of Business at the University of Missouri (1988-90), and Chair of the University of Missouri’s Department of Management (1988-89). Additionally, he has taught at the University of Notre Dame, Michigan State University, and Southern Vermont College.


Dr. Keon holds a baccalaureate degree in accounting from Bentley University, a master’s degree in education from Suffolk University, an MBA from Babson College, and a Ph.D. in management from Michigan State University.





Kenneth C. Holford is the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. He oversees Purdue Northwest’s six colleges, and the academic programs they offer, as well as grant and research programs, student success and retention efforts, faculty development, institutional effectiveness, and data strategy.

Prior to being named the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in May of 2020, Dr. Holford served as the Dean of the College of Engineering and Sciences after the formation of PNW in 2016. He was also Dean of the College of Sciences and Chair of the Department of Biology and Chemistry for Purdue University North Central.

Dr. Holford earned a Ph.D. in biology from Illinois State University, a master’s degree in zoology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and a baccalaureate degree in biology from Augustana College.


College of Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences


CHESS is the largest college at PNW and offers more than 30 programs in the humanities, education, and social sciences. CHESS offers majors, minors, concentrations, and certificates designed to foster the ability to think critically and independently; to communicate with precision and persuasiveness; to conduct responsible research and create sound interpretations; and to engage the arguments of others with understanding and respect. The programs place a strong emphasis on public expression and collaborative problem-solving, thereby preparing students for productive civic engagement, community leadership, global citizenship, and lifelong learning.


Undergraduate Majors


Criminal Justice

Elementary Education, Early Childhood

Elementary Education, Special Education


Foreign Language


Human Development and Family Studies

Liberal Studies


Political Science


Social Work


Graduate Programs


Education, Mental Health Counseling

Education, School Counseling

Education, Special Education


Couple & Family Therapy

The Role of the Dean of the College of Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences


The Dean of CHESS reports to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost. The dean provides strategic academic leadership for the college and is responsible for enhancing its core missions of learning, discovery, and engagement. The successful candidate will understand the opportunities and challenges facing public universities in the current higher education landscape and possess the skills, leadership, and vision to advance the college in this complex environment. The dean will be engaged in strategic planning and establishing a vision for the college.


Reporting to the dean are the Director of the School of Education, an associate dean, the CHESS department chairs, and an administrative assistant. The dean also works in concert with dedicated staff in Institutional Advancement to further the college’s culture of philanthropy. There are approximately 1,832 graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in the college, with more than 165 full-time and part-time faculty and staff.


The dean will oversee a budget of approximately $13 million annually. During FY22, PNW moved to an incentive based budget model that will afford an innovative and entrepreneurial leader the ability to make significant change in the college.


The dean will be actively engaged in program development, curricular enhancement, budget planning, resource development, and assessment of student learning.


Opportunities and Challenges


The priorities for the next dean include, but are not limited to:

  • Advance student success and student engagement: The new dean will ensure the College is focused on student success in all dimensions – academic, personal, and career. This includes cultivating a sense of belonging on the traditionally commuter-oriented campuses and creating a robust network of support for students. PNW is home to an exciting array of students – traditionally-aged learners, first-generation college matriculants, under-represented populations, veterans, and transfer students. The dean will determine student support needs and allocate appropriate resources to promote strong student outcomes.
  • Enhance curricular innovation and scholarly activity within the College: The dean will provide vision and leadership for educational innovation and will foster an environment of the highest expectations in teaching, service, and research. The dean will encourage an intellectual climate which features mentoring and developmental opportunities that will both attract and retain excellent faculty members. The dean will play a key role in guiding and identifying resources for the further development of faculty, both individually and as a community.
  • Promote access, diversity and excellence: PNW serves a racially, economically, ethnically, and culturally diverse community of students and scholars. The dean will promote a climate that is welcoming and inclusive and one in which all individuals experience being a valued member of the community.
  • Engage in resource generation: PNW benefits from the state’s strong financial position and excellent stewardship of resources. State appropriations stand at 43 percent of the institution’s current budget. Nevertheless, it is essential that CHESS acquire new resources to continue to attract the strongest students and faculty, develop and support programs and research initiatives, and be prepared to meet future challenges. The new dean will be fully involved in fundraising initiatives, engaging with individuals, corporations, foundations, and other potential partners in philanthropy. Moreover, the successful candidate will work closely with faculty to envision new academic programs or modes of delivery that will draw additional enrollments to CHESS.




The successful candidate should possess an earned doctorate in a discipline appropriate to the college as well as academic qualifications appropriate for appointment at the rank of professor in one of the academic departments of the college. The dean will bring to the role a record of teaching and scholarly achievement reflective of PNW’s own standards of excellence, coupled with integrity and vision.


In addition, the ideal candidate will be:

  • A person of proven academic leadership who will provide vision and inspire and motivate others;
  • A committed teacher-scholar with a deep understanding of and respect for the college’s commitment to shared governance;
  • A diplomatic and approachable team leader with experience in change management;
  • A superb listener and transparent communicator who is at ease in a multitude of settings with multiple constituencies;
  • An eloquent advocate for the humanities, education and the social sciences who will be able to articulate the strengths of the programs and advocate for resources;  
  • A strategically minded individual who will provide leadership on policy and procedure development for the college;
  • A mentor with experience enhancing research and scholarly productivity among faculty;
  • An inclusive leader committed to promoting diversity among faculty, staff, and students;
  • A partnership builder, experienced working with external stakeholders, which may have included alumni, donors, industry, government, and community partners;
  • An entrepreneurial and fair-minded fiscal leader who will aid the college in matching aspirations with finite resources while thinking creatively about growth opportunities;
  • An evidence-driven planner with experience in quantitative analysis, assessment and outcomes measurements, as well as accreditation efforts;
  • A scholar of higher education, knowledgeable about the intricacies of enrollment management, best academic budget modeling, marketing and branding, technology, and environmental sustainability; and
  • A trustworthy individual with a strong moral compass.

Nomination and Application Process


All applications, nominations, and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as separate documents, a letter of interest addressing the themes in this profile and a CV or resume. Purdue University Northwest is committed to advancing diversity in all areas of faculty effort, including learning, discovery, and engagement. Candidates should address at least one of these areas in their cover letter, indicating their experiences, current interests or activities, and/or future goals to promote a climate that values diversity and inclusion.


WittKieffer is assisting Purdue University Northwest in this search. For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received preferably by September 24, 2021. Application materials should be submitted using WittKieffer’s candidate portal. Nominations and inquiries can be directed to Ryan Crawford and Julia Bradley at PNW-CHESSDean@wittkieffer.com.





Purdue University is an EEO/AA employer fully committed to achieving a diverse workforce.

All individuals, including minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.


Nearest Major Market: Gary
Nearest Secondary Market: Chicago

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