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Dean, College of Architecture and Environmental Design

Apply now Job no: 525522
Work type: Management (MPP)
Location: San Luis Obispo
Categories: MPP, Administrative, At-Will, Full Time
Position Description


California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), a distinguished public undergraduate and Master’s level institution located in San Luis Obispo, California, seeks a new Dean of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. Cal Poly’s acclaimed College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) offers a unique blend of eight degree programs in five closely related departments: architectural engineering, architecture, city and regional planning, construction management, and landscape architecture. The university seeks a visionary leader with a deep and demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; a solid scholarly record; and the ability to foster collaboration within the college, across the university, and beyond.  

Cal Poly aspires to be the nation’s premier comprehensive polytechnic university, developing and inspiring innovative whole system thinkers to serve California and the world at large. The dean’s principal responsibility will be to promote Cal Poly’s mission of “Learn by Doing” through excellent education in a comprehensive polytechnic setting, generating Ready Day One graduates. The dean will work in close partnership with the Provost, President, other senior administrators, faculty, staff, and students, to lead and oversee the college’s vision and identity, academic programs and scholarship, student success, and external reputation and relationships. The successful candidate will be an inspiring and energetic leader with the proven capacity to advance an academic mission through excellent stewardship, thoughtful cultivation of key relationships and sound financial management.  

The dean will exhibit the leadership qualities to build on the successful reputation of the college to reach new levels of distinction and national prominence.  The dean will have a high level of visibility and will vigorously represent, and advocate for, the college locally, nationally, and internationally, as well as within the California State University system. The dean must have exceptional communication skills and enthusiasm for fostering strong relationships with a wide range of constituencies. In conjunction with a major university-wide fundraising campaign, the dean is expected to leverage opportunities for securing additional external financial support and investment to strengthen the college’s endowment.  

Cal Poly, one of 23 universities in the California State University (CSU) System, is located in San Luis Obispo, a coastal city halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The San Luis Obispo community is nestled close to the Pacific Ocean, has a population of over 46,000, and is an area with an extraordinary quality of life. The economy is based largely on agriculture and tourism and the region is known for producing world-class wine. With close proximity to many excellent vineyards on the Central Coast, San Luis Obispo (or “SLO” for short), is the geographic and figurative heart of California. The San Luis Obispo Regional Airport offers commercial air service to eight major airports, and Amtrak offers daily rail service in California and other destinations. 


With more than 2,000 students and 145 faculty and staff, Cal Poly’s acclaimed College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) offers a unique blend of eight degree programs in five closely related departments: architectural engineering, architecture, city and regional planning, construction management, and landscape architecture. The college also offers interdisciplinary programs including dual degree and minor programs in partnership with the College of Engineering and the Orfalea College of Business.  

For over 75 years, the CAED’s distinguished faculty and alumni have positively influenced the forces that shape the planning, design and construction worlds. CAED programs promote Learn by Doing experiences that enable students to harness creativity and critical thinking to tackle real problems and realize opportunities while developing excellent technical skills. All students engage with industry partners and practitioners in the classroom, the field, and through internships. Significant educational benefits result from accreditation of professional programs in all fields of study, small class sizes, opportunities to work across disciplines, and access to hands-on learning in studios, shops, laboratories and support facilities.  

CAED programs emphasize preparation for professional practice. They offer opportunities to participate in competitions, community service, internships and work experience programs, off-campus and study abroad programs, and capstone projects, many of which are supported by industry partners. We prepare students to work globally in innovative teams at the leading edge for creating sustainable, equitable, compelling surroundings.      


The dean must have the ability to set and hold a course that best reflects the needs and culture of the university and its role as a comprehensive polytechnic. They must also have the passion, energy, and stamina for the job and must be dedicated to the ideal of public higher education and its benefits. The dean must be able to work creatively with others to discover the best response to the opportunities and challenges facing the university and must develop respect for all members of the university community.   

As indicated in the official advertisement of the dean position, the ideal candidate should demonstrate evidence of the following:    

  • Significant academic and administrative experience.  

  • An earned doctorate or other terminal degree, and credentials appropriate for a tenured appointment at the rank of professor within the College of Architecture and Environmental Design.  

  • A demonstrated capacity for academic leadership, the evaluation of scholarly output, and team building in a school that is comparable to Cal Poly, similar in terms of mission, size, and scope of academic programs. 

  • A demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

  • A capacity of leading and supporting a diverse faculty and staff by facilitating a collegial culture. 

  • Evidence of a strong commitment to excellent teaching and scholarship (as evidenced by the candidate’s record of scholarship, teaching and publication). 

  • A commitment to supporting the use of technology to enhance student learning. 

  • A demonstrated commitment to supporting student success. 

  • A proven record in building partnerships with alumni and the business community. 

  • Capability to expand alliances with the private sector. 

  • Experience in the design and continuous implementation of the strategic planning process. 

  • Strong experience and a commitment to engage the college in a comprehensive program of advancement activities. 

  • Ability to work effectively with a diverse campus community and strong commitment to support and expand inclusive excellence throughout the university and community. 

  • Familiarity with significant environmental, social and economic issues confronting the region and the globe and familiarity with accreditation standards across the college’s disciplines (ABET, ACCE, LAAB, NAAB, PAB).  


The anticipated salary range is between $240,000 and $255,000 annually. The Management Personnel Plan adopted by the CSU Board of Trustees governs all rights associated with the appointment. 

Cal Poly offers a best-in-class benefits program, including health, dental and vision insurance, retirement participation in the Public Employees' Retirement System, and educational benefits for eligible employees. See our benefits website for additional information.  

To apply, a candidate should submit in three separate documents: 

1. A letter of intent addressing how the candidate’s experiences match the position requirements; 

2. A current CV/resume; and 

3. Contact information for at least five professional references, including email addresses and a brief note of the candidate’s working relationship with each. References will not be contacted without the prior knowledge and approval of the candidate and at a later stage in the search. 

If you have any questions or if you have a disability and need accommodation with pre-employment processes (applications, interviews, etc.), please email: To ensure full consideration, inquiries, nominations, and applications (PDF preferred) should be submitted electronically, and in confidence, to When submitting a nomination, please include the nominee’s full name, title, position, and email address


At California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, we believe that cultivating an environment that embraces and promotes diversity is fundamental to the success of our students, our employees and our community. Bringing people together from different backgrounds, experiences and value systems fosters the innovative and creative thinking that exemplifies Cal Poly’s values of free inquiry, cultural and intellectual diversity, mutual respect, civic engagement, and social and environmental responsibility. 

Cal Poly’s commitment to diversity informs our efforts in recruitment, hiring and retention. California Polytechnic State University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. 

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