Dean Search
Dale Bumpers College of
Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences

Position Description

The Opportunity

The University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) and the Division of Agriculture invite nominations and applications for the position of dean of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences and senior associate vice president for academic programs of the Division of Agriculture (SAVP).

Background Information

University of Arkansas

Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas is a land grant institution, classified by the Carnegie Foundation among the nation’s top 3 percent of universities with the highest level of research activity. The University of Arkansas faculty of 1,500 support over 30,000 students across 96 undergraduate majors, 97 master's degree offerings, and 50 doctoral and specialist programs. With strong enrollment across its 10 colleges and schools and a broad array of research centers and institutes, the University of Arkansas is poised to grow its collaborative and innovative research enterprise and meet its land-grant mission well into the future. The university is consistently ranked among the top universities and best values in the United States. Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas are also regularly ranked among the nation's top best-places-to-live. Under the leadership of Chancellor Charles F. Robinson, and on the heels of celebrating its sesquicentennial, the University is currently honing its “150 Forward” strategic plan which focuses on three pillars – research excellence, student success, and being an employer of choice.

The University of Arkansas offers a vibrant work environment and a workplace culture that promotes a healthy work-life balance. The benefits package includes university contributions to health, dental, life and disability insurance, tuition waivers for employees and their families, 12 official holidays, immediate leave accrual, and a choice of retirement programs with university contributions ranging from 5 to 10% of employee salary.

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Located in the heart of the beautiful Ozark Mountains, Northwest Arkansas has one of the most affordable costs of living in the nation. Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 Best Places to Live in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, the region has plentiful outdoor lifestyle perks, including 500+ miles of bike trails; a nationally ranked arts, culture, and food scene; and per capita incomes that are 18% higher than the national average. In the region, people have short commutes, a close-knit and inclusive community, a rich arts and culture scene, and the time to enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. 

Fayetteville is a thriving community of 95,230 residents (2021 Census estimate).  As the second largest city in Arkansas, Fayetteville provides all the resources and culture of a large city while maintaining a quality of life that remains true to its unique heritage.  Fayetteville has something for everyone: Boutique shopping, a diverse culinary scene, historic neighborhoods, exciting nightlife, live music and fine arts, a nationally recognized public library, sporting events, community as well as national touring and Broadway theatre productions, and thousands of acres of park land for a wide range of outdoor activities.

Fueled by an amazing entrepreneurial spirit, Northwest Arkansas emerged from modest beginnings to become one of the nation's dynamic economic regions. Industry leaders such as Walmart, Tyson Foods, Simmons Foods, and J.B. Hunt started in the region. The presence of those companies, a burgeoning startup culture and the university drives Northwest Arkansas’ economic growth. 

Position Overview and Key Responsibilities

The University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) and the Division of Agriculture invite nominations and applications for the position of dean of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences and senior associate vice president for academic programs of the Division of Agriculture (SAVP). The university and division seek a dynamic, strategic leader who will shape and support the college’s growth as part of the state’s only R1 university and its land-grant mission of research, teaching and extension.

The next dean of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences and SAVP of the division will build on a long tradition of scholarship and elevate the institution by raising the school’s national profile and by recruiting top students, faculty and staff. The ideal candidate is a visionary leader who will build strong relationships within the college, across the campus and throughout the community. The dean and SAVP will also excel as an administrator of college and division resources, including (but not limited to) budget and fundraising while rallying support for innovation and continued excellence. Finally, the dean and SAVP will build on the college’s tradition of inclusivity in education through faculty-supported plans for inclusion, student organizations and consistent efforts to recruit students and faculty, and by representing a broad range of perspectives and experiences.

The Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences offers 14 majors and 25 minors through eight departments and the School of Human Environmental Sciences. The college has some of the highest graduation rates on campus and houses 170 faculty assisting 2,307 students. The college offers bachelor's degrees, master’s degrees and doctoral degrees alongside a thriving Honor’s Program and International Program Office. Through multiple opportunities in experiential learning through hands-on labs, professional and leadership development and internships, students receive a robust understanding of their chosen academic fields.

The dean and SAVP is also an important part of the university’s leadership team. University leaders exhibit a broad range of skills and competencies, and the university continues to enhance its support for executive growth and resiliency. A dean and SAVP who builds relationships with stakeholders by relying on effective communication, collaboration and building trust will be most successful at also ensuring accountability, managing conflict and adapting to changing conditions. The dean and SAVP is expected to have a clear decision-making methodology that incorporates a global perspective. The executive leadership team is at its strongest when its members engage with campus opportunities and challenges openly and courageously to advance our land-grant mission.

The Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences plays a critical role in the university’s mission, and this position serves as the chief executive officer of the college, reporting to both the provost and vice president for agriculture. The dean and SAVP is an administrative and educational leader of the college who is responsible for the leadership and management of the college, its academic and research enterprises and all its operations, including fundraising, and the administration of the faculty, alumni, staff, students and external stakeholders as well as local, state and federal government leaders to meet the institutional, system, regional, college and university goals.

As SAVP, the position also reports directly to the vice president for agriculture and works with the senior associate vice presidents for research and for extension to address the many challenges and opportunities faced by agricultural and rural communities in Arkansas. Key areas of focus include student recruitment, leadership for innovative and relevant learning platforms, and the role that the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences can play in preparing students for careers in food, family and environment. The position is the major administrative link between academic activities at the Fayetteville campus and the University of Arkansas System’s Division of Agriculture.

The Division of Agriculture includes the Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service. In addition to the Research and Extension Center in Fayetteville, the division consists of four outlying research and extension centers, seven branch stations, the Center for Excellence in Poultry Science and the Institute of Food Science and Engineering. Division scientists are also located on the campuses of the University of Arkansas at Monticello, Arkansas State University and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. The Division’s annual budget is in excess of $130 million.

Professional Experience and Personal Qualifications

The Dean and SAVP will display the following important attributes:

  • Superior management, communication, interpersonal, budget, and strategic planning skills
  • A successful record of academic leadership and executive experience such as serving as a department head/chair, assistant dean, associate dean, or dean
  • An inclusive approach to management and leadership, including a commitment to excellence in recruiting, retaining and developing a diverse faculty and staff
  • Experience working with diverse student populations and an ability to communicate with and understand the needs of students
  • Experience managing complex budgets and a demonstrated ability to introduce and implement innovative funding initiatives
  • Experience with major fundraising initiatives and an ability to represent the university compellingly with alumni and donors
  • An ability to communicate effectively and build partnerships with both internal and external stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, business leaders as well as state and federal policymakers 
  • Commitment to and support in growing the Bumpers faculty by contributing to the success of teaching, scholarship, and service
  • A commitment to student success and supporting student scholarship and excellence inside and outside of the classroom
  • A willingness to circulate widely and listen carefully, including a commitment to collaboration and transparency in decision-making

Education and Faculty Rank Requirements

The Dean and SAVP must possess a terminal degree and a record of recognized professional and scholarly achievement that would warrant appointment as a full professor at the University of Arkansas in their respective field of study.


The University of Arkansas offers an attractive compensation and benefits package commensurate with the successful candidate’s background and experience.


Individuals interested in the position can visit the University of Arkansas System Career website to view the job posting and apply. Applicants will need to include and upload the following materials with their application.

  • Cover Letter/Letter of Application
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • List of five Professional References (name, email, business title)

Applicants may be asked to provide additional materials. Open until filled. 


To nominate a candidate for this position, please submit the candidate’s name and contact information to:

Mike Malone, Search Chair
Vice Chancellor for Economic Development
University of Arkansas