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Dean, Orlean Beeson School of Education
Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama
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Date Posted 03/08/2020
Employment Type Fulltime
Application Deadline Open until filled


Samford University seeks an exceptional leader to serve as Dean of the Orlean Beeson School of Education (OBSOE) in a Christian university environment. This is an exciting opportunity to lead an elite professional college within a prestigious private University, located within a thriving metropolitan area in a temperate and beautiful natural environment. With the leadership of President Andrew Westmoreland, the University has adopted four strategic goals: (1) to emphasize student academic success as well as emotional, physical and spiritual well-being; (2) to enhance the Samford community through purposeful development of a collaborative, inclusive, and intellectually curious environment; (3) to extend Samford’s reach globally, culturally, virtually, and programmatically; and (4) to ensure the University’s future through responsible financial stewardship and carefully planned development. The new Dean will be an important partner in achieving these strategic planning goals as outlined in more detail at

The next OBSOE Dean will continue Samford’s tradition of academic excellence by charting the future of the college in a time of significant change, when traditional models of education are being tested and new opportunities for innovation exist. The new Dean will work with faculty and staff to articulate a vision of excellence for a range of programs including teacher education, educational leadership, and human development and family life education. The new Dean will lead the faculty and staff to create a strategic plan built upon program strengths, maximize internal and external collaboration, and promote the distinctive value of the General Education and Core Curriculum programs.

Under the leadership of Provost Michael Hardin, the Office of Academic Affairs oversees ten different schools across the campus, including liberal arts and professional degree programs. Many of the graduate programs are offered via hybrid and distance education formats. In Spring 2019, Samford had a total enrollment of 5,619.

The new Dean will have the opportunity to build partnerships and programs, identify opportunities that will advance the school and the University, and influence the state of Alabama and the future landscape of K-12 and professional education.

Orlean Beeson School of Education

Orlean Beeson School of Education was founded in 1915. In 1978, Mr. Ralph Beeson and Mrs. Orlean Bullard Beeson made one of many transformational gifts to Samford, naming our School of Education in honor of Mrs. Beeson, which underscores the tremendous legacy she provides for our students, faculty, staff and alumni. Today, OBSOE continues to enrich the community and produce graduates who demonstrate commitment to the profession, high moral character and leadership abilities. Our school is committed to preparing graduates who are empowered to educate, lead and serve.

OBSOE is organized into four dynamic departments:

  • Teacher Education

  • Human Development and Family Life Education

  • Curriculum and Instruction

  • Educational Leadership


The Orlean Beeson School of Education seeks an exceptional leader as Dean. Reporting to Mike Hardin, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Dean is the chief academic and administrative officer of the school and serves as its chief executive officer, providing inspirational leadership and vision consistent with Samford’s excellent national and regional reputation. The Dean must exhibit leadership in the pursuit of excellence in academic programs, including enhancing undergraduate and graduate student recruitment and assisting students in working toward long-term career goals so that they will be successful after graduation.

The Dean leads an administrative team currently comprised of one associate dean and four department chairs and works closely with the School’s Executive Council. Within the university, the Dean serves as a member of the Deans’ Council. The Dean functions as a university leader and colleague in discussions around strategic issues such as recruitment, enrollment, and institutional investment. The Dean is expected to be a fair and active advocate for the full range of departments, programs, employees, and students in OBSOE.

Opportunities and Challenges

Moving forward, the Orlean Beeson School of Education faces a range of opportunities and challenges that grow out of its size, impact, and centrality to the University’s identity and mission as a liberal arts university with professional programs. Those opportunities and challenges are as follows:

  •  Leadership opportunity: The new Dean will lead the school in the development of a long-term strategic plan designed to chart future success. This includes focusing on degree programs that meet the demands of the educational workplace and anticipate future trends in K-12 education as well as educational leadership and human development.

  • Diversity: Samford University has traditionally faced challenges in recruiting minority students, faculty, and staff, despite ongoing efforts to create an inclusive, welcoming environment. The new Dean will need to prioritize recruitment of a diverse student and faculty population by emphasizing Samford’s Christian mission, and its dedication to diversity.

  • Growth: The University is a traditional residential undergraduate liberal arts institution with many graduate programs that are offered online, offsite, and in hybrid format within education. The opportunity for growth in high quality graduate programs is an area for the new Dean to contribute to the University’s success. Support for graduate programs in education has traditionally been strong in the state of Alabama.

  • Fundraising: Samford has a powerful network of dedicated supporters. Participating in outreach will be a priority for the new Dean who will have the opportunity to participate in University campaigns and, through strategic fundraising efforts, position the School to sustain and increase annual and other giving levels. The University has a talented Advancement Team that is prepared to offer significant support with a dedicated advancement officer assigned to the OBSOE.

Addressing these challenges will require a Dean with long-term vision, broad intellectual interests, energy and creativity, an open-minded approach, an innovative spirit, the ability to form collaborative partnerships within and beyond the University at all levels, and the willingness to take on challenges that will affect the future of the University.


The University seeks a candidate of exceptional leadership and vision to lead the School, build its academic and research enterprise, and serve as ambassador to the community of Educators. The Dean will demonstrate a broad understanding of the direction of teacher education, certification, and educational leadership as well as human development and family life education. The successful candidate will have the reputation, stature, and credibility to attract strong faculty and students and to garner resources to strengthen the college and enable the achievement of its vision. 

The Dean will focus on articulating the core mission of OBSOE while also stimulating progress and innovation. The Dean will be a builder of partnerships and collaborations, an inclusive, visibly involved, and inspirational leader who will find and strengthen connections and bring others into creative dialogue. The Dean will be a passionate advocate for the college, a leader who embraces diversity, catalyzes ideas, creates positive energy, engages others to find solutions, and manages change skillfully. 

The successful candidate will ideally come from a background of substantive leadership within higher education. Candidates must demonstrate evidence of the abilities to manage people, to make difficult choices, to understanding opportunity costs, and to collaborate with various teams. Commitment to diversity is necessary.

Criteria for the position are as follows:

  • A doctorate or equivalent degree from an accredited institution in education, educational leadership, or related field;

  • A distinguished record of academic achievement in a core discipline or interdisciplinary program that resulted in the achievement of the academic rank of tenured full professor;

  • The breadth of vision and academic experiences necessary to represent all areas of the college and understand how they fit within a global educational context;

  • Demonstrated commitment to high-quality research, teaching, and diversity as important components of academic excellence and the mission of a private Christian university;

  • At least five years of demonstrated strategic leadership, organizational management experience, and innovative transformation in an academic setting;

  • A sophisticated understanding of the research process and the different measures of research/scholarly excellence across disciplines together with the ability to create an environment that fosters research success;

  • Demonstrated capacity to build relationships and to operate in a collaborative manner within the college and university;

  • Demonstrated ability to oversee budget and financial planning and to strategically manage a large, complex budget;

  • Demonstrated success in external fundraising, development/external relations with the necessary energy and ability to work effectively with donors, alumni, and other constituents in resource development and advancement.

  • In addition, the preferred candidate will demonstrate the following qualities and characteristics:

  • Evidence of a commitment to promoting faculty and student success;

  • Success in advancing diversity and inclusion among faculty, students, staff, and external stakeholders;

  • Personal and professional integrity, fair and just decision making, keen intellectual capacity and creativity, strategic focus, ability to set priorities and make tough decisions, ability to operate within a complex environment and to collaborate with multiple stakeholders;

  • Exceptional collegiality as reflected in a commitment to an environment of shared governance and participatory decision-making;

  • Exceptional management skills, including financial, administrative, and team-building skills; a commitment to transparency; and a strong sense of fiscal accountability, along with experience leading to successful accreditation efforts.

  • Exceptional communication ability to include listening skills, a passion for communicating the vision and mission of the college, and the ability to interact with all constituents across all levels; an open and transparent approach to communication;

  • An entrepreneurial and innovative attitude and orientation; a vision for the use of information technology in the college and experience with innovations in distance learning and new pedagogies;

  • A high degree of energy, optimism, enthusiasm, and excitement about the possibilities for OBSOE and a strong belief in its excellence.


The mission of Samford University is to nurture individuals in their development of intellect, creativity, faith, and personhood. As a Christian university, Samford fosters academic, career, and ethical competency while encouraging social and civic responsibility and service to others.

Samford University is a premier nationally ranked Christian university. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and enrolls students from 44 states and 30 countries.

Samford is the top-ranked university in Alabama in national rankings by The Wall Street Journal. U.S. News & World Report ranked Samford 4th in the South, 7th in the South for most innovative, 2nd in the South for best colleges for veterans and 9th in the South for commitment to undergraduate teaching among regional universities. Additionally, The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 12th nationally for student engagement. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance ranks Samford 50th private university in the U.S. for value and affordability.

Samford offers numerous undergraduate and graduate/professional degrees through 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. 

Among Samford’s 51,926 alumni are more than 60 members of the U.S. Congress, eight state governors, two U.S. Supreme Court justices, one Secretary of State, four Rhodes Scholars, multiple Emmy and Grammy award-winning artists, two national championship football coaches, and recipients of the Pulitzer and Nobel Peace prizes.

The university fields 17 varsity sports—eight men’s and nine women’s—that participate at the NCAA Division I level in the Southern Conference. Samford’s athletics teams are ranked #1 in Alabama and #17 nationally for Graduation Success Rate (GSR) by the NCAA with an average score of 97%. Ten teams posted perfect scores.

Samford has an annual economic impact of $424.8 million on the state of Alabama.

The Local Community

Samford University is located in picturesque Homewood, Alabama, ten minutes from downtown Birmingham. Birmingham is the centerpiece of a thriving region and state that embraces the spirit of innovation, progress and growth. Home to global leaders and performers in medical research, banking and automotive industries, the city is known as one of the nation’s most livable. Here you find one of the country’s top academic medical centers and some of the foremost health care centers in the world, along with nationally ranked public high schools and some of the best private education in the nation. Nestled amongst its 99 historic neighborhoods is a vibrant downtown, a world-class culinary scene and more green space per capita than any other city in the nation. Residents of the region enjoy a variety of amenities, including one of the finest art museums in the nation, a 122-acre zoological park, and multiple urban green spaces including a 67.5-acre botanical garden. Family members of all ages find here the elements that contribute to a safe and enjoyable lifestyle.

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