South Dakota State University invites applications and nominations for the position of the Founding Dean of the College of Natural Sciences.        

About the University

South Dakota State University (SDSU) is dedicated to exceptional teaching and learning, scholarship, research, creative activity and transference of knowledge through Extension programming for the benefit of students and the greater community, as well as the citizens of South Dakota and beyond.  With almost 600 faculty, which serve nearly 13,000 students, SDSU offers a diverse number of colleges including: College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Education and Human Sciences, Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering, College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions, the Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College and the Graduate School. 

SDSU is defined as a “Doctoral University, Higher Research Activity” within the Carnegie Classification, and in 2014 was designated an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.  As South Dakota’s 1862 land-grant university, SDSU plays a key leadership role in the state and the region in conducting research, disseminating knowledge, supporting innovation and business incubation, forming partnerships with industry, and advocating for economic growth and development.  SDSU not only awards graduate degrees through 15 Ph.D. and 33 Master’s programs, but also has the most active university research program in the state with more than $58 million in annual research expenditures.  The core values of SDSU are people-centered, creativity, integrity, diversity and excellence.

Brookings, South Dakota, located just 48 miles north of Sioux Falls, is a progressive and growing community with numerous industry partners, and is the 4th largest city in South Dakota.  In 2015, Brookings was named the safest college town in the nation.  SDSU is proud to be part of one of the best communities in the country.


SDSU offers a rich academic experience in an environment of inclusion and access inspired student-centered education, creative activities and research, innovation and engagement that improve the quality of life in South Dakota, the region, the nation and the world. 


As a leading land-grant university, SDSU champions the public good through engaged learning, bold and innovative research and creative activities and stewardship within a global society.  The University’s strategic plan, Imagine 2023, is the five-year strategic plan that enhances the future of South Dakota and its citizens while meeting the challenges of an increasingly global, complex and interconnected society.  The plan draws on the university’s strengths and commitment to excellence, creating a pathway to the future as a high-performing institution that delivers exceptional value to students and stakeholders.  The plan’s goals focus on excellence through transformative education, strengthening community engagement and fostering innovation, as well as increasing in research, scholarship and creative activity to become a growing, high-performing and healthy university.  For more information, visit

South Dakota Board of Regents

SDSU is one of six universities in an integrated system of higher education in South Dakota governed by a single board of regents.  The BOR, appointed by the Governor, has constitutional authority to govern the system of public higher education in the state.  The BOR provides leadership and sets policies for the programs and services delivered through its six universities and two special schools. 

About The College

The newly created College of Natural Sciences brings together four departments: Biology and Microbiology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Geography and Physics.  The College offers nine baccalaureate degrees, six baccalaureate minors, three MS degrees and three PhD degrees.  The College of Natural Sciences also administers ten pre-professional programs at SDSU, including but not limited to pre-Medicine.  The college provides the courses to fulfill the natural sciences requirements for all undergraduates at SDSU, and promotes the use of scientific methods of inquiry to investigate the natural world.  Research in the College focuses on both foundational studies and applied work that benefits regional and global communities.  More information about the College and its departments are available at  Updates to this website will be ongoing as development of the College of Natural Sciences continues.

Role and Responsibilities

The Founding Dean, who reports to the Provost, serves as the chief academic officer for the College, and guides the Colleges effort in developing excellence in academic, curriculum and research programs, faculty and staff, external fundraising and the building of partnerships with the science communities and alumni.  SDSU seeks an innovative individual with vision and strong leadership skills who is committed to establishing collaborative relationships, fosters an environment in which faculty and stakeholders are engaged partners, and communicates consistently and effectively. 

The ideal candidate should have earned a terminal degree and should indicate evidence of scholarly, professional or creative achievement sufficient to qualify for tenure in the College at the rank of Professor. In addition, it is preferred, the successful candidate possess the following qualifications:

  • A nimble strategist with a record of successful academic leadership with a knowledge of, appreciation for and commitment to the philosophy and programs of a land-grant institution;
  • Ability to develop and implement a bold vision for the future of the College and a proven record of envisioning, developing and sustaining innovative programs that foster excellence in teaching, increased research and service of the natural sciences;
  • A strong commitment to undergraduate and graduate education with an emphasis on excellence in teaching, research and scholarship; 
  • An effective collaborator and consensus builder who can communicate with multiple constituencies and enable partnerships with other colleges and universities, government agencies, stakeholders and corporations;
  • Capability to identify, recruit and retain strong leadership and faculty;
  • Ability to stimulate growth in recruitment and retention of students;
  • Demonstrated experience overseeing large, complex budgets, fiscal matters, strategic planning and personnel management;
  • Ability to connect the College with important areas of opportunity within the University;
  • A track record of successful fundraising with a talent for identifying and cultivating entrepreneurial opportunities;
  • Commitment to the diversity of students, faculty and staff and to advancing an inclusive climate that stimulates excellence;
  • Strong communicator and commitment to openness, collaboration and shared decision-making.

Application Process

Nominations and applications (letter of interest, resume/CV and contact information of at least five references), or expressions of interest can be submitted to the search firm assisting the University.  Review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment is made.  It is preferred, however, that all nominations and applications be submitted prior to September 10, 2018.  All nominations and applications be submitted to:

Laurie C. Wilder, President
Porsha L. Williams, Vice President
Parker Executive Search
770-804-1996 ext: 117 || 

South Dakota State University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and has a strong institutional commitment to diversity.  Women, minorities, persons with disabilities and veterans are encouraged to apply.  SDSU’s policies, programs and activities comply with federal and state laws and South Dakota Board of Regents regulations prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, age, national origin, gender, gender identify and/or expression of sexual orientation.

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