Director, Master of Fine Arts

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Nov 07, 2017
Dec 07, 2017
Employment Status
Full Time

The Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) seeks an experienced and forward-thinking administrator/educator for the position of Director of Master of Fine Arts. This is a full time 12-month staff position reports to the Vice President of Academic Affairs. The primary responsibility is directing the MFA Visual Studies program, a 60-credit mentor-based, interdisciplinary studio degree. The director’s leadership role is core to the success of the MCAD MFA program. The director oversees the MFA curriculum and learning outcomes, manages thesis reviews, committees and exhibitions, prepares the semester schedule of courses and hires adjunct faculty when needed, works with the graduate committee and the admissions office on admissions processes, manages and recruits mentors, and monitors the graduate facilities. The director supervises one full-time visiting faculty position, and is supported part time by an administrative assistant. The director has the opportunity to teach within the program. The director serves as a member of the Academic Cabinet and the college’s Curriculum Committee.The director will also work with the Vice President of Academic Affairs to assess future campus-based MA programs.­

A successful candidate must possess superior interpersonal skills and academic and studio credibility in working with all constituents across the college with a focused commitment to student success. This dynamic and creative opportunity is in a highly charged academic studio environment with a successful model of mentor-based interdisciplinary studies in art and design. Building on a 22-year history of successful graduates and supported by dedicated faculty, the program has an established track record and is housed in a new state of the art studio, gallery and classroom building.

The director will lead a dedicated community of makers, thinkers, theorists, researchers, and creative professionals in support of student success starting with the admissions process and continuing through the program experience and transition into professional life. The student body is diverse with a robust international presence supported by outstanding faculty and a mentorship group that provides informed and relevant instruction in studio and professional practice. 

The director must be able to advance and facilitate the student experience responding to social, cultural, and professional needs as well as entrepreneurial opportunities, encompassing art and design practices. Students in the program pursue creative work in a lively, interdisciplinary environment that includes graphic design, printmaking, paper & book arts, painting, photography, illustration, sculpture, drawing, animation, interactive media, filmmaking, product design, comic arts, furniture design, and installation art. 

The position begins summer 2018. MCAD offers a dynamic work environment that includes outstanding holiday and vacation time accruals, a flexible and comprehensive benefit plan including medical, dental and 403(b) pension plans.  After six months of service,staff receive free MCAD tuition for themselves, spouse and dependent children, and dependents may be eligible for free tuition at more than 600 colleges nation-wide.


  • Terminal degree or equivalent in studio art or design, or liberal arts.
  • Minimum of five years teaching or administrative experience in an academic environment, within a college of art and design preferred.
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and effectively across disciplines with administrators, faculty and staff
  • Sensitivity to the issues of a small institution, particularly in a professional college of art and design
  • Commitment to MCAD’s vision, mission, values and strategic priorities
  • Keen knowledge of and appreciation for contemporary visual arts, design, and liberal arts
  • Detail-oriented and well-organized, with committed follow-through
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Knowledge of national higher education issues  



The Director is the leader and advocate for the program’s students, faculty and alumni in pursuit of creative and academic excellence, through programmatic development, administration, mentoring and recruitment.

Planning and Curricular Development

  • Develops departmental strategic plan.
  • Oversees curricular change through accreditation.
  • Monitors all department syllabi and student-learning outcomes.
  • Prepares the graduate course schedule and coordinates faculty assignments with the Department Chairs and the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
  • Evaluates instructional programs for continuous improvement, recommending appropriate actions and implementing approved changes.

Academic Management

  • Maintains an academic vision for the program and represents the program to internal and external stakeholders
  • Builds and maintains an appropriate pool of qualified mentors
  • Maintains informational materials on mentors
  • Trains graduate mentors; develops appropriate mentor orientation sessions
  • Participates in performance evaluations where appropriate
  • Develops and implements academic policies and advising procedures
  • Assists students in defining academic goals and implementation
  • Chairs and coordinates the Mid-Program Review and oversees documentation
  • Coordinates the Public Thesis Presentations, Thesis Reviews and Committees, and the Thesis Graduation Exhibition
  • Helps the students facilitate the annual fall MFA exhibition, Open Studio Night and program activities
  • Participates in higher education accreditation requirements relevant to the program
  • Serves as a member of the Academic Affairs Cabinet, Curriculum Committee and additional committees as assigned.

Program Management

  • Collaborates with the Career DevelopmentDirector and International Program Advisor on internship and off-campus study opportunities for graduate students.
  • Prepares annual budget requests and rationale
  • Monitors and evaluates use and appropriateness of graduate studio space and graduate center; recommends changes/additions as needed.
  • Maintains, with support of Graduate Assistants, an online website, and other relevant social media sites to support and promote the MFA students, faculty and alumni
  • Publishes an annual Thesis Exhibition catalog
  • Maintains a database of graduate statistics.
  • Submits annual department report and analysis

Admissions and Recruiting

  • Fields inquiries from potential students
  • Administers, with the Admissions Office, the graduate admissions process
  • Provides advice on grant aid distribution to admitted graduate students
  • Designs and conducts orientation programs for graduate students.
  • Participates in recruiting webinars and attends NASAD Portfolio Days
  • Maintains an on-line MFA presence to assist with recruiting efforts
  • Actively participates in planning sessions and implementation strategies for the improvement of student recruiting and retention.


Founded in 1886, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design is an independent, accredited not-for-profit institution with 760 students pursuing fourteen undergraduate majors in Design, Entrepreneurial Studies, Fine arts and Media Arts. Graduate degrees include Master of Art in Sustainable Design and Master of Web and Graphic Design (both fully online), and Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies. MCAD also offers Continuing Education courses, certificate programs, youth programs, and an extensive program of exhibitions and lectures. MCAD is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and by the North Central Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Dedicated to the success of each and every one of its degree-seeking students, MCAD is also an important member of the Twin Cities' thriving cultural community. The Twin Cities enjoys and values a rich cultural life, furthered by the generous support of numerous private foundations. Notable cultural institutions include the Walker Art Center, the Guthrie Theater, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Weisman Art Museum. Ranked as the 16th largest metropolitan area in the nation, the area hosts 18 Fortune 500 Companies and 7 of the largest private companies in the country. The Twin Cities hosts abundant live theater, musical venues, galleries, art film houses and festivals, and major sports teams. Further information is available at:


Deadline: Priority will be given to those who respond by January 08, 2018.

To ensure full consideration, complete materials must be received by January 08, 2018. Preliminary interviews will be conducted byGoToMeeting. A background check will be made prior to employment.

Applications should include:

1. Letter of application that summarizes the candidate’s interests and how the minimum qualifications for the position are met

2. Curriculum vitae

3. Statement of teaching or higher education administrative philosophy

4. Contact information for three professional references: names, institutional affiliations, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers.

5. Transcript copy of highest degree earned; official transcript required prior to employment

Electronic application procedure:

  • Submit all materials in a single PDF file in the order as listed above (1-5).
  • Limit PDF file to size 15MB or less and title the file as follows:

                        last name_first name_MFA.pdf

  • Email complete application file with applicant’s last name in the subject line to:


All correspondence regarding the search will be conducted via email.

Please send any inquiries and include job Director, MFA in all correspondence.

Only complete applications will be eligible for consideration.


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