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THE POSITION       Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Fisk University seeks a dynamic and visionary leader who will build upon the institution's strengths to provide exceptional undergraduate, graduate, and professional educational experiences, recruit and develop outstanding faculty, enhance the academic and cultural experience at Fisk, and promote faculty-driven scholarly and creative endeavors. Reporting directly to the President, and as a key member of the President's Senior Leadership Team, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is the chief academic officer of the University and will develop and lead Fisk’s academic activities to accomplish the goals developed in the College's rolling Strategic Plan.


Founded in 1866, Fisk University is Nashville’s first institution of higher education and currently ranks in the top 20% of all liberal arts institutions in the nation according to The Washington Monthly.  Fisk is the fourth highest ranked institution in Tennessee and the highest ranked among Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Forbes magazine’s 2013 edition of “America’s Best Colleges.” Fisk has been ranked in The Princeton Review’s “Best Southeastern Colleges” publication for 21 consecutive years.  U.S. News and World Report ranks Fisk #146 in the elite Tier One group of 246 liberal arts institutions selected for the distinction among the 1,400 colleges and universities in the nation, and Fisk is one of only four HBCUs ranked in Tier One. In 2013, Fisk earned its fourth R&D 100 Award, for work in the creation of radiation detectors developed in collaboration with several national laboratories and corporations. No other HBCU has ever earned an R&D 100 Award.  According to the National Science Foundation, Fisk produces more African-Americans who earn doctoral degrees in the natural sciences than any school in the nation. For more information on Fisk University, please visit


The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, as the chief academic officer, provides strategic campus leadership for the quality and integrity of all of the university’s academic degree programs. She or he is responsible for communicating and working effectively with the President, deans of the schools, department chairs, directors, faculty, and staff to create and sustain excellence and innovation in undergraduate and graduate education.


The following major areas of focus, responsibilities, and functions fall within the purview of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs:

  • promote and fulfill the mission of the university;
  • continue to strengthen and develop the university as a premiere liberal arts university;
  • foster excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship;
  • oversee the academic programs, maintain and improve the university’s curriculum, institutionalize a continuing focus on curricular relevance and excellence, advance the indicators of academic quality, and continue to build the university’s academic reputation;
  • lead effective programs and processes to improve student success;
  • work to build capability in employees by attracting, retaining, and developing superior  teaching and research faculty, as well as academic and administrative support personnel;
  • connect directly and authentically with students and respond to their needs and concerns;
  • lead assessment and continuing development of the university’s rolling Strategic Plan; and
  • facilitate the maintenance of the college’s accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).


Candidates should have a superb profile of intellectual leadership and possess an outstanding record as an accomplished scholar and educator, sufficient to meet the standards of the faculty and the requirements of a full professor with tenure at Fisk University. A terminal degree is required.


  • Demonstrated responsible leadership, with proven success in organizational management and administering a complex academic system and changing programs and services.
  • Demonstrated familiarity with, and sensitivity to, issues of race, culture, gender, and disabilities on a college campus.
  • Collegiate teaching experience.
  • Experience with technology and its changing role in higher education.
  • Demonstrated commitment to maintaining a genuinely student-centered institution.

Attributes and Skills

  • Vision, tact, and judgment to set priorities, make difficult and sometimes controversial decisions, allocate limited resources, delegate authority when appropriate, and handle delicate personnel and personality conflicts.
  • Ability to appreciate and enjoy the unique cultural, educational, and professional context of this Historically Black University (i.e., HBCU).
  • Capacity and willingness to take measured risks for the achievement of institutional excellence.
  • Adept at working collegially, with effective team building and facilitation skills.
  • Pragmatic and visionary leadership skills.
  • Astute judge of people and issues.
  • Superb interpersonal, small-group, and large-group communication skills.
  • Champion of faculty teaching and research.
  • Devoted to excellence and shared governance.

Personal Characteristics

  • Impeccable personal and professional integrity.
  • A strong sense of fairness and objectivity.
  • Friendly, courteous, energetic, positive, and inspirational.
  • Ability to appreciate and celebrate the strengths of others.
  • Sense of humor.
  • Excellent listening skills.
  • A non-bureaucratic, open, and accessible personal style.
  • Creative and curious thinker.
  • Respectful, thoughtful, and compassionate.
  • Diplomatic: can disagree without being disagreeable.
  • Collegial and consensus builder.
  • High self-esteem and confidence, yet with a sense of humility.
  • Strongly driven to make a difference.


Screening of applications will begin immediately and continue until an appointment is made. For best consideration, materials should be provided by June 13, 2014. Application materials should include a letter addressing how the candidate’s experiences match the position requirements, a resume, and contact information for at least five professional references.


Individuals wishing to nominate a candidate should include the name, position, address, and telephone number of the nominee. A letter addressing how the candidate’s experiences match the position requirement is recommended.

Confidential inquires, nominations, and application materials should be directed to:

Dr. JaCenda R. Davidson
Director of Human Resources
Fisk University
1000 17th Avenue North
Nashville, TN  37208
Phone: 615.329.8718 ‚óŹ Fax: 615.329.8891

For more information about Fisk University, please visit the website at

Fisk University is an Equal Opportunity employer.