Search begins for dean to lead reimagined University College

School will be major component of university’s renewed commitment to St. Louis region

University College Students
University College students visit on the Danforth Campus. (Photo: James Byard/Washington University)

Washington University in St. Louis has launched a national search for a new dean to lead professional and continuing education at the university. Currently operating as University College, the school is being reimagined as a community-focused hub for adult learners in the St. Louis region, providing new programs for career advancement and enrichment. Pending approval by the Board of Trustees later this spring, the new school will launch with new academic divisions in areas including data, health and health care; and management and administration. It also will have new opportunities for students to complete programs within the liberal arts. Undergraduate and graduate students will continue to be served. 

The new dean will report jointly to Henry S. Webber, the university’s executive vice chancellor for civic affairs and strategic planning, and Provost Beverly Wendland. 

“The reimagination of University College is a significant step forward in our renewed commitment to the St. Louis region,” Webber said. “By making a Washington University educational experience more relevant to working adults in the region, we aim to create robust pathways for career advancement, economic mobility and personal enrichment.” 

The search committee for the new dean will be chaired by Aaron F. Bobick, dean of the McKelvey School of Engineering and the James M. McKelvey Professor, and comprises Washington University faculty and staff as well as St. Louis community leaders.

In addition to Bobick, committee members are:

  • Amy Buehler, coordinator of nonprofit management program, University College; and director of development, Wings of Hope
  • Vanessa Cooksey, president and CEO, Regional Arts Commission
  • Ohad Kadan, vice dean for education and globalization, Olin Business School
  • Jeff Mazur, executive director, LaunchCode
  • Karen Novak, senior director of administration and finance, University College
  • Will Ross, MD,  associate dean for diversity and principal officer for community partnerships, School of Medicine
  • Jewel Stafford, teaching professor, Brown School
  • Jackie Tischler, senior vice president and chief people officer, BJC HealthCare
  • Kit Wellmon, professor of philosophy, Arts & Sciences

Lisa Dalton and Richard Payton, executive assistant and chief of staff, respectively, in the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor for Civic Affairs and Strategic Planning, will staff the committee. The university has retained Opus Partners to support this recruitment. Craig Smith, partner, and Chris Stadler, associate, are leading the search. For more information, please click here.

“This is not a typical moment, and this will not be a typical search,” Wendland said. “The dean of the new school must be a visionary leader and strategic thinker who understands the complexities of how adult education and community engagement can be successfully integrated at a world-class educational institution like Washington University. The new dean must be adept at building and nurturing strong partnerships in the region and creating an engaging and meaningful academic experience for our students.

“We’re grateful to the search committee for taking on this challenge, and to Heather Corcoran for her continuing leadership and service as interim dean during this exciting time of transformation for University College.”

University College continues to accept new students into its current programs. When the new school launches and new programs open for admissions, likely in 2022, all enrolled students will be able to continue their current paths to completing their academic programs, as well as having new options. Additional information about the transformation will be shared with University College students, faculty and staff in the months ahead. Visit the University College website to learn more about current programs and future updates.