Dean of the College of Natural Sciences

 South Dakota State University (SDSU) invites applications and nominations for the position of Dean of the College of Natural Sciences (CNS). The university seeks an experienced, committed, and visionary leader with significant successful administrative experience as well as outstanding academic credentials and strength in fostering excellence in teaching, research/scholarship, and engagement.

 About the University

South Dakota State University is the state’s largest, most comprehensive higher education institution. As South Dakota’s Morrill Act land-grant university, SDSU had a fall 2023 enrollment of 11,505, with students coming from 47 states and 73 countries. Students can choose from 88 majors, 38 specializations, 104 minors, 39 master’s degree programs, 16 Ph.D. programs and 2 professional doctorates. The university also offers courses at various off-campus sites as well as undergraduate and graduate programs online through the Office of Continuing and Distance Education. The university is governed by the South Dakota Board of Regents, which also has oversight of South Dakota’s five additional universities within a unified system.

 From its roots as a land-grant university, committed to the creation of knowledge and educating all, established in Brookings, South Dakota in 1881, South Dakota State University today is a vibrant institution. SDSU is South Dakota’s first High Research Activity institution as classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It competes in Division I athletics and is a member of the Big 12 conference for wrestling, the Missouri Valley Football Conference, and the Summit League for all other sports.

 With exceptional alumni, community, and Foundation support for student scholarships and all aspects of university life, SDSU is the center of life in Brookings, a friendly and economically healthy community of nearly 24,000.  Brookings has outstanding schools, strong local economic research and development efforts, lovely parks, museums and well-attended cultural activities. The university fosters close working relationships with local school districts, and there is a kindergarten on campus. Located one hour’s drive north of Sioux Falls, the state’s largest city, SDSU and Brookings offer a very high quality of life in an engaged, active campus community. It is also notable that the state of South Dakota has no personal income tax. Learn more about Brookings by visiting here.


South Dakota State University offers a rich academic experience in an environment of inclusion and access through 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.


South Dakota State University will be a premier land-grant university recognized for high value, innovation and bold impact.  The University’s strategic plan, Pathway to Premier 2030, is a strategic plan to enhance 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, fostering innovation and increase 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

Role and Responsibilities

The Dean, who reports to the Provost, serves as the chief academic officer for the College, and guides the College’s effort in academic and curriculum development, faculty and staff development, external fundraising and the building of partnerships with stakeholders and alumni.  SDSU seeks an innovative leader 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 an earned terminal degree in a discipline within the College of Natural Sciences or closely related field and 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:

  • A nationally recognized leading scholar in their field;
  • 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;
  • A nimble strategist with 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;
  • Capacity to identify, recruit and retain strong college leadership and faculty;
  • 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 and talent for identifying and cultivating innovative and entrepreneurial opportunities;
  • Commitment to the success of all students, faculty and staff, and to advancing a climate of excellence;
  • Effective communicator with a commitment to the principles of shared governance.

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 that all nominations and applications be submitted by March 4, 2024. 


Porsha L. Williams, Vice President

Erin Raines, Principal

Parker Executive Search

770-804-1996 ext: 117 || eraines@parkerse

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