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Inaugural Dean, Butler University's Two-Year College

Apply now Job no: 494978
Work type: Staff Full-time
Location: Indianapolis
Categories: Executive/Dean

Butler University invites nominations and applications for a visionary, student-centered, and inclusive leader to serve as the founding Dean of our newest College, which is a two-year degree model as part of the Come to Believe network. This rare opportunity demands vision, strategic planning, and unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Dean reports directly to the Provost and provides strategic leadership for the College. 

Founded by abolitionist Ovid Butler in 1855 on the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion, Butler University is a private, nationally recognized comprehensive university consisting of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Education, the Lacy School of Business, College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, Jordan College of the Arts, College of Communication and this newly formed College. Approximately 4,500 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate and doctoral students are enrolled at Butler, representing 46 states and 24 countries. Ranked #1 in the Midwest region by U.S. News and World Report and recognized for “best undergraduate teaching” and “most innovative schools,” Butler is located just five miles from downtown Indianapolis, a cultural center of the state and country. 

A Come to Believe model, Butler University’s new Two-Year College expands the opportunity to pursue a Butler education to students who have been historically underserved by our campus to date. With a commitment to higher education for the public good that aligns with our founding mission of inclusivity, we establish this College as part of our efforts to offer a more accessible education.   

Mission and Vision Statement 
Through the new Two-Year College, Butler University will embrace and operationalize its founding mission to serve those historically excluded from the promise of higher education. The College’s students’ participation in the intellectual, social, and cultural life of the campus will contribute to the enrichment and transformation of the Butler campus, Butler-Tarkington neighborhood, and the greater Indianapolis community.  

College’s Commitments  

  • Diversity, defined and embraced broadly
  • Equity and inclusion 
  • Holistic student support
  • Learner-defined achievement
  • Student-Led
  • Reconciliation and Accountability
  • Growth mindset
  • Community Engagement 

The Come to Believe Network (CTB) was formed to provide higher education institutions with an innovative yet affordable, results-oriented two-year model that is accessible to students who are underrepresented at selective universities. The CTB model is designed to ensure students complete their degrees with little to no debt and are prepared for either a 4-year higher educational institution or the workforce. The model provides both a credential and a pathway to a bachelor's degree ~ a 'better normal' for higher ed access. Some key success metrics include:    

  • Over 50% of CTB students graduate on time (two-year graduation rate). 
    • Point of Comparison: Nationally, only 13% of students in two-year colleges graduate on time.  
  • 90% of CTB students graduate debt-free. 
  • Nearly 80% of CTB graduates continue for bachelor’s degrees at four-year institutions.   

The model, introduced at Arrupe College at Loyola University Chicago and replicated in Dougherty Family College at the University of St. Thomas, has six key components to its design. Butler’s new Two-Year College is joining these colleges by implementing the model: 

  • Dedicated Unit/College: The college must be part of a four-year university system with dedicated pathways to complete four-year degrees at the existing colleges. Morning and late afternoon schedules will be offered.   

  • Focus on Historically Underserved Students: Supports students with potential who too often do not have access to selective colleges.   

  • High-Quality Curriculum: Academic programs must meet the same rigor as the broader university. The faculty will utilize different pedagogical approaches and methods to support the learners; however, quality needs to be the same.   

  • Career Services: Students will be supported by career services the entire time. This includes coursework and paid internships.  

  • Holistic Student Services: Support services will include intrusive advising, student emergency funds, social workers/embedded counselors, transfer coordinators, and a one-stop shop approach for students to seek support.   

  • Affordable: Students who qualify for full grants can attend and incur little to no debt. All costs (tuition, books, daily meal, transportation) are packaged together to eliminate “surprise costs.”   



Since becoming the 21st President of Butler University in 2011, James Danko has devoted himself to guiding Butler toward national recognition as a thought‐leader in transformative, student‐centered higher education. President Danko served as Dean of the Villanova School of Business and as Associate Dean at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. President Danko also taught entrepreneurship and served in leadership roles at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Babson College, and the University of Michigan. President Danko received his bachelor’s degree in religious studies from John Carroll University and his MBA from the University of Michigan.    

Brooke Barnett joined Butler in 2019 as the Dean of the College of Communication and Professor of Communication and began serving as Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs on April 1, 2021. She was officially named Provost on March 15, 2022, concluding a national search. Brooke earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and Communication Studies at Georgetown College. She earned her Master of Arts in Journalism and doctorate in Mass Communication with a concentration in Law and Visual Communication. Prior to her arrival at Butler, Brooke’s career as a teacher and scholar spanned more than 25 years at Elon University and IU-Bloomington. At Elon, Brooke served for nine years on the President’s senior cabinet, as Associate Provost for Academic and Inclusive Excellence, and as chair of the faculty governing body.   

Despite declines nationally, Butler University has experienced a 5% growth in overall enrollment in the last five years. The average first year class size of 1150 also reflects a 5% increase in students of color at 22%. Graduate and professional program growth has been significant showing a 50% increase in this same time period.     

Butler’s Advancement operation is also growing tremendously. On May 31, 2022, Butler celebrated its largest and most successful philanthropic effort with the conclusion of Butler Beyond: The Campaign for Butler University with contributions of more than $263.5 million. Gifts to the Butler Beyond campaign advanced the University’s mission through new and enhanced campus infrastructure, an expanded scholarship endowment, and access to transformational new experiential learning opportunities and degree pathways for current and future Butler students.   

Butler University is located in the crossroads of America: the bustling community of Indianapolis. With a metropolitan population of more than two million, Indianapolis is one of America’s most livable urban cities. 

Both Forbes and rank Indianapolis as one of the best downtowns in the United States, citing attractions including more than 200 retail shops, more than 35 hotels, nearly 300 restaurants and food options, movie theaters, sports venues, museums, art galleries and parks. Further, Indianapolis was listed as #11 on Forbes’ 2017 list of "The Cities with the Happiest Young Professionals,” and USNWR ranked the city as #8 “Best Places to Live” in 2019.  Indy is only one of 19 domestic destinations out of a roster of 100 hot spots to be named to Time Magazine's list of the "World's Greatest Places" list. Green spaces abound with more than 135 parks in the metro area. The Indianapolis Cultural Trail – a world-class urban bike and pedestrian path connecting neighborhoods, Cultural Districts and entertainment amenities–serves as the downtown hub for the entire central Indiana greenway system.  

Commonly referred to as The Amateur Sports Capital of the World, Indianapolis has hosted several national amateur sport events and serves as national headquarters for the NCAA, USA Track & Field, USA Diving, USA Gymnastics, and USA Synchronized Swimming. The city also is home to professional sports teams in the NFL, NBA, WNBA, USHL, and Triple A baseball. In 2012 Indianapolis hosted Super Bowl XLVI. Indianapolis is also known as The Racing Capital of the World, hosting two of the largest single-day sporting events in the world: the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400. 

The Inaugural Dean at Butler University's new Two-Year College will embrace a multifaceted leadership role, overseeing the college's establishment and spearheading inclusive leadership practices to cultivate a supportive and engaged environment for all faculty, staff, and students. This position leads the College's successful launch, ensuring student success and engagement, fostering faculty and staff development, nurturing a diverse and inclusive environment, fostering community connections, and managing financial resources effectively. 

Organizational Leadership 

  • Implement the start-up plan and all associated activities needed to successfully launch the new college  

  • Lead the new college with inclusive leadership practices which foster a strong sense of belonging and mattering for all faculty, staff, and students 

  • Develop, evolve, and execute a strategic plan which serves as the foundation for the new two-year college 

  • Establish and maintain a cooperative, collegial work environment which enhances communication, trust, and productivity among all faculty and staff 

  • Ensure proactive communication with other units within the University to sustain awareness, support, and collaboration as the faculty, staff, and students of the new College contribute to the mission of Butler University 

Student Success 

  • Champion goals and benchmarks aimed at achieving successful student outcomes and student engagement 

  • Lead efforts related to holistic student support, including advising, counseling, career services, wrap-around support services, mentoring, and other individual student needs 

  • Collaborate with other Butler colleges to create pathways for four-year degree completion 

  • Ensure delivery of a rigorous and culturally sustaining pedagogy which meets Butler’s academic standards 

  • Partner with Butler’s Enrollment team to attract and retain students, including pipeline development and marketing efforts  

  • Promote a positive campus culture and student involvement in extracurricular activities and clubs 

Faculty & Staff Success 

  • Recruit, hire, and lead faculty and staff who embrace the new college’s mission and who are dedicated to student success 

  • Engage students, faculty, and staff in creating a culture for the college centered on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging 

  • Develop and promote a positive work environment which includes professional development and learning opportunities for faculty and staff to grow  

Community Engagement  

  • Communicate the story of the college, its students, and staff and foster relationships with local communities, businesses, philanthropic and educational organizations to enhance the college's reputation and resources, increase opportunities for students, and ensure the long-term sustainability of the college. 

  • Work collaboratively with all stakeholders, including an advisory board, to further articulate a shared vision for the two-year college as it grows and thrives 

  • Partner with other Butler colleges and divisions to create intentional engagement between students, faculty, and staff 

  • Engage with the Come to Believe Network leaders and partners and remain an active member of the CTB community  

Financial Sustainability 

  • Develop and manage the college's budget, allocating resources efficiently to support academic and operational needs 

  • Partner with Butler’s advancement team to cultivate fundraising opportunities through grants, gifts, and donors  

  • Develop and maintain strong community, governmental, foundation and corporate relationships in service of advancement goals 

The successful candidate for this position has extensive leadership experience focused on historically underrepresented student populations. They excel in strategic planning, community engagement, financial management, and fostering a positive, inclusive environment. With a track record in recruiting, mentoring, and embracing innovative practices, the desired candidate will lead with a focus on student success, equity, and strategic growth. We seek candidates whose previous work and life experiences prepare them to contribute to our commitment to engagement and inclusion of culturally diverse students, faculty, and staff.  

  • Terminal Degree   

  • Experience commensurate with requirements for faculty appointment  

  • Significant educational leadership experience in serving historically underrepresented students  

  • Demonstrated commitment to interrupting and eliminating inequitable outcomes, removing barriers, and creating inclusive conditions for individuals and communities regardless of any predictive identities 

  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, along with the ability to engage with the local community, industry partners, and other stakeholders to build relationships and support the college's mission  

  • Proficiency in strategic planning and the ability to develop and implement strategic initiatives to advance the college's mission and vision  

  • Demonstrated comfort and success working with the prospective student population, their families, and community leaders  

  • Success in growing a program/organization with a focus on building a positive culture and establishing mutually beneficial relationships 

  • Ability to use evidence-based evaluation of the programs and initiatives of the new College to inform and improve student outcomes 

  • Ability to manage budgets effectively, allocate resources wisely, and make financial decisions in line with the college's strategic goals  

  • Skills in recruiting, mentoring, and evaluating faculty and staff, as well as fostering a positive and inclusive work environment  

  • Ability to think creatively, adapt to change, and promote innovative practices in education and administration 

Review of application materials will begin on November 27th and will continue until the position is filled. Application materials will consist of a letter of interest, which should address areas of leadership and diversity, equity, and inclusion; curriculum vitae, and the names, roles, and contact information of five professional references. Only applications through Butler’s Careers Site will be considered.  

Butler University is an equal-opportunity employer.  We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive and equitable environment for all employees.  We welcome applications from all individuals, regardless of age, gender, gender identity, sex, race, religion, color, disability, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, national origin, or any other legally protected category.

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Butler University is committed to enhancing the diversity of the student body and our faculty and staff. In addition hiring decisions are made on the basis of an individual's qualifications, past experience, overall performance, and other employment-related criteria. Butler University provides equal opportunities for employment and advancement for all individuals, regardless of age, gender identity, sex, race, religion, color, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, national origin, or any other legally protected category.