Dean Search

Nicholas School of the Environment


Duke University, one of the world’s finest research universities and a leader in interdisciplinary innovation and global engagement, seeks a Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment.

Grainger Hall Hero

The Dean of the Nicholas School is the school’s chief academic and administrative officer and reports to the Provost and the President. The School’s mission is to create knowledge and leaders of consequence for the sustainable future of our planet; to further understanding of basic earth and environmental processes and human behavior related to the environment; and to serve and Inform society about environmental challenges. Committed to a culture of interdisciplinary collaboration, faculty in the Nicholas School include preeminent researchers and educators whose expertise spans the physical, life, and social sciences relating to the earth and environment. 

The Nicholas School administers academic programs at the undergraduate, professional master, and doctoral levels. The signature professional degree, the Master of Environmental Management (campus-based and online), and the Master of Forestry degree, prepare students for leadership positions in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Nicholas School faculty oversee doctoral degree programs in Environmental Science and Policy, Earth and Ocean Sciences, and Marine Science and Conservation, and participate in University doctoral programs in Ecology, Environmental Policy, and Toxicology and Environmental Health.  The School administers undergraduate majors in Environmental Sciences and Policy and in Earth and Ocean Sciences, as well as certificates in Energy and the Environment and Marine Science and Conservation Leadership. These programs are offered across Duke’s Durham campus, as well as at the Duke Marine Laboratory, a satellite campus of resident faculty, students and staff located on the coast in Beaufort, NC. The school also administers the Master of Environmental Policy program at Duke Kunshan University in China in collaboration with the Sanford School of Public Policy, and participates in concurrent degree programs with the Law School, the Fuqua School of Business, and other Duke schools.  The School has approximately 70 core faculty (including 10 professors of the practice), 120 staff, 160 doctoral students, 350 professional master’s students, and over 100 undergraduate majors. 

The School also works closely with the Duke Forest, a 7,000-acre resource managed for research and teaching.  In keeping with the School’s culture of interdisciplinary collaboration, Nicholas School faculty are actively engaged in Duke’s interdisciplinary programs, notably the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, the Duke Global Health Institute, the Duke Energy Initiative, and other institutes and schools. Indeed, over its 25-year history, the Nicholas School has come to play a leadership role - by providing expertise and creativity - in advancing the university-wide commitment to sustainability.

As chief academic and administrative officer of the Nicholas School, the Dean is responsible for:

Strategic Planning: The Dean is responsible to the Provost and President for ongoing strategic planning for the Nicholas School that includes:

  • Long-range vision, specific strategies, and detailed administrative and fiscal provisions to ensure the excellence of the School's faculty, research and teaching programs, and participation in interdisciplinary and cross-School and cross-Institute collaborations,
  • Strategies to enhance the diversity and professional well-being of its faculty, staff and students, and,
  • Efforts to engage with external constituencies at the local, national and international levels.

In exercising this planning leadership, the Dean works closely with the Provost, the University's senior officers, and other Deans.

Faculty Appointments: The Dean of the Nicholas School is responsible to the Provost and President for the recruitment, appointment, promotion, and, for tenure-track faculty, tenure of faculty in the School. The Dean works through the established appointment, promotion, and tenure procedures of the University and is responsible for maintaining their integrity in the School. The Dean works with the faculty and, on occasion, collaborates with other Deans or Institute or Initiative Directors to develop the School's annual recruiting plans for approval by the Provost. The Dean is responsible for ensuring that the University's objectives with respect to faculty excellence and diversity are met.

Educational Programming:  The Dean of the Nicholas School is responsible for ensuring that the School meets its commitment to excellence in undergraduate, professional masters, and doctoral education.  The Dean works with the senior leadership of the School, the faculty, and Duke administrators to recruit and admit students in high academic standing and provide them with a world-class educational experience that includes learning and leadership opportunities on the Durham and Marine Lab campuses and outside the classroom.

Budgetary and Administrative Oversight: The Dean of the Nicholas School is responsible to the Provost and President for all aspects of the School's budget consistent with the University's Responsibility Center Management (RCM) budget system.  In addition to budgetary oversight, the other principal areas of administrative responsibility include the allocation of academic space, planning for future facility needs, and oversight of compliance-related matters and non-faculty staffing decisions within the context of university-wide policies and procedures.

Stewardship and Development: The Dean represents the University to important constituents, including internal, national and international groups. The Dean is responsible for stewardship of the School’s Alumni Council and Board of Visitors, and represents the School before the Duke Board of Trustees. The Dean has primary responsibility for raising new financial resources for the School and articulating its development needs in the context of the long-range plans of the School and the University. The Dean works with the Provost, President, and other Deans in planning university-wide funding priorities and goals and cooperates with the University Development staff in executing those plans.

Governance:  The Dean is responsible for the success and well-being of the School.  The Dean works with faculty and staff in accordance with School bylaws to insure their involvement in the development of the long-range strategic plans, major budgetary priorities, and other important activities that affect the well-being of the School and its reputation within and beyond Duke.  The Dean is a member of the Dean’s Cabinet and may also be appointed to other University committees as the representative of the Nicholas School.

In order to succeed in these tasks, the Dean must be:

  • An intellectual leader among the faculty, who maintains the highest standards in faculty hiring and retention,
  • An energetic, conscientious and ethical administrator broadly familiar with issues in higher education and with strong linkages to environmental and other relevant communities,
  • A strong advocate for the Nicholas School and its core teaching and research missions in the context of the University’s strategic commitment to internationalization, interdisciplinarity, and knowledge in the service of society,
  • A strong advocate for and commitment to enhancing the diversity and well-being of faculty, students and staff,
  • An effective fund-raiser,
  • A partner with fellow Deans, the Provost and the President in promoting University priorities,
  • A consensus builder as well as a decision maker, and
  • A respected University citizen.

Applications and nominations for the Nicholas Dean search, as well as questions pertaining to the search process, should be sent to the confidential address:  Applications should include a current CV; nominations should include contact information for the candidate, if known.

Duke University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing employment opportunity without regard to an individual’s age, color, disability, genetic information, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Search Committee Members:

Emily Klein, Nicholas School of the Environment, Chair
Ana Barros, Pratt School of Engineering
Fred Boadu, Pratt School of Engineering
Martin Doyle, Nicholas School of the Environment
Deborah Gallagher, Nicholas School of the Environment
Claudia Gunsch, Pratt School of Engineering
James Hench, Nicholas School of the Environment
Joel Meyer, Nicholas School of the Environment
J. Curtis Moffatt, T’73, Nicholas School of the Environment Board of Visitors
Charlotte Nuñez-Wolff, Nicholas School of the Environment
Dalia Patino-Echeverri, Nicholas School of the Environment
Heather Stapleton, Nicholas School of the Environment
Norman Wirzba, Duke Divinity School

Ex officio
Benjamin Reese, Vice President for Institutional Equity

The search committee expects to complete its work by December 31, 2017.