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Position Profile: Dean

The Search

The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service invites nominations and applications for the position of dean. As the nation’s first graduate program offering a Master of Public Service degree, the Clinton School helps students gain the knowledge and experience to further their careers in the areas of nonprofit, governmental, volunteer and private sector work. The dean is the chief executive of the Clinton School, which is a stand-alone campus of the University of Arkansas System located on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The Clinton School offers some competitive advantages over schools of public affairs and presidential institutions. From its founding, the Clinton School has sought to be a meaningful academic space where theory and practical experience come together to equip students to more effectively serve the world with a strong field project-based experiential training. The Clinton School MPS program is more affordable than comparable presidential institutions, with an online program that is competitive in price. Its main location on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Center in the refurbished historic Choctaw Station affords students and faculty access to the adjacent Clinton Library and National Archives facility. Just steps from Little Rock’s vibrant River Market District, the school also offers resident students a thriving, affordable urban setting in which to live and learn. In a nutshell, the Clinton School is a hidden gem that compares favorably in terms of quality, affordability and location.

The Clinton School has a well-earned reputation for being a leader in public service with a curriculum that puts a premium on field project work. Clinton School students have completed more than 1,000 field service projects that have made a difference in people’s lives all over the world. Clinton School students also benefit from participating in the school’s renowned public lecture series, which features leaders in government, politics, business, foreign policy, journalism and philanthropy addressing issues in public service. The lecture series features a diverse array of speakers ranging from senators, congressman, cabinet officials, and ambassadors to renowned academics, corporate CEOs, philanthropists, authors and journalists. For information on the speaker series, visit

The Clinton School was established by the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas on January 29, 2004. Since its inception, the school has been a collaborative effort among its three accredited sponsoring institutions – the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Each campus brings a wealth of resources to the partnership, including a history of scholarship and academic integrity, with specialty faculties that provide an instant infusion of excellence into the teaching program. Additionally, the Clinton School offers concurrent degree programs and elective course offerings through its partners in the system.

With its exciting curriculum and diverse public programs, the Clinton School is committed to making a global impact through training the next generation of public servants. For more information on the Clinton School, visit

The Role

The dean is responsible for leading the Clinton School’s mission and ensuring its success in advancing the work of its students, faculty and staff to capitalize on the school’s unique strength as an academic institution with an emphasis on experiential public service training. The dean oversees a faculty dedicated to teaching students and advancing the school’s academic mission, and a staff that focuses on the areas of admissions, the school’s field service projects, and further community impact through the public program series. The dean will work collaboratively with the supporting institutions in the UA System and is responsible for interfacing with external stakeholders, including state policymakers, nonprofit partner organizations, alumni and community supporters.

The dean reports to the president of the UA System and ultimately to the Board of Trustees, which is responsible for governance of the Clinton School along with the other institutions across the UA System. Under the dean’s leadership, school affairs are conducted in keeping with state laws and the policies and procedures established by the president and the board.

Recent Advances

The Clinton School has enjoyed steady leadership since its inception – first under its founding dean, former U.S. Senator David Pryor, followed by Dean James L. “Skip” Rutherford since 2006. These leaders, with the help of the school’s quality faculty and staff, built a new graduate program in a new academic discipline. The school is on firm financial footing, benefiting from support from a state that has maintained higher education funding levels while many others have suffered budget cuts. It also enjoys the use of quality facilities on the grounds of the Clinton Center and in Little Rock’s vibrant River Market District.

  • Faculty Growth: The school was initially started with limited full-time faculty and with the help of adjunct faculty members from its sponsoring UA System campuses. The past decade has seen the school grow its core, interdisciplinary faculty to six full-time faculty who oversee the curriculum, the teaching of the core courses and the field service program. The core faculty members draw on their academic expertise in public administration, communications, community philanthropy, law, public health, sociology and social work to inform the MPS curriculum. Additional adjunct faculty participate in elective coursework and the concurrent degree programs. The faculty members are active in their fields and in public service, including through the school’s Office of Community Engagement, and the Center on Community Philanthropy, which has enjoyed generous grant support for its efforts to study and promote community philanthropy in the American South.
  • Launch of the Clinton School Online: In 2018, the Clinton School launched Clinton School Online to offer the MPS experience to professionals across the country and world. Clinton School Online offers professionals a practical skill set and knowledge base to enhance their opportunities for leadership in public service. The online program is designed for people already working in their desired field, giving them the enhanced knowledge, skills, and network needed to advance their careers without relocating or disrupting their personal lives. Grounded in critical analysis and the formulation of program and policy options, the online program uses its core courses to teach students to build stronger communities by understanding, engaging, and transforming complex systems to ensure equity and create positive social change.
  • Concurrent Degree Programs: While the MPS represents a new academic degree, the Clinton School also promotes its interdisciplinary approach through concurrent degree programs that allow students to earn their public service masters while completing a Juris Doctorate, Master of Business Administration or a Master of Public Health. The concurrent degree options are offered in collaboration with other graduate-level schools in the UA System: the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Sam M. Walton College of Business, and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. The Clinton School also plans to soon launch a fourth concurrent program with the Master of Social Work at UA-Little Rock. The establishment of these programs has allowed the school to reach more students and introduce public service into important fields.
  • Community Impact:  The unique nature of the Clinton School program has allowed it to make a broad impact on the Central Arkansas community and beyond. The school has strong partnerships with nonprofit, governmental and nongovernmental organizations with which the school has conducted projects with lasting community impact. Additionally, the renowned Clinton School Speaker Series has made the school visible to leaders in politics, business, government and philanthropy across the country and the world. The speaker program has also engaged the Arkansas community directly in the school and helped create ambassadors in the community across the political spectrum.

Opportunities and Challenges

With its unique academic program, interdisciplinary approach, and position as a presidential school located on the grounds of a presidential library, the Clinton School presents both opportunities and challenges for its next leader. Led by a committee representative of faculty, staff, students and alumni, the Clinton School recently embarked on a broad strategic planning process that has led to the creation of aspirational goals, including better alignment of the school’s curriculum with its mission, increasing the integration of the coursework and fieldwork within the MPS program, cultivating and expanding project partnerships and developing tools to better measure the impact of the field service projects. The broad strategic priorities of the plan include:

  • Enhancing Academic Excellence: One of the main strategic priorities is to work toward improving the school’s national reputation relative to other presidential institutions. There is a recognition that work toward improving the national reputation must be done in tandem with improving the academic program. Subgoals around this effort include establishing the school as the preeminent center for public service knowledge, supporting faculty and student scholarship and enhancing academic rigor for students.
  • Improving Quality of Life for the School Community: The Clinton School has a strong track record of attracting a diverse student body as well as faculty and staff. The school seeks to grow and sustain this record and also provide a nurturing environment that will help the staff and faculty fulfill their potential in a culture and climate that contributes to the intellectual, cultural, social and personal enrichment of the community. The school seeks to be an institution where respect and civility prevail in all interactions and tolerance for diversity of opinions is a hallmark of the culture. Subgoals in this effort include creating a shared responsibility to promote a culture of openness and accountability and promoting racial equity across the school.
  • Promoting Student Success: The Clinton School aspires to prepare students to be lifelong learners who are engaged in their communities and are intent on making a difference in those communities. The school will strive to improve access and opportunity to all while working to enroll, retain and graduate a more diverse student body. The school seeks to be known for a high level of responsiveness to students. Subgoals in this effort include maintaining the national average job/fellowship placement rate for graduates, better integrating the online program with overall academic planning and exploring options to provide better flexibility and diversity within curricular options.
  • Enhancing Resources: While the Clinton School enjoys strong support from state revenues, a critical component for achieving the aforementioned goals is growing alternative resources. Key initiatives to address this goal are to increase net student revenue by 50%, as well as create/diversify additional funding sources with the help of a development officer. The strategic plan calls for building an endowment to support the Clinton School’s mission and for endowed chairs while striving to maintain or increase state appropriations.

Personal and Professional Qualifications

The ideal candidates for dean will bring a broad understanding of both the theoretical academic approach of the Clinton School, as well as the importance of its unique approach to teaching and learning through practical experience. The skills and experiences of an ideal candidate include the following:

  • A distinguished record of scholarship and leadership in a field related to the school’s public service mission, including but not limited to public administration, public policy, public affairs, political science, economics, law, public health, sociology, social work, etc.
  • A history of successful, collaborative and transparent leadership
  • A deep understanding of graduate education, public universities and the challenges and opportunities facing public higher education
  • A commitment to excellence in recruiting, retaining and developing a diverse faculty, in developing outstanding academic programs and supporting quality teaching, research and service
  • A commitment to student success and supporting student scholarship and excellence inside and outside of the classroom
  • A demonstrated desire and ability to engage all aspects of an academic community
  • Experience developing clear organizational structures and delegating appropriately
  • A thorough understanding of the operational and infrastructural needs of a presidential graduate program
  • Demonstrable success in addressing inclusion and diversity
  • A capacity and strong commitment to work effectively with local communities, partner organizations, government officials and agencies
  • The capacity to represent the Clinton School compellingly to donors and lead advancement efforts
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including the ability to effectively interact with academics and non-academics, and to operate at the highest levels of academic, business, and government leadership
  • A record of success in managing resources and demonstrated finance and business skills
  • An outstanding record of managing people and a strong team orientation
  • A willingness to circulate widely and listen well

As an equal opportunity institution, the University of Arkansas System is committed to providing an educationally diverse environment. We seek and welcome applicants who increase our diversity.

Confidential inquiries can be made by contacting: 

Ben Beaumont, UA System senior director of policy and public affairs
501-686-2505 or

Applicants can upload materials in PDF format at this page.

To be considered, applicants will need to submit:

  • Cover Letter/Letter of Application
  • Curriculum vitae
  • A list of five professional references (name, title, email address, and contact number)

Nominations and general inquires can be emailed to:

Letters of nomination and/or recommendation should include full name and address of the proposed candidate and should be in a PDF format.

Evaluation of applications will begin April 2, 2021. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Written nominations, inquiries and applications (including emails) may be subject to disclosure under the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.

Clinton School Speaker Series
Inspiring Ideas Into Action.

The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.

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