Director, School of Visual Arts – Virginia Tech

Job no: 519599
Work type: Teaching & Research Faculty
Senior management: Architecture & Urban Studies
Department: School of Visual Arts SOVA
Location: Blacksburg Area
Categories: Executive / Director / Management, Visual Arts/Design/Creative Technologies

Job Description

The College of Architecture and Urban Studies (CAUS) at Virginia Tech invites applications for the position of Director, School of Visual Arts (SOVA), with a start date of August 1, 2022 or earlier.

One of four schools in CAUS (along with School of Architecture + Design, Myers-Lawson School of Construction, School of Public and International Affairs), SOVA includes four undergraduate programs (BFAs in Studio Art, Graphic Design, and Creative Technologies; BA in Art History) as well as two graduate programs (MFA in Creative Technologies; MA in Material Culture and Public Humanities in collaboration with the Department of Religion & Culture). A program in cinema may be added to the school. Currently consisting of 28 full-time faculty and 3 full-time staff, SOVA serves 270 majors as well as a growing number of non-majors through its minor in Visual Arts and Society.

Leveraging its unique position within an internationally-renowned research university, SOVA successfully navigates the intersection of Art, Design, and Technology. The school affirms the vital link between inherited material as well as historical traditions and emerging tools in the digital present through both its curricula and the creative research of the faculty. SOVA provides opportunities for valuable experiential learning that crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries with an emphasis on collaboration and outreach.

As part of the Arts@Virginia Tech and the Creativity and Innovation District, SOVA collaborates with the Moss Arts Center, the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT), and many departments across the university to promote the visual arts and design at Virginia Tech. The school hosts a lively visiting artist and scholar program; recent visitors include Willie Cole, Laurie Anderson, Kehinde Wiley, Martin Venezky, Aaron Draplin, Bobby Martin, David Carson, Lynn Hershman-Leeson, Daniel Canogar, Adam Gopnik, and Aaron Turner. Through its Armory Gallery, SOVA maintains an active schedule of exhibitions by nationally-renowned artists and students alike. Its programming complements and coordinates with other exhibition venues at Virginia Tech, including the Moss Arts Center, Perspective Gallery, and the student-run XYZ Gallery in downtown Blacksburg.

SOVA played a key role in designing and defining Virginia Tech’s first purpose-built art studios in the University’s history, located within the Creativity and Innovation Living Learning Community that opened in August 2021. An array of SOVA classes are taught in this unique facility. Additional arts-related facilities appear in the university’s Master Plan, and the director will play a key role as these new facilities are designed and built.

The director of SOVA will be responsible for the following, and candidates will be assessed on their potential and/or proven ability to excel in these areas: providing strategic leadership; providing curricular leadership; exploring and extending partnerships/collaborative leadership; managing SOVA; and promoting inclusivity.

Required Qualifications

  • terminal degree in one of the school’s disciplines with national and/or international recognition in one’s field
  • credentials enabling appointment as a tenured professor within the school
  • established record of success in scholarship, academic leadership, and administration
  • comprehensive knowledge of and strong networks in contemporary arts and design arenas
  • demonstrated excellence and previous experience in visual arts or design leadership
  • established record of commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • excellent communication, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills
  • experience in fundraising

The director of SOVA will be responsible for the following, and candidates will be assessed on their potential and/or proven ability to excel in there areas:

Provide strategic leadership:

  • promote SOVA, the arts, and design, recognizing the quality and achievements of the existing programs and faculty research, while also aligning those strengths with new opportunities and strategic priorities of the college and university.
  • strategically serve the unique needs of SOVA faculty, staff and students through collaborative capacity-building and transparent leadership including effective and equitable administrative and fiscal management of the school.
  • serve as a member of the Dean’s executive leadership team with associate deans and other directors as well as the expanded leadership team comprising program chairs, school managers and research center directors.
  • represent the school within the college and throughout the university as well as with stakeholders such as alumni and donors to promote the school’s programs.
  • play a key role in advocating for the visual art and design on campus as opportunities for new facilities arise.

Provide curricular leadership:

  • support and enhance existing programs and develop new programs that foster disciplinary depth, interdisciplinary breadth, teamwork, and problem-solving skills; promote a commitment to serving the public while enhancing and expanding experiential learning within the curriculum.
  • advance scholarship, collaboration, and creative synergies among SOVA programs, faculty, staff and students and across the university.
  • work with the college in furthering key strategic initiatives in the realization of the University’s Beyond Boundaries vision.
  • work with the faculty and the college to realize both curricular and research opportunities inherent in each of the college’s key strategic initiatives, such as smart design and construction (including Living Lab and Greater Metro DC Area projects). 

Explore and extend partnerships/collaborative leadership:

  • maintain existing and develop new fruitful external partnerships to enhance discovery and learning and support the school’s research and programs through fundraising and expanding alumni relations.
  • work collaboratively and creatively across the discipline of the school, with other schools in the college, and with other campus units including the Moss Arts Center, Institute for Creativity,  Arts and Technology, and others.
  • serve as a member of the university’s Arts@VT Board and participate in other campus-side arts-based committees and initiatives.

Manage SOVA:

  • support an ongoing active calendar of exhibits and visiting artists, designers, and scholars both through SOVA and as part of collaborative projects with other university units as well as local venues.
  • oversee long-term and short-term planning for new SOVA facilities as part of the university’s Master Plan.

Promote Inclusivity:

  • cultivate a welcoming workplace and classrooms that reflect the diversity of Virginia Tech’s evolving community, including hiring plans, inclusive pedagogies, and public programs.
  • demonstrate commitment to equity and diversity.

SOVA | Virginia Tech School of Visual Arts (

Materials Submission

Applications and supporting documents will be treated confidentially and must be submitted online at Virginia Tech Jobs.

Complete Applications must include:

  1. Cover Letter
  2. Full curriculum vitae
  3. Complete contact information for at least three individuals willing to provide references
  4. Statement outlining interest in the position and possible areas of future potential for the School
  5. Statement of research, scholarship, and evidence of commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion 

Questions concerning the position should be directed to the Chair of the Search Committee, Ruth Waalkes, Associate Provost for the Arts,

Correspondence concerning electronic applications should be addressed to Roslyn Garrison, Director of HR, College of Architecture and Urban Studies at

Application Review will begin April 15, 2022 and the search will remain open until filled.  The position will be available from August 1, 2022 or earlier.   

Appointment Type


Salary Information

Commensurate with experience

Review Date

Friday, April 15, 2022

Additional Information

The successful candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check.

Position will require occasional travel to meetings and conferences.


Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges, a school of medicine, a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School, and Honors College. The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension offices and research centers. A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.

Virginia Tech has a strong commitment to the principle of diversity and, in that spirit, seeks a broad spectrum of candidates, including women, members of minority and underrepresented groups, veterans, and people with disabilities.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Roslyn Garrison at during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.