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Leadership Profile


The Vice President for the Arts will play an instrumental role in shaping the future of the arts at Stanford, and by extension, in the life of the university’s immediate and neighboring communities. The successful candidate will have the requisite professional stature to position Stanford nationally and globally in setting the agenda around the arts in a time of seismic cultural, political, scientific, economic, and technological change.


Overseeing a sizable portfolio of entities in a prominent research university, the VP must be an effective builder and manager, as well as an astute diplomat—someone who can harness the university’s considerable intellectual and institutional capacities, galvanize collective reflection, and spearhead new strategic initiatives that demonstrate Stanford’s commitment to the arts in the 21st century.


The successful Vice President will have the following set of specific leadership characteristics and working approach:


  • Values and experience aligned with the opportunities for community engagement, social justice, and culture change. This requires an empathetic and people-focused approach, as well as a sensitivity to structural inequities in our society and in the arts specifically, and a commitment to advancing equity and justice.
  • Ability to engage with multiple stakeholders across many different constituencies. The arts bring together students, faculty, staff, creative partners, external community members, donors, and national and international experts—and more. An effective leader will understand the different perspectives of these varied constituents and how to interact with them effectively.
  • An informed understanding of the regional, national, and global arts landscape, with the ability to identify strategic opportunities for Stanford’s specific contributions to the arts field and the wider cultural ecosystem.
  • Ability to synthesize, coordinate, facilitate, support, and advocate for the independent VPA units.
  • Ability to work effectively with various communities, demonstrating how interdependence and collaboration can benefit each unit and the collective, with an approach that is more “rising tide lifts all boats” than “zero-sum”.
  • Responsible stewardship of human and budgetary resources, to ensure financial sustainability overall and to manage the complex logistics of each unit.
  • Adept fundraising skills, with ability to set clear and strategic funding priorities across the arts landscape, and to engage effectively with donor constituents.
  • Experience in establishing and implementing systems to evaluate progress against strategic goals and resulting impact.


The new VP will arrive at Stanford at a turning point for the arts on campus—and in the arts at large. The pandemic and the social justice movements that gained momentum in its wake have made the last year a time of disruption and reckoning for arts organizations of all kinds, both regionally and around the globe. Stanford has the opportunity to play a more proactive role in shaping the arts ecosystem that re-emerges from this experience. The VP can contribute to strategic initiatives that expand the reach of Stanford’s arts impact and put artists at the center of how we re-envision and re-build our community and society.


Professional Qualifications


The successful VP will bring many of the following qualifications, skills, and experiences to the role:


  • A deep, lived passion for working collaboratively with artists and knowledge of the contemporary visual arts and performing arts landscape in the U.S.
  • An interest and sustained career engagement with artistic and cross-disciplinary experimentation, research, and innovation.
  • The ability to engage stakeholders in the development of a collaborative vision, as well as the ability to articulate and communicate that vision to widely varying constituencies.
  • A demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion; experience working with and engaging diverse faculty, students, staff, and communities at a grassroots level; and the capacity to create a harmonious environment that welcomes and respects people who represent different racial, ethnic, religious, gender, gender-presentation, sexuality, geographic, cultural, ability, and socioeconomic groups.
  • The ability to lead through influence and persuasion, ideally in a decentralized and matrixed organization.
  • A track record of leadership and management experience within a relevant organization.
  • Experience leading and developing high-performing, talented staff and teams.
  • Success building an organization’s visibility and reputation both locally and nationally.
  • A natural affinity for building relationships and engaging broad networks.
  • Experience and/or appetite for leading and supporting development and fundraising efforts.
  • Strong business acumen and experience managing organizational finances.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • A Bachelor’s degree is required; relevant advanced degree a plus.


Applications, Inquiries, and Nominations


Screening of complete applications will begin immediately and continue until the completion of the search process.




Regan Gough and Brett Barbour

Isaacson, Miller

1000 Sansome Street, Suite 300

San Francisco, CA 94111

Phone: 415.655.4900


The job duties listed are typical examples of work performed by positions in this job classification and are not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, tasks, and responsibilities. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary depending on department or program needs without changing the general nature and scope of the job or level of responsibility. Employees may also perform other duties as assigned.
Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of his or her job.
Stanford is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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