The Opportunity

Maine College of Art (MECA) invites nominations and applications for the position of President. MECA’s new President will be charged with leading the institution to new heights while advancing the mission of educating artists for life.

Maine College of Art

Uniquely poised for a period of continued growth, Maine College of Art is the oldest and largest arts institution in the State of Maine. Founded in 1882 and located in the heart of Downtown Portland’s thriving Arts District, MECA offers a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) in 11 studio majors and five minors, an MFA (Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art), and an MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching). Pre-College and Continuing Studies programming are also offered for both adults and youths. The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at MECA and the Joanne Waxman Library are free and open to the public.

Over the past six years, MECA has increased revenue by 39%, advanced annual fundraising efforts by 52%, grown enrollment every year, and increased selectivity. The College is notable not only for its fine education in the visual arts, but especially for its new programs in textile and fashion design and documentary studies (via acquisition of the SALT Institute). MECA’s new President will also be responsible for stewarding a $3 million dollar gift from the Crewe Foundation, the largest gift in the history of the 134 year-old institution, designed to introduce new programs including the first ever endowed professorship of art and music.

Rooted in the core values of artistic excellence, creative entrepreneurship, and civic engagement, the College places a great emphasis on the involvement of students in community life, and on preparation for working life after college, through a minor in Public Engagement and the “Artists at Work” program, and on the preparation of students for professional careers and lives as working artists after graduation.

Key Responsibilities of the President

The President is the chief executive officer of the College reporting to the Board of Trustees through the Board Chair. The President directly supervises the Executive Vice President, the Vice President of Academic Affairs/Dean of the College, and the Vice President for Institutional Advancement. As the visionary leader of the institution, the President must represent the College to its various constituencies, communicate well, and inspire collaboration to further its mission.

Maintaining a close working relationship with the Board of Trustees, the President will communicate regularly, providing information on new developments, important issues, and potential challenges facing the College. Together with the Vice President for Institutional Advancement, the President will serve in a leadership capacity to ensure vigorous fund raising for the several planned capital initiatives and to continue toward the strategic goal of a $20 million endowment.

Other responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring that the institution’s reputation and academic programs are of high quality and in accordance with MECA’s standards of excellence;
  • Working collaboratively with the Board of Trustees, shapes strategic questions to ensure the long-term well-being of the institution;
  • Ongoing oversight for progress on MECA’s strategic plan, including new initiatives and actions delineated in supporting work plans;
  • Preparing, in consultation with the Board, faculty, staff, and students, long-range academic, fiscal, and facilities plans which will be updated annually; and
  • Positioning the College nationally and internationally.

Professional Experience, Qualifications & Characteristics

The successful candidate will hold the highest commitment to ethical standards. Successful candidates, through professional experience and characteristics, may also have:

  • Demonstrated management and relevant leadership experience;
  • The capacity and proven experience to attract, cultivate, and secure leadership gifts from individual, foundation, and corporate donors to further MECA’s mission;
  • Solid experience in board relations and external relations;
  • A strong desire to be accessible to, and interact with, students and faculty regularly;
  • Proven ability to set a clear, positive agenda and to achieve excellent results, including in the areas of program improvement and development;
  • An understanding of, and respect for, working artists;
  • An innovative and agile vision;
  • An energetic style that empowers others;
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills to be a persuasive advocate for the College (locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally);
  • Demonstrated intellectual honesty and integrity;
  • Knowledge of trends, challenges, and strategies in higher education, particularly within the art and design sphere;
  • An innovative mindset around art and design school pedagogy, programs, enrollment, recruitment, and diversity;
  • Knowledge of, and a vision for, the role/place of art and creativity within a global context;
  • An engaged leadership style that incorporates collaboration, the ability to listen, and the ability to build relationships;
  • Demonstrated commitment to ethical best practices in academic work and culture;
  • A personality that values listening and is appreciative of faculty development; and
  • The ability to engage with the local community and culture and build a narrative around the distinguished accomplishments and qualities that MECA champions to its faculty, students, parents, and community.

Education

A terminal degree is preferred. In lieu of a terminal degree, candidates should possess an exemplary record of success in higher education administration.

Compensation

Maine College of Art offers an attractive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with the successful candidate’s background and experience.

Nominations and Applications

Applications should consist of a detailed cover letter and curriculum vitae. For priority consideration, please apply by December 15, 2016. To ensure full consideration, inquiries, nominations, and applications should be submitted, in confidence, to meca-president@kornferry.com.

Paul Chou, M.M.
Co-Managing Director
Global Education Practice
Philadelphia, PA

Josh Ward, Ph.D.
Senior Associate
Global Education Practice
Philadelphia, PA

Maine College of Art is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from women and minorities.