UM-Dearborn Chancellor Position Description

The University of Michigan invites nominations and applications for the position of Chancellor of the Dearborn campus. The Chancellor exercises broad responsibilities for all aspects of the academic, student, financial, and administrative dimensions of the institution. The University of Michigan-Dearborn seeks an energetic, dynamic, and visionary individual to lead and to engage its faculty, staff, students, and community in an exciting era for the institution and its community.

University of Michigan

The University of Michigan was originally founded in Detroit in 1817, moving to Ann Arbor in 1837. Two additional regional campuses were subsequently created, the University of Michigan-Flint in 1956 and the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 1959. All three campuses are governed by the University of Michigan Board of Regents and are overseen by the University President. Chancellors of the regional campuses serve as executive officers of the University and report directly to the President. The three U-M campuses work together in a synergistic, mutually beneficial fashion.

University of Michigan-Dearborn

The University of Michigan-Dearborn was founded in 1959 through a gift of land from the Ford Motor Company and a grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund. UM-Dearborn is located on 200 beautiful acres of the original estate of Henry Ford bordering the Rouge River. Though only ten miles from downtown Detroit, the campus neighborhood includes some 70 acres of nature preservation. The city of Dearborn, best known for its historical role in the automotive industry, is part of the greater Detroit metropolitan area, and is today noted for its cultural and ethnic diversity.

Organizational Profile

As part of the University of Michigan, the Dearborn campus enjoys the resources of a large research university while maintaining the advantages of a moderate sized institution. It has approximately 9,100 students (approximately 7,000 undergraduates) and offers 600 beds of student housing available through a private-public partnership.

The University of Michigan-Dearborn welcomes a substantial and growing non-traditional student population, of which 48percent are first generation college attendees. On average, matriculating students are considered among the best prepared in the Midwest, ranking in the top 15percent of their high school graduating classes; the class of 2020 will have an average GPA of 3.56 and ACT of 24.9. While the majority of Dearborn students live or work in the general region of Southeast Michigan, and some 96percent are from the state at large, approximately 600 international students are also enrolled on campus. University of Michigan-Dearborn is home to well over 100 student organizations, across a broad spectrum of activities. Students report well of their experience; the Dearborn campus scores at least 5percent higher than the national average in student satisfaction according to the latest Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Survey.

With a 2017-2018 operating budget of $149 million, University of Michigan-Dearborn is comprised of four major academic units:

  • College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters;
  • College of Engineering and Computer Science;
  • College of Business; and
  • College of Education, Health and Human Services.

Approximately 260 tenure track faculty, 285 lecturers, and 490 staff members support the work of the university. Over 90percent of full-time faculty hold a doctorate or other appropriate terminal degree. UM-Dearborn faculty consistently win honors, awards, and financial support for teaching and research excellence.

In addition to a full suite of undergraduate programs, with 75 Bachelor of Arts programs and 64 minors, the University of Michigan-Dearborn curriculum includes 36 Master’s degree programs in engineering, computer science, education, health, business, public administration, and the liberal arts. The University was recently ranked sixth among master’s level public universities in the Midwest and offers Ph.D. programs in engineering and the Ed.D. in education. The average class size is 26, almost 70percent of classes have fewer than 30 students and the student: teacher ratio is 17:1. In addition to providing excellent and accessible undergraduate, graduate, and professional training, University of Michigan-Dearborn offers continuing education programs to a diverse and talented student body, primarily from greater metropolitan Detroit.

The University of Michigan-Dearborn is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Accreditation has also been awarded to various UM-Dearborn programs by, among others, ABET, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council. Dearborn is also a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Recent UM-Dearborn Rankings and Honors include:

  • Earning the Community Engagement Classification, awarded by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, for the university’s commitment to being deeply engaged with its larger community through teaching, learning, research and service that makes a difference;
  • Recognition as a veteran-friendly school at the gold level by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, which recognizes institutions of higher learning for their commitment to supporting student veterans and their dependents on campus;
  • S. News & World Report ranking of sixth among master’s-level public universities in the Midwest. The university was among the highest-rated, regional public universities in Michigan;
  • The College of Business ranking as one of Michigan’s top undergraduate business programs by U.S. News & World Report and a “Best Business School” in Princeton Review’s 296 Best Business Schools. Bloomberg Businessweek ranks the College of Business part-time MBA program as second in the state of Michigan and its undergraduate business program as third in the state;
  • Recognition in 2016 as ‘Best Bang for the Buck’ amongst public universities in the Midwest by the Washington Monthly when comparing how universities serve low-income students and families;
  • S. News & World Report ranking of the College of Engineering and Computer Science as among the top undergraduate engineering programs nationwide; and
  • Recognition for its commitment to community engagement with the 2015 Engaged Campus of the Year award from the Michigan Campus Compact (MCC).

Mission and Vision

The University of Michigan-Dearborn takes pride in being an inclusive, student-focused institution and campus offering a transformative education reflective of University of Michigan acclaim. It is deeply committed to excellence in teaching, learning, and research, as well as to ensuring access and affordability. In recent years, University of Michigan-Dearborn has developed a distinct metropolitan vision, in service to creating positive change in southeast Michigan. It seeks to earn national recognition as a dynamic metropolitan university where teaching and research interact, in an engaged environment, to develop future leaders and new knowledge.

UM-Dearborn accomplishes this through its work to:

  • Empower student learning through broad and deep interaction with the liberal arts and sciences, professional studies and cutting-edge research;
  • Apply innovative pedagogies to advanced teaching and learning;
  • Build in our students the knowledge and skills essential for personal transformation, professional success and advancing the common good;
  • Create and sharing knowledge through pioneering research and maximizing our partnerships with diverse sectors of our community;
  • Foster a dynamic environment where innovation, openness and creativity flourish;
  • Prepare our graduates to become engaged citizens and creative leaders, ready to offer inventive solutions to regional, national and global challenges;
  • Forge mutually beneficial partnerships with businesses, community-based organizations, educational institutions and government agencies; and
  • Strive to be the institution of choice in southeast Michigan for individuals and organizations that value accessibility, flexibility, affordability, diversity, inclusion and preeminence in research, scholarship, education and engagement.

Governance and Reporting Relationships

The Chancellor reports to the President of the University of Michigan. Reporting directly to the Chancellor are the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, a Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs, a Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Life, a Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement, and a Vice Chancellor for External Relations. Also reporting to the Chancellor are the Special Counsel for Inclusion and Senior Advisor for Metropolitan Impact.

The Chancellor has a high level of autonomy with respect to leadership and oversight of the Dearborn campus and serves as an executive officer of the University and member of the President’s cabinet. The President is strongly committed to the academic mission of this University of Michigan system, and has a collaborative approach to institutional leadership that includes the UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint chancellors in deliberations and decisions on matters of common interest and university-wide concern.

The Board of Regents of the University of Michigan oversees Dearborn and Flint as well as Ann Arbor and has fiduciary responsibility for each of the campuses. The State of Michigan does not have a state board of higher education. Instead, campus budget plans are approved by the Regents, and the Chancellor works directly with the legislature and receives its budget allocation directly from the state.

The State’s 15 public universities – including each of the three University of Michigan campuses – coordinate efforts on a range of policy matters through the Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU). The Chancellor of the University of Michigan-Dearborn is a member of Board of this Association.

Key Responsibilities

The Chancellor serves as the chief executive officer of the campus, providing vision and leadership to focus the intellectual vitality of the University and to maintain and foster a positive environment for its educational, research, cultural and service goals. The Chancellor acts as the University’s primary representative to its many constituencies, including the Ann Arbor and Flint campuses and their administration, Dearborn alumni and friends of the University, state and federal agencies and private and corporate foundations. Engagement with local communities, most especially in the greater Detroit area, is central to the metropolitan mission of the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

The Chancellor will:

Maintain the tradition of excellence in all aspects at the University of Michigan-Dearborn:

  • Actively support the strong commitment of the campus to a high quality of academic instruction, vibrant faculty research activities, and robust metropolitan engagement;
  • Continue and enhance the university’s strong commitment to inclusion and diversity;
  • Direct the formulation and implementation of strategic plans and policies;
  • Cooperate with the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor and Flint, and strengthen UM-Dearborn’s key regional role in these partnerships; and
  • Articulate a vision of the future of public higher education within the greater metropolitan Detroit area, the state and the nation. Demonstrate an ability to pursue that vision with courage and enthusiasm.

Supervise the administration and fiscal management of the University:

  • Oversee the development and administration of annual and long-term operating, facilities and research budgets. Ensure timeliness and accuracy of operating and academic reporting;
  • Actively support the recruitment of talented individuals to the University to serve as professors, researchers and administrators. Build a strong staff and delegate authority as appropriate;
  • Take an active role in working closely with state legislators, other government and community leaders and other Michigan college and university executive officers; and
  • Strongly support and participate in the fundraising efforts of the Office of Institutional Advancement and campus-based economic development efforts for the region and state.

Continue strong leadership of the University:

  • Articulate a clear vision for the University, which will inspire faculty, students and administrators to work toward common goals. Advocate on behalf of the interests, needs and accomplishments of the University community both internally and externally. Promote the University as a force of change and progress in the community and region. Act as a spokesperson for UM-Dearborn;
  • Develop and maintain effective relationships among the units of the campus and serve the University of Michigan as an executive officer;
  • Communicate persuasively the University’s mission, goals and needs to all constituents. Demonstrate flexibility in dealing with all persons affiliated with the University. Preserve and encourage vital university/community partnerships;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to, and an understanding of the consultative process and sensitivity to the need for open communication with faculty, students and staff;
  • Have the confidence and strength of commitment to make and implement difficult decisions regarding resource allocations, strategic direction and long- versus short-term goals; and
  • Respect and learn from diversity, disseminate its teachings, and incorporate an inclusive climate throughout the campus community.

Professional Experience/Qualifications

The new chancellor will demonstrate:

  • An outstanding profile of intellectual leadership and of distinguished scholarship and teaching, suitable for a tenured appointment as full professor at University of Michigan-Dearborn, and an earned doctorate or other terminal degree;
  • Significant administrative and academic accomplishment and a clear commitment to public higher education;
  • Strong advocacy for academic values, student success, and community impact within a context of shared governance;
  • Capacity to identify and capture sources for external funding and support for University initiatives and growth;
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills and superb communication skills, coupled with unquestioned ethical integrity;
  • Ability to lead within UM-Dearborn’s unique culture, enabling it to make significant contributions to the continued success of the campus as an integral part of the greater Detroit metropolitan region; and
  • Commitment to the goals of UM-Dearborn and the University of Michigan.


The University of Michigan has retained Park Square Executive Search to assist in the search for the next Chancellor of U-M Dearborn. Nominations, inquiries, and applications may be sent in confidence to:

Jonathan Fortescue, Managing Partner
Anne Coyle Partner, or
Kyle Meingast, Principal
+1 617 401 2991

The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.