“The mission of Hampshire College is to foster a lifelong passion for learning, inquiry, and ethical citizenship that inspires students to contribute to knowledge, justice, and positive change in the world and, by doing so, to transform higher education.”
Hampshire College, one of the nation’s boldest and most innovative liberal arts institutions, is seeking its next president. Approaching its 50th year as a standard setter for rigorous, student-directed education, Hampshire invites applications from potential leaders who embody the spirit of the College and have the ability to lead this evolving, experimenting educational community through the crucial next stage of its development.
Hampshire was conceived in 1958 by a committee of faculty from Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts Amherst with the intention of challenging the status quo and re-envisioning liberal arts education. The College was incorporated in 1965 and opened its doors to its first students in 1970, the culmination of years of planning to create “a new departure in higher education.” A half century later Hampshire continues to succeed in this mission, demonstrating the benefit to undergraduates of mentoring relationships with professors, the freedom to pursue their intellectual and artistic passions across fields of study, and an environment that nurtures both individuality and collective activism. Hampshire has been described as a graduate school for undergraduates. While many colleges and universities now incorporate some elements of the Hampshire approach, none embodies it as comprehensively and with the same vigor.
Hampshire is an institution that attracts proactive, engaged, and inquisitive students and yields graduates who are exceedingly comfortable with the unpredictable process of change. Hampshire fosters passionate learners who are unafraid to ask hard questions and pursue creative solutions. Hampshire ranks among the top one percent nationwide of colleges whose students go on to earn a doctoral degree. Two-thirds of alumni earn an advanced degree within ten years of graduating. Three graduates have won MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships for their work in the arts and humanities. One in five undergraduates in the sciences presents their work at peer-reviewed conferences, and five percent are lead authors on peer-reviewed journal articles. Hampshire is on the Forbes Top 10 list of “most entrepreneurial colleges” – more than a quarter of alumni go on to found their own enterprises such as social ventures, advocacy organizations, high-tech firms, film companies, and art galleries. Hampshire is a top producer of Fulbright Scholars: eleven graduates and six employees won the award in the last four years.
Hampshire is seeking a president who believes deeply in the College’s founding vision and who will embrace those principles to chart a compelling path forward. Hampshire’s new president may or may not have leadership experience at a college or university, but must be stirred by the College’s mission and possess the vision, voice, and visibility to advance, promote, and celebrate it, ensuring Hampshire’s future as a progressive, leading institution of higher education. The president must embrace innovation, facilitate productive communication that drives toward solutions, and inspire others – within the Hampshire community as well as outside Hampshire’s community. This work needs to be accomplished in the context of critical challenges facing higher education and the nation: How does a college build a financial model to achieve excellence in education while ensuring that all capable students have access to that education? How should a college engage with consequential issues in the wider world? How does a campus foster a shared ethos of community while advocating that individual and group voices are essential and must be heard? The Board of Trustees is seeking a leader for Hampshire who will meet these issues with the rigor, creativity, sensitivity, curiosity, and enthusiasm that characterize Hampshire itself.
Sheryl Ash and Rebecca Swartz are leading this search with Matthew Tzuker.
Hampshire College is an equal opportunity institution, committed to diversity and inclusion in education and employment.