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Director, School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning Tempe, AZ

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (The College) on the Tempe Campus of Arizona State University (ASU) invites inquiries, nominations, and applications for the position of Director of The School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning (SGSUP) with a concurrent appointment as tenured Professor.

The School is home to a dynamic group of faculty and students working to advance geospatial knowledge for a complex world, emphasizing education, research, and applied solutions to urban and environmental problems. SGSUP is a multidisciplinary community committed to the social and environmental well-being of communities, places, and people. The new Director will join a School passionate about the integration of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion into all offerings and operations. The next Director should embrace the School's mission to generate, integrate, disseminate, and apply knowledge across multiple thematic areas of emphasis, including spatial science, urban climatology, transportation, urban planning, earth surface processes, urban systems analysis, human environmental systems, and social justice and equity.

The School is a major participant in the instructional and research activities of Arizona State University and its faculty are affiliated with many other schools in the university. The Director will provide strategic and operational oversight and leadership for a complex School with 37 tenured/tenure-track faculty, including three members of the National Academy of Sciences, approximately 120 graduate students and over 1,000 undergraduate majors. The School offers MA and PhD programs in Geography, a PhD in Urban Planning, an accredited professional Masters in Urban and Environmental Planning, a Master of Advanced Studies in Geographical Information Systems, and graduate certificate programs in GIS and Transportation.Undergraduates major in geography, geographical information science or urban planning, and majors and non-majors alike can obtain a certificate in Geographic Information Science. In addition to strong in person degree programs, the School has rapidly growing online undergraduate and graduate offerings to enhance access to students globally. To further support transdisciplinary scholarship and research, the SGSUP leads and/or co-leads three world class integral centers of research: The Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science, the Spatial Analysis Research Center, and the Urban Climate Research Center.

The new Director will join a collegial SGSUP community with a strong interdisciplinary culture. The Director is expected to be actively engaged on the Tempe campus as well as innovative and effective in leading the online operations of the School. In addition to building upon the faculty’s excellent track record of collaborative science and successful pursuits of external funding, the new Director will be a persuasive and passionate representative of SGSUP across ASU and to external constituencies.

The location offers the resources of a major metropolitan area (5+ million) in a state with spectacular natural scenery and recreational areas, sublime winters, and a culturally rich population. Learn more about SGSUP and ASU at and, respectively. Learn more about what The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has to offer by visiting

Minimum Qualifications 

  • A PhD degree in geography, planning, or a related field 
  • A scholarly record commensurate with the rank of tenured Professor in The School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • A demonstrated capacity for leadership, for example, as a group or center leader or department chair or director
  • Strong and persuasive communication skills 
  • Demonstrated commitment to principles of justice, equality, diversity, and inclusion and to attracting, recruiting, retaining, and promoting personnel in support of those principles, and in particular Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) personnel
  • A track record as an engaged leader, relationship builder, and community cultivator who uses variety of methods to bring individuals together.

Desired Qualifications 

  • An internationally recognized research program complementing the strengths of the School
  • A demonstrated commitment to teaching and academic innovation
  • A demonstrated record of effective financial and administrative oversight
  • Experience galvanizing team-based and multi-program-based groups to compete for major grants
  • Experience representing and championing a unit or initiative to broad external audiences 
  • Effectively articulate a commitment to the integrated mission and programs of the School
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrated commitment to preserving and building upon a well-established culture of collegiality and support among faculty, staff and students
  • An interest in and commitment to fundraising and an ability to present a compelling story to potential donors and external constituencies 

Arizona State University is a leading public university ranked #1 Most Innovative School by U.S. News & World Report six years in a row and is leading a bold reinvention of higher education as the New American University. ASU is a research-intensive university and has developed numerous new programs and units that defy and bridge disciplinary boundaries to enable the exploration and discovery of new knowledge while developing solutions to the most challenging issues of our time. Located on four campuses and two research parks in the Phoenix metropolitan area, ASU is one of the largest universities in the United States and has strong and simultaneous commitments to educational access, research, and teaching excellence. With the University’s location in the nation’s fifth largest city, the Phoenix region provides a rich context for applied research and community engagement around issues of human communication.

Natalie Leonhard is leading this search with Robin Dougherty.

Nominations, inquiries, and applications (a curriculum vitae; a letter of interest describing how you meet the qualifications noted above, and your vision for leadership of an interdisciplinary school; a diversity statement addressing how your past and/or potential contributions to diversity and inclusion will advance ASU’s commitment to inclusive excellence; and contact information, including email addresses, for five references; references may be contacted at a later stage of the search and only with the candidate’s approval) can be submitted online below. Applications will be reviewed beginning December 15, 2020; if not filled, reviews will occur every two weeks thereafter until the search is closed.

A background check is required for employment.

ASU is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor and an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will be considered without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. For more information on ASU’s policies, please see: and its complete non-discrimination statement at:

In compliance with federal law, ASU prepares an annual report on campus security and fire safety programs and resources. ASU’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report is available online at You may request a hard copy of the report by contacting the ASU Police Department at 480-965-3456.

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