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Dean, John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences

The University of Texas at Austin invites applications and nominations for the position of Dean, John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences.

The University of Texas Jackson School of Geosciences is one of the largest and most respected geoscience programs in the country. With an endowment of approximately $450 million and an average annual income of $88 million, the school provides an unprecedented opportunity for its leader to have a major impact on the field of geoscience well into the future.

The University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) is one of the largest public universities in the United States and is the flagship of the University of Texas System. The university is a driver of economic and social progress, serving its citizens as a leading center of knowledge and creativity. With origins that trace back to the 1827 Mexican government constitution for the state, the university has grown to a 431-acre main campus, enrolling over 51,000 students studying in nearly 120 bachelor degree programs and over 220 graduate programs across 18 colleges and schools, with a faculty of 3,100 supported by 21,000 professional staff. The University also includes the nearby, 223-acre Pickle Research Campus that is home to the Bureau of Economic Geology and the Institute for Geophysics. Both are research units of the Jackson School. The Jackson School’s Department of Geological Sciences is located on the main campus.

UT Austin is widely known and respected for its academic stature and impact, ranking 15th among American public universities by the 2019 U.S. News and World Report. With over 49 programs that rank among the top 10 in the nation, UT Austin’s academic strengths span virtually all major disciplines. Faculty and research scientists are preeminent in virtually all fields of research and scholarship with sponsored projects awarded totaling more than $650 million a year.

The Jackson School of Geosciences

The Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin is one of the largest and most prestigious academic geoscience institutions in the world. It was established as a college-level school in 2005, as the result of the bequest of Jack and Katie Jackson, with the goal of becoming the preeminent academic geoscience program, with international prominence in geology and geophysics, energy, mineral and water resources and in the broad areas of earth science, including Earth’s environment. The Jackson School has been ranked the No. 1 Geology program in the country by the U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 edition of “Best Graduate Schools.” This prestigious ranking rates graduate programs throughout the country every four years. The Jackson School was also No. 7 in Earth Sciences (No. 3 among public universities) and No. 7 in Geophysics and Seismology (No. 2 among public universities) in the rankings.

The Jackson School consists of the Institute for Geophysics (UTIG), the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG), and the Department of Geological Sciences (DGS). It is made up of approximately 150 full-time faculty and research scientists, over 400 graduate and undergraduate students, and approximately 100 technical staff and postdocs working together to create a distinctive academic institution unlike any other in combined scope, impact, and direct societal relevance. The Jackson School benefits from close collaborations with many other research units across UT Austin including the Oden Institute, the Texas Advanced Computing Center, and the Center for Space Research, among others.

Since its founding in 1972, UTIG is a world leader in expeditionary-scale geophysical research and computationally enabled discovery, conducting research in four broad themes: climate; energy; marine geosciences, seismology and tectonophysics; and polar and planetary geophysics. UTIG has expertise to do everything from conducting scientific ocean drilling to leading airborne radar studies of ice sheets. These field studies are complemented by additional strengths in planetary missions, computational geoscience, geophysical modeling, and laboratory studies. UTIG has a staff of about 75 research scientists and support staff, with graduate and undergraduate students also playing important roles in the research mission.

Established in 1909, the Bureau of Economic Geology is the oldest and second-largest organized research unit at UT Austin. In addition to functioning as the State Geological Survey of Texas, the Bureau conducts research focusing on the intersection of energy, the environment, and the economy, where significant advances are being made to tackle tough problems globally. The Bureau’s staff of over 170 includes scientists, engineers, and economists working with undergraduate and graduate students in multi-disciplinary research teams. Bureau researchers spearhead basic and applied research projects around the world; among them, research in energy resources and economics, coastal and environmental studies, land resources and use, geologic and mineral mapping, hydrogeology, geochemistry, and subsurface nanotechnology.

Founded in 1888, the Department of Geological Sciences is the main academic unit of the Jackson School. Approximately 80 faculty and support staff work together to answer some of the fundamental questions in Earth science and address some of the most pressing issues of the 21st century for the benefit of society. DGS offers eight undergraduate degree programs, a masters and doctoral program, as well as an MS program in Earth and Energy Resources. Through opportunities for interaction with a wide-range of research specialists within the Earth sciences as well as numerous field and research opportunities, DGS, in conjunction with scientists from UTIG and BEG, attract some of the top undergraduate and graduate students from across the nation.

The Jackson School’s 10-year strategic plan supports research across three broad areas: Earth in 2100: Water, Energy, Land, and Climate; Geodynamic Systems and Linkages and; Transitions, Boundary Events and Resilience of Life. Through these research foci and using world-class facilities, the Jackson School aims to address fundamental geoscience questions regarding Earth’s and other planets’ transitions over space and time and perform research that directly relates to societal challenges of the 21st century, including water, energy, natural hazards, natural resources, climate, life, land use, and soils.

The City of Austin

Located in the picturesque Hill Country of Central Texas, Austin is the state capital and the 4th-largest city in Texas, which is among the top-five most diverse states in the nation. As the 11th-largest city in the United States, Austin is widely regarded as a progressive, friendly, innovative, and growing city and is consistently rated a national creative center that attracts talented people from across the world. Austin serves as the corporate headquarters for Fortune 500 companies such as Dell and Whole Foods, plus successful tech startups. Austin also hosts research and development offices for major technology-oriented companies such as Amazon, AMD, Apple, and Google, who have established major operations in Austin to draw from the highly skilled talent the University produces. U.S. News and World Report rated Austin #1 in its Best Places to Live list. Expedia ranks Austin #1 in its 21 super-cool US cities list. More information on Austin can be found at

The Role of the Dean

As the chief academic and administrative officer of the Jackson School of Geosciences, the Dean reports to the Executive Vice President and Provost and serves as a member of the University’s Deans Council. The Dean is responsible for providing strategic and intellectual leadership and collaborating with faculty, research scientists, staff, and other stakeholders regarding the school’s positioning and operations, including all programmatic and personnel activities. With the support of faculty, research scientists, and staff, the Dean is also the college’s principal representative for enhancing its profile, visibility, resource streams, and demand for its programs. This entails managing and developing relationships with key stakeholders, including the Texas state government, students, alumni, as well as local, national, and international geoscience leaders and philanthropists.

Direct reports to the Dean include the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Dean for Research, Director of the Bureau of Economic Geology, Director of the Institute for Geophysics, and Department Chair of Geological Sciences. In addition, the Jackson School administration team includes an Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Administration, an Assistant Dean for Financial Affairs, an Executive Director for Development, a Director for Diversity and Outreach, and a Director of Communications.

Key Opportunities and Challenges

The new Dean will build upon the considerable assets of the Jackson School, including but not limited to the strength of its faculty, research scientists, students, staff, and programs. The successful candidate will put the Jackson School in a coveted position to play a leading role in shaping research and policy related to the geosciences. Specifically, the next Dean will:

Provide bold and visionary leadership for the Jackson School: The new Dean will develop a compelling vision for the Jackson School that includes a strategy for improved integration across the three units within the school (UTIG, BEG, and DGS). The new Dean will be a change agent who works collaboratively with faculty, research scientists, staff, students, and administrative leaders in the development, implementation, and communication of this vision. This vision will further enhance the school’s reputation as a leader in geoscience while reaffirming the school’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Recruit, develop, and retain outstanding geoscientists and foster excellence and recognition in scholarship, education, and service: The Dean is responsible to the Provost for the active recruitment, appointment, promotion and tenure, and retention of a diverse and accomplished group of faculty and research scientists within the school. As an academic and administrative leader, the Dean will ensure ongoing support and development of all faculty members and research scientists, in their roles of research, teaching, and service. She or he must work effectively with faculty and research scientists to understand and support their diverse needs, seeking creative ways to use internal and external resources to recruit, retain, and support faculty and research scientist activities and development. In addition, the Dean will enhance support for and encourage faculty and research scientist efforts to seek prestigious grants, fellowships, awards, and honors, and will develop strategies to support scholarly recognition.

Foster a diverse and inclusive community: Diversity, inclusion, and equity are core values of UT Austin and the Jackson School. The Texas Tribune reported that more than two-thirds of Texans under the age of 19 are non-white, while a number of other reports have listed Texas as one of the most diverse states in the nation, second only to California. The new Dean must demonstrate a vision for, as well as a record of success in, recruiting, supporting, mentoring, and retaining faculty, research scientists, staff, and students from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives.

Strengthen research infrastructure to further enable and promote productivity: The ideal candidate will be prepared to maintain and strengthen the infrastructure required to ensure that faculty, research scientists, and students can be productive scholars, including the personnel and technologies required to ensure success in seeking external research funding and conducting interdisciplinary research.

Develop the financial resources of the Jackson School through fundraising: The next Dean will lead the development efforts of the Jackson School, ensuring that it has access to the finances and resources required to continue to achieve excellence. She or he will be entrepreneurial and creative in developing and implementing fundraising strategies that result in support from both public and private sources, including alumni, high-net-worth donors, and other philanthropic connections. In addition, the Dean is expected to develop close ties with the Jackson School Advisory Council, which provides critical insight into the vision of the school.


The Jackson School seeks in its Dean a leader who has the creative vision, integrity, interpersonal skills, and professional profile to inspire and lead the school and its units to even greater heights of excellence. The search committee understands that no single candidate may have all of the ideal qualifications, but prefers candidates with the following experience and abilities:

Leadership: An established record of effective, strong, and collaborative leadership as well as budgeting experience. A history of developing and promoting shared governance between faculty, research scientists, and administration. The capacity to formulate and articulate a shared vision, to engender support from both internal and external constituents of its value, and to engage others in its implementation. The ability to recruit outstanding new faculty and research scientists as well as retain the school’s strongest faculty and researchers. Experience engaging with, recruiting, and retaining faculty and scientists from diverse backgrounds. Familiarity with appointment, promotion, and tenure procedures. Ability to motivate and inspire others to strive continuously for academic excellence. Appreciation for the broad array of varied research paradigms and foci across the Jackson School.

Academic Background: Distinguished record of scholarship, including success with or evidence of a strong commitment to supporting colleagues’ pursuit of external funding. Scholarly accomplishments and national recognition in one or more of the disciplines represented by or related to the college. Credentials for appointment at full professor level, including Ph.D. or recognized equivalent.

Focus on Students: Genuine investment in the school’s teaching mission and the importance of providing undergraduate and graduate students with the highest-quality educational experience. Must understand and value the importance of a diverse student body and mechanisms for retention and support of all students, with an emphasis on students from underrepresented groups.

Financial Management Experience: Record of operational leadership and fiscal management demonstrating excellence, growth, and financial effectiveness. Ability to make strategic financial decisions that ensure efficient, transparent, fair, sustainable, and effective use of resources.

Fundraising: Commitment to increasing philanthropic support from individuals, foundations, corporations, and the government. Distinguished record of success in as well as an appetite for fundraising and garnering resources to advance academic and research initiatives. In addition to the ability to anticipate strategic directions for future funding the Dean is expected to help steer future funding directions through establishing relationships and engaging in activities with federal funding agencies.

Personal Qualities: Personal and academic integrity. Strong interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills, emotional intelligence, intellectual curiosity, courage, and a capacity for openness and transparency. Ability to foster a collegial and respectful work and educational environment. Demonstrated ability to promoting an inclusive community between students, faculty, research scientists, and staff from multicultural backgrounds.

Application Procedure

Review of nominations and applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. All inquiries, nominations/referrals, and applications (including CVs and a list of administrative accomplishments) should be sent electronically and in confidence to:


The University of Texas at Austin is committed to providing an inclusive educational environment in which all students, faculty, and staff can learn, research, create, work and thrive free from all forms of harassment, discrimination, and misconduct. As an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, UT Austin complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University 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, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.