The School of Computing at George Mason University invites applications and nominations for the position of Divisional Dean. The Divisional Dean will play a critical leadership role in guiding the evolution of the newly formed School of Computing, capitalizing on the momentum that is propelling Mason into the ranks of some of the most highly regarded public research universities in the nation.
In conjunction with Amazon’s decision to establish a second headquarters in Northern Virginia, the Commonwealth of Virginia announced a multi-year plan to invest $750 million in the growth of degree programs in computing. At that time, Mason committed to accelerate its plans to grow its capacity in computing-related disciplines and, in June 2021, launched a brand-new School of Computing that sits alongside the Volgenau School of Engineering, under the umbrella of the College of Engineering and Computing.
The School of Computing has 71 tenured and tenure-track faculty and 49 instructional and research faculty with wide-ranging research interests across the Departments of Computer Science, Information Sciences and Technology, and Statistics. The School is also home to nearly 5,000 students and awards four BS degrees, seven MS degrees, three PhD degrees, two undergraduate certificates, and three graduate certificates. The School has $8.5 million annual research awards and $6.3 million in annual research expenditures. College-wide there are 19 recipients of the prestigious CAREER/Young Investigator Awards, 18 IEEE Fellows, two ACM Fellows, four IMS Fellows, three ASA Fellows, and two Elected Members of ISI.
University-wide, Mason has developed significant education and research strengths in computing over the past decade, and today supports 13 undergraduate majors, 22 master’s programs, and 11 PhD programs developed specifically to serve individuals interested in computing-related occupations. Building on these strengths, the formation of a contemporary School of Computing—the first in the Commonwealth of Virginia—provides the University with unprecedented opportunities both to establish computing as one of its strategic differentiators and to assume a leadership role in shaping the future of computing, regionally, nationally, and globally.
About George Mason University:
Mason was founded as a branch of the University of Virginia in 1957 and became an independent institution in 1972. The largest public university in Virginia, George Mason enrolls nearly 40,000 students from all 50 states and 130 countries on four campuses: a 677-acre campus in Fairfax, Virginia; a science and technology campus in Prince William County, Virginia; a professional campus in Arlington, Virginia; and an international campus in Songdo, South Korea. In addition to these campuses, Mason operates a site in Loudoun County, Virginia, and has partnered with the Smithsonian Institution to offer a Global Conservation Studies Program at the Smithsonian Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, Virginia. Each Mason location has a distinctive academic and research focus that plays a critical role in the economy of the region. It is the youngest university of the 130 R1 institutions in the United States and is ranked as the most diverse young research university in the country.
With over 1,800 faculty, Mason offers 200 undergraduate, master’s, doctoral, and professional degree programs across 10 schools and colleges:
- Antonin Scalia Law School
- Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution
- College of Education and Human Development
- College of Engineering and Computing
- College of Health and Human Services
- College of Humanities and Social Sciences
- College of Science
- College of Visual and Performing Arts
- Schar School of Policy and Government
- School of Business
In 2021, U.S. News and World Report ranked Mason among the top 35 most innovative universities in the United States and 15th nationally for ethnic diversity (#1 in Virginia). The University prides itself on being an innovative and inclusive academic community committed to making the world more prosperous, free, and just and on providing a campus atmosphere that allows its students to thrive. Mason is committed to exemplary leadership around anti-racism and promotes research that supports social justice.
As a public research university in one of the most important political, economic, and intellectual hubs in the world, Mason accepts its responsibility to serve others: to help its students succeed, to enrich the life of its community, and to contribute to solving some of the most complex global problems of our time. As reflected in its 2014-2024 Strategic Plan, Mason strives to be the best university for the world—to produce the types of career-ready graduates, research, scholarship, and service-oriented action that will best serve society. In September 2021, President Washington launched a new strategic planning initiative to define the University’s target priorities, strategies, and action steps. The new five-year strategic plan is expected to be completed in June 2022.
Mason’s innovative and entrepreneurial attitude and its culture of diversity and accessibility have served the University well over the past four decades. These characteristics—referred to as the Mason IDEA— highlight how the University defines itself and are central to its strategic plan:
- Innovative – Mason does not cling to old ways just because they have worked in the past. The University honors time-tested academic principles while striving to create new forms of education that serve students better and new paths of research that can discover solutions to the world’s greatest challenges.
- Diverse – Mason brings together a multitude of people and ideas in everything that the University does. The University’s culture of inclusion, multidisciplinary approach, and global perspective benefit both education and scholarship.
- Entrepreneurial – Mason takes ideas into action. The University educates students to become agents of positive change, to do or create jobs, and to create value through government or business, public or private organizations, academia, or the arts. Mason pursues discoveries that can make a difference in the world and helps the community thrive culturally, socially, and economically.
- Accessible – Mason is an open and welcoming community. The University partners with public and private organizations in the region and around the world and proactively engages with the community. Mason defines its success by how many talented students with potential are served, not by how many are left out.
Mason is a minority-majority university with tremendous diversity among its students and with comparable graduation rates across all demographic groups (contrary to nation-wide disparities in minority graduation rates). More than one-third (36%) of Mason students are first-generation college students. In Fall 2021, Mason welcomed its largest and most diverse group of students in university history; 57 percent of the first-year students come from traditionally underrepresented groups.
In December 2018, Mason concluded a ten-year comprehensive campaign that raised more than $690 million to support its students through scholarships and fellowships, its faculty through endowed chairs and faculty development funds, its physical infrastructure through new buildings and renovations of existing facilities, and its commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship through the funding of big ideas that can change the world. The theme of the campaign, Faster Farther, describes the ethos of Mason and each of its academic units. It is expected that a new campaign will launch within the next year.
About the College of Engineering and Computing:
Located in the heart of Northern Virginia’s technology corridor, the College of Engineering and Computing is a fast-growing force for innovation in research and education. In the next decade, the College expects to continue its transformation to one of the country’s largest, most comprehensive colleges by expanding its programs, growing its enrollment, and increasing its research.
The combination of investment from the Commonwealth of Virginia and workforce initiatives from industry create significant opportunities for the College to educate a diverse workforce with sophisticated computing competencies. Legislation passed in 2019 to fund the state’s Tech Talent Investment Program commits more than $700 million and establishes a goal for Virginia to produce at least 25,000 additional graduates in computer-related fields by 2039.
As of fall 2021, 9,104 students are enrolled in 35 undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degree programs, including several first-in-the-nation offerings, as well as two undergraduate and eight graduate certificate programs. The College is comprised of the Volgenau School of Engineering and the School of Computing. Through these two schools, the following nine departments work cooperatively to build unique and timely programs, including several interdisciplinary degrees:
- Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering
- Computer Science
- Cyber Security Engineering
- Electrical and Computer Engineering
- Information Sciences and Technology
- Mechanical Engineering
- Systems Engineering and Operations Research
All of the programs accredited by the ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission are housed in the Volgenau School of Engineering, and all of the programs accredited by the ABET Computing Accreditation Commission are housed in the School of Computing.
Mason is known for its leadership in emerging areas including big data, cybersecurity, health care technology, robotics and autonomous systems, signals and communications, and sustainable infrastructure. Of the 271 full-time faculty who comprise the College, 151 are tenured or tenure-track, and 120 are instructional or research faculty; in addition, there are nearly 190 part-time and adjunct faculty. Mason Engineering and Computing faculty hold 137 patents and copyrights. In the last year, sponsored research expenditures were $75 million and sponsored research awards exceeded $60 million. The College offers the first bachelor’s and master’s degrees in cybersecurity engineering, and HERD ranks the College #1 in Virginia for computer and information systems research expenditures.
About the School of Computing:
The Greater Washington Region is a global hotspot for advanced industries whose competitive advantage depends upon computing talent. Almost one-quarter of a million people are employed in computer and mathematical (“computing”) occupations, more than twice the national average for a region of comparable size.1 Considerable employment opportunities in the region attract students to Mason’s programs where they accrue advantages from the University’s proximity to and deep relationships with regional employers.
Universities in the Greater Washington Region produce among the largest number of computing graduates in the country, attracting Fortune 500 firms like Amazon, General Dynamics, Capital One Financial, Northrup Grumman, DXC Technology, and others looking to tap into the breadth and depth of the region’s globally-competitive and culturally-diverse workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts there will be more than 1.3 million U.S. tech job openings in 20222 – jobs that will be very hard to fill.
In 2017-2018, the Commonwealth of Virginia participated in a national competition to attract Amazon’s second headquarters (aka HQ2) to the state. In November 2018, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that Amazon would locate HQ2 in Crystal City with a commitment to create more than 25,000 high-paying jobs by 2030. To meet the needs of Amazon as well as thousands of other Virginia employers constantly searching for world-class computing talent, Governor Northam also announced that the Commonwealth would invest $750 million to grow Virginia’s tech talent pipeline and to diversify its innovation economy. This 20-year initiative—the Tech Talent Investment Program (TTIP)—seeks to increase the number of Virginia graduates from computer science, computer engineering ,and software engineering programs at both the undergraduate and master’s level.
In November 2019, Governor Northam announced that the Commonwealth will provide Mason with funding totaling $235 million over the 2020-2039 period to increase BS and MS degree production in TTIP “eligible” programs. Mason committed to raise an additional $125 million from philanthropic sources for a total investment of $360 million.
Of the $360 million, $110 million will support an increase in “eligible” BS degrees production. Mason has committed to confer a total of 8,410 eligible degrees over the 20-year period—about 100 additional degree recipients every year over the 2018-2019 baseline. TTIP funding will support the recruitment and retention of faculty supporting related enrollment growth, including the provision of competitive start-up packages. In addition, the University will support initiatives that enhance student experience and success, including those focused on curricular innovations, experiential learning, and the provision of dedicated success coaches.
A total of $250 million, provided in equal amounts by the Commonwealth and Mason, will support the preparation of 7,538 MS degree recipients from “eligible” programs over the 2020-2039 period—about 275 additional MS recipients every year over the 2018-2019 baseline. A portion of the funding provided will support the recruitment and retention of world-class faculty innovator-educators in computing. Other funds will support the physical transformation of Mason’s Arlington campus at Virginia Square, with the addition of a new mixed use, 500,000 square-foot building that will serve as the headquarters of Mason’s Institute for Digital InnovAtion (IDIA), a multi-disciplinary institute that allows Mason faculty to drive innovation in the digital economy by helping to develop new digital products and services.
It is within this dynamic environment that Mason has launched its new School of Computing (SoC). Informed by the increasingly pervasive role of computing in society and leveraging the Commonwealth’s TTIP investments, the University has an unprecedented opportunity to play a leadership role in shaping the future of computing regionally, nationally, and globally, while also enhancing inclusive economic prosperity and the quality of life for residents in the region and beyond.
Mason’s portfolio in computing includes contributions from most of its colleges and schools. The University now enrolls the largest number of undergraduate and graduate students in computing in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with growth outpacing that of all Commonwealth peers. Today, Mason enrolls more than 6,300 undergraduate students in 13 computing majors3 across four academic units, and more than 2,300 graduate students in computing programs across five academic units. The University offers 13 bachelor’s degrees corresponding to the majors listed below, 22 master’s programs,4 and 11 PhD programs.5 These programs were developed specifically to serve individuals interested in computing-related occupations.
More than 300 Mason faculty and thousands of Mason students already contribute to the University’s computing research portfolio. In FY 2020, sponsored research expenditures in computing exceeded $100 million, slightly less than half of the University’s overall sponsored research portfolio.
The new School of Computing is meant to embrace four mission components:
- Supporting contemporary computing education programs for students enrolled in the School and in majors and programs throughout the University;
- Advancing state-of-the-art research and scholarship in computing and in related domains within and across all of Mason’s academic units, leveraging resources in the Mason IDIA including the new Arlington Innovation building.
- Growing the impact of computing advances through entrepreneurship, innovation, and civic engagement to ensure that new knowledge generated by Mason’s multidisciplinary computing community makes its way into new products, processes, and services and informs the development of effective public policy essential in our increasingly computing-intensive world; and
- Elevating computing as a strategic differentiator for Mason by supporting its integration into programs in the humanities, education, science, policy, engineering, and the many other disciplines and domains across the University.
At present, the School of Computing houses the Departments of Computer Science, Information Sciences and Technology, and Statistics. To ensure that the School of Computing becomes a Mason-wide asset that supports computing in the broadest sense, the School has a Stakeholders Committee to provide oversight and accountability for executing its mission. This Stakeholders Committee includes: 1) five deans appointed by the Provost; 2) the chairs of the three SoC departments; 3) two at-large faculty selected to represent the University community’s broad multidisciplinary interests in computing; and 4) the Divisional Dean of the SoC. The Stakeholders Committee will be co-chaired by the CEC Dean and a dean from another academic unit appointed by the Provost.
The faculties of the Computer Science, Information Sciences and Technology, and Statistics Departments hold primary appointments in the SoC. In support of the SoC’s multidisciplinary mission, Mason faculty whose expertise contributes to modern computing and whose appointments are in departments outside CS, IST, and Statistics are encouraged to request joint, secondary, or affiliate appointments in the School.
At present, the SoC supports the following undergraduate and graduate programs:
- Undergraduate Programs: Applied Computer Science (BS); Cloud Computing (BAS); Computer Science (BS); Cybersecurity (BAS); Information Technology (BS); and Statistics (BS)
- MS Programs: Applied Information Technology; Biostatistics; Computer Science; Information Security & Assurance; Information Systems; Software Engineering; Statistical Science
- PhD Programs: Computer Science; Information Technology; Statistical Science
About the Divisional Dean, School of Computing:
Reporting to the Dean of the College, with a dotted line to the Provost, the Divisional Dean is the chief academic and administrative leader for the School of Computing and serves as a key member of the leadership team of the College of Engineering and Computing. The Divisional Dean will play a critical leadership role in guiding the evolution of the School and in elevating the role of computing across George Mason University. The Divisional Dean will guide a robust scholarship and research agenda, and promote excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, including the development of collaborative academic programs.
The Divisional Dean will have budget authority for funds allocated to the School of Computing. Aligned with their budgetary authority, the Divisional Dean will have responsibility for developing and executing recruitment and retention plans/packages for faculty with primary appointments in the SoC as well as for related staff. The Divisional Dean will work with the Stakeholders Committee to coordinate strategic multidisciplinary faculty hiring processes across all relevant units within the University. The process for appointments (including primary, joint, secondary, and affiliate appointments) as well as the process for tenure and promotion decisions will be developed in consultation with the College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) Dean and the Stakeholders Committee.
The Divisional Dean will work closely with the CEC Dean, the Stakeholders Committee, and the SoC faculty to define the roles and responsibilities for the administrative team necessary to support the School’s successful implementation and longer-term growth.
Fundamentally, the Divisional Dean is the executive and thought leader of the School of Computing. Their five most important responsibilities are:
- Establish School’s strategic goals and implementation plan aligned with the goals and implementation plans of the CEC and George Mason University;
- Partner with the CEC Dean, Dean’s staff, and CEC department chairs to help achieve the School’s education, research, and service mission and goals;
- Elevate School and CEC stature, both inside and outside the University;
- Strengthen a culture of collegiality, collaboration, service, and excellence among School faculty and staff; and
- Be a strong and effective School advocate across Mason and the broader community, while simultaneously respecting and advancing the interests of the other academic units and partners external to the School.
- Play a leadership role in facilitating, harmonizing, and supporting computing programs across all academic units such that Mason’s multidisciplinary computing portfolio forms a coherent, compelling, and powerful whole;
- Determine proper staffing model within the School of Computing;
- Lead the strategic development of a comprehensive portfolio of computing programs and activities, including bachelor’s, master’s, and micro-credential programs offered online, through hybrid delivery, or in more conventional in-person settings;
- Explore the development of a SoC computing core, based on computational thinking, to be shared by all undergraduate programs housed within the School;
- Engage with regional and national employers to explore partnerships and formulate core computing competencies that computing graduates must master;
- Partner with programs in the arts and humanities to develop minors and/or certificates in such areas as creativity, collaboration, and design thinking;
- Foster interdisciplinary research in computing, with the School serving a showcase for all computing research at Mason, improving external perceptions (and rankings) of the volume and quality of that research;
- Lead the establishment of the School’s identity and character, which will include promoting collaboration between the departments of CS, IST, and Statistics;
- Develop strategies to support the recruitment of exceptional students into the MS and PhD programs to support growth and enhance the institution’s reputation as a research university leader in computing;
- Continue to enhance the diversity of the faculty, staff, and students and promote an inclusive and equitable environment; and
- Cultivate and solicit individual donors, foundations, and corporations with the goal of raising significant funds for the SoC and securing a naming gift for the new building and the School.
The successful candidate must be qualified for appointment at the rank of full professor and will likely have a PhD in a computing-related field and qualify to be a tenured professor in the SoC. Competitive candidates will have an outstanding record in research with a strong record of funding, along with a genuine understanding of the teaching mission and the importance of providing undergraduate and graduate students with the highest quality educational experience. A demonstrated commitment to the effective mentoring of junior faculty is essential. The Divisional Dean must have the leadership skills and vision to propel the School forward, which includes a strong sense of where the field is headed and, ideally, strong ties with the business community. They will have unassailable personal and academic integrity, strong oral and written communication skills, comfort with ambiguity, and a focus on openness and transparency.
Nomination and Application Process:
George Mason University invites inquiries, nominations, and applications for the position of Divisional Dean, School of Computing. Interested candidates should confidentially submit, in electronic form (Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF files preferred), a curriculum vitae and letter of interest to GMU.Computing@russellreynolds.com.
For fullest consideration, materials should be received as soon as possible and preferably by Feb 14.
Candidates must also apply at https://jobs.gmu.edu/ for position FA07JZ; complete and submit the online application; and upload a curriculum vitae, letter of interest and a list of professional references.
All materials and inquiries will be held in strict confidence until the final stages of the search, at which time the express permission of the finalists will be obtained before making their candidacy public. References will not be contacted without the prior knowledge and approval of the candidate.
George Mason University is committed to excellence in diversity and the creation of an inclusive learning and working environment. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and all other protected classes under federal or state laws.
Russell Reynolds Associates
1700 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20006-5208
Tel: +1 (202) 654-7800
Direct: +1 (202) 654-7870
Special Instructions to Applicants For Full Consideration, Apply by: February 14, 2022