Theatre Department Chair

  • Full Time
  • Chicago

Website Columbia College Chicago


The Chair of the Theatre Department of Columbia College Chicago provides leadership and management in all department matters including: student success; curriculum and pedagogy; faculty and staff recruitment, hiring, supervision, and development; policy; budget creation and implementation; facilities oversight; and fundraising. The Chair is responsible for effectively advocating for and representing the department to multiple internal and external stakeholders as well as the effective administration and management of a department with more than 700 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs of study, a full-time faculty, and a large part-time faculty pool. Reporting to the Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts, the incumbent will prioritize and integrate issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) throughout curricular, pedagogical, programmatic, and administrative practices and will work with faculty in the pursuit of equity for all members of the Theatre Department’s learning community.

Chairs are creative and visionary educators and administrators who, by virtue of their immediate and ongoing responsibilities, are actively involved with safeguarding and implementing the mission of the College and assuring quality instruction and student experience within their respective departments. Chairs are faculty members who lead, manage, and represent the internal and external life of their respective departments within the College and in the larger educational and public communities. They are actively engaged as creative/scholarly/professional practitioners in their respective disciplines and industries.

The preferred candidate will be a visionary leader and educator with the capacity to inspire others, the ability to lead through facilitation and consensus building, and a proven track record of pedagogical and administrative success within the context of a diverse student body, promoting the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The most qualified candidates will demonstrate an ability to manage change by establishing inclusive structures and processes and will have genuine interest in balancing the department’s creative and scholarly enterprises in ways that support production, curriculum, and pedagogy simultaneously.

Additionally, the committee seeks candidates who can engage with the following questions:

How should theatre as an academic discipline evolve to keep pace with urgent questions surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion locally and nationally?
How might theatre departments develop and sustain meaningful partnerships with their surrounding communities?
What does productive collaboration look like for theatre departments as they consider partnerships with other academic units across an institution?
How would the candidate look to build community among many disparate programs within a large department?
The Theatre Department at Columbia College Chicago is the largest of eight academic departments in the College’s School of Fine and Performing Arts (SFPA). The Department houses majors in Acting (BA and BFA), Musical Theatre (BA and BFA), Comedy Writing and Performance, Design and Technology, and Theatre (concentrations in Directing, Playwriting, Stage Management and Theatre Studies.) At the graduate level we offer an MFA/MA in devised contemporary performance and a new Graduate Certificate in Intimacy for the Stage and Screen.

With over 700 students, the Theatre Department’s mission is to provide undergraduate students with a comprehensive education in the practices and processes of creating theatre and live performance. In addition to its majors, the department offers minors in Acting, Stage Combat, Theatre Directing, Playwriting, and Devising for Collaborative Performance. The department works actively to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion as vitally important to the making of theatre and the educational experiences of its students.

Graduates of the department move on to significant professional careers as Artistic Directors of major national theatres including, Steppenwolf Theatre, Double Edge, Mirror Ball Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, and Next Act Theatre; directing, designing, and performing on Broadway; writing/performing on NBC’s Saturday Night Live and winning national and Chicago-based awards. As well, many students use their transferable skills in successful jobs across areas of the social sciences, education, leadership opportunities, and politics.

The School of Fine and Performing Arts (SFPA) houses academic programs in visual arts, performing arts, business, and marketing. Home to more than 110 full-time faculty and over 3,300 students, the SFPA community is deeply committed to rigorous exploration of a wide range of artistic practices and economies, with strong focus on a diversity of contemporary styles and current industry trends. Across SFPA, we challenge the next generation of artists, scholars, managers, performers, designers, makers, and entrepreneurs to master the skills and interrogate the foundations of their creative disciplines; imagine new futures; and contribute to the vibrant arts communities of Chicago and beyond.

Essential Duties:

Oversight of the student experience, including mentoring, teaching, learning and study environments, advising, and ensuring quality educational experiences.
Policy development and implementation, including analysis and implementation of all internal systems.
Curricular and program development and implementation.
In collaboration with the Office of the Dean and the Office of the Registrar, management of the course schedule to meet departmental educational, management, and budgetary goals.
Budget development, submission, and implementation in cooperation with the dean.
Faculty and staff recruitment and hiring, as overseen and approved by the dean and with the support of the Human Resources Office.
Supervision, support, and development of faculty and staff, including supervision of program directors, coordinators, and other intradepartmental leaders and managers; oversight of faculty guidelines and procedures relating to tenure; and oversight of and participation in faculty and staff performance evaluations.
Oversight and management of facilities, technology, inventories, and equipment.
Representation of departmental faculty, staff, and students within and to their school and the College community; in the larger local, regional, national, and international communities; and developing and maintaining professional relationships in their discipline(s) and industries.
Fundraising for special projects and ongoing activities, as applicable and in cooperation with their respective dean and the Department of Development.
Accomplish these essential duties with careful attention to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion, which are core tenets of Columbia College Chicago.


A terminal degree (Ph.D. or M.F.A.) in theatre or a related field required, as well as a minimum of six-years of teaching experience in higher education, and a minimum of three-years administrative experience.
An exemplary record in the areas of teaching, scholarly/creative endeavors, and service that would qualify for a tenured faculty appointment within the Theatre department, ideally at the rank of full professor.
An active professional career and record of professional accomplishment.
Experience in one or more of the teaching areas in the current programs of study in the department.
Ability to work collaboratively in an environment of shared governance and within a union environment.
Demonstrated ability to work with a culturally diverse population and promote values of diversity, equity, and inclusion within Theatre and throughout the College.
Strong leadership and team building skills, experience in motivating groups and individuals toward common goals, a record of cultivating the growth of academic programs, as well as excellent oral and written communication skills.
Preference will be given to those who have experience in leading academic units during periods of transition, a demonstrable record of teaching excellence, and a trajectory of scholarly achievement strong enough to warrant appointment as a senior faculty member (full professor) at Columbia College Chicago.
We seek individuals with a demonstrated ability to work with students from a wide range of social and cultural backgrounds, and whose creative, scholarly and/or professional work aligns with our commitment to dismantling systems of privilege and oppression. All faculty and administrators are expected to advance the College’s DEI mission. For more information on the office of Academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion please visit:


To apply for this position, submit the following materials:

A letter outlining the applicant’s background, qualifications, and vision for the position.
A curriculum vitae.
An Inclusive Excellence Statement (up to two pages) describing actions you have taken to support and advance diversity, equity, access, and inclusion in service, teaching, and/or research/creative activity.
Contact information for three references. References will not be contacted without prior consultation with the applicant.
This job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties, or responsibilities required of the employee and is subject to change based on the needs of the department and/or college. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

About the College

Columbia College Chicago is a private not-for-profit college offering a distinctive curriculum for creatives serving nearly 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Columbia College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. Dedicated to academic excellence and long-term career success, Columbia College Chicago creates a dynamic, challenging, inclusive, and collaborative space for students who see the world through a creative lens. Located in downtown Chicago’s South Loop, the College is centered in one of the world’s most lively urban cultural areas. Its many competitive advantages include its strong reputation in the creative industries, outstanding, dedicated faculty and passionate students, impressive technological and physical resources, and a sincere commitment to bringing diverse voices and experiences into proximity with each other to shape new forms of creative practice.

At Columbia, we offer a rewarding work environment for our faculty and staff. We take pride in offering competitive benefits with affordable health, dental and vision coverage; flexible spending accounts; commuter benefit program, life and accidental, death & dismemberment coverage; paid and unpaid leave options; work/life benefits; educational assistance programs; and retirement and financial planning benefits.

We invite you to join our talented faculty and staff and become part of our collective aspiration to ensure Columbia prepares students for success in their creative fields through innovation, engagement and real-world experiences.

Additional Information

Position subject to a background screening.
This is a non-union position.
This position is overtime exempt.
Columbia College Chicago actively promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion as vitally important to its present and future success. These principles are essential to the educational experiences of our students, staff, and faculty. We seek faculty with a demonstrated ability to work with students from a wide range of social and cultural backgrounds, and whose creative, scholarly and/or professional work aligns with our commitment to dismantling systems of privilege and oppression. Each of the individuals hired, along with holding faculty rank in their respective departments, is expected to advance the College’s DEI mission. For more information on the office of Academic Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion please visit:

Columbia College Chicago is an equal opportunity employer and complies with all local, state, and federal laws and regulations concerning civil rights. The college does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law.

Primary Location: United States-Illinois-Chicago
Job: Faculty
Schedule: Full-time
Shift: Day Job
Job Type: Standard
Job Level: Individual Contributor
Travel: No

Instructions to Apply:

Complete the application at the link below.

To apply for this job please visit

Pay Rate/Range*: $82,000 + Administration Stipend