Dean for the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture

Posted On: January 10, 2022

Hours: Full Time


The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science & Art invites nominations and letters of application for the position of Dean, the academic and administrative leader of the School. The Cooper Union is comprised of the schools of Architecture, Art, Engineering,and the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences. The institution follows Peter Cooper’s radical commitment to diversity and his founding vision that fair access to an inspiring free education and forums for courageous public discourse foster a just and thriving world. The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture occupies an exceptional position, nationally and globally, as an intensive laboratory for pedagogy, design, and distinguished scholarship in architecture.

The new Dean will join The Cooper Union at a critical moment in its history as it pursues an ambitious plan to restore full-tuition scholarships for all undergraduate students while continuing to develop models of education that consider urgent ethical, cultural, and environmental issues. In this context, the School of Architecture recognizes the collaborative potentials of technical and creative disciplines while continuing its dedication to the highest standards of education in the profession and discipline of architecture.

The position of Dean requires vision and leadership in the areas of pedagogy and curriculum. The School has consistently been at the forefront of pedagogical invention in design and theory since its inception, with an outstanding level of dedication and commitment on the part of faculty, students and staff alike. The current curricula emphasize a broad spectrum of social, cultural, and environmental concerns vital to architecture in the present time. Central to The School’s pedagogy are critical thinking and investigations of architectural form, fostering a context of intellectual rigor and inquiry. The new Dean must recognize the legacy and history of The Cooper Union while leading the evolution of the School’s curriculum.

Fundamental to the School’s mission is the cultivation of an environment in which creative exploration and freedom of thought are given a place to flourish. Students enroll in either a five-year professional program leading to a Bachelor of Architecture degree, or a three-semester, post-professional program leading to a Master of Science in Architecture degree. The diverse student body includes 150 students from the United States and around the world. The School of Architecture’s location in downtown New York City is an essential part of its vibrant history and culture.

Position Description

The School seeks a motivated and dynamic individual who will provide the leadership necessary to affirm and advocate for its mission while carrying forward its unique and distinguished position in architectural discourse and pedagogy, deepening its commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. The Dean contributes to the vibrant intellectual life of the School through scholarship, practice and teaching, and advances the School’s position in the discipline through the support of its many programs, including lectures, exhibitions, publications, and the work of its Archive. Through multiple platforms for public discourse, the School engages the community, institutional partners, as well as the wider public, in New York City, nationally and internationally.

In accordance with the School of Architecture Governance, the Dean serves as Chair of the Architecture Faculty, currently comprised of 62 full-time, proportional-time, and adjunct faculty, recognized as both distinguished practicing professionals and scholars. It is the Dean’s role to foster the continued development of the School’s programs and the evolution of its curriculum both within the School and across The Cooper Union, through a collegial and collaborative approach. The candidate will articulate a position on the evolution of the School that reflects both the mission and principles that have been foundational to The Cooper Union for over 150 years and a vision for its future.

Key Responsibilities of the Dean

As the academic leader of the School, the Dean provides intellectual and pedagogical leadership. This includes curriculum development, support for disciplinary and interdisciplinary exploration on the part of both students and faculty, and the cultivation of a supportive scholarly environment. The Dean works with students, faculty, and staff to provide an exceptional architectural education that is rooted in history, advanced through critical thinking, and fueled by imagination, social responsibility, and excellence in design. The Dean must model leadership qualities and provide mentorship and support for faculty and students.

As the administrative leader of the School, the Dean will work directly with the President in providing strategic leadership, working within the larger context of The Cooper Union in articulating a long-term vision. The Dean will work with the President to develop and implement an aligned strategy and budget consistent with The Cooper Union’s vision, mission, institutional goals and strategic priorities in accordance with the School of Architecture Governance. The Dean also partners with the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development to lead fundraising efforts for the School, in alignment with The Cooper Union’s overall fundraising strategies and priorities. In addition, the Dean is responsible for overseeing satisfactory adherence to professional accreditation requirements.

The Dean fosters a climate of collaboration within the School and across The Cooper Union through positive and productive relationships with its faculty, staff, and students and with The Cooper Union’s other deans and administrators. The next Dean will be an important and collegial partner with the Deans of Art, Engineering, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Students, advancing The Cooper Union’s institutional goals and strategic priorities to both fortify its rigorous professional schools and create opportunities for experimentation at the intersection of disciplines. As the School of Architecture’s representative, the Dean engages with architectural leaders, alumni and others to build positive relationships, partnerships, and networks for the School and to advance the field of architecture, promoting the visibility and impact of the School and its community within local, national and international contexts.


A professional degree in architecture, regardless of current professional or academic position, is a requirement of the candidacy. To qualify, candidates must also:

Demonstrate significant and recognized contributions to the culture of architecture, through their work in education, practice, and/or history and theory. Further, candidates will exemplify a
profound understanding of the implications of the social, cultural, political, environmental, and economic conditions of our time for architecture. These conditions provide exceptional challenges and opportunities to reconceive the unique and transformative potentials of architecture to society today.

Value discovery, investigation, creativity, partnership and inclusion, and be deeply committed to fostering the vital cultural contribution of architecture within a broad sociopolitical and
environmental context.

Have demonstrated the ability to be an inspirational leader with exceptional communication skills and an aptitude for listening, collaborating, and consensus building; be someone who will champion the School and the broader institution, including its students, faculty, and alumni.

Be capable of visioning, planning, budgeting, and fundraising.

Have impeccable personal and professional integrity.

Should possess a successful academic profile with a record of recognized achievement in teaching, research, and service that would warrant appointment as a Full Professor.


The position is a full-time, full-year academic and administrative appointment based in New York City. The Cooper Union offers an attractive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with the successful candidate’s background and experience.

Nominations and Applications

Letters of application should include a statement of intent and a detailed curriculum vitae. Applications will be accepted until February 14, 2022. Any inquiries can be directed to
Applications will be reviewed in confidence. The Cooper Union is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer (AA/EOE) by choice.

Please send Letters of Nomination to

Please send Letters of Application to
Applications will be reviewed on an on-going basis, through 14 February 2022.

This is a non-union position.

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Submit resume and cover letter to:
Human Resources
30 Cooper Square, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10003

Or email to:

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.