Administration, Education, Higher Education

Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

  • New York University Abu Dhabi
  • Abu Dhabi, UAE
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Overview of the Opportunity

New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) seeks a visionary academic leader dedicated to inclusive excellence, global thinking, and outstanding learning outcomes to serve as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE). NYUAD is a central part of NYU’s global network, marked by a uniquely international student population of 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students representing 115 different nationalities. NYUAD is pioneering a new model of higher education for a global world, dedicated to excellence in teaching and research and to advancing cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. Drawing on the strengths of the NYU global network, NYUAD offers an outstanding liberal arts and sciences education to students from the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and around the world, with a distinctive focus on intercultural understanding and leadership. NYUAD supports innovative research and graduate education programs that push forward the frontiers of knowledge and respond in powerful and interdisciplinary ways to vital global and local challenges. NYUAD is an integral part of NYU’s identity as a global network university for the 21st century and contributes in multiple ways to the development of a sustainable, knowledge-based economy in Abu Dhabi. An incredibly diverse and inclusive community, Abu Dhabi is both welcoming and family-friendly, with the University’s campus sitting in the heart of the cultural district. For a description of living and working in Abu Dhabi, see here.

Reporting to the Provost of NYUAD and collaborating closely with the deans of the four academic divisions (Arts & Humanities, Engineering, Social Science, Science), the VPUE is responsible for overseeing the delivery of a world-class, transformational undergraduate experience rooted in the global liberal arts for all NYUAD students. The VPUE oversees a dynamic portfolio focused on the delivery of essential academic support services to every undergraduate student; provides campus-wide guidance and leadership for curricular innovations; advances inclusive excellence in student learning and achievement; creates learning opportunities for students; provides students and faculty with resources that promote academic excellence and student success; and encourages and facilitates innovations in pedagogy.

NYUAD seeks a creative educator and academic leader with a strong commitment to global liberal arts. The VPUE will possess an advanced degree and accomplished record of teaching and scholarship commensurate with an academic appointment at NYUAD as well as a record of administrative success in a complex educational institute devoted to the liberal arts. The successful candidate will demonstrate: strategic leadership skills; commitment to principles of global education; the ability to uphold and model principles of diversity, inclusion, and equity; in-depth understanding of instructional technology, teaching, and support; familiarity with the many aspects of undergraduate student support; a results orientation and proven track record of using data to assess the effectiveness of initiatives and achieve measurable results; in addition to the ability to inspire and influence others; build trust, credibility, and consensus; model principles of integrity and ethical behavior; collaborate with a wide variety of colleagues and stakeholders; resolve conflict; and provide culturally sensitive and empathetic leadership to a vibrant, highly diverse environment that is in the midst of enormous growth.

This is an exciting opportunity to shape and implement a unique educational model for a university committed to preparing learners to thrive in a global setting and, in so doing, contribute to NYU’s vision of the university as an engine of a more peaceful, cooperative, and productive world.

Provost’s Office

The Provost of NYUAD serves as the university’s chief academic officer and is responsible for setting the institution’s academic strategy and priorities and overseeing academic appointments and academic  affairs. The Provost supervises deans and directors of institutes and all academic support units, and with their assistance cultivates areas of excellence and enhances collaboration within and between them. The Provost also allocates financial resources according to academic priorities, in cooperation with NYUAD’s financial officers.

The Provost oversees a leadership team in the areas of the four Academic Divisions; Research; Cultural and Research Engagement; Global Education and Outreach; Undergraduate Education; Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs; Institutional Research, Assessment, and Academic Affairs; Academic Policies, Governance and Risk; Research Policies and Governance; Faculty Advancement and Engagement; Library and Academic Technology; and Academic Administration and Planning.

Role Summary

Reporting to the Provost of NYUAD and collaborating closely with the deans of the four academic divisions, the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education is responsible for the delivery of a world-class, transformational undergraduate experience rooted in the global liberal arts for all NYUAD students. The VPUE oversees the delivery of essential academic support services to every undergraduate student; provides campus-wide guidance and leadership for curricular innovations; advances inclusive excellence in student learning and achievement; creates learning opportunities for students; provides students and faculty with resources that promote academic excellence and student success; and encourages and facilitates innovations in pedagogy. The VPUE is responsible for undergraduate academic policies; academic advising; curricular diversity and innovative pedagogical initiatives; academic writing; the Core Curriculum; interdisciplinary divisional and cross-division curricula, multi-school programs, and undergraduate research. The VPUE works collaboratively with a wide variety of academic colleagues in the academic divisions and in other senior leadership roles within NYUAD to enhance the holistic student educational experience.

The VPUE is a member of the Provost’s leadership team and represents NYUAD in New York University’s Undergraduate Deans’ Group. The VPUE provides strategic and managerial direction for an Assistant Vice Provost, an administrative assistant, and Directors of the following units (see Organizational Chart in Appendix B):

In promoting a world-class undergraduate educational program, the VPUE collaborates closely with deans of the academic divisions on staffing of the Core Curriculum, curricular development and diversification, and the administrative coordination of the Writing program; with the Vice Provost/Associate Vice Chancellor forGlobal Education and Outreach on Semester Study Abroad, the January Term Program, Summer Programs, Regional Academic Seminars, the Engineers for Social Impact Program, Community-based Learning in the UAE, and Student Global Mobility Services; with the Senior Vice Provost for Strategy and Planning on the Academic Enrichment Program; with the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement on teaching, advising, and mentoring; with the Senior Director of Equity and Inclusion on supporting curricular diversity initiatives; and with the Dean of Students on academic, residential, and co-curricular aspects of NYUAD life. The VPUE will have responsibility for a total staff of eight (8).

Opportunities Ahead

The VPUE will be joining an academic enterprise that has significant strengths and offers many unique features. For example, NYUAD has:

  • A pioneering mission in the higher education market as a member of a global university with an interconnected network of portal campuses and academic centers across six continents;
  • A highly diverse and international student and faculty body;
  • The excitement of an enterprise that is still being shaped;
  • A sense of place and community to serve others locally while providing global impact;
  • A strong student-centered philosophy and approach that is grounded in global liberal arts;
  • A multidisciplinary approach towards undergraduate education;
  • A diverse and talented group of faculty, students, administration and professional staff, working together to achieve common university goals and to create a collegial and welcoming community; and
  • Location within a thriving multicultural city, culture, and country.

Building on these institutional strengths, the VPUE will have the opportunity to focus on several critical areas of opportunity and challenge, such as:

  • Providing leadership in a time of change

The Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education is a new position that incorporates parts of several existing portfolios as well as important new initiatives. This new configuration is designed to strengthen the undergraduate educational experience to provide stronger strategic oversight and cohesion as NYUAD approaches ‘steady state’ (2,000-2,200 students) in the size of its undergraduate programs and turns its attention to growing research and graduate programs. The VPUE will work to ensure the centrality of the undergraduate mission as the university expands in these new directions. While the foundations have already been laid, the VPUE will play a significant role in ensuring collaboration across the various parts of the portfolio as well as with other areas. The VPUE will also need to spend time learning the different programs within this portfolio; assessing what is working and what needs improvement; and bringing a spirit of collaboration, communication, and transparency to the creation of a supportive and inclusive culture where everyone is inspired to do their best work.

  • Implementing a new Academic Resource Center

Envisioned as a new centralized hub for holistic advising and mentoring, the Academic Resource Center will replace generalized academic advising in the first two years with professional advising staff to help first-year students plan their courses and majors and navigate the Core Curriculum. This will be a student-facing center and will work closely with the department of Student Success and Well-being, which oversees the development of wellness, stress management and executive functioning capacities for students and is run by the Division of Student Affairs. The process of hiring a director of the new Center has been completed.

  • Promoting an inclusive globally-focused Core Curriculum

The NYUAD student body is among the most geographically and ethnically diverse in the world with students coming from across the Middle East, East and South Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and South America. Coming from so many diverse backgrounds, heritages, educational systems, and experiences, students enter NYUAD with expectations for a truly global liberal arts curriculum. Drawing upon more than 200 courses, the Core Curriculum offers them a set of shared academic experiences with a wide variety of choices. The VPUE will work with the faculty Director of the Core, with faculty, and with deans to ensure that these Core offerings are capacious, that they reflect diverse ways of knowing and modes of inquiry, and that they expose students to the contributions of many societies and heritages within the framework of global liberal arts.

  • Encouraging curricular and pedagogical innovation

Many of the offices and services that are part of the VPUE portfolio relate to pedagogical/curricular innovation, whether in providing opportunities and support for undergraduate research or in helping faculty to become outstanding teachers. The VPUE will think strategically about new pedagogical advancements, innovative classroom technology and strategy, and best practices to share and inspire innovation across the curriculum and in the creation of new educational experiences for students and faculty.

  • Building a culture of growth, awareness and understanding

In many ways, NYUAD is a brilliant and exciting experiment in creating an unparalleled intercultural academic community. As this community moves into its second decade, it will require educational leaders who understand intercultural sensitivity and can transform the potential for conflict into opportunities for dialogue. Working to create a holistic undergraduate experience, the VPUE must understand how to build trust, engage difference, and promote critical conversations with diplomacy, sensitivity, and an awareness that conflict can promote growth and change.

Addressing these issues will require an ambitious academic leader with a global liberal arts perspective and a fundamental understanding of how to serve and support students and faculty, who is able to build strong collaborative relationships to create a model for global liberal arts education.

Candidate Profile

Required Qualifications and Experience

NYUAD seeks a visionary academic leader dedicated to inclusive excellence, global thinking, and outstanding learning outcomes to serve as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. The VPUE will be a creative educator with a strong commitment to global liberal arts and will have proven experience as an organizational leader and program builder, particularly around initiatives that lead to academic innovation and student success. The VPUE will be an inspirational leader who can motivate and work with talented colleagues across the university to promote pedagogical innovation and ensure that the goals of the academic units for student learning and success are achieved. The successful candidate will demonstrate cultural flexibility, be comfortable building relationships of trust with the University’s various communities and constituencies, and be astute in navigating a complex landscape. The VPUE will be a champion for the global liberal arts within a research university and passionate about enhancing the undergraduate experience.

The successful candidate will be an intellectual leader who is committed to student-centered interdisciplinary undergraduate education; examines issues of common humanity through a multicultural lens; recognizes that the breadth of an education at NYUAD extends far beyond the classroom and the campus; and understands that meaningful engagement with the breadth of diversity requires curiosity, humility, and engagement with contrasting views and values.

The following criteria are essential:

  • An earned doctorate or terminal degree in a respective field, and an accomplished record of teaching, scholarship, and/or artistic endeavor commensurate with a senior faculty appointment at NYUAD, preferably tenured;
  • A record of faculty and administrative success in a complex higher educational institution devoted to the liberal arts;
  • A strong commitment to and evidence of experience with global education;
  • In-depth technical expertise related to curricular development; in-depth understanding of instructional technology, teaching, and support as they relate to new pedagogical and instructional technology, including familiarity with the physical classroom, the virtual online environment, and other pedagogical learning environments; and evidence of fostering excellence in teaching and learning at the undergraduate level;
  • In-depth understanding of the many aspects of undergraduate student support, including undergraduate research, internship programs, experiential education, advising, and other high impact practices;
  • Demonstrated strategic leadership and managerial skills with the capacity to supervise, coach, lead, motivate, and support senior staff;
  • Ability to uphold and model principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion; experience working with highly diverse student and faculty communities and creating a climate and environment conducive to advancing inclusive excellence;
  • A results orientation and proven record of using data to assess the effectiveness of initiatives and achieve measurable results;
  • A passionate commitment to the education, development, and empowerment of students; ability to be a strong student advocate and compassionate mentor who will understand the diversity of student preparation and experience;
  • An open-minded, strategic, and creative thinker with a high level of emotional intelligence; strong influencing, coaching, relationship and consensus-building skills; a reputation for integrity, fair-mindedness, agility, and flexibility; a commitment to transparency; and a personal style and demeanor that is warm, approachable, positive, and solutions-oriented;
  • Ability to model integrity and ethical behavior, manage and resolve conflict, and provide culturally sensitive and empathetic leadership to a vibrant, highly diverse environment that is in the midst of enormous growth.

In addition, the successful candidate will demonstrate a preponderance of the following qualifications, competencies and characteristics:

  • Experience in strategic planning, assessment, and budget management; experience and proficiency in the planning, coordination and implementation of projects and programs;
  • Ability to work collaboratively and collegially with faculty, students, administrators, and external partners and stakeholders and to interact and communicate with individuals at all levels;
  • Ability to appreciate and incorporate diverse learning styles, educational backgrounds, and communications styles;
  • Excellent listening skills to accurately understand others and provide effective feedback; excellent presentation, written, and oral communication skills in English; knowledge of languages other than English, including Arabic;
  • Good judgment, discretion, independence, and initiative;
  • Strong team-building skills; ability to motivate and inspire staff and students;
  • Ability to effectively represent NYUAD to a wide range of individuals and groups both inside and outside the University in conducting the varied leadership functions of this role;
  • Astute political sense; the ability to make appropriate connections, build bridges and synergies; an open-minded and multi-dimensional approach to problem-solving and a willingness to address issues in ways that build consensus and find common ground; tolerance for ambiguity; and the ability to understand and enable diverse viewpoints and approaches to achieve the University’s strategic goals and objectives.

NYUAD is committed to building and strengthening a university-wide culture of inclusion, diversity, belonging, and equity (IDBE). For more information on NYUAD’s commitment to IDBE and how these values create fundamental to our mission please visit

We encourage applications from UAE Nationals and candidates who will enrich and contribute to the cultural and ethnic diversity of our University.

Contact Information

Screening will begin immediately and continue until an appointment is made. Nominations, inquiries, and applications (including CV; cover letter addressing interest, and the names of five references) should be directed electronically to

Search Team

Kim M. Morrisson, Ph.D.
Managing Director, Education Leadership Searches
Diversified Search Group — Philadelphia
215 656-3546

Christine Falcone
Senior Search Associate
Diversified Search Group — Philadelphia
484 288-8295

Appendix A:  New York University Abu Dhabi:  Institutional Overview

NYUAD is a degree-granting research university with a fully integrated liberal arts and science undergraduate program in the Arts, Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, and Engineering. NYU Abu Dhabi, NYU New York, and NYU Shanghai, form the backbone of NYU’s global network university, an interconnected network of portal campuses and academic centers across six continents that enable seamless international mobility of students and faculty in their pursuit of academic and scholarly activity. This global university represents a transformative shift in higher education, one in which the intellectual and creative endeavors of academia are shaped and examined through an international and multicultural perspective. As a major intellectual hub at the crossroads of the Arab world, NYUAD serves as a center for scholarly thought, advanced research, knowledge creation, and sharing, through its academic, research, and creative activities.

NYUAD, was established in partnership with NYU and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and founded upon a shared understanding of the essential roles and challenges of higher education in the 21st century. NYUAD welcomed its first class of students in 2010. NYUAD’s early years focused on developing a preeminent undergraduate core as a means to establish the university, attract strong faculty and student bodies, and grow an international reputation. At the same time NYUAD built research infrastructure, launched research initiatives, introduced graduate programs, and created platforms to engage both scholarly and non-scholarly communities.

As NYUAD enters the next phase of its development, its academic strategy seeks to preserve and further its undergraduate core while building out the institution comprehensively with greater research strengths, distinguished graduate and professional programs, and increased capacity for societal engagement and impact in Abu Dhabi and around the world. NYUAD is dedicated to the following fundamental principles:

  • Dedication to a distinctive global liberal arts education and its capacity to develop autonomy, critical thinking; empathy, integrity, leadership, and love of lifelong learning;
  • Advancement of a new model of global higher education, attractive to students from across the world, to foster intercultural understanding and global citizenship;
  • Commitment to academic freedom, rooted in the belief that human understanding advances through rigorous study, exchange of ideas, collaboration, interdisciplinarity, encounters with difference, and mutual respect;
  • Passion for discovery and innovation and sharing knowledge through engagement with scholarly and non-scholarly communities alike;
  • Respect for the value of diversity and inclusion in fostering a thriving community and achieving excellence across all aspects of the university;
  • Duty to care for others and our shared planet through civic engagement and ethical responsibility;
  • Commitment to serving as an anchor institution for Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates – growing and dynamic hubs for knowledge, culture, and innovation.

With these principles in mind, NYUAD has committed to four high-level goals in the areas of research; undergraduate education; graduate, professional, and postdoctoral programs; and societal engagement and impact.  These include continuing to:

  • Attract exceptional scholars from around the world and enable them to pursue research excellence;
  • Ensure a transformative global education experience for all undergraduate students;
  • Provide outstanding, innovative postgraduate programs that enable students and postdocs to succeed in academic and non-academic careers;
  • Foster development, engagement, innovation, and positive change for Abu Dhabi, the region, and the world.

Today, NYUAD has more than 1,800 undergraduate students and more than 130 graduate students representing more than 115 countries and speaking 115 different languages. Students are drawn from all over the world, with about 18% from the United Arab Emirates. Students are taught by more than 320 faculty members representing 45 different nationalities. NYUAD offers 25 undergraduate majors in arts, sciences, and engineering; two master’s programs (in Fine Arts in Art and Media, and in Economics), and 11 global Ph.D. programs. NYU, including NYUAD, ranks # 26 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and #1 in the United Arab Emirates in publications in science journals. NYUAD has produced 16 Rhodes Scholars from the graduating classes of 2014-2021 as well as nine Fulbright Scholars and two Truman Scholars, among other notable achievements. NYUAD has more than 1,600 alumni.

NYUAD is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. NYUAD is approved by the Middle States Commission as an additional location of NYU, and is included within the scope of its accreditation. NYUAD, is officially licensed by the Ministry of Education of the United Arab Emirates to grant degrees and other academic awards in higher education. All degree programs at NYUAD are also individually accredited by the Ministry’s Commission on Academic Accreditation (CAA). In addition, five engineering majors are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.

NYUAD is led by Vice Chancellor Mariët Westermann who is the chief executive of the University and its campus. She assumed the position on August 1, 2019, having previously served as provost of NYUAD.

Westermann previously spent nine years with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, serving as executive vice president for programs and research since 2016. In that role, she launched initiatives that study and promote the value of the humanities and the liberal arts, strengthen community colleges, encourage graduate education reform, renew preservation of cultural heritage around the world, and support scholars and artists at risk. Prior to the Foundation she was on the faculty at NYU, first as director of the Institute of Fine Arts and then as the first provost of NYUAD. Before joining NYU in 2002, she was associate director of research at the Clark Art Institute. From 1995 to 2001, she was an assistant and associate professor of art history at Rutgers University.

Westermann received her undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Williams College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She received her Masters and her PhD from NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts.

Westermann’s principal area of scholarly interest is the art of the Netherlands, her native country. She is widely published in the field, including A Worldly Art: The Dutch Republic 1585–1718 (1996); The Amusements of Jan Steen:  Comic Painting in the 17th Century (1997); Rembrandt – Art and Ideas (2000); and numerous articles. She has edited five books, including Anthropologies of Art (2005). Her extensive work with museums includes her Rijksmuseum Dossier:  Johannes Vermeer (2004); the curatorship of Art and Home: Dutch Interiors in the Age of Rembrandt (Denver Art Museum and Newark Museum, 2001); and numerous exhibition catalog essays. She is currently preparing an exhibition and book on the resonance of the Garden of Eden in the history, theology, and art of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, with significant implications for garden practice in these cultures. She has been the recipient of fellowships, honors, and grants from a wide range of organizations, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Philosophical Society, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, Clark Art Institute, College Art Association, and Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Westermann serves on the boards of the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Zones (ALIPH) and the Scholar Rescue Fund.

Arlie O. Petters, Ph.D. was appointed Provost of NYUAD in September 2020. Prior to his appointment, Petters was the Benjamin Powell Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at Duke University, and former Dean of Academic Affairs for Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education at Duke. Petters’ principal research interests include mathematical physics and scientific methods in business administration, with a focus on mathematical finance and entrepreneurship and innovation in STEM fields in developing nations.

Before joining Duke, Petters served as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University and an Instructor of Pure Mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He received his PhD in mathematics from MIT, and has a BA and MA in mathematics and physics from Hunter College of the City University of New York. Petters’ research explores how gravity acts on light. He pioneered the mathematical theory of weak-deflection gravitational lensing, which brought powerful methods from pure mathematics to bear on astronomy. He also advanced applications of gravitational lensing, which included predicting effects that probe the nature of spacetime around black holes and developing tests of Einstein’s general relativity and modified gravity models.

He has published fifty articles in peer-reviewed journals as well as five books, including the monograph Singularity Theory and Gravitational Lensing, the textbook An Introduction to Mathematical Finance with Applications, and three problem-solving books on mathematics and scientific reasoning.

APPENDIX B: Academic Affairs Organizational Chart

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