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School Director - New American Film School

The New American Film School

Job description:

The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University seeks a leader to serve as the inaugural director of The Sidney Poitier New American Film School. The Director of The Sidney Poitier New American Film School will be a dynamic leader who can reimagine the future of film and media education for the largest, most egalitarian film school in the country. The inaugural director of The Sidney Poitier New American Film School will report to the Dean of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. This is a full-time, fiscal year appointment with the appointment type and academic rank based on experience, beginning spring 2021.


About ASU:

Arizona State University is a new model for American higher education, an unprecedented combination of academic excellence, entrepreneurial energy and broad access. This New American University is a single, unified institution comprising four differentiated campuses positively impacting the economic, social, cultural and environmental health of the communities it serves. Its research is inspired by real world application blurring the boundaries that traditionally separate academic disciplines. ASU serves more than 80,000 students in metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona, the nation's fifth largest city. ASU champions intellectual and cultural diversity, and welcomes students from all fifty states and more than one hundred nations across the globe.

About the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts:

ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts is the largest comprehensive design and arts college in the country, built on a combination of disciplines unlike any other program nationally and located within a dynamic research university focused on transformative change. The Herberger Institute comprises the schools of Art; Arts, Media and Engineering; Music, Dance and Theatre; The Design School; The Sidney Poitier New American Film School, and the ASU Art Museum. The Herberger Institute is committed to redefining 21st-century design and arts education through developing and scaling ideas to strengthen the role of designers and artists across all areas of society and culture and to increase their capacity to make a difference in their communities.

For more information on the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, visit herbergerinstitute.asu.edu.

About The Sidney Poitier New American Film School:

The Sidney Poitier New American Film School—a top 25 film program—will operate in Arizona and Los Angeles, occupying a new state-of-the-art 118,000 square foot immersive media and film production facility in downtown Mesa, AZ (6 miles from ASU’s Tempe Campus) as well as the ASU owned and renovated Herald Examiner Building in downtown Los Angeles. The Sidney Poitier New American Film School will comprise a student body, staff and faculty who are representative of the diversity of a changing America and will embody ASU’s charter—measuring itself not by whom it excludes but by whom it includes and how they succeed. The Sidney Poitier New American Film School will prepare students for careers across the film, television and media industries—traditional feature films, television series, documentary, short form storytelling, gaming and immersive media. The school is committed to the full range of careers and roles throughout film and media, from writing, directing, and editing to digital cinematography, production design, sound recording and design, location scouting/management, music direction, costume design, visual effects, casting, talent management, sales, finance, marketing, distribution, and more.

The inaugural director will lead The Sidney Poitier New American Film School at ASU and will work collaboratively with the faculty, staff, and students and the Dean of the Herberger Institute to develop and realize the vision, mission, and purpose of the school.

The Director's responsibilities include:

  • Supervise the school staff while leading and expanding a diverse faculty that supports, teaches and mentors approximately 1,000 students.
  • Work with the dean to raise funds for the school to support capital and equipment, scholarships, professorships, enrichment programs, including programs in LA, new centers, and graduate programs.
  • Build industry partnerships to incubate innovative educational programs, content creation, internships, and faculty and student research and projects.
  • Work with faculty to design, advance, and revise curriculum, including pursuing new online degrees and offerings. 
  • Amplify a culture of equity and inclusion that enriches the entire school, from syllabi and curriculum to hiring, recruitment, retention, access to resources, communications, meetings, and overall culture.
  • Manage a budget of approximately $3.6M, including overseeing expenses related to contingent and full-time instructors, student support, equipment, travel, professional development opportunities, and guest speakers. 
  • Oversee the Film Spark program, our career acceleration initiative based in Los Angeles.
  • Be a nationally visible spokesperson for the school.
  • Build a robust presence for the school in Los Angeles, including helping establish and grow a center for short form storytelling and digital futures, supporting a new 1-year master’s degree in LA, helping design executive education programs, and working with California-based community colleges to build pathways toward enrollment in the school.
  • Chart a course, with the faculty, for embracing technological innovation and new platforms and modes of media production, including mixed reality and immersive media. 
  • Build partnerships and collaborative programs and curriculum with the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, the School of Music, Dance and Theatre, the School of Art, The Design School, the ASU Art Museum, and beyond.
  • Create authentic and equitable partnerships across the city of Mesa and the city of Los Angeles — embedding students with community partners to support storytelling and filmmaking for the public good.   
Required qualifications: 

Required qualifications:

  • Senior level management experience in academia or industry (10 years).
  • Experience, knowledge and fluency with multiple forms of film and media production.
  • Experience and commitment to supporting inclusive and ethical filmmaking.
  • Demonstrated experience with and commitment to cross-cultural communication and establishing inclusive environments for staff, faculty and students, and/or members of professional teams.
Desired qualifications: 

Desired qualifications:

  • Knowledge of and access to media professionals working in LA and beyond.
  • Experience designing and advancing partnerships.
  • Experience and commitment to mentoring diverse staff, colleagues, students and young filmmakers.
  • Experience with fundraising and resource development.
  • Knowledge of higher education and demonstrated commitment to advancing education.
  • Ability to reach out across disciplines and engage all aspects of arts and design in support of film and media education.
  • An entrepreneurial mindset and ability to lead within a collaborative start-up environment.
  • Knowledge of industry trends and potentialities, including technological innovation.
  • Ability to inspire and engage students at all levels
Instruction to apply: 

Instruction to apply:

Please submit the following materials:

  • Letter of interest addressing how the candidate uniquely meets the qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae or resume.
  • Names and contact information of three references.
  • A one-page statement describing the candidate’s vision for how The Sidney Poitier New American Film School can accomplish its mission.
  • A one-page statement describing the candidate’s commitment to equity and diversity in film and the film industry.
Application deadline: 

Application deadline:

The national executive firm, W. Tucker and Associates, has been hired to assist with this search. Confidential inquiries and nominations should be directed to the search firm at nafs-director@wtuckerassociates.com. Review of applications will begin immediately and the position will remain open until filled. For best consideration, please submit materials by November 23, 2020. Application materials should be submitted electronically to the search firm at nafs-director@wtuckerassociates.com.



ASU conducts pre-employment screening for all positions, which includes a criminal background check, verification of work history, academic credentials, licenses and certifications.

Arizona State University is a VEVRAA Federal Contractor and an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will be considered without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. See ASU's complete non-discrimination statement at https://asu.edu/aad/manuals/acd/acd401.html. See ASU’s Title IX policy at https://www.asu.edu/titleIX/.

In compliance with federal law, ASU prepares an annual report on campus security and fire safety programs and resources.  ASU’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report is available online at https://www.asu.edu/police/PDFs/ASU-Clery-Report.pdf  You may request a hard copy of the report by contacting the ASU Police Department at 480-965-3456.