Dean of the School of Marine Science and Director of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science

William & Mary
Gloucester Point, Virginia
February 10 2021
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type


William & Mary

Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Dean of the School of Marine Science and Director of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science

William & Mary (W&M), a public liberal arts and sciences research university with nationally ranked undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs, seeks an energetic and innovative new Dean of the School of Marine Science and Director of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS).

Founded in 1940, VIMS is one of the largest marine science centers in the U.S., with a focus on coastal and estuarine science. VIMS is unique among marine science institutions in its legal mandate to provide research, education, and advisory service to state government, citizens, and industry. In the years since its founding, VIMS has developed unique capabilities in people, practices, and infrastructure that allow it to provide the honest, unbiased science and guidance needed to help address the pressing issues facing our watersheds, estuaries, coasts, and ocean. VIMS offers graduate education in marine science through its School of Marine Science (SMS), a component of W&M, conferring graduate degrees in marine science at the M.A., M.S., and Ph.D. level. VIMS advances its mission by addressing cutting-edge scientific questions and effectively translating its research results and new technologies for the Commonwealth of Virginia (Commonwealth) and beyond. 

The next VIMS Dean & Director will take the helm after a period of significant enhancements to research, education, advisory service programs, and infrastructure due to the vision and leadership of Dr. John Wells, who has served in the role since 2004. Reporting to the W&M Provost, the Dean & Director will provide the vision and leadership that are required for VIMS to be a world-renowned center of excellence in marine science, attracting the very best students and scholars in the nation, expanding the frontiers of science through research and discovery, educating the next generation of marine science leaders, and making an impact on the state, nation and world by applying this knowledge to important societal issues. The Dean & Director is responsible for the daily operations and strategic planning for VIMS and its approximately 425 faculty, staff, and students, and oversees an annual operating budget of $52 million. This dual role requires effective communication with W&M, navigating the relationship to ensure that there is meaningful connection, primarily through the SMS, while at the same time leading the operation of a separate non-residential research campus, and fulfilling the mandate for VIMS to serve the Commonwealth. 

William & Mary, a public university in Williamsburg, Virginia, is the second oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The university is proud of its role as the alma mater of generations of U.S. scholars, leaders, and public servants. Now, in its fourth century, it continues this tradition of excellence by combining the best features of an undergraduate college with the opportunities afforded by a modern research university. Its moderate size, dedicated faculty and staff, highly motivated students, and distinctive history give W&M a unique character among public institutions and create a learning environment that fosters close interaction among students and their faculty mentors.

W&M has retained the services of Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist in conducting this search. For more information, to make a nomination, or to apply for this role, please visit:

William & Mary/Virginia Institute of Marine Science values diversity and invites applications from underrepresented groups who will enrich the research, teaching and service missions of the university. William & Mary/Virginia Institute of Marine Science is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and encourages applications from women, minorities, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities.