The top-ranked University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) is the nation’s first and only state-supported performing and multi-media arts conservatory. The UNCSA Board of Trustees invites applications and nominations for the position of Chancellor.

The Chancellor reports to the President of the University of North Carolina System, of which UNCSA is one of 17 constituent institutions. The Chancellor will serve as the leader of UNCSA, which has high school, undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate, summer and community programs in Dance, Design and Production, Drama, Filmmaking and Music. UNCSA also offers a full complement of academic course work through the High School Academic Program and the Division of Liberal Arts.  The mission of UNCSA is to serve as the state’s unique professional school for the performing, visual and moving image arts, training students for professional careers in the arts. As such, UNCSA provides gifted developing artists with the experience, knowledge and skills needed to excel in their disciplines and their lives; and serves and enriches the cultural and economic prosperity of the people of North Carolina, the South and the United States.

UNCSA is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It is a vibrant city experiencing a downtown renaissance and is the recipient of many “Best Place to Live” honors. Winston-Salem is known as the “City of Arts and Innovation,” in part due to the extraordinary artistic influence of UNCSA in the community.

The next Chancellor must have the integrity, perseverance and long-term vision required to address vital issues facing UNCSA while continuing to support the unique strengths, culture and historical focus that create an unparalleled learning environment. Although it is not essential that UNCSA’s next Chancellor is a practicing artist, a passion for the arts, and a deep understanding of the power and influence of art to enrich, celebrate, and elevate the human spirit is requisite. The Chancellor must have the executive and administrative skills to lead UNCSA to its full potential in the development of successful graduates.


Founded in 1963 as America’s first public arts conservatory, UNCSA has since developed a justly deserved international reputation. Students are admitted following competitive auditions and interviews and come from North Carolina, the United States and more than 20 foreign countries. UNCSA is divided into five separate schools, each one dedicated to a specific aspect of the arts, and each one charged with providing students with an educational experience designed to develop talent, vision and professional excellence. Interdisciplinary collaborations among the schools are encouraged and a key to the students’ success in broadening their artistic network and understanding. For more than 50 years, graduates of the UNCSA arts schools and disciplines have received numerous accolades from fellow artists, as well as arts and entertainment industry leaders, with vast numbers of nominations and awards. Each year UNCSA alumni take the stage to accept recognition and honors at the Oscars; the Tony Awards; Grammys; Emmys and Golden Globes, among others.


The School of Dance, ranked as one of the top 10 dance programs in the country (College Magazine), offers the highest quality contemporary dance and ballet training in the country, with high school and undergraduate students performing in a broad repertory of classical and contemporary dance. There are four fully produced productions annually, including 12 public performances of “The Nutcracker,” reaching 13,000 audience members. Distinguished full-time faculty instruction is enhanced by a steady flow of luminary guest artists throughout the year. Students can begin their learning in the Preparatory Dance program and enhance their studies through Summer Intensives. The Choreographic Institute, founded by Dean Susan Jaffe, is a unique and extremely competitive initiative to support the development of new work by emerging and established choreographers of exceptional promise.


The School of Design and Production, ranked third in the country (OnStage), produces more than 25 separate theater, dance, and opera events each year, all of which are student-designed, produced and managed. Its Costume and Wig & Make-up departments collaborate with students in the film school. The program is well known in the industry for its focus on innovation in themed entertainment, its industry-experienced faculty, and the talent and accomplishments of its students and alumni, all of which contribute to its high post-graduation employment rate of more than 95%. Design and Production also includes a two-year high school Visual Arts program where alumni are consistently awarded merit scholarships to the nation’s best college fine arts programs.


The School of Drama, ranked as one of the top five undergraduate drama programs in the country (The Hollywood Reporter), emphasizes a classical training model with a focus on diverse and inclusive paradigms in its training process to meet a well-recognized demand for actors to be technically skilled and, at the same time, creatively inspired. This vital combination of talent and skill is developed and refined by a highly qualified professional faculty through close, personal attention to their students’ growth. It also includes a one-year high school Drama curriculum, and a BFA Directing program, as well as a new program in devised theatre and an emphasis on on-camera instruction.


The School of Filmmaking, ranked as the 11th best filmmaking program in the country (The Hollywood Reporter), gives students access to cutting-edge filmmaking equipment, technology and instruction, including animation and virtual reality. The close “master-apprentice” relationship between accomplished faculty and students has produced many successful alumni whose work continues to receive wide recognition in the film and television industries. The youngest of UNCSA’s five schools, the School of Filmmaking, launched the Media and Emerging Technology Lab (METL) in 2017 to explore new methods of immersive storytelling content.


The School of Music provides exceptional training for young artists from high school through post-graduate studies with world-class artist-fac­ulty and renowned visiting guest artists. Facilities include learning laboratories and several recital halls featuring state-of-the-art acoustics and live streaming capabilities in Watson Chamber Music Hall.  The school is also home to the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, a fully funded, premier graduate voice program in opera, as well as the Chrysalis Chamber Music Institute for elevated instrumental studies. Students participate in several ensembles and numerous performances. UNCSA also offers lessons in its Community Music School and summer intensives for nonprofessionals.


Central to conservatory training at UNCSA, the Division of Liberal Arts provides a wide array of courses that meet the general requirements for the Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Music by providing a supporting curriculum of academic study to ensure the broader education of the whole citizen-artist. Discussions and projects often center around the arts and their role in society.


The High School Academic Program provides young artists in grades 9-12 with a broad, challenging and engaging curriculum. Here arts are not an elective but are integrated within the core academics. The High School Academic program is devoted to developing thoughtful, ethical, compassionate, creative, responsible life-long learners. Students who complete the program earn a High School Diploma.


The Town of Salem, North Carolina, was the first city in the United States where classical music was composed. In 1889, the U.S. Post Office combined the mail offices for the towns of Winston and Salem, and the towns were officially merged in 1913. Today, Winston-Salem is the fifth-largest city in North Carolina and the second-largest municipality in what is known as the Piedmont Triad region, encompassing the cities of Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point. The 12-county region is home to over 1.6 million residents, making it a Top-40 Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Known as the “Twin City” because of its dual origins, Winston-Salem is also officially the “City of Arts and Innovation” for its rich cultural history, robust arts and entertainment scene, and educational offerings. Although historically associated with textile, furniture and tobacco industries, Winston-Salem is evolving as a leader in the nanotech, high-tech and biotech fields. Medical research is a fast-growing local industry, and Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is the largest employer in the city.

As home to the first civic arts council in the United States, Winston-Salem paved the way for public-private support of the arts and created the model for arts councils nationwide. And the city’s numerous galleries, performing arts groups, theaters and collections continue to attract and appeal to arts lovers worldwide.

Winston-Salem is home to six colleges and universities, including UNCSA; others are Salem College, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State University, Piedmont International University, and Forsyth Technical Community College.


Reporting to the President of the University of North Carolina System, and working closely with UNCSA Board of Trustees, the Chancellor will lead, manage and oversee a $40 million budget and over 400 employees. The Chancellor will provide visionary oversight of a highly functioning administrative cabinet and a talented group of internationally known deans.

Vision: Provide strategic leadership and articulate a vision for UNCSA that fits within the UNC System’s strategic plan and unifies the five arts schools within a cohesive artistic and academic experience that will enrich student learning and training; empower deans and faculty with the freedom to create an atmosphere in which creative expression and education can flourish, and student talents can be fully utilized; be a confident leader who inspires trust and respect through forward and innovative thinking.

Administrative Management: Administer and execute the policies of the UNC Board of Governors and UNCSA Board of Trustees; provide overall direction for the operation of the University, modeling inspirational, collaborative and ethical servant leadership, honoring an institutional culture of shared governance, and delegating where appropriate to strengthen UNCSA’s infrastructure and financial health while managing the expectations of faculty and staff; be able to manage and delegate priorities; be familiar with management issues including human resources, law and accounting; be able to understand and manage the complexities of both a High School and University; cultivate a disciplined team environment with transparent organizational practices, policies and procedures, and an emphasis on communication and collaboration; manage a complex organization in an era of reduced state funding; create a supportive management environment where staff and faculty can flourish. ­

Fundraising: In conjunction with the UNCSA Board of Trustees, be committed to securing the financial resources necessary to achieve the University’s mission and to realize its highest aspirations; possess proven fundraising skills that demonstrate an ability to raise the financial support that will enable UNCSA to achieve its institutional priorities and goals; have an exemplary record of engaging individuals, philanthropic institutions and corporate leaders, as well as local, state and national government institutions.

Advocacy: Embrace and advance UNCSA’s dual mission as a public conservatory for the arts and a resource for the cultural life of the region and the state, as well as nationally and internationally; represent UNCSA with the President and Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina System, the Governor of the State of North Carolina, the North Carolina General Assembly, and the citizens of North Carolina, the nation and the world.

Guardianship: Preserve and promote the values shared and cultivated by the University in its current Academic Plan, including diversity, service, sense of community and global awareness; be a trustworthy guardian who uncompromisingly commits to upholding the artistic, educational and financial integrity of UNCSA and insists upon accountability; humbly and genuinely care about students, faculty and staff; value academics as well as the arts; respect the history and traditions of UNCSA and its programs while fostering a climate for growth and positive change.

Constituent Relations: As a skillful communicator, strengthen and expand relationships with internal and external constituencies, including alumni, parents, donors and friends; develop strategic consensus to move people forward; build on current working relationships with the President of the University of North Carolina System and the UNC Board of Governors, UNCSA Board of Trustees, UNCSA Foundation, UNCSA Board of Visitors, Faculty and Staff councils, Student Government Association, and a broad-based constituency from surrounding neighborhoods and the general public.

Collaboration: Collaborate and partner with oth­er Chancellors and campuses in the UNC System; under the direction of the President, work effectively and collaboratively with the North Carolina General Assembly and other state leaders to strengthen and expand existing relationships with campus and off-campus constituencies; place a high priority on positive relations with North Carolina’s people and communities.

Participation: Be a willing and visible participant in the life of the University as a servant leader; earn and inspire the confidence of the deans, faculty, staff, alumni, students and the community at large through shared governance: good listening, openness and substantive communication; understand education and the teaching experience; attend student performances and events and be truthfully engaged with the training of the students; encourage students to keep their passion and vision while appreciating just how difficult their task is.


  • Look for, and develop, new arenas for fundraising and diversification of revenue through alumni and corporate engagement, entrepreneurial endeavors, contracts and grants.
  • While recognizing and appreciating the traditional foundation of UNCSA, guide and strategically develop a modern and forward-looking vision for the future of the institution.
  • Promote a culturally aware and welcoming environment for faculty, staff, and students.
  • Work to recruit and attract the highest quality students and develop sufficient scholarship funds for them. Work to create a safe and mental and physically healthy campus for students to thrive.
  • Demonstrate a strong commitment to recruiting, developing, and retaining a diverse and high-qual­ity faculty and staff.
  • Build the ranking of UNCSA among peer institutions, while raising the ranking of the individual arts schools nationally and internationally.
  • Engage with alumni and become an active and visible leader in strengthening alumni relationships with UNCSA.
  • Increase UNCSA’s visibility locally, statewide, nationally and globally.
  • Build key relationships in the artistic professions and industries for which our students are being trained.


UNCSA is at an exciting and vibrant point in its history and is well positioned to continue to excel in all its pursuits. The new Chancellor will be expected to continue to build on the many superlatives of the University; become personally vested in its future; and develop, articulate and execute a shared vision for UNCSA. The Chancellor will be an innovative, dynamic and entrepreneurial leader who will promote excellence and creative thinking across campus. The Chancellor will provide leadership and direction while motivating and inspiring faculty, staff and students to reach beyond traditional responsibilities to achieve common goals for the University. The Chancellor should have the experience and skills to build relationships, garner and provide resources, and form collaborative partnerships. Candidates should demonstrate evidence of active engagement in initiatives and projects that foster diversity and inclusion for faculty, staff, and students. As the primary spokesperson for the institution, the new Chancellor must possess communication and public relations skills. A passion for the arts is essential, as well as a strong desire to work openly and collaboratively with the faculty, staff and students to ensure continued artistic and academic excellence. 


The Chancellor serves as an ex-officio member of the advisory boards of the Kenan Institute for the Arts, the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute and the Center for Design Innovation.

Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts

By virtue of the position, serve as trustee and chair of the Board of Advisors of the prestigious Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts, an affiliate of the University. In 1992, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Fund for the Arts Foundation established the Institute and annually gives substantial support to it in support of its mission, which is “to foster, encourage and support initiatives nationwide dedicated to the enrichment and further growth and development of the cultural life of our democratic society.”

A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute

Named for businessman and arts advocate Alfred Johnson Fletcher (1887-1979), the A.J. Fletcher Foundation has supported the growth of opera in America for over 50 years, first through the creation of the Grassroots Opera Company in 1948 and subsequently through the productions and educational outreach of the National Opera Company. To strengthen and perpetuate Mr. Fletcher’s vision for opera, the Foundation took the unprecedented step of committing a major grant to establish an opera institute at UNCSA. A vehicle for advancing the career potential of exceptional young singers, the Fletcher Institute offers performance-based training at graduate and post-graduate levels to several Institute Fellows each year.

Center for Design Innovation

The Center for Design Innovation (CDI) is a multi-campus research center within the statewide University of North Carolina System. Its goal is to catalyze the economic transformation of the state’s Piedmont area through design-focused activity based on advanced digital technologies. Currently, CDI’s constituent campuses are UNCSA and Winston-Salem State University, collaborating with Forsyth Technical Community College. The mission of CDI is to create an environment in which diverse constituents generate, develop and translate creative thinking to foster the growth of education, research and commercial enterprises.


Application materials should include a letter addressing how the candidate’s experience matches the position requirements and a current curriculum vitae. Applications, nominations and inquiries of interest may be sent in confidence to the UNCSA’s executive recruitment consultants:

 Martin M. Baker, Managing Partner

Chelsie Whitelock, Principal


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The University of North Carolina System is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or status as a protected veteran.

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