California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)

As the first higher education institution in the nation to offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in the visual and performing arts, CalArts is in the top tier of highly competitive art schools. Established in 1961 by Walt and Roy Disney, CalArts emerged with a bold new paradigm for arts education, the kind not seen since the Black Mountain College experiment of the 1930s that promised the freedom to create with boundless imagination, unfettered by conventional expectations. Offering a curriculum that is at once imaginative and rigorous, CalArts continues to distinguish itself as a pioneer in arts education, nurturing and respecting students as artists, offering remarkable interchange with faculty across disciplines, and encouraging students to cross-pollinate and inspire each other.

CalArts offers its educational program to student artists through six primary divisions: the School of Art, the School of Critical Studies, the Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance, the Herb Alpert School of Music, the School of Film/Video, and the School of Theater. This year, in the sole art school category, U.S. News & World Report named the CalArts MFA Program in Art in its Top 10 ranking. Animation Career Review named CalArts Animation Programs #1 nationally in its most recent review. The Hollywood Reporter ranked CalArts among the top five film schools, top 10 music schools, and top 15 drama schools in the world.

Located on a campus 25 miles north of Hollywood in the Santa Clarita Valley, CalArts has helped fuel several movements in the arts, its graduates fanning out internationally in every major arts arena. It now holds a prominent place in the exploding arts scene in Los Angeles, where a critical mass of both emerging artists and professional colleagues come from the ranks of CalArts alumni.

In addition to the main campus, CalArts operates the Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater (REDCAT), an interdisciplinary contemporary arts center for innovative performance and exhibition in downtown Los Angeles. The Institute also provides arts education to underserved youth in the area through the Community Arts Partnership and maintains strong ties with an array of educational partners globally.

Students and Curriculum

The CalArts artistic philosophy places an emphasis on the exploration of new paths beyond conventional boundaries and empowers students to define their own personal objectives. Given more creative freedom than at traditional art schools and conservatories and encouraged to take risks while discovering and cultivating their own artistic voices, CalArts students are self-motivated, passionate, and deeply committed to their work. Students are accepted primarily on the basis of their artistic ability and they are expected to produce art from their first day.

The Institute is guided by a set of values that put student creativity front and center:

  • CalArts teaches artists to develop the skills and personal drive to reach their creative potential, question perceived ideas, and expand forms of knowledge and experience in the world.
  • CalArts challenges artists to create work that matters globally to the state of culture today and in the future.
  • CalArts imagines ever-widening roles for artists as agents of creative innovation in all contexts, from the practical to the wildly improbable.
  • CalArts champions art in all its forms to foster dialogue, collaboration, and mutual respect in an increasingly diverse world.

CalArts currently enrolls 1,459 students: 951 undergraduates, 496 graduate students, and 12 special non-degree students. Students may pursue BFA and MFA degrees through programs in music, art, theater, dance, and film/video, as well as an MFA program in writing, an MA program in aesthetics and politics, and a DMA performer-composer program in music. The Institute also offers a variety of undergraduate and advanced certificates; interschool degrees, or double majors, are available to a small number of advanced students. Students in all programs are required to take a series of liberal arts/general education classes through the School of Critical Studies, where they are encouraged to recognize the complexity of political, social, and aesthetic questions and respond to them with informed, independent judgment; all students are given the opportunity to take electives in other schools.

The concentrations of students across the programs are: film/video (27%), theater (23.6%), art (21.9%), music (19%), dance (5.4%), and critical studies (3%).

Students are exceptionally diverse, hailing from across the United States and from 48 countries. Female students currently make up 58% of the student body, students of color represent nearly half of the population, and international students represent 20.4% of the student body. The Institute is also highly selective relative to many arts institutions, with a 28% acceptance rate. Tuition for the 2016-2017 academic year is $45,030, with 83% of students receiving financial aid.


An extraordinary feature of CalArts’ pedagogical model is that students are treated as artists from the day they arrive. Under the guidance of a gifted and experienced faculty, who themselves are accomplished practicing artists, students are offered a highly personalized experience. It is common for students to engage with faculty-artists on an individual basis, performing and collaborating together. The faculty-to-student ratio varies by program, but the average is 7:1. Instruction by the faculty and visiting professional artists fosters independent artistic work, values collegial relationships over hierarchies, and encourages continuous cross-pollination among the branches of the arts.

The faculty is comprised of 340 members, approximately 160 of whom are full-time equivalents. CalArts does not have tenured faculty lines. Faculty members are intellectually and artistically professionally active in their disciplines of expertise and have been recognized for their achievements with national and international awards for pedagogy, scholarship, and creative work. The provost works in close consultation with the faculty and faculty governance extends from an elected Academic Council.

Faculty and students are supported by approximately 260 full- and part-time staff, many of whom are CalArts’ alumni; some are artists in their own right and many have undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of disciplines that complement the needs of the Institute. These staff members help maintain the rich institutional history and community that is CalArts.

Governance and Finances

The CalArts Board of Trustees has 43 members, comprised of leaders in the arts, the foundation world, and civic engagement and includes a faculty, staff, student and alumni representative elected by each constituency. Six of its members are alumni of the Institute. REDCAT has its own advisory council. The Institute has a national advisory Board of Overseers, based in New York City, that offers expertise and consultation and provides an East Coast base, expanding CalArts’ national reach.

The Institute has experienced steady growth; it’s operating budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year was $62 million. Approximately 75% of the budget is generated by tuition and fees—over $44 million of it in a single fiscal year, with the rest coming from donations, investment earnings, and other miscellaneous revenue sources. The Institute’s annual fundraising has tripled and its endowment has grown exponentially to $135.9 million as of June 2016. President Ravi Rajan is focusing on diversifying and strengthening the revenue streams for the Institute, including significant growth to the endowment.


Currently, CalArts consists of a sprawling five-level, 500,000-square-foot building that houses all six schools as well as a number of auxiliary buildings. The main building was constructed in the early 1970s and retains much of its early character, though it has undergone various renovations over the years, including an extensive rebuilding following the Northridge earthquake in 1994. Students also have options to live in on-campus housing in two separate units: Chouinard Hall houses approximately 340 undergraduate students and Ahmanson Hall provides apartment-style housing for 99 third and fourth-year undergraduates as well as graduate students.

The campus also has numerous studios and production and performance spaces, including the Walt Disney Modular Theatre. There is also an on-campus music pavilion known as “The Wild Beast,” a 3,200-square-foot structure used as a large classroom and combined indoor-outdoor performance venue.

In 2003, CalArts opened REDCAT (, in the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall complex. Programming at REDCAT is divided into four parts: work by high-profile international artists, work by emerging southern California-based artists, community service programming, and work developed from within CalArts. Many of the artists featured at REDCAT visit campus to give lectures, lead workshops, and conduct master classes.

Local and Global Reach

The Institute is recognized for its Community Arts Partnership (CAP) program, a co-curricular program that offers free, after-school and school-based arts programs for youth between the ages of 6 and 18 in every discipline taught at CalArts. Programs are offered at public schools, community centers and social service agencies in the greater Los Angeles area. With classes led by a teaching corps of CalArts faculty, alumni and student instructors, CAP has served as a model for other arts education organizations locally and nationally, receiving numerous honors.

CalArts also sustains partnerships with arts institutions around the world, including Lasalle College of Art (Singapore); European Exchange Academy (Germany); London Contemporary Dance School (England); Universitat der Kunst (Germany); Glasgow School of Art (Scotland); the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Scotland); Goeblins, L’Ecole de L’Image (France); Ecole Nationale Superiere des Arts Decoratifs (France); Ecole National Superiere des Beaux Arts (France); Sarah Lawrence College (U.S.A.); the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Scotland); the Kunitachi College of Music (Japan); Janacek Academy of Music and Performing Arts (Czech Republic); Hongik University (South Korea); Teatro a Mil (Chile); Estudios Anima (Mexico); Universidad San Martin (Argentina).

For more information about CalArts, please visit the website:


Valencia, California


CalArts teaches artists to develop the skills and personal drive to reach their creative potential, question received ideas and expand forms of knowledge and experience in the world. CalArts challenges artists to create work that matters globally to the state of culture today and in the future.

Position Summary and Opportunity

CalArts stands as a beacon of hope and change within a system of higher education in, of, and for the arts. Its commitment and proven adherence to nurturing and exploring of the artistic process, and its concomitant pedagogy rooted in intense mentorship causes it to stand out: not only to provide a top quality education to its students, but also to serve as a global model for others to study and emulate.

With the inauguration of Ravi Rajan as President of the Institute, and guided by its strategic direction titled “CalArts 2030,” the Institute is poised to expand its reach, refine its core mission, and address the many cross currents in the contemporary arts worlds. The Provost, working in collaboration with the President and the senior management team, will assume primary responsibility for the academic programs of the Institute. Among these responsibilities will be maintaining a consistent focus on core mission, innovation with integrity, and ensuring broad understanding of the complex and changing pressures that are upon the entire sector of higher education. The Provost reports to the President and oversees the following direct reports: the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, the Director of Academic Contracts and Budgets, the Director of Institute Partnerships, seven Academic Deans (Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Library and Information Resources, Music, and Theater), the Dean of Enrollment Management, the Registrar and Associate Provost for Student Success, a Managing Director and an Artistic Director in Community Arts Partnerships, and an Administrative Assistant. The Provost also has a dotted line reporting relationship with the Project Director, Extended Studies, who also reports to the Chief Financial Officer.

Functions of the Provost

  • The Provost serves as the chief academic officer of the Institute. In collaboration with the President, the Provost nurtures and represents the Institute’s core values, faculty, and curriculum.
  • S/he understands that there is a growing need for greater equity, diversity, and inclusion in the academic and academic support sectors broadly, and that increasing diversity will necessitate changes to support the roles of students and faculty. The Provost, in collaboration with the Institute Diversity Officer, will work to identify these needs for CalArts, and develop strategies to address them for the future.
  • The CalArts community recognizes that this is a time of transition and change, with a bright future that is guided by CalArts 2030, its strategy document. However, it is also a future influenced dynamically by campus leadership. The Provost will play a critical and central role in this process, involving all internal stakeholders (faculty, staff, students, deans), synthesizing needs and viewpoints, then meshing and representing his/her findings with the senior management team, the President, and, when called upon, the Board of Trustees.
  • The Institute recognizes that there are significant changes afoot in higher education, as well as in the arts. Many of these in higher education have overtones that sometimes run counter to the institutional mission, values, and culture of CalArts. As such, the Institute will have to chart its own path, and make its own judgments. The Provost will need to know and deeply understand these changes then interpret them for the CalArts community. S/he will need to artfully adapt and implement required processes, including, but not limited to, WASC accreditation.
  • For its size, the Institute is significantly complex, in that it contains six distinct schools and a substantive library. Because of this, creating and implementing interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary learning experiences, a signature of the Institute, can be particularly challenging. A primary responsibility of the Provost is to guide this effort from planning to implementation to evaluation.
  • The Provost will collaboratively determine, recommend to the President, and subsequently put into practice academic administrative structures that most effectively address the mission and core values of the Institute.
  • The Provost will create, maintain, and consistently evaluate the professional development of academic staff, faculty, and deans. S/he will identify resources and tools (including those technological) necessary for the effective implementation and maintenance of academic programs, and will effectively represent these needs.
  • The Provost will guide the work of the deans, including the administrative functioning of academic units, and the participation of academic leadership in fundraising activities. In close collaboration with the President, the Provost develops strategies for succession planning among the dean cohort.
  • The Provost will collaborate with the deans, faculty, staff, and students in defining, recommending to the President, then implementing and evaluating a process of shared governance.
  • The Provost recognizes and addresses the needs of administrative and technical staff, understanding that they are often the first point of contact for students with problems and needs.
  • In collaboration with the faculty and staff, and in conjunction with the President and senior management team, the Provost guides and evaluates various emerging academic programs and initiatives. Current examples among these include programs from the office of Global Initiatives and Extended Studies, Open Learning (online courses in Coursera and Kadenze), future planning for new international initiatives (China, etc.), various partnerships, as well as technology initiatives in classrooms. It is the Provost’s responsibility to ensure there exists understanding of these initiatives, their progress, goals, and needs across the academic spectrum of the Institute.
  • Under the direction of the President, and in conjunction with the senior management team, the Provost works to help effectively steward Trustees by enabling interactions with students, faculty, staff, and the academic activity of the campus.
  • As delegated by the President and the Trustees, the Provost manages ongoing work with the faculty regarding workload, compensation, evaluation, and the implementation of merit-based salary systems and awards.


  • Has exceptional communication and interpersonal skills with the ability to establish effective relationships internally;
  • Has a strong pedigree in arts education and/or practice in the arts;
  • Is knowledgeable, sophisticated, and conversant in contemporary discourse across the spectrum of the arts and higher education in the arts;
  • Has earned an advanced degree in a relevant field and has experience in higher education administration, as well as significant experience teaching;
  • Has a demonstrated engagement with the arts at the level expected of CalArts faculty;
  • Tracks and understands current trends in higher education, in the arts, and in arts education;
  • Possesses a collegial, consultative, open management style allied with the ability to be decisive, fair, flexible, accessible, resilient, and strong;
  • Is capable and practiced at listening receptively, facilitating discussion, enumerating and analyzing options, and making a decision;
  • Has a record that consistently demonstrates professional and personal integrity;
  • Is able to motivate and retain employees—can recruit strong deans, faculty, and staff;
  • Has a desire to be present on-campus, and will track the pulse of the Institute though hands-on work with faculty, staff, and students;
  • Is compassionate and eloquent, and is able to inspire action in others;
  • Is transparent, consistent, and fair;
  • Is collaborative by default;
  • Considers and values student opinion and is student-centric;
  • Requires hard data for decision-making, and possesses the ability to analyze data and identify trends and patterns that may or may not be applicable and relevant to CalArts’s academic policies and best practices;
  • Has demonstrated the ability to foster a positive, inclusive culture within a complex and culturally diverse organization;
  • Possesses an unwavering commitment to student and faculty artistic success;
  • Has uncompromising honesty and a sense of humor.


A review of applications will commence immediately, continuing until the position is filled. Interested individuals are encouraged to submit their credentials by December 18, 2017, for full consideration. Complete applications should be submitted electronically and should include: a cover letter, a current resume reflecting work experience from college forward, and a list of names, telephone numbers, addresses, and email addresses for five professional references. References will not be contacted without the candidate’s approval/consent.


Shelli Herman, President
Shelli Herman and Associates, Inc.
11693 San Vicente Blvd., Suite #104
Los Angeles, California 90049
Office: (800) 396-0595 ext. 5