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Founding Dean and Chief Academic Officer

Apply now Job no: 492731
Work type: Full-time
Location: Poughkeepsie, NY
Categories: Administration

Position Title:

Founding Dean and Chief Academic Officer


School of Medicine

Job Summary:

Marist College and Nuvance Health invite applications for the Founding Dean of the new Marist Nuvance School of Medicine and Chief Academic Officer (CAO) of Nuvance Health System. A new collaboration between Marist College and Nuvance Health, a health system formed through the merger of Western Connecticut Health Network and Health Quest, the school aims to be a distinctive innovator in medical education by utilizing technology, data science, and artificial intelligence across the curriculum and clinical practice. The Founding Dean/CAO will have the unique opportunity to lead this exciting endeavor from its inception and meaningfully shape its direction.

Technology is dramatically reshaping both education and medical care.  Marist and Nuvance Health are launching this school of medicine to address these changes.  The Marist Nuvance School of Medicine will train physicians for the real-world challenges they face in practice, utilize technological advances to put humanity back at the core of the doctor/patient relationship, and leverage full integration of the educational mission across the health system.

The Founding Dean/CAO will draw on the firm commitment, support, and expertise of two world-class institutions in Marist and Nuvance, which have a common goal to positively impact how wellness is promoted and healthcare is practiced. Capitalizing on a strong foundation of careful planning and the significant financial strength of the partners, the Founding Dean/CAO will have an unusually high degree of freedom to influence medical education: she/he will be able to lead the initial curriculum design for the School of Medicine and set strategic priorities for the outstanding graduate medical education programs, continuing professional development activities, research, and innovation taking place at Nuvance.

The Founding Dean/CAO must be a prominent member of the medical education community and a builder with the ability to recruit notable faculty and staff, create an innovative learning environment, and guide the school through accreditation. In addition, the Founding Dean/CAO must promote a culture of excellence in education, social equity, and scholarship, and articulate the school’s vision to prospective donors and state and national officials.

The School of Medicine will be housed in a newly constructed, purpose-built facility near Nuvance’s Vassar Brothers Medical Center Campus.  It will be seeking approvals from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the New York State Education Department, and Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Once fully staffed and accredited (by July 2021), the school is expected to begin actively recruiting students, with the first class of 60 expected to matriculate in July 2022. By 2028, that class size is projected to increase to 120.

Minimum Qualifications:

The Founding Dean/CAO must have an M.D., or equivalent degree; a strong record encompassing scholarship, research, and teaching; significant service and leadership experience at a school of medicine, academic medical center, or healthcare institution; and experience with establishing and managing new programs inside large existing organizations. This person will be a passionate advocate for undergraduate and graduate medical education as well as healthcare transformation through technology innovation. The Founding Dean/CAO will be a dynamic leader, a strategic and entrepreneurial thinker, and an exceptional communicator to advance the mission and grow the impact of the school.

Because the role of the Founding Dean/CAO is new, complex, and demanding, the successful candidate’s experience must include progressively more administrative responsibility in environments that rely upon vision, teamwork, planning, delegation of authority, and measures of accountability.

Education and Professional Licensure Requirements

  • M.D. or equivalent degree
  • Board Certification in the candidate’s specialty/discipline
  • Eligibility for medical licensure in New York and Connecticut

Essential Functions:

Serving as the chief architect, executive, and intellectual leader of the School of Medicine and CAO of a robust health system, the Founding Dean/CAO will be responsible for building and ensuring excellence in medical education and research along the full continuum of professional learning. As a jointly appointed leader, the Dean/CAO will be a key player in managing the partnerships between Marist College and Nuvance Health, as well as with other key stakeholders.

The Founding Dean/CAO will report (50% effort) and be accountable to the Marist President for all educational and operational matters relating to the School of Medicine. In the capacity as Nuvance CAO, he/she will report (50% effort) and be accountable to the Nuvance CEO. The Dean/CAO is appointed by both the College and health system boards. This appointment will be enacted based upon the recommendation of the School of Medicine’s Joint Board of Overseers (the JBO). The Dean/CAO is a non-voting member of the JBO.

The Founding Dean/CAO will be responsible for all components of the School of Medicine in line with applicable requirements of the LCME and other accrediting bodies as well as all Graduate Medical Education (GME) and Continuous Professional Development (CPD), previously known as “Continuing Medical Education,” in the health system. 


The JBO has identified the following immediate goals and objectives for the Founding Dean/CAO:

Build the school and achieve successful accreditation

The Founding Dean/CAO will lead the establishment of a new organization with a strong reputation for excellence and innovation in medical education and discovery—with a special focus on integrating emerging technology and artificial intelligence into high-quality, patient-focused clinical training and service. Because opening the new School of Medicine will rely upon LCME, Middle States, and New York State Education Department accreditation and approvals, the Dean/CAO must immediately ensure that accreditation plans are underway on an appropriate timeline for review and approval. In support of this task, Marist and Nuvance are currently recruiting an Executive Director who will be responsible, along with the Vice Dean for Undergraduate Education, for driving the development of documents that address LCME requirements as well as supporting faculty in building the curriculum necessary before the admission of the School of Medicine’s first class.

Create an undergraduate medical education curriculum that redefines medical practice

The Founding Dean/CAO will have considerable flexibility in developing from the ground up a curriculum that incorporates best practices in line with ACGME and Institute of Medicine (IOM) competencies. It will include a specific focus on using information technology and artificial intelligence to provide graduates with a distinctive degree in medicine that integrates the healthcare technologies of tomorrow with advances in the biological and clinical sciences so they can deliver cutting-edge care to diverse patient populations well into the next century.

Develop and expand GME and CPD

The Founding Dean/CAO will oversee GME residencies and fellowship programs at Nuvance Health. In addition, Nuvance has a history of excellent CPD offerings which will be expanded and enhanced as the system grows and further needs are identified. The Founding Dean/CAO will bring both a vision and a set of best practices to support continuous learning, attract and retain talent, and improve health care outcomes. Specifically, technological innovations should be encouraged to make the current CPD offerings and all new educational programming available to a wide audience in both a real time and asynchronous manner.

Support a learner-centered approach to education

Students and learners will be at the center of this enterprise. The Founding Dean/CAO will ensure that the educational experiences are designed to offer a personalized, hands-on, and interactive approach to learning. In addition, the Founding Dean/CAO will lead a program that focuses on improving the practice of medicine in a way that considers the well-being of students, faculty, and clinician educators and reduces the troubling rates of physician burnout.

Lead the operation of education programs

Once fully operational, the School of Medicine’s Department Chairs and leadership team (Associate Deans, Senior Deans, etc.) will report to the Founding Dean/CAO with respect to their academic duties and responsibilities. This leader will oversee a period of major growth and significant hiring. The Founding Dean/CAO must create an outstanding team to ensure excellence in the financial, curricular, and administrative responsibility for the school.

Establish key relationships and partnerships

As the champion of this new school, the Founding Dean/CAO will be expected to reach out proactively to a broad range of constituents, not only to educate them about the school’s potential, but also to enlist them in joint initiatives. The Founding Dean/CAO should focus on learning about Marist’s and Nuvance’s programs and capabilities and build relationships to leverage their collective strengths in support of the new School of Medicine. Additionally, the Founding Dean/CAO should proactively engage the vibrant technology ecosystem in the mid-Hudson Valley and New York/New Jersey/Connecticut regions and foster partnerships and collaborations essential for the success of the school in its aspirations to be a leader in technology-enhanced medical education with a special focus on artificial intelligence.

Secure and steward resources

The School of Medicine has been enabled through significant financial commitments from both Marist and Nuvance. The school’s business plan calls for additional private resources to be raised through philanthropic activities, including the opportunity for a naming gift. As the chief ambassador for the school, the Founding Dean/CAO will be the point person in presenting a compelling case statement to prospective donors and securing their long-term financial commitments. Both partners have significant networks and expertise that will help the dean endow the future of the school.   

Work collaboratively to build a diverse community of students and practitioners

The Founding Dean/CAO will be responsible for the recruitment and development of a group of leaders who are highly skilled, adventurous, and passionate about defining the next generation of medical education. Advancing the careers of these clinicians, faculty, and researchers; fostering professional growth opportunities; and inspiring them to a standard of excellence are important objectives. As successful innovation derives from bringing individuals from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints together, the Founding Dean/CAO will prioritize building a diverse student body, faculty, and administration, while also nurturing a culture of social equity and inclusion.

Build and enhance the research enterprise infrastructure

Nuvance Health is involved with numerous clinical research trials as well as investigator-initiated trials. It is home to the Ruggles Biomedical Research Institute, which focuses on translational research. In addition, Marist’s research portfolio continues to grow. The new School of Medicine expands the academic footprint of both institutions, and this will require the development of expanded research capabilities, especially in the applied and translational arenas. The Founding Dean/CAO will lead the strategic positioning, budgeting, and execution of these new capabilities, including driving growth in funding through grants, philanthropy, and other means. The Dean/CAO will be responsible for blending the educational and research efforts of Nuvance Health with its clinical expertise and will play a vital role in linking clinicians, including students and residents with physician-scientists. The health system fosters an environment of continuous learning for the advancement of patient care and professional satisfaction and the Dean/CAO will be at the center of these efforts.

Specific Responsibilities for the Founding Dean/CAO


  • Developing and implementing the School of Medicine’s curriculum
  • Overseeing the clinical training activities of medical students at Nuvance Health and assigning clinical faculty members to various teaching roles as well as the operation of GME programs at Nuvance Health facilities

 Admissions and Student Affairs:

  • Establishing criteria, standards, and policies/procedures for the application and admission of students
  • Establishing and applying policies relating to student affairs and the provision of student services


  • Appointing the faculty of the School of Medicine
  • Administering the hiring, dismissal, development, and promotion of education personnel within the school and in the health system
  • With the delegated authority from the Marist President, leading efforts to appoint Vice Deans, Associate Deans, and other senior officials of the School of Medicine as necessary to operate the school


  • Guiding all research activities of the School of Medicine and Nuvance Health
  • Encouraging and increasing, clinical, investigator-initiated and translational research activities across the enterprise

 Resource Management and Development:

  • Conferring with and advising the Marist President and the Nuvance CEO – in conjunction with the JBO as appropriate – on significant matters relating to the School of Medicine and its finances and operations
  • Leading efforts to ensure that the School of Medicine has sufficient resources to meet accreditation requirements and to provide a robust learning environment for undergraduate medical education
  • Working with college and health system advancement staff and other leadership to continue the capital campaign for the operation of the School of Medicine.

Preferred Qualifications:

Preferred Leadership Qualifications, Personal Qualities, and SkillS

  • Passion for excellence: Believes in exceptional patient care, education, research, and service to the community
  • Vision for impact of academic mission: Sees the possibilities for the academic enterprise to transform clinical care delivery, improve quality outcomes, and address disparities
  • Entrepreneurial spirit: Able to thrive in a dynamic, high-growth setting
  • Values-driven: Ability to model the values of Marist and Nuvance – respect, excellence, accountability, compassion, community, service, and honor
  • Relationship orientation: Exceptional interpersonal skills – a record of promoting collaboration and cultivating strong internal and external relationships
  • Mentorship: Effective team builder with the ability to gain respect from program faculty, physicians, administrators, and staff; ability to coach, counsel, and develop faculty and staff
  • Administrative orientation: Outstanding organizational, time management, and conflict resolution skills
  • Appropriate delegation: Level of comfort in hands-on engagement in key areas, but with a sense of when and how to effectively delegate to others
  • Decisive: Understands the value of being an inclusive and timely decision maker; able to take calculated risks and draw on analytical skills and conceptual thinking to identify opportunities
  • Emotional intelligence: Self-confident with political acumen, high level of energy, humor and optimism, personal humility, and unquestioned personal integrity
  • Financial oversight: Ability to interact with outside auditors and Board Finance and Audit Committees.
  • Experience and qualifications commensurate with eligibility for appointment at the rank of Associate Professor or Professor at Marist College

Preferred Experience

  • A successful record of leadership (Dean, Associate Dean, Chair, Vice Chair, CMO, VP Medical Affairs or other senior leadership role), preferably in a medical school or other academic or complex healthcare setting
  • Demonstrated experience with integrating technology into healthcare and education
  • Track record of success in academic and/or research program development
  • Demonstrated ability to build great teams and recruit top talent
  • Evident appreciation for interdisciplinary collaboration, and a personal commitment to translational and applied research
  • Management experience
    • Strong fiscal skills, an astute understanding of finances and the relationship between academic priorities and the budget
    • Proven ability to successfully navigate the operation of the clinical enterprise
    • Experience with research strategy and grants management
  • Previous experience leading or significantly contributing to LCME accreditation processes and deliverables
  • Familiarity and understanding of entrepreneurship, public/private partnerships, and technology commercialization in an academic medical setting
  • A demonstrated commitment to social equity; an understanding of its importance to the mission and richness of the School of Medicine and its success
  • Direct experience serving in a high-profile role external to an institution – interacting regularly and effectively with political, community, private sector leaders, and the media
  • Strong record and reputation for clinical and teaching abilities
  • Proven track record of cultivating the interest and involvement of both current and potential donors, resulting in the closing of major and principal gifts.

Special Instructions:

Marist College and Nuvance Health have retained Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, to assist the Dean/CAO Search Committee in its identification and review of candidates. For all inquiries and nominations for this role, please visit:

John Muckle, Partner

Jane McMahon, Managing Associate

Caitlin Barrett, Senior Associate

Isaacson Miller, Inc.

263 Summer Street, 7th Floor, Boston, MA 02210

About Marist College:

Located on the river in the historic Hudson River Valley and at its Florence, Italy branch campus, Marist College is a comprehensive, independent institution grounded in the liberal arts. Its mission is to “help students develop the intellect, character, and skills required for enlightened, ethical, and productive lives in the global community of the 21st century.” Marist is consistently recognized for excellence by The Princeton Review (Colleges That Create Futures & The Best 380 Colleges), U.S. News & World Report (9th Best Regional University/North), Kiplinger’s Personal Finance (“Best College Values”), and others. Though now independent, Marist remains committed to the ideals handed down from its founders, the Marist Brothers: excellence in education, a sense of community, and a commitment to service. Marist educates approximately 4,900 traditional-age undergraduate students and 1,400 adult and graduate students in 47 undergraduate majors and 14 graduate programs, including fully online MBA, MPA, MS, and MA degrees.

About Nuvance Health

In 2019, Health Quest (HQ) and Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN) united to form a new integrated, nonprofit health system. Nuvance Health will serve approximately 1.5 million residents across New York’s Hudson Valley and neighboring western Connecticut. It includes seven hospitals, a large employed physician group, home care agency and more than 2,600 aligned physicians, and 12,000 employees. Projected annual revenues of the system are $2.4 billion. The new entity will significantly expand the number of clinical rotation sites, offer greater breadth of specialties, and create more opportunities to coordinate with the current education programs across all hospitals.

Type of Position:




Months per Year:



Poughkeepsie, NY

Number of Positions Openings:


Equal Employment Statement:

Marist College is committed to creating a diverse workforce on our campus by ensuring that barriers to equal employment opportunity and upward mobility do not exist here. To this end, the College will strive to achieve the full and fair participation of minorities, women, people with disabilities, and any other protected groups found to be under represented.

Equal opportunity means employment, development, and promotion of individuals without consideration of race, color, disability, religion, age, sex, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, or veteran status unless there is a bona fide occupational requirement which excludes persons in one of these protected groups. The College will review its employment policies and procedures to ensure that barriers which may unnecessarily exclude protected groups are identified and eliminated. The College will also explore alternative approaches if any policy or practice is found to have a negative impact on protected groups.

Marist's policy of non-discrimination includes not only employment practices but also extends to all services and programs provided by the College. It shall be considered a violation of College policy for any member of the community to discriminate against any individual or group with respect to employment or attendance at Marist College on the basis of race, color, disability, religion, age, sex, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other condition established by law.


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