Dean Faculty of Social Sciences

Ref: 5274

Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Role Managed by:

Thomas Modder

Senior Research Associate & Head of Research

t: + (31) 2 0240 4379

f: +44 (0) 207 340 6201


Primary Practice Group: Higher Education and Research

Salary & Benefits: Competitive

Closing Date: 17/10/2021

This vacancy has now expired, and is not accepting any new applications.

Please search for live opportunities or use the Register Interest facility to sign up for job alerts and/or leave your CV speculatively.

VU Amsterdam seeks to appoint a new Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. Equipped with an entrepreneurial mindset, the successful candidate will be an inspiring collaborative leader with the ability to build cohesion internally, spot trends and opportunities, raise the Faculty’s profile externally, and strengthen the position of social sciences in the academic landscape.

The Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences combines two roles. In the first place, together with the collegial Faculty Board, the Dean holds ultimate responsibility for education, research, impact, and management of the Faculty of Social Sciences. Secondly, the Dean is part of the strategic team of deans and directors, which works closely with the Executive Board to develop and implement the strategy and vision of VU Amsterdam.

With respect to leadership and the associated way of working together, VU Amsterdam has formulated four principles by which they hold themselves accountable:

  • Contribute to the bigger picture
  • Be bold and decisive
  • Be transparent and clear
  • Listen and give room for growth


Person Specifications

The Dean:

  • is ultimately responsible within the Faculty Board and supervises the faculty together with their board members. The Dean is hierarchically responsible for the department heads and bears integral responsibility: responsible for the agreed objectives in education, research, and impact, and also for the financial, personnel and organisational solidity.
  • has proven executive leadership capabilities, governs with clear decisions and steadfastly steers the Faculty’s strategy;
  • invests in maintaining and strengthening the Faculty's outstanding international reputation for excellence in research;
  • achieves support and mutual involvement in a socially safe climate within the Faculty by being visible to the staff and investing in an open and good relationship with the academic community, support services and the faculty representative advisory bodies;
  • is a bridge-builder, stimulates interdisciplinary collaboration across the boundaries of the departments and the faculty and promotes professionalism in the management and control of commitment and resources;
  • encourages employees’ own responsibility within the agreed framework of the Faculty, actively pushes to identify and utilise everyone’s talents and provides space for achieving results, by striking a good balance between the ambitions and the (perceived) workload;
  • actively monitors hiring processes in alignment with the strategic direction of the Faculty, in which the broad development of diversity and the recognition and appreciation of talents are important areas of attention;
  • contributes proactively and constructively to VU-wide management and strategy;
  • invests in a strong representation of the faculty in cooperation with external relations and works closely on behalf of the Faculty with other deans, directors, and the Executive Board as a strategic partner;
  • has the ability to adequately position the field of social sciences in the Dutch higher education landscape.


Desirable Qualities

Progress-oriented and visionary

The Dean has a clear, inspiring, and innovative vision of the opportunities and possibilities for the Faculty and VU in the field of education, research, and impact. The Dean is a leader who dares to think outside of the box and has a clear vision on activating education and blended learning.

Executive potential

The Dean can explore solutions in an optimistic and creative way, is resolute, vigorous, and flexible, and is goal- and result-oriented. The Dean applies a hands-on approach when necessary and can monitor and accelerate the implementation of existing processes.


The Dean is clearly visible in the Faculty. The Dean is a team-builder who cooperates in a transparent and honest way, listens to various perspectives, and asks critical questions, has sufficient self-reflective capacity, inspires as a role model, and creates commitment and support for choices. The Dean pays attention to diversity in the faculty and in the broad context of the university and bridges differences as a matter of course.

Influential, with a broad network in science, the public sector and the business community

The Dean is an influential scientist with proven expertise, with contacts in relevant networks of public and private administration in the academic field of the faculty and with proven experience with internationalisation in education and research.


VU Amsterdam

VU Amsterdam is a unique university with faculties in the humanities, STEM, social sciences, and medical sciences. We combine our top position in research with a strong social orientation, which has resulted in an excellent international reputation. Our education and research are distinctly multidisciplinary. We are free thinkers with expertise and A Broader Mind, and we work together to build a better world for people and the planet.


Faculty of Social Sciences

VU Amsterdam is the only university in the Netherlands that combines traditional social sciences (Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, Political Science and Sociology) with modern social sciences (Public Administration, Organization Science and Communication Science). The Faculty of Social Sciences examines major societal problems of our time from multiple perspectives: from bullying at school to dealing with illegal immigration, from the rise of populist politicians to creating a self-reliant society. The Faculty’s strengths lie in the state-of-the-art education and research, close cooperation between a large range of disciplines, and their focus on society and current issues.


Appointment Process and How to Apply

An executive search exercise is being undertaken by Perrett Laver to assist the Appointment Advisory Committee in the discharge of its duties, both to assist in the assessment of candidates against the requirements of the role and to identify the widest possible field of candidates. Applications should consist of a covering letter addressing suitability against the person specification and a full curriculum vitae.

VU University Amsterdam is aiming for a more equal distribution of men and women at all levels. Therefore, VU University Amsterdam encourages female candidates to apply for this position. 

Perrett Laver may be contacted for informal enquiries and questions on +31 20 2404 379 or by emailing Applications can be uploaded at, quoting reference 5274. The closing date for applications is 9 am CEST on 18th October 2021.

Applications will be considered by the selection committee end October and longlisted candidates will be invited to meet with Perrett Laver beginning of November. Shortlisted candidates will be selected by the committee in mid-November. The interviews with the appointment committee and the Executive Board will take place end November/beginning of December. The procedure includes a selection assessment. Furthermore, a certificate of conduct (Verklaring Omtrent Gedrag – VOG) must be available for submission.


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This vacancy has now expired, and is not accepting any new applications.

Please search for live opportunities or use the Register Interest facility to sign up for job alerts and/or leave your CV speculatively.