Chair, Graduate Interaction Design Program

Open Rank Faculty Position, Full Time

San Francisco, CA

Deadline: Priority deadline for initial review is October 28th. Position open until filled. 


Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) is an independent non-profit art college with undergraduate programs in architecture, design, fine arts, visual studies, and writing and literature. The college also has graduate programs in architecture, comics, design, interaction design, curatorial practice, design strategy, fine arts, social practice, film, visual and critical studies, and writing. Through these programs, the college has created a dynamic and interdisciplinary environment to fulfill the school’s motto of “Make art that matters.” Diverse cultural perspectives enrich the CCA community and the college believes that continuing to expand the horizons of the students and faculty is essential to achieving its educational objectives. CCA represents over one hundred years of dedication to its mission, whose character reflects its location in the San Francisco Bay Area, where histories of radical politics and technological innovation inform a culturally rich academic community infused by art schools, research universities, world-renowned museums, galleries, start-ups and community-run institutions. With campuses in Oakland and San Francisco, CCA currently enrolls 1,950 full-time students and is embarking on a major campus planning project that will unify the college in one location and ensure its academic excellence for the next century.


The Graduate Interaction Design Program at California College of the Arts is a highly competitive, one-year (12 month), intensive Master of Design (MDes) program for students with prior experience in design or a design-related field. Founded in 2015, this vanguard program educates practitioners for one of the most dynamic and expanding fields of professional practice today. As a key area of growth for the College there are opportunities for envisioning new pathways.  

CCA is immersed in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area, an innovation capital and “ground zero” for design, cultural production and social impact. This program is a leader in bringing diverse voices to the practice of interaction design and our faculty are leading practitioners drawn from outstanding companies and studios in the San Francisco Bay area. The student population is global with alumni in key positions locally and internationally. 

The mission of the program is to empower practitioners to humanize technology through design. We do this through a curriculum that imparts a bold mix of design craft, strategic vision, social impact, and leadership skills. Our emphasis on leadership enables graduates to have a greater impact on the culture of teams and organizations. At CCA we learn by doing. The education takes place in a collaborative, studio-based environment, and through partnership with external organizations and companies. The city of San Francisco is an extension of our campus - we practice design and leadership skills in a real-world setting. 

The Graduate Interaction Design Program is part of the Design Division, which consists of six undergraduate programs in Illustration, Furniture, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Interaction Design, and Industrial Design, and two additional graduate programs, an interdisciplinary MFA in Design and an MBA in Design Strategy. 


The chair is responsible for the vision, leadership, and administration of the program within the

context of the Design Division and the college.

The Chair is responsible for ensuring program relevance, educational excellence, and ongoing successful operations. Responsibilities include planning, oversight, and operational management of the program’s curriculum, budget, and initiatives, as well as organizational leadership for staff, faculty, and students. The Chair is responsible for staying actively involved with both the curriculum and contemporary practice. 

The Chair reports directly to the Dean of Design and works to achieve programmatic, divisional, and institutional goals in partnership with key offices including Academic Affairs, Admissions, Alumni Relations, Marketing, Communications, Facilities, and the offices of the Provost and the President. As this is a faculty position, the Chair is expected to teach in the program.



● Lead faculty in developing and implementing program curricula and identity.

● Ensure curricula comply with specialized and primary accreditors’ guidelines.

● Lead regular assessment of student learning in partnership with the faculty and use results

to inform strategic decisions to improve curricula, facilities, technology use, staffing, etc.


● Devise, prepare, and monitor program budget in support of learning outcomes and the program mission.

● Work with faculty and the Dean to develop program goals, strategies, and metrics consistent with college and program missions. 

● Work with the Dean and academic director’s office and appropriate staff to determine and communicate staffing, facilities, equipment, and other program needs.

● Produce a timely, accurate, and appropriate course schedule.

● Work with academic staff to manage the day-to-day running of the program.

● Ensure that faculty in the program have accurate and appropriate teaching loads based on their appointments.

● Ensure all program’s administrative documents are submitted accurately and in accordance with timelines, including goals documents, course schedule, budget, and course syllabi.

  • Maintain a program that responds to the needs and goals of a culturally-diverse student and faculty community and is relevant to the rapidly changing respective professional fields.
  • In cooperation with the Dean of Design, build a portfolio of external partnerships to enhance and define student experience.


● Identify, recruit, and make hiring recommendations for qualified faculty. 

● Assess program faculty composition in light of diversity, visibility, and program goals and teaching effectiveness.

● Conduct regular performance evaluation of all program faculty.

● Manage, mentor, and support faculty in their roles as teachers.

● Provide letters of recommendation for program faculty undergoing promotion reviews.  

● Effectively implement the Collective Bargaining Agreement for covered faculty.

● Lead regular program meetings with program faculty.


● Build a strong community with regular, open communication between students, faculty and staff.

Work collaboratively with Enrollment Management to establish and reach enrollment goals by developing and implementing effective student recruitment strategies.

● Build working partnerships with internal offices including: facilities, career services, alumni services, communications, enrollment management, and financial aid.

● Attend and represent the program at Academic Affairs, Enrollment, Alumni, and Advancement-related events.

● Work with the Marketing/Communications and Alumni Offices to increase college and program visibility through promoting up-to-date student, faculty and alumni achievements.

● Attend mandatory chairs trainings, as well as all college-wide and division-wide chairs meetings.

● Be responsive to requests for program-related information or input from college-wide staff in a timely manner.


● Establish and enhance academic and professional networks for the program.  

● Other duties specific to the program’s needs, as required.


The ideal candidate will be a well-connected design thought-leader with a proven record of professional success in IxD, UX, AI, systems design, design for social impact, or design leadership.  

We seek candidates with leadership experience who have worked with culturally diverse groups. Prior experience in teaching and/or academic administration is preferred. Suitable applicants will have experience with team-based design, and/or collaborative working processes, and a developed point of view on contemporary issues such as humanizing technology, sustainability, social justice, AI, emerging technology, and/or trust/ethics.  Candidates should be well-organized and possess superior management and administrative skills.


  • Bachelor degree in design, design strategy, business or a relevant discipline.
  • Evidence of successful leadership in an academic or professional environment
  • Five years of professional experience in IxD, UX, AI, systems design, design for social impact, design leadership, or a relevant discipline. 
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Excellent management and administrative skills, either in academic or industry
  • Experience working with diverse, multi-cultural groups


  • Advanced degree in a relevant field and/or equivalent experience/training 
  • Effective teaching experience. 
  • Experience with team-based design, or collaborative working processes
  • Experience working on projects related to either humanizing technology, sustainability, social justice, ethics/trust, AI or emerging technology


Commensurate with qualifications and includes a comprehensive benefits package.


Priority deadline for initial review is October 28th. Position open until filled. 


Qualified applicants must complete the online application by uploading the following materials:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Letter of interest highlighting points of excellence in your professional practice and/or academic experience that would underpin your suitability for this role 
  • Evidence of professional practice: Submit any one, or a combination of the following: Portfolio (pdf file), website, up to 10 minutes of video, Pdfs of published work
  • Contact information for three professional references 

Additional materials may be requested by the search committee at a later date.  

EEO Statement

As an educational and cultural institution, California College of the Arts has a responsibility to provide access and opportunities for all people, with special attention to supporting groups historically underrepresented in higher education. We believe that a culturally diverse campus is integral to academic excellence, and our student, faculty, staff, and trustee bodies should reflect the diverse world in which we live, with attention to race, ethnicity, religious creed, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and ability. California College of the Arts is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from individuals who will contribute to its diversity.

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