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Apply Now Provost/VP for Academic Affairs


Provost/VP for Academic Affairs

Category :
Corporate / Senior Management
$160,000 to $185,000
Full Time
Senior Management / Corporate Officer

The Position


Massachusetts Maritime Academy (MMA) invites inquiries, nominations, and applications for the position of provost and vice president for academic affairs, the chief academic officer of the Academy. The new provost will be expected to take July 1, 2019.


MMA is a fully accredited, four-year, co-educational state university offering Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees that are highly regarded in the worldwide maritime industry and beyond. Located at the mouth of the scenic Cape Cod Canal, MMA is an hour’s drive from the thriving urban communities of Boston and Providence and offers easy access to the pristine beaches of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard.


One of nine campuses of the Massachusetts state university system, MMA serves and prepares 1,780 undergraduate and graduate students for careers in the marine transportation, engineering, international maritime business, emergency management, and environmental fields. MMA has long offered a successful blend of career-focused education informed by strength in both an academic core and the discipline of regimental life. MMA graduates enjoy a competitive advantage in the marketplace: they are highly sought after due to their strong leadership qualities and work ethic.


MMA has earned consistent national recognition for its commitment to excellence. MMA is currently named as college in Money magazine and ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the best regional universities, top public institutions, and best undergraduate engineering programs. Forbes magazine has also ranked MMA among the nation’s top 25 colleges with the best return on investment.



Responsibilities of the Position


The provost reports directly to the president and works collaboratively with the senior leadership team to achieve the Academy’s strategic goals and vision of excellence. As academic officer, the provost manages the academic enterprise, providing leadership for MMA’s academic programs, academic policy, and related administrative offices. The provost is responsible for ensuring the integrity of all academic programs through curricular development, assessment and program review, regional and professional accreditation, and coordination with the state university system. The plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of teaching and learning at MMA and provides new perspectives and direction in such areas as academic configuration, optimal faculty size and makeup, modes of delivery, and continuous innovation to meet emerging market and societal needs. The provost provides leadership for deans, department heads, and faculty within an environment of shared governance and collective bargaining, and fosters a climate of collegiality that is conducive to teaching, learning, research, service, and ongoing development of faculty, staff, and students. Direct reports include the dean of undergraduate programs, dean of graduate programs, assistant dean of academic affairs, assistant dean and registrar, and other departments such as career and professional services.

The following are additional duties and responsibilities outlined in the official position description:


  • of all full time and faculty
  • Ensure compliance with collective bargaining agreements
  • Evaluation in accordance with collective bargaining agreement for promotion, tenure, post-tenure review, reappoint and sabbaticals
  • Ensure accreditation standards are satisfied and lead for reaccreditation for NEASC, IACBE, ABET
  • Develop and implement calendar
  • Work closely with our internal governance structure in implementing new policies, course programs
  • Ensure academic policies are being adhered to
  • Sit on senior staff and provide insight strategic planning
  • Maintain divisional budget for salaries, equipment consumables
  • Serve as academic liaison to the Board of Trustees
  • Author and/or submit the annual special mission report to of Higher Education
  • Ensure compliance with STCW standards with USCG (prepare for cycle of review and approval of USCG license programs)
  • Work with Athletics in bonding academics and athletics
  • Seek nominations for honorary degree recipients through the Board of Trustees
  • Identify and pursue grant funding opportunities
  • Acquire statistical data on employment of graduates
  • Oversee co-op, placement and experiential learning programs
  • Oversee the Learning Resource Center
  • Publish annually the college catalog, faculty handbook, and academic standards
  • Hear union grievances at the Step 1 level
  • Serve as acting president in the absence of the president



Characteristics of the Successful Candidate


Massachusetts Maritime Academy seeks in its new provost an experienced, collaborative, and entrepreneurial academic leader with strong management skills to build on MMA’s reputation and elevate the Academy to even higher levels of academic excellence and student success. Candidates should have an earned doctorate or other terminal degree and a demonstrated record of progressive administrative and academic leadership responsibilities, preferably as the head of an academic unit or division. The ideal candidate will bring strategic vision, a steadfast and unwavering ethical compass, proven financial and budget management skills, the capacity to inspire curricular innovation, familiarity with diverse modes of course and program delivery (including online, hybrid, on land, and at sea), a deep commitment to diversity and inclusion, a demonstrated commitment to shared governance, and an affinity for the distinctive mission and character of the Academy.


The following required qualifications are outlined in the official position description:


  • Earned doctorate
  • Experience working collaboratively with faculty and an administrative team on enrollment management, finance and administration, and strategic planning
  • Experience working within a framework of shared governance
  • Experience developing strong and innovative academic programs and support services
  • A series of responsible administrative positions within higher education providing leadership in an academic setting, including cross-divisional collaboration
  • A demonstrated commitment to working with diverse populations
  • A record of fostering excellence in teaching, research, and service
  • An ability to analyze and use data effectively in decision making
  • Established track record of employment at the executive level in Higher Education
  • Superior communications skills
  • Familiarization with regional and specialized graduation standards
  • Familiarization with collective bargaining agreements
  • Teaching experience at the undergraduate or graduate level
  • Ability to create a culture of collegiality
  • Ability to effectively manage a divisional budget
  • Understanding the Academy’s unique mission


As outlined in the position description, additional preferred qualifications include:

  • Must be as well as a team player, able to work collaboratively at all levels of our diverse Academy community, and able to contribute to a positive work environment in which mutual respect and mutual support are guiding principles
  • Must be results-oriented, and have a strong work ethic, to include a willingness to travel frequently and to work nights and weekends frequently to achieve goals
  • Must have integrity, enthusiasm, a sense of humor and broad perspective, and a passion for the ocean, boats, and for the place and potential of Massachusetts Maritime Academy within the global maritime enterprise and community
  • An earned terminal degree and sufficient scholarship or creative activity for appointment at the rank of professor in one of the academic departments of the college
  • Experience in coordination campus-wide self-studies
  • Project management experience
  • Experience in oversight of co-operative education and experimental learning
  • Experience in bringing a new degree program through governance and through the Department of Higher Education approval process
  • Experience with distance learning
  • Experience in procuring grant funding
  • Military experience
  • Maritime industry experience and familiarity with shipboard operations



History of the Position


Commodore Bradley Lima, senior vice president for academic affairs, has announced his intention to retire at the end of June 2019. A 1974 graduate of the Academy, he joined the MMA faculty as an assistant professor in the early 1980s and served as engineering department chair from 1990 through 1999. Named dean and vice president for academic affairs in March 2002, Lima was promoted to senior vice president in June 2017. As the Academy’s chief academic officer, he manages the academic enterprise, providing leadership for MMA’s academic programs, academic policy, and related administrative offices.


MMA has retained Spelman Johnson to assist in recruiting Lima’s successor, who will hold the title provost and vice president for academic affairs.



Likely Opportunities, Priorities, and Measures of Success


Massachusetts Maritime Academy is seeking a strategic, visionary leader to be its next provost and vice president for academic affairs. Serving as the Academy’s chief academic officer, the provost will address the following priorities, among others:


Collaborate with the president and the president’s senior leadership team


Together with the president and his senior leadership team, the provost will play a central role in making MMA’s strategic goals a reality. Leading the academic enterprise, the provost will have broad and critical institutional influence and decision-making opportunities. This senior-level responsibility will require a leader with an open and transparent style, who can effectively exchange ideas and opinions with the Academy’s constituencies and who can contribute effectively to the overall administration of the Academy, including fundraising, community outreach, and alumni interactions.


Continue to evolve the academic program


The provost has oversight for all academic units and their academic planning, policies procedures, with to articulate a compelling vision for academic affairs and driving innovation at the Academy. An entrepreneurial spirit and capacity to manage intentional change, with a willingness to take considered risks are important to the provost’s success. In this leadership role, the provost will advocate for evolving pedagogies, incorporating traditional and digital scholarship, to advance the Academy’s priorities and to ensure academic programs are positioned to maintain and strengthen MMA’s position as a national leader in maritime education. The provost will build upon the work that has been done in revising and expanding the curriculum, while creating, supporting and sustaining an environment of assessment, adaptation, and continuous improvement. The provost will work to create an environment of support and innovation through thoughtful and strategic budget allocation and by pursuing external funding opportunities.


Inspire, support, and lead the Academy’s talented and dedicated faculty


To be successful, the provost must build rapport with faculty, gain their confidence and trust, and support their ongoing development through strategic decision-making, thoughtful resource allocation, and inspirational leadership. A central responsibility is to recruit, guide, retain, evaluate, and support faculty in their efforts to provide effective pedagogies and significant course offerings to the student body. The provost will attend to the factors that support faculty success, rewarding collaboration and entrepreneurship while recognizing and supporting central teaching, mentoring, and advising responsibilities. The provost will promote excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service, as well as establishing priorities and plans for faculty development.


Leverage influence to ensure accreditation, policy compliance and assessment procedures


The provost assures the effectiveness and success of MMA’s academic programs in meeting established learning outcomes and external accreditation standards, as well as the requirements of governmental agencies and professional societies. A commitment to ensure the consistent supervision of academic policies, operations and initiatives in alignment with the Academy’s goals is a primary focus for the provost.


Encourage collaboration across the institution


The provost will work to bring a committed community of faculty and staff together in supporting student success through all aspects of academic and co-curricular programs. Partnering with the vice president for student services and commandant to create an atmosphere centered on holistic student learning will be an important priority. Through collaboration and clear communication, the provost will lead in delivering the educational mission of the Academy, creating educational opportunities for faculty and students that encourage and strengthen interdisciplinary and build a more integrated approach to advising at the Academy.


Support an environment of inclusive excellence


The provost will partner with the campus community to strengthen MMA’s commitment to supporting a diverse community of students, faculty, and staff. The provost will support academic faculty and staff in effectively working with students from all backgrounds and identities and will invest time and resources in the recruitment and retention of faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds and with varied perspectives to enrich inclusive excellence at the Academy.


Contribute to external relations and reputation


The provost will share in the ongoing effort to build strong relationships with local, regional, global, alumni, industrial partners and donors and expanding and reputation of the Academy. This role will purposefully ensure an active and expanding dialogue with external constituencies by encouraging key partnerships, engaging in advancement activities, including assisting the president with fundraising and supporting faculty in applying for grants and contracts. The provost must promote and advance MMA’s mission by actively participating in important external activities and interacting with appropriate state, regional, and national organizations, charitable groups, and civic entities.



An Overview of the Academic Affairs Division


(see organization chart)



Institutional Background


Massachusetts Maritime Academy is a fully accredited, four year, co-educational state university offering Bachelor and Master of Science degrees that are highly regarded in the worldwide maritime industry and beyond. Located on Cape Cod, at the mouth of the scenic Cape Cod Canal, Massachusetts Maritime Academy is the ideal college to pursue your love for the ocean, your concern for the environment, your interest in math and science, and your thirst for adventure.


Our campus is equipped with state-of-the-art technology to train the next generation of industry leaders. The Academy's rigorous academics and hands-on approach to building leadership and professional skills fully prepare our students for successful careers. The proof: most of our graduates are employed in well-paying, career track positions within 90-days of graduation.


The Academy experience is unique. The Regiment of Cadets and regimental-style uniforms play an important role in campus life at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.  The Regiment reinforces that status at the Academy is not an entitlement based on gender, race, or socio-economic class; it is earned through hard work, honor, and integrity. Though we are structured as a regimented academy designed to grow effective leaders, only cadets who volunteer for commissioning programs have military obligations during and after their time at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.


Through Sea Terms and Cooperative Education Programs, our undergraduates log invaluable career experience during their four-year pursuit of a Bachelor's Degree, often while traveling to foreign countries.  Upon graduation, our cadets are distinctly qualified to lead as licensed maritime professionals, skilled business managers, ship safety officers, commissioned military officers, and more.


The United States Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration (MARAD) recognizes the Academy as one of six state maritime colleges approved to prepare graduates for federal license examination as third mate, ocean vessels, unlimited tonnage or third assistant engineer, steam or motor, unlimited horsepower. 


Extracurricular activities are viewed as a way to cultivate pride in the Academy tradition as well as maintain the Academy's Tradition of Pride.  All cadets encouraged to participate in the wide variety of activities and athletics offered at MMA.  An impressive 40% of cadets are athletes on one or more of our competitive NCAA and ECAC Division III college teams.





Buzzards Bay, MA


Buzzards Bay is a census-designated place (CDP) in the town of Bourne in Barnstable County. The population was 3,859 at the 2010 census. It is the most populous of the five CDPs in Bourne. Along with Bournedale and Sagamore Beach, it is one of only three communities in Barnstable County that are northwest of the Cape Cod Canal. Excessively drained sand underlies most of the community and the majority is mapped as Carver soil series.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 2.9 square miles 1.9 square miles of it is land and 1.0 square mile of it is water, consisting primarily of Buttermilk Bay, an arm of Buzzards Bay that forms the western edge of the CDP.


Buzzards Bay was originally Wampanoag territory. The "buzzards" for which the town was named were most likely turkey vultures or ospreys. Buzzards Bay was settled by Europeans in 1621. Among the community's most prominent residents President of the United States Grover Cleveland, who maintained a "Summer White House" at his home at Agawam Point in Buzzards Bay. Cleveland's home, a local landmark, was destroyed by fire on December 10, 1973.



Mission and Vision


The mission of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy is to provide a quality education for graduates serving in the merchant marine, the military services, and those who serve the interests of the Commonwealth, Nation and global marketplace. The Academy does so by combining a rigorous academic program with a regimented lifestyle that instills honor, responsibility, discipline, and leadership.



Strategic Plan


The 2019-2020 MMA Voyage Plan is available at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MUmt_zVdY-enj6tObgMOUCvOVdogHHdo/view




Rear Admiral Francis X. McDonald, USMS, President


Rear Admiral McDonald is the President of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, one of six state maritime academies in the country. Founded in 1891, the Academy has been training business leaders, ship captains, engineers, and professional officers in the 19th, 20th, and now the 21st century. Offering seven undergraduate and two graduate majors, the Academy is one of two “special mission” public universities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


Upon graduation from the Academy in 1985, McDonald pursued an engineering career and earned a Master of Science in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He returned to his alma mater in 1995 to serve as Director of Cooperative Education, a role in which he developed and implemented the cooperative education program and dramatically increased placement rates for undergraduate interns and graduating seniors. Appointed as Dean of Enrollment Management in 1999, he led the rebranding of the Academy which resulted in a dramatic increase in numbers and diversity of incoming freshmen. He has since served as Vice President for Operations, heading up a major campus building expansion, and as Executive Vice President. President McDonald holds a Doctor of Law and Policy from Northeastern University and has served as an adjunct professor in the Academy’s emergency management graduate program. He assumed the role of President in August 2015 following unanimous votes of the MMA Board of Trustees and the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, with the rank of Rear Admiral conferred by the U.S. Maritime Administrator. President McDonald is active in or has served on and professional organizations including the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce, Barnstable School Committee, Sturgis Charter School, Cape Cod Collaborative, and the Marine Society at Salem. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, President McDonald now resides in Marstons Mills with his wife Beth and their two children Kathryn and Harrison.





The Academic Program


Undergraduate Degrees


  • Energy Systems Engineering
  • Facilities Engineering
  • Marine Engineering
  • Emergency Management
  • Marine Safety & Environmental Protection
  • International Maritime Business
  • Marine Transportation



Graduate Programs


  • Masters of Science in Facilities Management
  • Masters of Science in Emergency Management
  • Masters of Science in Maritime Business Management





The Student Body


Fall 2017

Total Undergraduates    1,688

  • 87% Men
  • 13% Women


Total Graduates                                92

  • 77 % Men
  • 23% Women



Benefits Overview


  • Health Insurance
  • Dental and Vision Plans
  • Retirement Options
  • Life Insurance Plans
  • Long Term Disability Insurance
  • Pre-Tax Benefits
  • Tuition Remission





Application and Nomination


Applications, including a position-specific cover letter and resume, may be submitted online at www.spelmanjohnson.com/open-positions. Nominations for this position may be emailed to James M. Norfleet at [email protected] Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.


Visit the Massachusetts Maritime Academy website at www.maritime.edu


MMA is an AA/EEO/Veteran/Disability employer. Members of underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.


Spelman Johnson has prepared this webpage based on personal interviews and information copied, compiled, or quoted in part from source documents obtained from our client institution, and as such, the contents of this document are believed to be reliable. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, the original source documents and factual situations govern, and the material presented here should be relied upon for informational purposes only.

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Job Location

101 Academy Drive
Buzzard Bay, MA, 02532

Job Manager/Contact

Work Phone : 508.830.5000
101 Academy Drive
Buzzards Bay, MA, 02532