Instructor & Academic Advisor for the Department of Fashion Design + Merchandising

The School of the Arts is conducting an internal search for an Academic Advisor to be based in the VCUarts Department of Fashion Design + Merchandising. The Academic Advisor is responsible for facilitating student success by defining and implementing proactive strategies that help students stay on track to fulfill their undergraduate educational goals in the Department of Fashion Design & Merchandising. This position will provide a wide range of services to prospective, admitted, and enrolled students including academic advising of undergraduate students. This position will have teaching responsibilities in his/her area of expertise and will be expected to teach at the discretion of the Director of Academic Advising and the Chair of the Department of Fashion Design & Merchandising. This position will report to the Director of Academic Advising and will be an active member of the School’s student advising team.

The Department of Fashion Design + Merchandising is an undergraduate program with 350 students offering a BA track in fashion merchandising and a BFA track in fashion design. The Department encompasses a unique partnership between the visual, technical and business aspects necessary for merchandising, design, and production. Students are prepared to enter the fashion industry by learning technical and problem solving skills, including, but not limited to relevant computer skills, line development, retail math, branding, creative entrepreneurship, textiles for fashion, and more. Market identification, analysis, and interpretation are emphasized in the merchandising track, with a new focus on understanding apparel construction as well, in order to compete in the global economy.  Principles of design research, design process and construction, balanced with illustration, the business of fashion, computer presentation skills, and creation of a final thesis collection are emphasized in the design track. Students enter the fashion merchandising track directly as freshman while the fashion design students must complete the Art Foundation Program in the freshman year. The crossover skills of the BA and BFA tracks are a primary focus of the department. In addition, the department maintains an active relationship with its sister program located on the School’s international branch campus in Doha, Qatar.

Major responsibilities:

Academic Advising

  • Provides academic advising services to assigned students.
  • Advises students regarding: departmental, collegiate, and University policies and procedures; programs of study; and the development of appropriate academic plans.
  • Maintains training on policies including Title IX and FERPA.
  • Remains knowledgeable about School and University graduation requirements.
  • Understands and remains knowledgeable about NASAD accreditation requirements as they relate to the degrees offered by the Fashion Design & Merchandising programs.
  • Assists students in identifying their interests, abilities, skills and academic goals and in making decisions regarding their academic career.
  • Meets all students on assigned caseload at least once a semester.
  • Identifies and assists struggling or at-risk students.
  • Maintains accurate and confidential records of student information, including advising interactions.
  • Collaborates with university partners on matters that impact student recruitment, success, and retention.
  • Provides advising services to students during New Student Orientation.
  • Introduces students to opportunities that will enrich their academic experience; facilitates their academic and personal development; and supports their educational success.
  • Coordinates, shares information and conducts meetings with the Art Foundation Program and Freshman merchandising advisors twice a year, or as needed, to keep lines of communication open, and in order to provide consistent advice to students from the Freshman year forward.
  • Participates in and provides feedback on training and professional development activities.
  • Participates in the planning, implementation, and the evaluation of the academic advisement program goals and objectives.
  • Respects the culturally and intellectually diverse environment of the Department of Fashion Design & Merchandising and supports the cultivation of an academic climate in which the dignity of every individual is respected.
  • Provides assistance to the School’s commencement working group.
  • Performs all other related duties as assigned by the Director of Academic Advising.


  • The faculty member will have undergraduate teaching responsibilities in his/her area of expertise in the fashion design and/or merchandising track(s), and could periodically teach in the Art Foundation Program. Courses taught will be at the discretion of the Director of Academic Advising and the Chair of the Department of Fashion Design & Merchandising, and could change as demand requires.
  • The faculty member’s scholarly and creative activity should make a contribution to a body of knowledge within design, or a related field, and reflect a high standard of quality of competence and be consistent with and support the mission and initiatives of the department, School, and University.
  • The faculty member will serve on Departmental, School, and/or University committees as necessary, as well as in a professional capacity in their field, e.g., reviewer, conference organizer, etc. The faculty member could participate in recruitment activities, and could coordinate special educational activities like workshops, special programming, and other duties as assigned, etc., as determined by the Director of Academic Advising.

Required Qualifications:

  • A minimum of one year of professional experience in a college or university setting.
  • Master’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Demonstrated experience working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff and student environment or commitment to do so as a faculty member at VCU.

Preferred Experience:

  • Master’s degree preferred in the arts.
  • Demonstrated experience providing academic, career, or individualized counseling in higher education.
  • Excellent written, interpersonal and oral communication skills.

Application Instructions:

To apply, submit a letter outlining your interest in the position, a current CV, and a list of five current references (references will not be contacted prior to candidates’ approval), including names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses via VCU eJobs.

Only electronic applications submitted via eJobs will be accepted.

Applications are due Friday, October 20, 2017

For questions about the application process or VCU eJobs, contact Ryan Ellington at or via phone: 804.828.2787.

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Virginia Commonwealth University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action university providing access to education and employment without regard to age, race, color, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, veteran’s status, political affiliation or disability.

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