Assistant Professor – Fashion Design

Richmond, Virginia
13 Jan 2022
13 Feb 2022

Assistant Professor – Fashion Design

Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts (VCUarts)

Department of Fashion Design and Merchandising

This full-time, 9-month position is at the rank of Assistant Professor, is non-tenure, and begins August 16, 2022.



Application Deadline: Review of applications begins January 14, 2022 and continues until the position is filled. For best consideration, applications are due by January 14, 2022.


The Opportunity:


The VCUarts Department of Fashion Design & Merchandising ( invites collaboration-minded applicants with qualifications, experience, and demonstrated strengths in fashion design honed from significant and productive years in the fashion industry, to integrate and apply these skills into contemporary design practice and contribute to strengthening the program’s orientation toward the future. This faculty member will have a technology forward focus and a real-world understanding of the fashion design process.

This is a non-tenure eligible (term) faculty position. Term faculty are eligible for promotion in academic rank, and are valued for their academic, professional, and creative practice/scholarly contributions in their specific area of expertise. The primary responsibilities of this opportunity are teaching so we seek to hire faculty who stand out with respect to effectiveness in teaching and engagement with students.

Department of Fashion Design and Merchandising:


The Department of Fashion Design and 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.

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. The crossover skills of the BA and BFA tracks are a primary focus of the department.

Merchandising 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, and textiles for fashion. 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.  Exciting opportunities exist for collaboration and partnership between the design and merchandising tracks.

Additionally, the department maintains an active relationship with its sister program on the School’s branch campus located in Doha, Qatar. Exciting opportunities exist for collaboration and partnership between the two programs.

The Department of Fashion Design and Merchandising is a member of the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers Of America (CFDA) and the Fashion Scholarship Fund.

Major Responsibilities:

This position is a 9-month non-tenure eligible (term) faculty position in the Department of Fashion Design and Merchandising with an academic rank of Assistant Professor. The faculty member’s responsibilities will be heavily weighted towards teaching. Instructional responsibilities comprise development and teaching undergraduate courses in the fall and spring semesters in the fashion design track. Courses will include 2D and 3D pattern development, concept and garment development, and exploring and implementing technology for fashion communication. Effective and successful instruction will be informed by a deep knowledge of design used to teach innovative methodologies and concept development. A particular focus of instruction will be on developing and facilitating curricular connections between the design and merchandising tracks. Additional courses could be taught in the faculty member’s area of research specialization. Course assignments will change based on demand and will be at the discretion of the Chair.

The faculty member is expected to be a passionate mentor and creative leader for an enthusiastic and diverse community of students; integrate innovative pedagogical and technological approaches, and multicultural perspectives into instructional methods; bring experience in developing initiatives that contribute to a meaningful arts education accessible to underrepresented or disadvantaged groups; foster collaborative teaching and educational opportunities through diverse and innovative projects and experiences; promote the efforts of the department across the university and throughout the community. In support of the department’s strong commitment to diversity, the faculty member is expected to foster a welcoming, equitable, and inclusive learning environment for all students.


Creative research is not a primary expectation for this non-tenure eligible position. It is expected that the faculty member will demonstrate excellence through teaching and will maintain a scholarly body of knowledge within the discipline. The department will support the faculty member’s professional development, as appropriate and within available resources, to ensure ongoing mastery of the discipline as it relates to design and the program’s curriculum. Professional development activities will be consistent with and support the mission and initiatives of the department, school and university. The department will also support creative research at an appropriate annual level, though teaching will constitute the majority of the faculty member’s responsibilities.

As a member of a community-oriented, tight-knit department and School, the faculty member will provide service to  support student, department, and school-wide initiatives; supporting recruitment activities; fostering community engagement opportunities; and serving on department/School/University committees. In addition, the faculty member is expected to serve as a peer reviewer, organizer of conferences and/or conference sessions, and to retain membership in professional associations and provide professional service. Other responsibilities may be assigned by the Chair or university administration.




  • Master’s degree or professional, high-level fashion industry experience and training that equates to a graduate degree
  • Significant professional/industry executive experience exceeding eight years in lieu of advanced degree
  • Discernable interest in developing productive connections across fashion merchandising and design disciplines
  • Ability to maintain and build upon current connections to the fashion industry and its professionals, and use these connections to create opportunities for students and to elevate the profile of the department
  • Intermediate skills in Excel and presentation software, and adept at speaking to large audiences
  • Demonstrated skills using the latest fashion industry technology
  • Exceptional communication skills, written, oral and interpersonal
  • Evident experience working in and fostering a diverse faculty, staff, and student environment, or commitment to do so as a faculty member at VCU



  • University level teaching experience
  • A developed research agenda
  • International experiences to bring an understanding of other cultures to the classroom

Application Instructions:

Virginia Commonwealth University is committed to organizational diversity, equity and inclusion – an environment where all can thrive in their pursuit of excellence. VCUarts strongly encourages applications from all racial, ethnic, gender, and social identities.

Applicants are requested to submit a Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (typically between 150-300 words) providing your career aspirations and contributions toward promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Through this statement, you can share how your lived experiences, and academic and professional activities will impact your contribution to VCU’s mission of promoting equity and inclusion.

Note: Examples include working with others to further the goals of equity and inclusion; leading in any capacity that tangibly promotes an environment where diversity is welcomed, fostered, and celebrated; creative activity, research and scholarship that promotes equity and parity; teaching and mentoring students, and/or engaging with faculty and/or staff from traditionally underrepresented groups to create a positive and successful organizational experience. For additional guidance on writing a Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:

To apply, please submit application materials via VCU Jobs Website at Only electronic applications will be accepted.

Application materials should be to the attention of Hawa Stwodah, Assistant Professor and Chair of the search committee. The following documents should be included:

  • A Letter of Interest, which conveys relevant academic and professional experience and describes experiences and/or professional service that inform a collaborative and community-engaged approach to teaching fashion merchandising
  • Current CV/Resume
  • A list of five current references including names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses (references will not be contacted prior to applicant’s approval)
  • Portfolio of work— a link to appropriate selections of documentation of the applicant's experience in their area of expertise within the industry. This could include traditional and/or non-traditional examples of one's work from a broad cross-section and/or combination of experience from a variety of roles within the fashion merchandising and design fields.

Review of applications begins January 14, 2022 and continues until the position is filled. For best consideration, applications are due by January 14, 2022.


To read more about VCUarts:

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