Presidential Search - archived 12/16/21

Students work on large-scale still life drawings in the Experimental and Foundation Studies studios

“My fellow Board members and I are prepared for this important moment in our history and look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead. Collectively we will meet RISD’s full promise and potential as the world’s preeminent higher education institution of art and design.”

- Michael Spalter, Board of Trustees Chair


Rhode Island School of Design has launched an international search for its 18th president. A search committee co-chaired by four members of the Board of Trustees is leading the search, with each member bringing unique perspectives as artists, designers, business leaders and RISD students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents. The committee will be supported by Isaacson, Miller—a search firm with substantial art and design knowledge and experience identifying higher-education leadership nationwide. To ensure that the search is informed by the breadth and diversity of the extraordinary global RISD community, the committee will conduct a community listening tour to solicit input and ideas and convene a student advisory council.

The Board of Trustees welcomes active participation from all members of the community in this critical process. Please check back often to stay informed of the latest updates on this search.


See below for the latest news and updates as we advance the search process.

October 20, 2021

RISD enters final stage of search for our 18th president

July 19, 2021

Candidates identified for first round of interviews

May 19, 2021

RISD Board of Trustees names Dave Proulx interim president

April 19, 2021

A thorough and detailed position description is published thanks to our community’s thoughtful input

April 1, 2021

Search Committee completes six-week listening tour and development of position profile begins

March 10, 2021

Student Advisory Council members selected

March 4, 2021

Survey seeking search-related insights and ideas sent to students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents

February 16, 2021

Search committee co-chairs select committee members and search firm

February 11, 2021

Listening tour begins with 15+ small group sessions including students, faculty, staff, alumni, families and supporters planned through mid-March

January 12, 2021

Search committee appoints co-chairs, and plans for committee selection and listening tour are shared with RISD community

Search committee

Board of Trustee members Hillary Blumberg 92 FAVIlene Chaiken 79 GD/P 18Karen Hammond and Tavares Strachan 03 GL will serve as co-chairs of the presidential search committee. Each co-chair brings their unique perspectives to the process as artists and changemakers and is deeply involved in the RISD community.

The co-chairs have assembled a search committee that represents the many facets of our community. The committee members are:

Jessica Brown MID 09, Assistant Professor, Industrial Design
Gabrielle Bullock BArch 84, Board of Trustees
Shepard Fairey 92 IL, Board of Trustees
Richard Gann MFA 87 PR, Senior Critic, Illustration
Robert Glass P11, Board of Trustees
Ijlal Muzaffar, Associate Professor, Theory and History of Art and Design
Michael Rock MFA 84 GD, Board of Trustees
Matthew Shenoda, Associate Provost for Social Equity & Inclusion and Senior Advisor to the President
Jack Silva, Vice President, Campus Services
Kajette Solomon, RISD Museum SEI Program Specialist
Ramon Tejada, Assistant Professor, Graphic Design

The committee co-chairs have also convened a student advisory council to the search committee. This is a critical component of the process and an essential conduit to our most important constituents: our outstanding student body. It is comprised of four undergraduate and three graduate student representatives:

Aya Alganmeh 21 IL
Julius Cavira MFA 22 SC
Selassie Davies MA 21 GAC
Caitlin Dippo MArch 22
Kai Ji MFA 22 FD
Franyelly Rodgiguez 21 TX
Javiar Syquia BRDD 21 GD
Jonas (Blue) Williger 22 IA

Search firm

Isaacson, Miller is a national executive search firm devoted to recruiting exceptional leaders for mission-driven organizations. Founded in 1982, the firm has approximately 200 employees in Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, DC and completes more than 300 searches a year. The firm has one of the most comprehensive higher education practices in the country and has conducted leadership searches for a substantial number of the most respected arts colleges and schools in the country.

Apply Now

Interested candidates may apply on the Isaacson, Miller website. The Search Committee also welcomes nominations from the community. Please indicate why you think the person you nominate would be an exceptionally good fit for RISD.


RISD welcomes community involvement in this process. Inquiries or suggestions may be submitted to trustoff@risd.edu. As the process progresses we will also invite nominations of potential candidates.