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Executive Director, Culinary Arts

ABOUT THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND THE CULINARY PROGRAM Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) in Bentonville, Arkansas is a comprehensive, public two-year college that serves and strengthens the community through learning for living. The hallmark of NWACC is its quality of instruction with classes by experts in class sizes that are small providing for highly personalized instruction. NWACC, founded in 1989, is one of the largest and fastest growing two-year colleges in Arkansas with an enrollment of more than 8,000 college credit students and an additional 6,000 student taking non-credit courses throughout the region.

The Northwest Arkansas region has attracted people to the area for multiple reasons including the growth of several major corporations, but they settle and stay because of excellent elementary and high schools, family friendly and safe neighborhoods, many child centered events, affordable housing stock in diverse communities, increasing cultural opportunities, an active local food and restaurant scene, and innumerable outdoor activities.

Currently, the Culinary Arts Program, founded in 2006, offers Associate Degrees in Applied Science in three specialties: Culinary Arts, Baking & Pastry Arts and Hospitality Management as well as certificate programs in those areas. For additional information on NWACC and the Culinary Arts Program, please visit

NWACC’s Culinary Arts Program is about to undertake a significant transformation of its range of offerings and impact that will position the College to become one of the top culinary arts programs in the United States.

A strategic plan was completed in 2014, which outlined how the school can grow to meet the needs of a fast-growing region that has a strong agriculture, culinary, hospitality and retail food culture and economy. Curriculum and workforce development opportunities were qualified and quantified and are now being developed.

In partnership with community leaders, the school is poised to support the growth and expansion of a highly visible Culinary Arts Program. A new facility is part of an adaptive reuse project that will turn an old factory into a food-focused facility, showcasing and supporting local food artisans. New programs and courses will build on the growing interest in local and artisanal foods in the region. The redesigned curriculum will include courses on growing food, food preservation, butchery and charcuterie, artisanal bread baking, culinary nutrition and a comprehensive beverage program as part of American Culinary Federation accredited coursework in culinary arts and beverage management.

Students will have the opportunity to practice restaurant production skills in a restaurant utilized by the school and the local community. Culinary courses will be offered to the public in the evening and on weekends, in both hands-on kitchen classrooms and a demonstration kitchen.


The Executive Director, Culinary Arts will report directly to the Dean of Workforce Development with a dotted line to the College President and Senior Vice President for Learning & Provost and will have several direct reports.

This position is located in Bentonville, AR.


  • Lead the design of NWACC’s innovative Culinary Arts Program in partnership with management, the funding community, staff, the local food community and external culinary and educational experts;
  • Lead the implementation of the redesigned Culinary Arts Program through multiple annual growth phases;
  • Actively engage and maintain effective partnership with funders, community leaders, and the culinary community;
  • Build staff capacity to implement the strategic plan within the context of their individual positions as well as interdependencies between departments;
  • Effectively engage external experts and partners in curriculum design and in the development of innovative approaches to culinary education;
  • Actively participate in the project team leading the design of the new facility;
  • Manage the Culinary Arts Program effectiveness through an outcomes oriented approach with organizational and individual measurable goals, holding staff accountable while building an effective team;
  • Review and improve expanded operating efficiencies by revising and tracking standardized department-wide operating policies, processes, procedures, organizational controls and systems;
  • Lead the senior team of the Culinary Arts Program in regular well-structured, effective meetings that track each department and individual towards its monthly, quarterly, annual and strategic goals;
  • Partner with the College’s Marketing and Public Relations department to create effective marketing of the Culinary Arts Program and ensure strong interest in the program of qualified students;
  • Lead the Culinary Arts Program to meet budgetary and workforce development goals;
  • Act as an effective liaison between the Dean of Workforce Development, the Senior Vice President of Learning & Provost and the College at large;
  • Develop operational specifications for all program initiatives, ensuring alignment across functions, including distinct program deliverables with clear delivery dates and explicit accountabilities;
  • Create an organizational culture of innovation, collaboration, achievement and success in the eyes of the students, the community, the funders, and the leadership of the college.


  • 8 to 10 years in a student centered education leadership position including 5+ years in senior positions with significant managerial responsibilities;
  • Bachelor’s Degree required; Master’s Degree in education or relevant field preferred
  • Significant culinary knowledge; however extensive culinary training or experience working as a chef is not required;
  • Proven track record of leading – with vision – a significant department from a current state to a future state characterized by applied innovation and growth;
  • Strong ability to develop and lead an innovative highly visible project and partner with institutional leadership, funders, staff, outside resources, community leaders, and the local food community in its design;
  • Strong ability to translate vision and strategy into day-to-day planning;
  • Exceptional interpersonal, communications, negotiation and influencing skills to engage staff, management, a wide range of strategic partners, community program leaders and funding partners at different knowledge levels;
  • Excellent leadership, active listening, and engaging partnership skills;
  • Results oriented mindset with the ability to be flexible in order to find the right balance between the operational pressures, the organization’s mission, and various stakeholders;
  • Data based decision-maker who combines analysis, wisdom, experience and judgment, with a focus on learning, sharing knowledge with others, evaluating and achieving objectives;
  • Excellent written, verbal communications and presentation skills;
  • Proven track record in developing, managing and recruiting direct reports to improve their productivity and capabilities;
  • Ability to absorb new information quickly and translate key points into positive outcomes;
  • Highly respectful of diversity of background, beliefs, and socio-economic status;
  • Passionate about students, their education and the opportunities culinary arts can create in their lives.


If you want to lead the design and implementation of an innovative and highly visible Culinary Arts Program, make a difference in the lives of our students – every day –, have significant experience and a proven track record in programmatic and educational leadership and want to join Northwest Arkansas Community College as the Executive Director, Culinary Arts, please apply on line at  and include a cover letter and resume. Qualified candidates will be contacted by phone and email. Background checks and computer literacy tests are required of final candidates for this position.

SALARY: Commensurate with education and experience. This is a full-time position with benefits.

NWACC practices equal opportunity in education and employment And is strongly and actively committed to diversity within the college community.