Executive Director – IgniteED

Executive Director – IgniteED
Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania

The Graduate School of Education of the University of Pennsylvania is currently seeking a highly-qualified individual to serve as the Director of the newly created PENN GSE Innovation Hub - IgniteED

The mission of IgniteED is to change the way we define and interact with knowledge to develop solutions to problems of practice in all aspects of teaching and learning.

IgniteED is a centrally-located venue, a think tank, a collection of critical friends, a consultancy, a mechanism to scale up useful processes, and a means to diversify GSE’s resource base.  It is an interlocking hub to serve and engage with university constituents, education entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial communities, professional communities, education practitioners, global partners, and PennGSE faculty, researchers, students, alumni, and staff. The Center represents a networked approach to educational innovation, working collaboratively across disciplines and sectors to enhance problem-discovery and solution-testing.

It will pursue this mission by convening people; curating and disseminating knowledge; creating new learning opportunities and tools that put research into action; connecting research findings with innovative practice; and collaboratively working across disciplines, fields & sectors.  It will serve and extend the mission of PennGSE by providing researchers ground-floor access to opportunities to create innovative ways to put their research to work for the broader educational community.


The Graduate School of Education (GSE) at the University of Pennsylvania is seeking an individual with entrepreneurial leadership skills and business experience in both the profit and non-profit arenas to serve as Executive Director (ED) of the GSE Innovation Hub – IgniteED.

The Executive Director is responsible for the full P&L operation of IgniteED.  This will include but not be limited to, program administration, staff supervision, outreach, fundraising, budget management, certificate development, and market analysis/business development.  The Executive Director will design and implement revenue generating programs that support the vision and strategic mission of the Graduate School of Education and IgniteED, working with a broad constituency from both within and outside GSE. Furthermore, the Executive Director will have the desire to drive and apply academic research to the activities and the community of IgniteED.

The successful candidate must be energetic, collegial, and creative with exceptional communication and relationship building skills.  The Director will exhibit the leadership qualities needed to build upon the successes of the GSE Academic Innovation team in creating new programs and producing revenue from innovative initiatives.


  • Works to identify opportunities for noncredit courses and programs (both virtual and brick and mortar) related to GSE’s work and in response to emerging opportunities;
  • Facilitates relationships with other community resources to provide seamless connections for students, faculty, staff, and clients;
  • Provides instruction, business counseling, advising, and training directly to students, faculty, staff and clients related to entrepreneurial ventures and projects;
  • Collaborates with school CFO to administer all aspects of the Center including budget management, staffing, and programming; Recruits and supervises personnel to accomplish Center objectives;
  • Proposes, coordinates, and follows through upon opportunities to create funding for growth and program enhancement through grants, donations and other revenue-generating activities;
  • Implements research initiatives that are related to IgniteED’s mission in collaboration with GSE faculty; and
  • Performs other related duties as may be assigned by senior administration.

Organizational Relationships:

  • Responsible to the Executive Director of Academic Innovation, with oversight by the governing committee of IgniteED and financial reporting to the CFO of GSE, for the satisfactory performance of assigned responsibilities
  • Coordinates work with the Academic Divisions, GSE events coordinators and GSE Centers
  • Represents IgniteED to community organizations, the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the global innovation community


(1) Education

Doctoral degree from an accredited university or commensurate experience; Education area preferred and MBA or business experience is desirable

(2) Skills, Knowledge, Abilities

  • Entrepreneurial skills and a commitment to innovation; startup experience preferred
  • Proven management and leadership skills
  • Ability to network and collaborate throughout the university and across the local community as well as national and global networks
  • Ability to identify, build and manage a network of resources, entrepreneurial programs and contacts;
  • Evidence of strong existing network in the education innovation ecosystem arena
  • Strong written and oral communications
  • Broad knowledge of entrepreneurship development, pedagogy, and curriculum;
  • Ability to connect with students, faculty and alumni and the broad education and entrepreneurial community
  • Ability to engage faculty and staff with IgniteED
  • Exceptional problem solving skills and the capacity to think strategically and innovatively
  • Ability to raise funds and produce revenue to support the center operations and growth

(3) Experience

  • Involvement with the education investment landscape as investor or recipient of investment
  • Experience working in an academic research environment desirable
  • Demonstrated ability to serve in an administrative capacity
  • Instructional program development and management experience preferred
  • Experience with multiple forms of media to share knowledge and ideas in the innovation and entrepreneurial space

Salary Competitive

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