Executive Director of Research, Outreach, and Economic Development

General Description:  The Executive Director provides visionary leadership in promotion of the university’s role in the areas of research, outreach, and economic development.  As a direct report to the Chancellor, the position is responsible for oversight and compliance of sponsored programs; promotion and coordination of outreach activities and partnerships, including regional economic development initiatives, non-degree and children’s programs, and support of state and regional advocacy relations in conjunction with the UT System’s Office of Government Relations and Advocacy.

Duties and Responsibilities:  The Executive Director provides innovative and adaptable leadership for the university’s research, outreach, and economic development enterprise; is responsible for oversight of the unit including, promoting services to external and internal constituents; working collaboratively with regional and university partners; and coordinating implementation of the university’s outreach plan in support of advocacy initiatives and program development.  Other duties and responsibilities:

  • Supports the institutional mission through the creation and advancement of the university’s research, outreach, and economic development goals and objectives.
  • Oversees staff in the Offices of Research and Sponsored Programs and Outreach.
  • Manages federal, state, system, and university compliance and reporting requirements and provides institutional leadership to ensure that all programs comply with the standards of the sponsoring agencies.
  • Champions the provision of high-quality teaching, research, and scholarly activities within the campus and its regional Centers.  The post holder will work in partnership with the University of Tennessee Research Foundation on system-wide opportunities, as well as  facilitates the identification and procurement of new sources of revenue to support new and existing programs for the campus and region.
  • Maintains/accountable for the effective governance and leadership of the research program including, adherence to academic, research, and relevant policy related principles.
  • Demonstrates a strong commitment to undergraduate and graduate education and advocates for students by coordinating programs to address their academic and experiential learning needs, including high impact practices such as undergraduate research, internships, service learning, and international study.
  • Oversees the day-to-day management production of proposal submissions, assuring on-time delivery of all documents and the compliance/administration of awards.
  • Provides regular reporting to stakeholders on grant proposal status and results as well as analysis and feedback on management opportunities.
  • Contributes to the economic vitality of the region by collaborating with regional economic development boards to enhance prosperity and stimulate long-range plans.
  • Initiates responses to stakeholder requests, proposals and partnership opportunities.
  • Cultivates and maintains key relationships with community partners by reporting and presenting to community groups and serving on various committees and boards.
  • Serves as an ambassador for the university and exhibits the professionalism and advanced communication skills necessary to successfully represent the university at all levels.
  • Advances the economic development and advocacy efforts of the university through community relations and outreach activities across the region.
  • Coordinates compliance oversight of shared campus research & innovation facilities.
  • Communicates with Business and Industry leadership to identify training needs (degree and non-degree).
  • Coordinates with the deans, directors and department chairs on decisions/procedures with various camps, meetings, and workshops managed by the Office of Outreach.
  • Informs and reports to the chancellor on matters relating to the outreach and economic development functions pertaining to the university.
  • Serves as a liaison working to advance state and federal relations consistent with UT System goals and objectives.
  • Embraces a data-driven decision-making organization and ensures that the data necessary for strategic planning and decision-making are available as needed.

Minimum Qualifications:

Education:  Master’s degree in a discipline from an accredited institution.

Experience:  Proven leader with at least five years of progressive, administrative leadership with experience in a senior position, to include:

  • An understanding of the complexities of biological, physical and social science research, and trends in those areas, with an appreciation of scholarship in the humanities and fine arts, and cultural outreach of the University.
  • Demonstrated achievements in working in a collaborative environment.
  • Success in managing a complex, high-demand environment, overseeing multiple priorities simultaneously, and setting and achieving goals.
  • Demonstrated success as a creative leader and in securing external support of sponsored programs.
  • Substantial and successful administrative and fiscal management experience to include budget development and implementation.
  • Ability to effectively utilize data and scientific-based research methodologies as required for reports for strategic planning, required reporting, and media requests.
  • Proven ability to interpret and communicate federal, state, and local laws and regulations and system policies and procedures related to research operating, compliance and reporting.
  • Record of demonstrating the promotion of public service to advance the regional and global community.

Skills:  The Executive Director of Research, Outreach, and Economic Development will have significant knowledge and understanding of research enhancement, research compliance, and technology transfer.  Candidates should:

  • Demonstrate exceptional listening and communication skills in working in a collaborative environment with an understanding of the higher education enterprise and the ability to articulate complex information to a wide range of audiences.
  • Possess a work ethic consisting of commitment, honesty, integrity, and respect for others’ innovation and resourcefulness.
  • Possess efficient organizational and managerial skills allowing for the performance of numerous tasks simultaneously.
  • Foster a strong spirit of collaboration with internal and external stakeholders
  • Possess the ability to build a culture that fosters the development and application of innovative thought
  • Lead and motivate employees, clients, community leaders, and stakeholders within a collaborative organization. Think strategically and to develop and contribute to the campus strategic plan as it relates to areas of oversight.
  • Delegate effectively and hold direct reports accountable.
  • Demonstrate skills as a decision-maker, with transparency in decision-making and management.
  • Demonstrate a strong commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion.

Behaviors:  The Executive Director of Research, Outreach, and Economic Development will exhibit qualities of emotional maturity, genuineness, self-confidence, common sense, judgment, fairness, creativity, discretion, decisiveness, political savvy, diplomacy, tact, resiliency, adaptability, courage of convictions and tolerance for ambiguity.  Demonstrated behavioral expectations include:

  • Commitment to the University’s mission and strategic plan.
  • Unquestioned integrity and trustworthiness.
  • Ability to work with cross-functional teams and to foster teamwork.
  • Outcomes-driven.
  • Commitment to return on investment/value-added activities.
  • Fiscally minded.
  • Ability to make good, consistent and fair decisions (based on fact and data).

The intent of this document is to provide a representative job description for the level of the types of duties and responsibilities that will be required of positions given this title and shall not be construed as a declaration of the total of the specific duties and responsibilities of any particular position.  Employees may be directed to perform job-related tasks other than those specifically presented in this description.

Market range: 15

Compensation for the position will be competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience with a minimum salary of $95,000.