Director of the Learning Research & Development Center

The University of Pittsburgh seeks a Director of the Learning Research & Development Center
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Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Position:
The University of Pittsburgh regards this position as one of the most attractive university appointments in the country in the fields of education, psychology, and related disciplines. The director of the LRDC reports directly to the provost and senior vice chancellor and serves as a member of the Academic Leadership Team along with regional campus presidents, deans, and other University center directors. The director (i) works with the University’s leadership to maintain and strengthen the University’s prominence in the field; (ii) promotes and enhances the LRDC’s activities in education, research, and public service; and (iii) manages the LRDC, a University-supported center with approximately 150 personnel, including faculty members, research associates, postdoctoral scholars, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students.

The University seeks a leader who possesses the vision, powers of connection, and collaborative spirit and skills required to forge effective alliances and partnerships throughout the campus and with external stakeholders. Given the wide range of faculty expertise at Pitt and academic inquiry undertaken at the LRDC, the director should have an appreciation of different disciplines and a strong sense of how they can work together for greater impact. The director should be capable of nurturing the next generation of learning scientists through mentorship and training.

The center pulls from diverse funding streams, and the director should have strong financial acumen and the ability to understand and cultivate new resources for the LRDC. The director should also be actively engaged in raising the LRDC’s visibility, both within the University and nationally and internationally, and should work collaboratively with other academic leaders to create a vibrant research ecosystem for learning science at Pitt.

The successful candidate will be:

  • A leader who can develop and enrich the role that the LRDC plays in enhancing the University’s mission to provide high-quality research and programs, advance learning sciences, and engage with the community.
  • A strategic and visionary thinker who understands the rapidly changing landscape of higher education and can develop and execute a strategy to position the center as an innovative entity that can adapt to new realities while maintaining strength in areas of historic excellence.
  • An entrepreneurial leader, who will explore new opportunities for the center to increase its reach, impact, and national and international reputation.
  • An individual who is fully committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.


  • An earned terminal degree in a relevant discipline of study.
  • A strong record of learning-related research.
  • A strong record as a teacher and scholar commensurate with the appointment of full professor at the University of Pittsburgh.
  • Administrative management ability consistent with the center director’s responsibilities.
  • The ability to develop and lead multidisciplinary/transdisciplinary collaborative initiatives.
  • The ability to work collaboratively across the institution, cultivate and maintain collaborative relationships, and represent the work of the center within and beyond the institution.
  • An understanding of education and instruction and an appreciation of how the LRDC’s people and scholarship can support the University’s missions.
  • The ability to generate research funding from external sources.
  • Demonstrated commitment to enhancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.
  • Knowledge of critical areas of current and future research for the center, particularly in the areas of the learning sciences, including generative AI, cognitive neuroscience, and developmental science.

Additional Preferred:

  • Evidence of the ability to develop and implement strategic plans that drive institutional improvement.
  • Evidence of the ability to implement successful community engagement.
  • Evidence of the ability and willingness to engage in raising funds from philanthropic sources.
  • Skill in promoting staff professional development and advancement.
  • A record of or interest in university service commensurate with the status of “dean” in a relevant school or department at the University of Pittsburgh.
  • Membership in highly regarded disciplinary or interdisciplinary societies.
  • International recognition as an established scholar in a specific discipline.

About the Learning Research and Development Center:
The Learning Research & Development Center (LRDC) advances the science of learning by bringing together researchers from the cognitive, developmental, social, educational, and computational sciences. It employs a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to study a wide range of types of learning across varied settings. The center’s research on learning aims to contribute both to a just and equitable society and to build a future where everyone can develop the knowledge, skills, and agency they need to fully participate in society and thrive. The LRDC aspires to train the next generation of learning and educational scientists, contribute to the well-being of the region, advance the mission of the University of Pittsburgh, and have a broad and global reach of impact on learning and education.

Since its establishment in 1963, the Learning Research & Development Center has been a leading interdisciplinary center for research on learning and education. The center's interconnected programs of research and development have reflected its mission of stimulating interaction between research and practice across a broad spectrum of problems: from the neural basis of learning through the development of intelligent tutors to educational policy. Among research institutions in learning and education, this interconnected breadth is unique.

An important factor in the LRDC's success is the joint appointments of its faculty members in other units of the University and a strong connection to the School of Education and the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Today, faculty members hold joint primary appointments in departments and schools across campus. These connections throughout the University have allowed faculty and students to work on cross-disciplinary learning and education projects while supporting graduate training programs. The center's commitment to cognitive research was important in establishing a PhD program in cognitive psychology within the Department of Psychology. Similarly, center faculty members working on intelligent tutoring systems played important roles in establishing the cross-disciplinary Intelligent Systems Program. The LRDC is also home to the Institute for Learning, a professional learning organization that partners with K-12 schools and districts nationwide to support their implementation of research-based teaching and learning practices.

The Director of the LRDC is supported by a director of communications and a director of administration. The director may appoint (at their discretion) an associate director; a senior scientist who is a professor in the School of Education currently serves in this capacity. Overall, the director oversees approximately 150 faculty, staff, students, research associates, and postdoctoral scholars across the center and a total budget of $55 million.

About the University of Pittsburgh:
Focused on impact and the relentless pursuit of change for good, the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) is a top-ranked, public institution in Pennsylvania and a member of the Association of American Universities, a group of 71 preeminent doctorate-granting research institutions in North America. Founded in 1787 as the Pittsburgh Academy, Pitt is one of the nation’s oldest institutions of higher education and is recognized as one of the most innovative universities in the world, inventing the paths of the future and forging ahead.

The 132-acre Pittsburgh campus is located in the vibrant and beautiful Oakland neighborhood. Pitt actively engages with the surrounding community through its Community Engagement Centers, community-driven partnerships, and volunteer service. The University was awarded the Carnegie Foundation’s Classification for Community Engagement in recognition of its institutional commitment to community engagement. The Pittsburgh campus is also home to the University’s health sciences schools and is colocated with the highly ranked UPMC (formerly University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) and its flagship medical facilities. Pitt has served as an integral partner and key player in driving the growth of the education and health services supersector in the Pittsburgh metropolitan region.

Students come to Pitt from all 50 states, three territories, the District of Columbia, and more than 110 countries, and enrollment on the Pittsburgh campus tops 29,000 students, including over 9,000 graduate students. More than 14,700 faculty, research associates, and staff members are employed on the Pittsburgh campus, and Pitt offers generous benefits and values work-life balance.

The University has a long history of applied social science research. Pittsburgh’s legacy as an industrial epicenter led to one of the first integrated, multidisciplinary social science surveys (The Pittsburgh Survey) being conducted in the region beginning in 1907 with funding from the Russell Sage Foundation. Pitt researchers have made life-changing advances, ranging from the polio vaccine to television, and they have been widely recognized, including at least three LRDC faculty who have been members of the National Academy of Education. University members have included great thinkers, leaders, artists, sports legends, and those who broke racial and gender barriers, all striving for something greater.

To Apply:
The University of Pittsburgh, in consultation with Summit Search Solutions, Inc., will begin a confidential review of application materials immediately and continue until the position is filled; parties who apply by March 29, 2024 will be given first consideration. Applications should include a curriculum vitae and a letter of interest that also addresses the qualifications described above. All applications and nominations will be held in confidence. To apply online, go to:

For more information or to offer recommendations:
Tammarah (Tammy) Townes

Senior Consultant
Summit Search Solutions, Inc.
Direct: 302-388-9480

The University of Pittsburgh is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and values equality of opportunity, human dignity, and diversity. EOE, including disability/vets.